By Katia Hetter, Special to CNN
(CNN) - The sale of the old house, the purchase of the new house, the packing, the good-bye parties. It was all so overwhelming for me. I can't imagine what it was like for my toddler, leaving the only home, neighborhood and sitter she had ever known in the city where she was born. Fortunately, I got a little bit of help from the Berenstain Bears to give my daughter some answers.
In that classic tale "Berenstain Bears Moving Day," Brother Bear asked the questions about moving that my daughter asked: "What about my toys?" "And what about my friends?" She'd carry that book around like a teddy bear. The answer for the toys was easy: "We'll take them along, of course." Harder to hear: "You'll be leaving your friends behind."
Growing up in a house filled with books, I turned to children's literature to explore and learn about worlds beyond my experience. Now, I turn to the classics of children's literature for assistance in parenting my way through the basic struggles in our lives, such as feelings, friendships, sharing, courtesy, differences and loss, among others. If the Berenstain Bears didn't have the answers, maybe Dr. Seuss, "Goodnight Moon," "Ferdinand the Bull" or "The Hungry Caterpillar" could do the trick. The classics explained essential subjects to a young mind better than I ever could, and they reassured me, too.
Still, some of the classics didn't represent our experience or the lives of many of the families we know and love. My child has two moms. Her neighborhood friend has one mom who adopted her. Her friend across the street has a mom and dad.
Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN.com contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist.
By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor
San Diego (CNN) - Now that we have Sonia Sotomayor, a Latina, on the Supreme Court, the esteemed body will soon find itself in the middle of a telenovela.
The storyline involves the contentious issue of affirmative action, which is central to Fisher vs. University of Texas, a case that is scheduled to come before the court this fall. It will cast a spotlight on two of the court's justices: Sonia Sotomayor and Samuel Alito. Affirmative action seems to be intensely personal to both of them, though for very different reasons.
First, let's take a minute to note just how similar Alito and Sotomayor are in terms of their background. Both are baby boomers, born just a few years apart. Alito is 61 years old and Sotomayor is 57. They grew up in neighboring states. Alito is from New Jersey and Sotomayor is from New York. Both came from ethnic, working-class families. Alito's parents were teachers, Sotomayor's father was a tool-and-die worker and her mother was a telephone operator. Finally, both went to Princeton University and Yale Law School, where both served as editors of the Yale Law Journal.
By Stephanie Siek, CNN
(CNN) – Imagine receiving a call in the middle of the night, announcing that you had been elected ruler of a hometown you had never lived in, only visited. Now imagine that town is on another continent, thousands of miles away.
That scenario became real for Peggielene Bartels, who was chosen to become nana, or king, of her home village of Otuam, Ghana in 2008. Lady King Peggy, as she is known, was the niece of the late king, but never dreamed that she was even in the running – after all, Otuam had never had a female ruler.
But as a blood relative of the previous king, her name was one on a list of 25 who were eligible for the position. Rituals intended to divine the will of her ancestors indicated that she was their choice. Elders had poured a cup of alcohol to the ground, while saying the names of the candidates. When her name was called, the liquid steamed instead of soaking into the ground – a clear sign that she was the chosen leader. Not long after that came the phone call that changed her life.
Now she's telling her story in a recently released autobiography, "King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village," written with Eleanor Herman.
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - A Jewish high school basketball team that had opted out of a shot at a Texas state championship because it refused to play on the Sabbath will now get that shot, after a playoff game was rescheduled on Thursday.
The game, initially set for Friday night, after the Jewish Sabbath begins, has been rescheduled for Friday afternoon, Houston’s Robert M. Beren Academy announced Thursday.
The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) made the scheduling change after parents threatened a lawsuit, the Orthodox Jewish private school said in a statement.
Updated 3:40 p.m. March 1: Playoff game rescheduled for Jewish basketball team that refused to play on Sabbath
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) – With a shot at high school state championship glory on the line, a Jewish basketball team in Texas is opting for the sidelines, aiming for something a little higher.
The Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston will forfeit its semifinal playoff spot in the Class 2A basketball championships this weekend because the game falls on a Friday night, the start of the Jewish Sabbath.
