I Am America: World traveler Maia
February 16th, 2012
06:40 PM ET

I Am America: World traveler Maia

Maia lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Her father's parents immigrated to the United States from North Korea and her mother's family can be traced to Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, Germany and Wales.

Maia speaks three languages, studied comparative literature and enjoys foreign films.

What makes you American? Check out Maia's story and submit your own "I Am America" story on iReport.

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Filed under: Who we are
February 16th, 2012
05:06 PM ET

Angry lawmakers challenge lineup at hearing: 'Where are the women?'

By Martina Stewart, CNN Political Producer

Washington (CNN) - A pair of female Democratic lawmakers had a simple question Thursday about a controversial hearing on Capitol Hill.

"What I want to know is: Where are the women?" Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, said as she began her remarks at the top of hearing titled "Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?"

Directing her question at Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Maloney was referring to the fact that the first panel of five witnesses at the hearing did not include a woman, even though the discussion touched on the recent controversy over an Obama administration regulation requiring health insurance coverage for contraception.

"When I look at this panel, I don't see one single woman representing the tens of millions of women across the country who want and need insurance coverage for basic, preventative health care services, including family planning," Maloney continued. Then she repeated: "Where are the women?"

Read the full story

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Filed under: Discrimination • Gender • Health • Politics • Religion • Who we are • Women
Veto promised on same-sex marriage bill in NJ
David DeGiralamo and Dan Allen are fighting for the right to be married in New Jersey. They’re raising two children in Morristown.
February 16th, 2012
03:39 PM ET

Veto promised on same-sex marriage bill in NJ

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By David Ariosto and Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

(CNN) - New Jersey lawmakers have passed a bill that would provide same-sex couples the right to wed - a move put forth in defiance of the state's Republican governor, who's vowed to veto the measure and has instead called for a referendum to settle the issue.

State assembly members on Thursday voted 41-33, with two members abstaining, in favor of the "Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act." The Senate approved the measure on Monday by a 24 to 16 count.

But Gov. Chris Christie, the subject of political speculation as a possible GOP vice presidential candidate, has said the issue "should not be decided by 121 people in the statehouse in Trenton."

The governor is expected to "act swiftly" to knock it down when the bill reaches his desk, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Christie.


Study: Interracial marriage, acceptance growing
A new study says about 15 percent of new marriages in the U.S. were between spouses of different races or ethnicities.
February 16th, 2012
03:32 PM ET

Study: Interracial marriage, acceptance growing

By Ashley Hayes, CNN

(CNN) - Forty-five years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a ban on interracial marriage, the rate of marriage across racial and ethnic lines in the United States is on the rise, according to a new study released Thursday.

And while such "intermarriages" continue to grow, so too does public acceptance of such unions, according to the study by the Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends project.

The study has left social media sites abuzz with discussion.

"Why do people give inter-racial dating so much lip service?" wrote Tosin Lajuwomi on Twitter. "You like who you like – black, white, blue, orange."

Others were more reserved about what the report reflects.

"I look forward to the day when stories about "inter-racial" marriages are no longer newsworthy," wrote James Burns on the micro-blogging site. "We have far to go."

Read the full story

Opinion: Rapper's video advice could land young boys in jail
Rapper's advice not just offensive, but potentially criminal.
February 16th, 2012
03:03 PM ET

Opinion: Rapper's video advice could land young boys in jail

Editor’s note: Carolyn Edgar is a lawyer and writer in New York City. She writes about social issues, parenting and relationships on her blog, Carolyn Edgar.  You can follow her on Twitter @carolynedgar.

On February 15, Vanessa Satten, the editor-in chief of XXL Magazine responded again to the growing furor and calls for her resignation.  Read her statement here.

By Carolyn Edgar, Special to CNN

(CNN) – Outrage continues to build over a video that ran on the magazine XXL’s website featuring the rapper Too $hort dispensing advice to middle-school boys on how to “turn girls out.”

As the mother of a teenage girl and a pre-teen boy, I found the video abhorrent because it promotes sexual violence against young women. As a lawyer, I found both the video and XXL’s publication of it irresponsible and reckless.

A boy who took Too $hort’s advice could find himself in real trouble, because the behavior he encourages may, in fact, violate a multitude of state and federal laws.  Pushing a girl against a wall and sticking a finger inside her underwear would likely constitute sexual harassment and/or a criminal charge of sexual assault.

Sexual harassment in schools is a violation of Title IX, the federal statute that prohibits discrimination in schools on the basis of sex. Schools that receive federal funding are required under Title IX to take action against sexual harassment. Most school districts have enacted policies prohibiting sexual harassment as part of their Title IX enforcement obligations. For example, in the New York City Department of Education Discipline Code, punishment for sexual harassment ranges from a parent conference to suspension, and even expulsion in some cases. The victim may also have other avenues for legal recourse, including filing a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, or filing a lawsuit in federal court.

