Opinion: Can we all get along?
After riots in Los Angeles in 1992, Rodney King made an emotional plea: "People, I just want to say, can we all get along?"
June 20th, 2012
06:24 PM ET

Opinion: Can we all get along?

Editor's Note: Jeff Yang writes the column Tao Jones for the Wall Street Journal Online. He is a regular contributor to WNYC radio, blogging for "The Brian Lehrer Show," and appears weekly on "The Takeaway." He previously wrote the Asian Pop column for the San Francisco Chronicle and was founder and publisher of A magazine. He tweets @originalspin.

by Jeff Yang, Special to CNN

He was an unlikely symbol in an uncertain time, a victim who found himself transformed into an accidental icon of institutionalized racism, a private and wary individual who was reluctantly dragged into the world's biggest spotlight. But Rodney King's untimely death Sunday at the age of 47 — 20 years after his case sparked a conflagration that enveloped Los Angeles and shook its institutions to the core — has prompted many to muse on his most famous quote, given at a news conference called three days after the announcement that the officers who beat him mercilessly on camera had been found not guilty: “People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along?"

King’s statement was a desperate plea for an end to the unrest and destruction whose toll would include 55 deaths, as many as 2,000 injuries and nearly a billion dollars in property damage; it was a rhetorical question that no more required an answer than a muttered “What’s your problem?” requires an answer.

Timeline: Rodney King from 1991 to 2012

And yet, two decades later, it’s a question that deserves to be asked in truth: Can we all get along? Can we? FULL POST

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Filed under: Asian in America • Black in America • History • Race • Who we are
June 20th, 2012
04:30 PM ET

New Southern Baptist leader: Former street preacher, Katrina survivor

By Ashley Hayes, CNN

(CNN) – Hospitalized at age 21 with compound fractures and serious head injuries after a motorcycle accident, Fred Luter Jr. decided to give his life to God and enter the ministry.

A native of New Orleans' impoverished lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, Luter was the third of five children raised by a divorced mother who worked as a seamstress and a surgical scrub assistant, according to Thom Rainier, president and CEO of the Nashville, Tennessee-based LifeWay Christian Resources and a friend of Luter's.

Although he had been active in the church as a child, Luter "began to do some serious reflecting on his life" after the 1977 crash, according to a Web posting on Rainier's website. "God used that incident to bring him back to serving him," Rainier wrote.

And what a long way he's come since. On Tuesday, Luter, now the pastor of the 8,000-plus-member Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, was elected the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention, an organization that began as a pro-slavery church more than 160 years ago. His term officially begins Wednesday night.

Read the full story on CNN's Belief blog

June 20th, 2012
01:31 PM ET

Adidas 'shackle' controversy: Artistic interpretation or insensitive product?

By Mallory Simon, CNN

Sometimes a shoe is just a shoe. And art is just a creation. But the choices artists or brands make can have an unintended subtext. And these decisions sometimes create a firestorm of public outrage, especially when certain images conjure up painful stereotypes from the past. 

Adidas cancels 'shackle' shoes after outcry

When a photo of an Adidas sneaker, dubbed the JS Roundhouse Mids, was posted on the company's Facebook page with the line, "Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?" sneaker enthusiasts reacted strongly.

"Wow obviously there was no one of color in the room when the marketing/product team ok'd this," said a commenter, identifying herself as MsRodwell on nicekicks.com.

For some, the photo of a sneaker with affixed rubber shackles immediately brought up thoughts of chain gangs. For others, it was the painful reminder of slavery. FULL POST

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Filed under: History • Pop culture • What we think
Hebrew National sued over non-kosher allegations
Hebrew National products are marketed under the slogan, "We Answer to a Higher Authority."
June 20th, 2012
11:39 AM ET

Hebrew National sued over non-kosher allegations

By Logan Burruss, CNN

(CNN) - The largest kosher food brand in the United States, Hebrew National, known for its tagline "We Answer to a Higher Authority," is being sued in federal court for allegedly not meeting the kosher standards it famously advertises.

The lawsuit, which was first filed by 11 plaintiffs in May, alleges that the popular brand has been negligent and violated several consumer fraud laws when it failed to follow its own standards for kosher meat.

According to accusations made in the complaint, Hebrew National products are not being made from 100% kosher beef and the food processing plants used by the company fail to follow the procedures necessary to meet its kosher definition.

Hebrew National's "deceptive and wrongful conduct is designed to mislead and deceive consumer into purchasing its Hebrew National products, at premium prices, by labeling and marketing it as 100% kosher," the complaint states.

Read the full story

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Filed under: Ethnicity • How we live • Religion
June 20th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Adidas cancels 'shackle' shoes after outcry

By Jesse Solomon, CNN

(CNN) - German sports apparel maker Adidas has withdrawn its plans to sell a controversial sneaker featuring affixed rubber shackles after the company generated significant criticism when advertising the shoe on its Facebook page.

The high-top sneakers, dubbed the JS Roundhouse Mids, were expected to be released in August, according to the Adidas Originals Facebook page. "Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?" a caption below a photo of the sneakers read.

The June 14 post prompted plenty of criticism from around the Web, with many of those commenting saying they felt the shackle invoked the painful image of slavery.

Read the full post