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Jewish scrolls burned in potential hate crime
Mugshot of suspect Rubin Ublies, wanted for burning mezuzahs in Brooklyn.
April 10th, 2013
10:00 AM ET

Jewish scrolls burned in potential hate crime

By Julie Cannold, CNN

New York (CNN) - Police have identified a suspect in a string of potential hate crimes in New York in which 12 mezuzahs were set ablaze as they hung on door frames outside Jews' homes.

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Filed under: Discrimination • History • How we live • Religion
Brad Paisley and LL Cool J team up for 'Accidental Racist'
April 9th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

Brad Paisley and LL Cool J team up for 'Accidental Racist'

(CNN) - Brad Paisley and LL Cool J broach sensitive topics in their new collaboration, "Accidental Racist," and it's left some critics hoping the entire song was an accident.

The track is part of Paisley's new album, "Wheelhouse," and was sparked by the reaction the country star said he received after he wore a shirt with the Confederate flag on it to showcase his adoration for the band Alabama.

“I was called a racist on Twitter for that,” Paisley told The Tennessean. “That was the beginning of this song: Me thinking, ‘Am I a racist? Is that all it takes?’"

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Filed under: History • How we live • Race
Caught in the middle: Asian immigrants struggle to stay in America
Millions of Asian immigrants are caught in the process to remain in America while Congress wrestles with immigration reform.
April 8th, 2013
05:52 PM ET

Caught in the middle: Asian immigrants struggle to stay in America

By Sudip Bhattacharya, CNN

Washington (CNN) - It should have been a happy day for Raymond Jose: He had been accepted to college, with scholarships to help pay for it.

But when he told his parents, his mother started to cry.

"I was puzzled why she was crying after hearing such great news," said Jose, who was to attend Montgomery College in Maryland. "That was when she started to explain to me we were undocumented, that we had overstayed our tourist visas."

Jose's family had come to the United States from the Philippines in 2000, when Jose was 9. They first lived in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area but moved four years later to Maryland.

Jose had been assimilated into American life and culture and didn't know that he was undocumented until that day. When he found out, he was heartbroken. His undocumented status prevented him from using scholarship money to help pay for school.

Every day after that, it was really hard to get out of bed," Jose said.

The debate over immigration reform has been focused on border security and immigrants from Latin America.

But the Asian population in the U.S. grew by more than 40% between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of those identifying themselves as Asians, either alone or in combination with another racial group, grew from 11.9 million to 17.3 million.

U.S. settles case in immigration raids, must follow new guidelines

Of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., 1.3 million are from Asia, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

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Filed under: Asian in America • History • How we live • Immigration • Politics
April 8th, 2013
11:50 AM ET

Streep: Thatcher paved the way for women

(CNN) - In 2011, Meryl Streep gives her thoughts on Margaret Thatcher's legacy after portraying her in "The Iron Lady."

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Filed under: Gender • History • How we live • Women
April 6th, 2013
11:31 AM ET

'New tradition' for Georgia students: Their first racially integrated prom

By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

(CNN) As Quanesha Wallace remembers, it was around this time last year when the idea first came up at Wilcox County High School. It was nothing big, just chatter about prom, school, what comes next, what they'd change.

If things were different, someone said, we'd all go to the same prom.

For as long as anyone could remember, students in their South Georgia community went to separate proms, and homecoming dances, too. White students from Wilcox County attend one. Black students, another. They’re private events organized by parents and students, not the school district. Schools have long been desegregated, but in Wilcox County, the dances never changed.

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Filed under: Age • History • How we live • Race
Native American mascots: Pride or prejudice?
Many Native Americans consider the Washington football team's name racist.
April 4th, 2013
03:36 PM ET

Native American mascots: Pride or prejudice?

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Suzan Shown Harjo remembers when she walked into a store with her grandfather in El Reno, Oklahoma. She wanted to get something cool to drink on a summer day. It was the early 1950s and the storekeepers told the 6-year-old she had to leave.

“No black redskins in here,” they said.

At that moment, Harjo felt small, unsafe, afraid. Because she was a dark-skinned Native American - Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee - she was being identified by just her coloring. She wasn’t even a whole human being. Not even her grandpa, whom she saw as all-powerful, could do anything to protect her.

Later in her life, that incident made her angry. Angry enough for Harjo to launch a lifelong mission to protect her people.

Suzan Shown Harjo has been fighting for decades to remove Native American mascots from sports teams.

Part of her work took aim at sporting teams that use Native Americans as mascots. With the start of the baseball season this week, some of those teams have been front and center. The Cleveland Indians, for instance, feature a smiling Indian dubbed Chief Wahoo, criticized by Native Americans as a racist caricature.

