By David M. Perry, Special to CNN
Editor's note: David M. Perry is an associate professor of history at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. His son, Nicholas Quillen Perry, has Down syndrome.
(CNN) - "It breaks my heart to think how many people would not have chosen to keep that precious angel." - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, speaking about abortion and Down syndrome at the 2012 National Convention.
"I highly approve of (Mitt) Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard." - Ann Coulter, tweeting about the third presidential debate.
"No one would call someone with Down syndrome 'retard.' I call you a 'retard.' " - Coulter on Alan Colmes' Fox News Radio show.
Let's pretend that Ann Coulter is telling the truth in that last comment. Yes, she called President Barack Obama a retard, but at least she claimed she'd never insult someone with Down syndrome. Even if she's lying, we have come a long way. Children with Down syndrome still get bullied or even abused, and adults with any disability face an uncertain future, particularly in an era of austerity, but today few would call someone with Down syndrome a retard to his or her face.
For this, as the father of a boy with Down syndrome, I am grateful.
In fact, over the last 50 years or so, the lives of people with Down syndrome and other disabilities have improved in many remarkable ways. Most parents are now raising their children with Down syndrome in their homes rather than sending them to live in institutions. Government programs, especially through early intervention and special education, employ teachers and therapists who have helped these children learn beyond our wildest dreams.Read David M. Perry's full column
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - A federal appeals court on Thursday narrowly struck down Michigan's 6-year-old ban on considering race and gender in college admissions, a ruling that the state intends to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8-7 that the affirmative action ban, which Michigan voters passed in a 2006 referendum, violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection laws.
The ruling is the latest step in a years-long legal battle over whether the state's colleges can use race and gender as a factor in choosing which students to admit. The ban's opponents say the case could help strike down anti-affirmative-action policies in other states if it goes to the Supreme Court.FULL STORY
By Matthew Ponsford, for CNN
(CNN) - Jason Griffin straps his right arm in bandages, preparing himself to grip the reins a wildly bucking bronco. Tall, broad-shouldered, with a rough beard, he steps into his cowboy boots, fits a Stetson hat and heads out to meet his mount in the rodeo arena.
Griffin is a four-time world champion bareback bucking horse rider - competing in a sport that began in the 19th century heyday of the Wild West.
With each victory - he has also won three all-round rodeo championships - the Texan raises awareness of a strong tradition which is rarely seen in the many novels, films and television series dedicated to the tales of the old West: The historic story of America's black cowboys.
On cinema screens and paperback covers, the cowboys of old were heroic, hard-bitten and - almost always - white.
In reality, the American West of the 1800s was traversed by an assortment of black, white, Mexican and Native American cattle hands. Contemporary records are rare but historians now estimate that up to one in four Texan cowboys was African American, while the number of Mexican cowboys was even greater.FULL STORY
Editor's note: Roland Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for the TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, "Washington Watch with Roland Martin."
By Roland Martin, CNN Contributor
(CNN) - If you took a moment during the heat of the presidential race to drop by the Mitt Romney campaign office, you would have been shocked by the number of white people working to get him elected. About the only color you would have seen were the red and white in the Romney-Ryan posters.
If you met with Romney's senior campaign team - the decision makers - you would have said major corporations in America have more diversity on their boards of directors than these guys.
At a Romney campaign event, followers of mine on Twitter always played the "do-you-know-that-one-black-person-who-is-always-standing-behind-Mitt-with-a-sign" game. Seriously. Seeing someone black, Hispanic or Asian at a Romney campaign rally was always a sight to behold.
So why in the world is Mitt Romney now largely blaming minorities for the butt-kicking administered to him by President Obama?Read Roland Martin's full column
By Ashley Killough and Kevin Bohn, CNN
(CNN) – Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana fiercely shot back at Mitt Romney’s claim Wednesday that President Barack Obama outmatched the 2012 Republican presidential nominee by offering "gifts" to African-Americans, Hispanics and young voters.
“I absolutely reject that notion,” Jindal, who was a surrogate for Romney’s campaign, said at the Republican Governors Association conference in Las Vegas. “I think that's absolutely wrong.”
