New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) reacted to a New York Times series on the exploitation of Asian and Hispanic workers in New York nail salons byordering "emergency measures on Sunday to combat the wage theft and health hazards faced by the thousands of people" who work in that industry in New York state, Sarah Maslin Nir reported Monday in the Times.
"The deal was the same as it is for beginning manicurists in almost any salon in the New York area. She would work for no wages, subsisting on meager tips, until her boss decided she was skillful enough to merit a wage.
"It would take nearly three months before her boss paid her. Thirty dollars a day.
"Once an indulgence reserved for special occasions, manicures have become a grooming staple for women across the economic spectrum. There are now more than 17,000 nail salons in the United States, according to census data. The number of salons in New York City alone has more than tripled over a decade and a half to nearly 2,000 in 2012.
"But largely overlooked is the rampant exploitation of those who toil in the industry. The New York Times interviewed more than 150 nail salon workers and owners, in four languages, and found that a vast majority of workers are paid below minimum wage; sometimes they are not even paid. Workers endure all manner of humiliation, including having their tips docked as punishment for minor transgressions, constant video monitoring by owners, even physical abuse. Employers are rarely punished for labor and other violations. . . ."
Nir spent 13 months investigating the nail salons. In an interview published online Thursday, the Times' Erika Allen asked, "What was the biggest surprise in your reporting?"
Nir replied, "The racism."
Nir also said, "I realized this through keeping detailed spreadsheets of all the 100-plus workers that I interviewed. I had a page for Spanish workers, a page for Korean workers and a page for Chinese workers, and when I looked in the wage column, I realized that the Koreans were making $80-something, Chinese workers were making somewhere in the $50 range and Hispanics were making $40 or $30, working in the same salon.
"So I started asking, 'Do you find that you are treated differently?' and then the stories came out. But you have to ask the right questions. . . ."
Writing of Cuomo's response, Nir reported Monday, "Effective immediately, he said in a statement, a new, multiagency task force will conduct salon-by-salon investigations, institute new rules that salons must follow to protect manicurists from the potentially dangerous chemicals found in nail products, and begin a six- language education campaign to inform them of their rights.
"Nail salons that do not comply with orders to pay workers back wages, or are unlicensed, will be shut down. . . ."
Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote Friday, "On Friday afternoon, it was the most emailed story on the Times website and the most shared on Facebook. It has also put its author, Sarah Maslin Nir, on morning TV and in other interviews. . . ."
Lene Bech Sillesen wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review, "there's another remarkable element to this story, which is that six different translators contributed to the reporting, and the series is published not only in English, but in Korean, Chinese, and Spanish so those directly affected by the industry can read it. . . ."
"Michelle Obama said on Saturday that she faced a unique set of questions when she was on the brink of becoming the nation's first African-American first lady during her husband's presidential campaign," Sam Levine reported Saturday for HuffPost BlackVoices.
"While Obama said that she was subject to questions that could be expected of the spouses of many candidates, she added that she believed she faced certain questions because of the 'fears and misperceptions' of others.
" 'As potentially the first African-American first lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations, conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating?' she said during her commencement address at the historically black Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. 'Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman?'
"Obama also referred to incidents in which she was accused of displaying 'uppity-ism,' and called one of Obama's 'cronies of color' and 'Obama's baby mama.' She said that it 'knocked me back a bit' when a cartoon of her appeared on the cover of the New Yorker with an afro and a machine gun."
However, Obama concluded, "Eventually, I realized that if I wanted to keep my sanity and not let others define me, there was only one thing I could do, and that was to have faith in God's plan for me. I had to ignore all of the noise and be true to myself — and the rest would work itself out. . . ."
Mark Halperin, co-managing editor of Bloomberg Politics, is in hot water over an interview with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a presidential hopeful, in which Halperin appeared to be testing Cruz's bona fides as a Hispanic.
"The online interview show that Halperin co-hosts on BloombergPolitics.com is called 'With All Due Respect,' " syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. wrote on Saturday.
"But there was nothing respectful about the line of questioning. It started off innocently enough with Halperin asking the 2016 GOP presidential candidate about whether he thinks Hispanics will vote for him. He also mentioned a speech that Cruz had given to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and gave Cruz the chance to explain his argument that Republican economic policies help Hispanics.
"Nothing wrong with that. But then Halperin made it personal, and the interview careened into a ditch. He told Cruz that people are curious about his 'identity.' Then, the host asked a series of questions intended to establish his guest's Hispanic bona fides. What kind of Cuban food did Cruz like to eat growing up? And what sort of Cuban music does Cruz listen to even now?
