April 16th, 2012
06:50 PM ET

New network to reflect, shape identity of Latino culture, owner says

By Michael Martinez and Jade Biesboer, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - A new cable network for Latino audiences will mark the culmination of two decades of filmmaking for writer-director Robert Rodriguez, who is leading the ambitious effort.

"I've been on this journey for 20 years now ... and this seems to be the reason," " Rodriguez said Friday during a conference of independent Latino filmmakers and documentarians.

"What's great about this is that no one is doing this for an audience that is growing so fast," Rodriguez said, referring to how Latinos are now the nation's No. 2 group in the latest census, surpassing the 50 million mark.

"When you think that there's nothing on television like this, it boggles the mind."

The El Rey network starts broadcasting between September 2013 and January 2014. It is a daunting venture as talk show queen Oprah has discovered at her struggling OWN Network, whose woes have resulted in recent layoffs.

Read the full story

Opinion: My life as a boomeranger
A good education stopped being the finish line, says Cassie Owens.
April 16th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Opinion: My life as a boomeranger

Editor's note: Cassie Owens is a music writer from Philadelphia.

By Cassie Owens, Special to CNN

(CNN) - When I moved back home, I knew what I was in for. My mother tends to nag me. She can't help it. Fussing is in her nature, and her recent battles with fibromyalgia and a spinal injury have not been easy on her nerves. She is uncompromisingly neat, a characteristic that I have not inherited. My room is what she fusses about most. My junk reminds her that my return wasn't something we planned.

I graduated from college in 2009. After traveling for a year on a Fulbright scholarship, I came home to my mother without a clear vision of my career path, let alone prospects afoot.

According to a recent Pew poll, 39% of 18- to 34-year-olds are living with their parents or have moved back in with their parents temporarily because of the sluggish economy. Sixty-three percent of 18- to 34-year-olds know someone who has moved back home. These numbers don't surprise me.

Read Cassie Owen's full column

Engage: Symbolism behind first black 'Mad Men' character
Actress Teyonah Parris plays Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's first African-American employee.
April 16th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

Engage: Symbolism behind first black 'Mad Men' character

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

Teyonah Parris on 'Mad Men' character: 'I realize a lot of responsibility comes with this role' - Los Angeles Times Show Tracker See also: Opinion: Old 'Mad Men' prejudices linger - Detroit Free Press

University of California San Diego to overhaul racial harassment policies - San Diego Union-Tribune

Programs try to halt homelessness among veterans - NPR

Opinion: Why is bilingual education in decline? - Huffington Post Latino Voices

First out lesbian ordained by Presbyterian Church - The Advocate

After years of education, children of U.S. immigrants returning to home countries - The New York Times

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The South: Not all Bubbas and banjos
Bubba Watson hugs his mother, Mollie, after winning the 2012 Masters golf tournament.
April 16th, 2012
11:00 AM ET

The South: Not all Bubbas and banjos

(CNN) - His name is Gerald Lester Watson Jr., but he goes by Bubba.

The newest Masters champion is a proud Bulldog, a graduate of the University of Georgia. He owns the General Lee, the Confederate flag-emblazoned car from "The Dukes of Hazzard." And he loves God and his momma: He thanked the former and hugged the latter at the tournament's final playoff hole.

How much more Southern can you get?

"Bubba's name echoed as much through the pines on Sunday as the roars. He was embraced in this Southern town as if he drank, smoked, hunted and fished," wrote the Augusta Chronicle's Scott Michaux, before adding, "In truth, Bubba doesn't do any of those things."

That's the thing about the South. It's got all those stereotypes, but it confounds you at every turn.

Read the full story

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Ruling expected soon in Iowa employment discrimination lawsuit
The suit alleges that black employees were passed over for job opportunities because white managers preferred to hire whites.
April 16th, 2012
08:01 AM ET

Ruling expected soon in Iowa employment discrimination lawsuit

Updated April 18, 2012: Attorney: Plaintiffs will appeal dismissal of Iowa 'unconscious bias' discrimination lawsuit

By Stephanie Siek, CNN

(CNN) – According to her resume, Nansi Woods looked like a good fit for the job, an adviser position at the Iowa Workforce Development office. She had a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling, a bachelor's degree in communications, one of several preferred fields related to the job and a minor in social work. She more than met the minimum requirements listed in the job description, which asked for an associate's degree or certificate of education completion.

Another applicant had a bachelor's degree in a preferred field, but was still taking courses toward a master's degree in human resources. A third person seeking the job had no degree, no specific job experience and none of the listed computer skills. These last two applicants – both of them white – were offered the job. Woods, who is black, was never granted an interview.

A class action suit filed in 2007 on behalf of Woods and up to 6,000 other African-Americans who were passed over for jobs or promotions with the state of Iowa alleges that they were victims of discrimination.

The plaintiff's attorneys attempted to remove lead plaintiff, Linda Pippen, from the case after she was convicted of embezzling more than $43,000 in unemployment benefits from the state, but a judge denied the motion. Thomas Newkirk, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said Pippen’s conviction should not cast doubt on the others' discrimination claims, and that her misconduct occurred after the suit was filed.

Jeff Thompson, the state attorney representing Iowa, said that the state could not comment on an ongoing case. But in the state's answer to the lawsuit, it denies the allegations of discrimination.

Lawyers from both sides of the case said an Iowa court judge was expected to rule on the suit, Pippen et al. v. State of Iowa, soon.


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Filed under: Black in America • Discrimination • How we live • Race