“I don't think that represents where we are as a party and where we're going as a party,” he continued. “That has got to be one of the most fundamental takeaways from this election.”
Romney made the comments on a call with top donors Wednesday afternoon, various news outlets have reported. The former Massachusetts governor also made similar arguments on a separate call earlier in the morning, CNN confirmed.
"What the president, president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote," Romney said in the afternoon call, according to audio aired on ABC News.
Romney, who lost to Obama by 126 electoral votes, said the president courted voters by offering policies – some of them this election year – that appealed to key constituencies.
"With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift," Romney said, according to The New York Times.
"Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women," he continued. "And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents' plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008."
The president's health care reform plan, he added, also brought out support from African Americans and Hispanic voters.FULL STORY
By Moni Basu, CNN
Atlanta (CNN) - On the cinder-block wall in the manager's office of the Adamsville Natatorium are photos of two heroes: Martin Luther King Jr. and Sabir Muhammad.
Here, at this pool in a predominantly black neighborhood of southwest Atlanta, it's easy to see why Muhammad, 36, looms large.
He was the first black swimmer to set an American record. He broke U.S. short-course records in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and finished his swimming career with seven Pac-10 championships titles, 25 All-American honors and three NCAA, U.S. Open and American records.
But perhaps more importantly, Muhammad helped shatter a myth that black people couldn't swim. FULL POST
By Alicia W. Stewart, CNN
(CNN) - In his first major news conference since March, President Barack Obama expressed confidence in passing immigration reform in his second term.
"You're starting to see a sense of empowerment and civic participation (among Latinos) that I think is going to be powerful and good for the country," he said. "And it is why I'm very confident that we can get immigration reform done."
In response to a question from Telemundo reporter Lori Montenegro, the president spoke about increased Latino voter turnout, the DREAM Act and border security.
By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
(CNN) - While breast cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer among American women, the number of patients dying from the disease continues to decline. That's the good news; the bad news is that those statistics do not look so good for African-American women.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that large gaps between black and white women in terms of mortality and stage of diagnosis continue to persist.
Black women still have a disproportionately higher breast cancer death rate – 41% higher than white women. This finding is based on 2005 to 2009 data, showing that even though African-American women have a lower incidence of breast cancer, they are more likely to die of this disease than women in any other racial or ethnic group.
Diagnosis of breast cancer at more aggressive stages is also more common among black women than white women. There were nine more deaths among black women for every 100 breast cancers diagnosed compared to white women.
The report says that mammography may be less frequently used among black women than white women, based on self-reported data. It's also more common for a longer amount of time to pass between mammograms for black women than white women.Read the full post on CNN's The Chart blog
By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN
(CNN) - For the first time, CNN exit polls show, Cuban-Americans in Florida voted for a Democratic candidate over a Republican, 49% to 47%.
Cuban-Americans in Florida have reliably voted Republican and have been a factor in some presidential outcomes in the coveted swing state.
In 2008, more Cuban-Americans voted for John McCain over Barack Obama, 53% to 47%. In 2004, the preference was for George W. Bush, 79%-21% over John Kerry.
In 2012, many voters like retiree Antonio Villasuso believed that the president deserved a second chance.
“When Obama arrived, the country was destroyed, and now there is at least something," he said. "I don’t believe he can fix everything, but I don’t think (Mitt) Romney could have fixed any of our problems.”
Obama carried Florida’s Hispanic vote 60% to 39%, this year, an increase from 57% to 42% in 2008. Nationally, the president won 71% of the Latino vote, with key wins in swing states like Florida. FULL POST
(CNN) - On any given Sunday in Harlem, visitors might be surprised to see who is attending black churches.
Tourists are lining up to worship in Harlem, where black churches are becoming big, inspirational attractions for white European travelers.
It's a growing trend, and a cultural experience that's uniquely American. CNN's Jason Carroll reports.
Soledad O'Brien's documentary "Who is Black in America?" airs at 8 p.m. ET/PT on December 9 on CNN.