"I've known Ted for more than a decade and I could tell he was uncomfortable. But he played along, listing various kinds of Cuban food and saying that his musical taste veers more toward country.
"I kept waiting for Halperin to ask Cruz to play the conga drums like Desi Arnaz while dancing salsa and sipping cafe con leche — all to prove the Republican is really Cuban. Just when I thought I'd seen the worst, it got even more offensive. . . ."
Halperin responded to the criticism Monday with a statement. "We wanted to talk with Senator Cruz about his outreach to Latino voters the day after he spoke at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
"My intent was to give the Senator a chance to speak further about his heritage and personal connections to the community through some casual questions. I rushed through the questions and that was a mistake. It led to poor tone and timing. I also understand why some felt the questions were inappropriate.
"As for asking Senator Cruz to welcome Senator [Bernie] Sanders [I-Vt.] to the race in Spanish, that was meant to be the type of light-hearted banter that he's done with us before on the show. In no way was I asking Senator Cruz to 'prove' he was an 'authentic' Latino. I apologize to those that were offended and to Senator Cruz. I promise that I will work to make the tone and questions better next time."
In a Facebook posting, Julio Ricardo Varela, founder and owner of the Latino Rebels website, wrote, "The apology is even worse. No consideration or understanding of the core issues here: genuinely wanting to address the complexities of the topic, having a knowledgeable staff to challenge Halperin editorially before it becomes a televised segment, realizing that you need to hire people who understand the nuances of Latinos and politics on your editorial teams to avoid segments like these.
"As for the apology, Halperin leaves it to being light-hearted etc. He doesn't apologize at all and equates it to a select few who are offended. This type of pattern needs to stop. Halperin should own how poorly of a job he did with this. Journalists need to speak out and not put up with this. Am so tired of it. You can quote me."
Mekahlo Medina, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, told Bloomberg as much. "Why is it important to ask Senator Cruz to name his favorite Cuban food or Cuban band?
"As for the Spanish welcoming, the audience had no knowledge of the 'lighthearted banter' done before the show. How can Mr. Halperin expect his audience to understand that?
"I appreciate his commitment to work to 'make the tone and questions better next time,' but from this 'apology' it is clear to NAHJ that Mr. Halperin doesn't understand fully what he has done.
"I respectfully request to speak directly to Justin B. Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group. . . ."
In 2011, Halperin, then Time magazine editor-at-large and senior political analyst at MSNBC, was suspended for calling President Obama a "dick" on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Kevin Eck, TVSpy: Anchor Tweets Ted Cruz Story That Wasn’t True
inquisitr.com: Halperin Questions: Was Bloomberg Ted Cruz Interview Racist? [video]
Lonnae O'Neal, Washington Post: A lot of white folks could use a racial primer
Yunita Ong, Huffington Post: It's On Young Journalists To Educate Themselves About Diversity
Roque Planas and Carolina Moreno, HuffPost LatinoVoices: 10 Reasons You'll Love Living In A Majority-Minority America
"The Baltimore riots threw a spotlight on the poverty and isolation of the African-American community where the unrest began last month," The New York Times editorialized for Sunday's print edition under the headline, "How Racism Doomed Baltimore."
"The problems were underscored on Friday when the Justice Department, in response to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's request, started an investigation of the Police Department, which has an egregious history of brutality and misconduct.
"Other cities are plagued by the same difficulties, but they have proved especially intractable in Baltimore. A new study from Harvard offers evidence that Baltimore is perhaps the worst large city in the country when measured by a child's chances of escaping poverty.
"The city's racially segregated, deeply poor neighborhoods cast an especially long shadow over the lives of low-income boys. For example, those who grew up in recent decades in Baltimore earn 28 percent less at age 26 than otherwise similar kids who grew up in an average county in the United States.
"As shocking as they are, these facts make perfect sense in the context of the century-long assault that Baltimore's blacks have endured at the hands of local, state and federal policy makers, all of whom worked to quarantine black residents in ghettos, making it difficult even for people of means to move into integrated areas that offered better jobs, schools and lives for their children. This happened in cities all over the country, but the segregationist impulse in Maryland generally was particularly virulent and well-documented in Baltimore, which is now 63 percent black. . . ."
Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: When the have-nots get [restless.]
James E. Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: How far is too far when punishing our children?