The private Orthodox Jewish school observes the weekly Jewish day of rest, called Shabbat, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
By Stephanie Siek, CNN
(CNN) – According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, three in ten teenage girls will become pregnant at least once before they turn 20, but for Latina girls that rate is higher – about five in ten. There are many efforts targeting that demographic, but few of them address Latinos living outside of cities or in northwestern states that have only recently begun to see an influx of Latino immigrants.
The diversity of America's Latinos – in terms of national ancestry, socioeconomic status, level of acculturation, geographic region and educational levels means that there won't be just one overarching solution for preventing unintended pregnancies. But studies like a recent one done by Oregon State University researchers S. Maria Harvey and Jocelyn Warren, which examine a tiny subset of that population, can serve as important clues.
"Characteristics Related to Effective Contraceptive Use Among a Sample of Nonurban Latinos" was one of a number of Centers for Disease Control-funded studies looking at contraception use among Latinos in rural areas. The study results reflect a relatively narrow sample, and its authors caution that it shouldn’t be used to assume too much about Latinos' sexual health decisions as a whole. But it can help focus local efforts.
Editor’s note: Kris Marsh is on the faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and was a postdoctoral scholar at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is on Facebook and on Twitter @drkrismarsh.
By Kris Marsh, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Recently, the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank released a study, "The End of the Segregated Century." Highlights of the study hit the press like wildfire. Headlines like “Segregation hits historic low” jumped off the page, and articles declared the findings to be proof that “the legacy of the civil rights era is still strong.”
Given that one of my areas of emphasis as a sociologist and demographer is racial residential segregation, I was saturated with emails, Facebook posts, and Tweets asking for my reaction. Above all, my main response is that we must be careful as consumers of information; in this case, readers who stop at the headlines are in danger of overlooking the fact that race still maters and that blacks are still highly segregated in the United States.
As social scientist, we employ three overarching theories to explain the existence and persistence of racial residential segregation: economics, preferences and discrimination.
Historically, there was a time when only the small population of free blacks were able to own property. This set the groundwork for the wealth disparities between blacks and whites that persists today. In general, unlike potential white home seekers, potential black homebuyers often do not inherit wealth from the previous generation. In most cases, blacks do not have the flexibility to borrow money from parents to purchase their homes. This potentially limits blacks’ ability to purchase homes in certain locations causing middle class blacks homeowners to live in close proximity to the black poor and reside in suburban areas less substantively white and affluent than their white middle class counterparts.
By way of illustration, consider Baldwin Hills, California. Baldwin Hills is a predominantly black area in Los Angeles County. This area encompasses both multi-million dollar homes and a housing project with a reputation so dangerous that during the 1980s and 1990s, it was commonly known as “The Jungle.” In the 2001 Denzel Washington film Training Day, this housing project was used as the location for a scene in which a police detective engages in a midday gun battle. That same year, the director of the film Love and Basketball chose a multi-million dollar home in the same area to represent the residence of a former professional basketball star.
This divergent cinematic representation of Baldwin Hills illustrate the propinquity of the black middle class and the black poor and provides a dramatic example of a widespread phenomenon: that the black middle class is a spatial and social buffer between the white middle class and the black poor. FULL POST
Editor's note: See more images from "Green Card Stories" and an interview with photographer Ariana Lindquist at CNN Photos.
By Stephanie Siek, CNN
(CNN) – It fits in the palm of one’s hand, but the possibilities ahead of it and the stories behind it are innumerable and diverse. It is a U.S. permanent residence card, more popularly known as a Green Card, and it confers upon the holder the right to live and work in the United States for as long as they wish, usually renewable every ten years.
"Green Card Stories," with writing by Saundra Amrhein and photography by Ariana Lindquist, delves into the life stories behind those cards. The individuals profiled reflect the incredible diversity of the United States. They come from Japan, Colombia, Mexico, Kenya, Great Britain, Vietnam, Egypt, Russia and a host of other nations. They come as students, laborers, entrepreneurs, refugees, doctors and artists. Some entered the country legally, others illegally; some through an employer, others through a spouse or relative; some in a drawn-out process studded with hardships, others relatively quickly. Many have gone on to become citizens, and for each, gaining the green card marked a monumental change in their life.