The most offensive example of a mascot, says Harjo, is the one used by Washington’s football team. She has been fighting for years to get the Redskins to change their name.

The R-word - she can’t even bring herself to say it - is the same as the N-word, says Harjo, president of Morning Star Institute, a national Native American rights organization.

She finds it unbelievable that more than half a century after she was told to get out of that El Reno store, after decades of civil rights struggles and progress on race relations, Americans have no problem with rooting for a team called the Redskins.

Fans say the name is an honorific. But the Merriam-Webster dictionary says this: “The word redskin is very offensive and should be avoided.” And to many Native Americans, nothing could be more derogatory than the use of that word.

“The Washington team - it’s the king of the mountain,” Harjo says. “When this one goes, others will.” FULL POST

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Filed under: Discrimination • History • Native Americans • Sports • Who we are
Bob Teague, trailblazer in TV, dies at 84
Bob Teague was one of the first black television correspondents in New York.
March 29th, 2013
03:12 PM ET

Bob Teague, trailblazer in TV, dies at 84

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Bob Teague, one of New York's first black television reporters, has died. He was 84.

His former employers WNBC and The New Tork Times reported that Teague died Thursday. His wife, Jan, told the Times that he lost his battle with T-cell lymphoma.

Teague left the Times to join WNBC in 1963. In its April 18 issue that year, Jet magazine noted that with Teague's hiring, all three television networks had pulled even with “negro newswriters." Mal Goode was at ABC and Ben Holman at CBS.

WNBC remembered him Friday as being "smart, competitive and driven."

The Times said Teague "established a reputation for finding smart, topical stories and delivering them in a sophisticated manner."

Teague was often dispatched to minority neighborhoods to cover mounting racial tensions of the '60s, the Times said. In July 1963, he reported on riots for an hourlong program called “Harlem: Test for the North."

He later became a critic of TV news, calling it too superficial. Teague thought the broadcast world had become "too focused on the appearance of reporters and anchors," the Times said.

Teague was born in Milwaukee and attended the University of Wisconsin, where in 1948, he and Cal Vernon became the first African-Americans to play regularly on the varsity football team. He was a star player but gave up offers to play professional football for a reporting job at The Milwaukee Journal, according to the Times.

Teague was considered a pioneer in the broadcast world and served as a role model for journalists of color.

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Filed under: Black in America • History • Obituaries • Who we are
March 26th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

The voting rights martyr who divided America

Editor's note: The following is an edited excerpt from John Blake's 2004 book "Children of the Movement" about Viola Liuzzo, a Detroit housewife who was killed while working for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. In the accompanying video clip, Harry Belafonte and Tony Bennett discuss their participation in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, and their memories of Viola Liuzzo. This story is being republished on the anniversary of her death, and contains objectionable language.

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - On March 26, 1965, Penny Liuzzo was watching the "Donna Reed Show" at her home in Detroit when a wave of nausea suddenly swept over her. In an instant, she knew what had happened.

"Oh my God," she thought as she stood up and walked out of the room. "My mom's dead."

When Penny's mother, Viola Liuzzo, had called home a week earlier to tell her family she was going to Selma, Alabama, Penny had been engulfed by a sense of dread. She tried to talk her mother out of going.

"I'm never going to see you again, Mom. I know it. I just feel it. Please let me go in your place. I'll go."

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Filed under: Black in America • History • How we live • Social justice • Where we live
High court to look at Michigan ban on preferences in university admissions
The Supreme Court Justices will decide the constitutionality high-profile challenge to affirmative action.
March 25th, 2013
04:48 PM ET

High court to look at Michigan ban on preferences in university admissions

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court agreed Monday to confront another high-profile challenge to affirmative action in college admissions.

The justices will decide the constitutionality of a voter referendum in Michigan banning race- and sex-based discrimination or preferential treatment in public university admission decisions.

The high court is currently deciding a separate challenge to admissions policies at the University of Texas, which did not involve a voter referendum.

A federal appeals court last year concluded the affirmative action ban, which Michigan voters passed in a 2006 referendum, violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection laws.

Appeals court strikes down Michigan's affirmative action ban

It was the latest step in a legal and political 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 classroom diversity remains a necessary government role.

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Filed under: Education • History • Race • Where we live
March 22nd, 2013
09:00 AM ET

Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett remember civil rights march

(CNN) –Today marks the anniversary of the third and decisive civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte recruited fellow singer Tony Bennett to march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965. They shared their moments with CNN's Chris Cuomo  on "Starting Point".

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Filed under: Discrimination • History • How we live • Race • Where we live
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