Tammerlin Drummond, Oakland Tribune: Mobile app helps Californians record police
Editorial, Baltimore Sun: Do Baltimore police need empathy boot camp? [access link via search engine]
Elizabeth Jensen, NPR: Asked And Answered: On 'Thugs,' WikiLeaks And Conspiracy Theories
Alison Knezevich and Pamela Wood, Baltimore Sun: Most police vans in Baltimore region lack seat belts [access link via search engine]
Christopher R. La Motte, Baltimore Sun: Why do we applaud rebellion in film, but not in Baltimore's streets?
Scot Nakagawa, racefiles.com: When Blacks and Asians Clash (May 5)
Bao Phi, reappropriate.co: Unprotected by Assimilation: Lessons from the Case of Duy Ngo
Mark Puente and Meredith Cohn, Baltimore Sun: Freddie Gray among many suspects who do not get medical care from Baltimore police [access link via search engine]
Ishmael Reed, CounterPunch: The Baltimore Show
Alberto Retana, HuffPost LatinoVoices: Why Latinos Should Speak Up for Black Lives
Deborah Simmons, Washington Times: Baltimore education a pipe dream for poor, black kids
Al Sunshine, Radio Television Digital News Association: History repeats itself with riots: Broaden Your Coverage
Alexa Van Brunt, Chicago Tribune: Chicago, it's time to close the justice gap [access link via search engine]
David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun: Motion in Freddie Gray case names Jayne Miller — but WBAL leaves that out [access link via search engine]
"Latino students with disabilities face systemic mistreatment in the Rochester School District, a Democrat and Chronicle investigation has found," the Rochester, N.Y., newspaper declared on Sunday. "Interviews with a dozen families and extensive documentation show that they are suspended more often than other students, often as punishment for misbehavior associated with their disabilities.
"Their individualized special education plans fail to address their specific needs and are often disregarded in practice.
"Qualified interpreters are not present at meetings and letters home are written in English if they are sent at all.
"A coalition of Rochester parents who are demanding reform has formed recently around a battle-hardened advocate.
" 'Our parents don't speak English and they don't have money,' said Ana Casserly, their advocate. 'If we don't get together, we don't get nothing.'
"Reporter Justin Murphy and photojournalist Carlos Ortiz have been working on this project for six months.
"Since one of the main problems for families is the language barrier, the Democrat and Chronicle decided to run parts of the project in Spanish to reach them and others. . . ."
Bianca Nepales, AsAmNews: Race & Class Impact Students with Disabilities
"It's the Second World War's 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day tomorrow and, as part of a BBC season commemorating it the corporation is broadcasting a special film about some unsung heroes of the conflict," the British website the-latest.com reported on Thursday.
"For not many people know that thousands of men and women from the Caribbean colonies volunteered to come to Britain to join the fight against Hitler. From meagre savings they paid their own passage and risked their lives for king and empire. But their contribution has largely been forgotten.
"In Fighting for King and Empire: Britain's Caribbean Heroes, being screened by BBC 4 at 9pm on May 13, some of the last surviving Caribbean veterans tell their extraordinary wartime stories: from torpedo attacks by German U-boats and the RAF's blanket bombing of Germany to the culture shock of Britain's freezing winters and war-torn landscape. . . ."
The film's producer, Marc Wadsworth, editor of the-latest.com, told Journal-isms by email on Monday, "I would love folks in the US to see it but my distributor said this American channel at first expressed interest, but then disappointingly turned it down: https://theafricachannel.com/.
"Surely the mention in the film of the racist behaviour of white American troops in Britain wasn't too much for them to handle. . . ."
Mark Braff, listed on the channel's website as the press contact, did not respond to an email asking for comment.
New African magazine wrote in 2013 that Wadsworth's original film included Africans who fought with the British.
"Divided by Race, United in War and Peace goes further than most studies in this field by blending the stories of the African and Caribbean former servicemen with those of their English contemporaries and colleagues.
"The latter, drawn from both the inner city and the provinces, explain their initial lack of knowledge of 'non-white' communities with their preconceived ideas of countries in Africa and the Caribbean and their inhabitants, their own differing attitudes, the adjustment of working together, and, after the war, how they viewed community developments in post-war society.
"The new Caribbean arrivals, too, were shocked to find that the UK did not measure up to all that they had expected to find. They were particularly astounded that not all white people were rich, with many being labourers or unemployed and living in what were quite often primitive housing and social conditions.. . ."
Wadsworth may be reached at editor (at) the-latest.com.
"Saaliha Khan scrolled through her Facebook feed and pored over posts expressing sadness, dismay and disapproval, the kind of messages that always appear after an attack carried out in the name of Islam," Sarah Parvini reported Saturday for the Los Angeles Times.