In addition to violating Title IX and school policy, the behavior Too $hort advocates could be criminal. The rapper directed his advice at boys in middle and early high school. Children in these grades generally are legally below the age of consent. The age of consent to sexual contact in the United States varies by state, but generally ranges from 16 to 18. Consent is a factor in the majority of sex crimes. Depending on the ages of the victim and the perpetrator, the conduct advocated in the video could meet the description of a number of felony and misdemeanor criminal acts under the New York Penal Code, including sexual assault, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, and sexual abuse. FULL POST

February 16th, 2012
02:39 PM ET

BIA update: Corey Mackie

Corey Mackie was featured in CNN's first Black in America documentary series, "Black in America: The Black Man," as an African-American man who was struggling to find work. Though Corey found a job at the end of the documentary, it was barely enough to help him get by and soon after he was layed off.

That was in 2008 and now, things are looking up for Corey. See what's next for him in this Black in America update.

Keep the conversation going on Twitter with #BlackinAmerica.

Opinion: 'Chimichanga' slam on GOP is tough to swallow
Sen. John McCain's remark about the origin of chimichangas wound up as a controversial line in a column and a tweet.
February 16th, 2012
12:25 PM ET

Opinion: 'Chimichanga' slam on GOP is tough to swallow

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN.com contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist.

By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor

San Diego, California (CNN) - Condescension is never appetizing. Not even when it's wrapped around a chimichanga.

A political food fight broke out this week when Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank essentially wrote in a column that the Republican Party had nothing left to offer Latino voters other than the chimichanga.

Let me set the table. Milbank was making a point that I've made dozens of times myself: Given the nation's demographics and the direction they're headed, the GOP is on a suicide mission if it continues to alienate Hispanics.

Read Ruben Navarrette's full column 

‘Harlem, USA’: Black culture in the 1970s
Dawoud Bey began photographing Harlem, New York, in 1975.
February 16th, 2012
11:33 AM ET

‘Harlem, USA’: Black culture in the 1970s

A five-year photo project done by Dawoud Bey shows everyday life in Harlem during the late 1970's.

“I still visit Harlem when I am in New York," he said. "It is certainly a very different place, both physically, with hotels and condominium buildings along with lavishly restored brownstones, and demographically, with the increasing presence of non-black residents. The economic demographics continue to change also, with homes now selling for millions of dollars.”

Images were first shown at the Studio Museum in Harlem, but now the Art Institute of Chicago have taken the vintage prints and will publish the book "Harlem, USA" with Yale University press and an exhibition of the work will also open at the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2012.

View Dawoud Bey's photos here

Engage: Increase in reported age discrimination cases
February 16th, 2012
08:55 AM ET

Engage: Increase in reported age discrimination cases

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Rise in age discrimination complaints, but difficulty winning cases  -National Public Radio

First Cuban-born judge appointed to Atlanta based U.S. appellate court -The Miami Herald

Asian-American actress "deeply sorry" for participating in Pete Hoekstra Ad - Detroit Free Press

Child poverty rises as senior poverty drops -USA Today

Opinion: "If you’re Asian, our society says, excelling at school simply isn’t good enough. And that’s what I call Linsanity"  -The Washington Post

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The sweet appeal of the Nation of Islam's bean pie
Most mosques predominantly attended by African Americans will likely sell bean pies, or can advise where to get them.
February 16th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

The sweet appeal of the Nation of Islam's bean pie

Editor's note: Anthony Umrani is a CNN Senior Photojournalist based in Washington, D.C. He previously wrote about the menu at the National Museum of the American Indian.

By Anthony Umrani, CNN

(CNN) - February is Black History Month. February is also National Pie Month. What could one possibly have to do with the other, you might ask? Meet the bean pie – a sweet, delectable dessert made from navy beans.

The bean pie is a creation born out of the strict dietary code of the Nation of Islam, a religious black nationalist and social reform movement formed in the 1930s, led by Elijah Muhammad. In his book, "How To Eat To Live," Muhammad outlined a rather detailed and sometimes peculiar set of guidelines for eating, presumably designed to improve health and prolong life.

In accordance with Islamic law, pork was prohibited, but there was a list of other banned foods that could not be explained by any Islamic jurisprudence. Foods such as spinach, sweet potatoes and lima beans, which many nutritionists would agree are good healthy foods, were not allowed.

Read the full post on CNN's Eatocracy blog 

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Filed under: Black in America • History • Religion