"It was just past midnight on Monday, and two Muslim gunmen had been killed about six hours earlier in a shootout outside a controversial cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, which featured images of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
" 'If you want to defend the honor of the Prophet, do so in a way that is consistent with prophetic manners and ethics, not violence,' Omid Safi, director Duke University's Islamic Studies Center, wrote less than 12 hours after the shooting.
"The Council on American-Islamic Relations sent out an email: 'Bigoted speech can never be an excuse for violence.'
"But to Khan, the denunciations, though necessary and important, wouldn't make a difference.
"Indeed, among the Twitter messages flying through cyberspace after the failed attack was one radio personality Wayne DuPree sent to his more than 79,000 followers:
" 'Don’t expect @CAIRNational 2 care about Americans and condemn attack by terrorist thugs. Why are they here anyway #garland #garlandshooting.'
" 'The pattern repeats itself again and again, said Khan, a 23-year-old communications and projects manager in Los Angeles for NewGround, an interfaith group. Muslims denounce terrorism, and then get lambasted for failing to denounce terrorism. . . .' "
Khan reiterated "that the media ignore the Muslim community when it speaks out against attacks.
" 'It's not getting enough air time,' she said. 'It's not visible enough and that's why people feel that there's a gap. There's a lack of media coverage because it is not as sexy.' "
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: When cheap laughs cost too much
"The two 8-year-old Eritrean boys had ridden for days across the deserts of Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya packed in the back of a truck with two other children and a dozen adults," David D. Kirkpatrick wrote April 27 for the New York Times from Zawiyah, Libya.
"Then they spent another month trapped in a crowded farmhouse that the smugglers used as a pen to store their human cargo.
"Finally, in the dark of night, a rubber dinghy ferried the two boys, Hermon Angosom and Efrem Fitwi, out to a creaking fishing boat jammed with more than 200 others, including 39 children — the youngest a 2-year-old in the arms of his mother.
"Both cried. 'We were afraid of the boat,' Hermon recounted impassively.
"The boys had joined the unceasing flow of Arab and African migrants who are churned through the lawlessness of post-Qaddafi Libya and spewed out into the Mediterranean — more than 170,000 last year and at least as many expected this year.
"It is a journey through a failed state in which border security is all but nonexistent, corruption is rampant, the coast guard rarely leaves port, and the proliferating human smuggling operations are growing ever more callous and brazen. . . ."
On Thursday, Kirkpatrick returned to the subject for the "Times Insider" section, in which reporters discuss their stories.
"How did three dozen Eritrean boys find their way into an overcrowded detention center in the town of Zawiyah, Libya?" Kirkpatrick wrote. "They ranged in age from 8 to 18. All had been picked up in the same fishing boat crammed with more than 200 other African migrants. None were accompanied by a parent or any other adult. All said they had left their parents at home in Eritrea.
"A few hours before I met the boys in Zawiyah, I had visited a fetid detention facility crowded with hundreds of desperate African migrants in the gritty Abu Salim neighborhood of Tripoli. I tried to tiptoe in my hiking boots among listless migrants lying on the thin mats on the floor of a dimly lit bunker. I watched guards force dozens of African migrants to kneel on the dirt and state their nationalities — Nigerian, Senegalese, Gambian, Ghanaian, Eritrean. I felt a twinge of conscience, but it was manageable.
"The plight of the children was much harder to set aside. I have two sons, 9 and 6. My wife and I do not even let them cross the street alone.
"The Eritrean boys were living in a concrete grade school that had been converted into a makeshift prison. The facility's director had turned the entrance hall into a macabre gallery of framed photographs of African migrants who had set out for Europe but failed to make it — photos depicted corpses in the sands of the Libyan deserts, bloated bodies floating in the Libyan surf, inflatable rafts packed with desperate migrants baking in the sun. The tile floors of the school's former classrooms were covered with the same thin mats, where hundreds of men and dozens of boys slept at night and languished for most of each day. . . ."
"A former Central Intelligence Agency officer on Monday was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on espionage charges for telling a journalist for The New York Times about a secret operation to disrupt Iran's nuclear program. The sentence was far less than the Justice Department had wanted," Matt Apuzzo reported Monday for the Times. "The former officer, Jeffrey A. Sterling, argued that the Espionage Act, which was passed during World War I, was intended to prosecute spies, not officials who talked to journalists. He asked for the kind of leniency that prosecutors showed to David H. Petraeus, the retired general who last month received probation for providing his highly classified journals to his biographer. . . ." [Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" aired an interview with Sterling on Tuesday.]
"During Cinco De Mayo 2015, Access Hollywood, an entertainment talk show, celebrated the holiday with [its] hosts wearing sombreros and mustaches," Mekahlo Medina, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, told members via social media on Monday. "One of the hosts, Billy Bush, used an 'accent' as he introduced a mariachi band. NAHJ has long fought against stereotypes of Latinos in all media and denounces this segment for thoughtlessly portraying a proud and rich people as a caricature in a sombrero. Craig Robinson, Executive Vice President/Chief Diversity Officer of NBCUniversal which oversees the show, addressed the segment with Access Hollywood producers. The producers apologized for the segment and vowed to be more aware in future portrayals of Latinos. . . ."
Kwame Anthony Appiah, a professor of philosophy at New York University, has succeeded Politico media critic Jack Shafer as one of the ethicists responding to questions in the "Ethicists" column in the New York Times Magazine, Erik Wemple reported Monday for the Washington Post. Appiah is a native of Ghana. Magazine editor Jake Silverstein told Journal-isms in May, "Yes, building a diverse staff of editors and writers is very important to me and to the magazine, and since I took over in May we have been trying to draw a greater variety of voices to our pages. . . ." Shafer was "let go," Wemple wrote.
Ken Strayhorn, a sports broadcaster for WITN-TV in Greenville, S.C.; WXEX-TV (now WRIC-TV) in Richmond, Va.; WVUE-TV in New Orleans; and WTNH-TV New Haven, Conn., before retiring in 1993, died April 19 in Greenville, his wife, Lois J. Strayhorn, told Journal-isms by telephone on Monday. A medical examiner said Strayhorn, 61, "died of natural causes caused by diabetes," she said. "Stayhorn signed a free-agent contract with the New York Jets, but he never played because of an injury," WITN-TV reported on April 29.
"Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace was not happy Sunday morning over the White House's repeated snubbing of his show," Evan McMurry reported Monday for Mediaite."The last straw was Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, who rejected Fox this morning for ABC News. Wallace put up a list of all the instances in which Obama administration officials have gone on other shows but not his. . . ."
A report Sunday by investigative reporter Seymour M. Hersh challenging the Obama administration's account of its capture and killing of Osama bin Laden has been greeted skeptically. Hersh wrote for the London Review of Books, "It's been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama's first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan's army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. . . ."
The White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders takes place on Tuesday in Washington, the Asian American Journalists Association told members by email on Monday. May is AAPI Heritage Month. "The Summit will be an unprecedented, historic convening of nearly 2,000 community leaders, federal officials, and members of the public to discuss issues that matter to the AAPI community." Among those participating are Helen Zia, journalist and activist, and Phil Yu, founder of the Angry Asian Man blog. The White House has listed its accomplishments for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders [PDF].
"Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley has joined veteran newswoman Marie Osborne as cohost of the newest talk show on WJR-AM (760)," the Free Press reported on Sunday. "Called 'In the Mix with Marie and Rochelle,' the show is what Osborne calls 'a blend of news, politics, lifestyle, entertainment, art and pop culture with a fresh point of view.' . . ."
"A wide range of public media organizations are among 1,023 recipients of $74.3 million in new grants to nonprofit groups from the National Endowment for the Arts," Dru Sefton reported Friday for Current.org. Among them are "Wisdom of the Elders, Portland, Ore.: $30,000 for Wisdom of the Elders Radio Program's STEAM multimedia series, blending Native American cultural arts, traditional ecological knowledge and environmental science"; "KCRW, Santa Monica, Calif.: $60,000 for the transmedia project Sonic Trace, exploring the Latin American immigrant experience"; and "Firelight Media, New York City: $40,000 for research, production, and postproduction costs for a documentary film by Stanley Nelson analyzing the depictions of sexuality and stereotypes of African-Americans in movies."
"An al-Jazeera journalist on retrial in Egypt has sued his Qatari employer for $100m, his lawyers said on Monday, claiming the satellite network was negligent and supported blacklisted Islamists," Agence France-Presse reported Monday from Cairo. "Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and two other al-Jazeera journalists were sentenced last year to up to 10 years in prison on charges of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood movement in its coverage of mass protests that led to the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. . . ."
"Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, Chairman and Founder of El Rey Network (ERN), announced today the creation of the El Rey Diversity Council, an advisory group comprised of leading national Latino advocacy organizations that have collaborated with the 24-hour, English language cable network since its early days of development in late 2011," the network announced on Thursday. "The council is designed to engage the entertainment industry in developing content that more fully represents the changing face of America. Council members, comprised of Latino leaders and influencers, will convene for the first time on May 20th in Austin. . . ."