Race & Ethnicity

Issues ››› Race & Ethnicity
  • CNN’s Harry Houck Promotes Video Calling On Obama To “Ban Niggas”

    Video Claims “More People Murdered In A Day By Niggly Bears Than In A Year By Grizzly Bears”

    Blog ››› ››› CARLOS MAZA

    CNN law enforcement analyst Harry Houck promoted a video that calls for President Obama to “ban niggas” in order to reduce violent crime, continuing Houck’s long history of peddling racist tropes about the African-American community.

    On July 25, Houck posted a link to a video on his Twitter account featuring Atlanta radio host and men’s rights activist Tommy Sotomayor, in which Sotomayor said that Obama should “ban niggas” because black men commit more violent crimes than other groups. Houck tweeted the video with the comment, “He knows what he’s talking about!”:

    Houck has used his platform on CNN to repeatedly suggest that African-Americans are prone to criminality and to blame black victims of police violence. Houck on Twitter has often warned about “black thugs,” referred to Black Lives Matter as a “thug group,” and even tweeted a link to a white supremacist website.

    Houck continues to be employed as a law enforcement analyst by CNN. He most recently appeared during the the July 17 edition of CNN’s Reliable Sources, where he attempted to link the shooting of three police officers in Baton Rouge to protests regarding the death of Alton Sterling.

  • Trump Adviser And GOP Congressmen Gave Pro-Trump Interviews To White Nationalist Radio Host At The RNC

    James Edwards Celebrates Going “Mainstream” By Appearing At RNC With “All-Access” Media Credentials

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Several members of Congress and a Trump campaign official gave pro-Trump interviews to white nationalist leader James Edwards and his “pro-white” radio show The Political Cesspool during the Republican National Convention. Edwards is a David Duke acolyte and “has probably done more than any of his contemporaries on the American radical right to publicly promote neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, raging anti-Semites and other extremists," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Edwards pointed to his attendance at the convention as evidence that he and his radio program are going “mainstream.”

  • These Five Reports From The Republican Convention Show How Badly The Trump Campaign Is Fumbling Latino Outreach

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    1. Univision’s Enrique Acevedo’s Tweet:

    Enrique Acevedo, who anchors Univision’s late night daily news show Edición Nocturna, commented on Twitter on the contrast between the Republican convention of 2000, which featured both a Latino theme and Mexican Ranchera singer Vicente Fernández performing on stage, and this year’s convention, which featured Trump’s favorite anti-immigration sheriff Joe Arpaio. Translated from Acevedo’s July 21 tweet:

    “16 years ago, the Bushes invited Vicente Fernández to sing at the Republican convention. Today Trump brought Sheriff Arpaio. Progress?”

    2. The New Yorker: GOP “Has Taken Steps” That Appear To Suppress “The Latino Vote.”

    A July 20 report on the Republican convention in The New Yorker highlighted a side event put together by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) in which Republicans defended their stance on stricter voter ID laws. According to The New Yorker, these laws “appear to be suppressing the Latino vote,” a point that is backed up by studies. According to The New Yorker, members of Hispanic media spoke out to debunk the myth that voter fraud is “overwhelming,” with one noting that in decades of reporting, she had never “found that situation”:

    In the background of the discussion was an issue that runs deeper than Trump: for all its talk of reaching out, the Republican Party has taken steps that actually appear to be suppressing the Latino vote. The Party has tried to pass stricter voter-ID laws across the country, even though studies have found that fraud is exceedingly rare and the laws have a disproportionate effect on minority turnout. (A recent study found that Latino turnout is 10.8 percentage points lower in states with strict photo-ID laws.) Lori Montenegro, a Telemundo correspondent, questioned whether voter fraud was being hyped by Republicans, saying, “I haven’t found evidence that there has been an overwhelming fraud.”

    Daniel Garza, who served in the Bush Administration, disagreed. “Well, I come from the Rio Grande Valley,” in South Texas. “It happens.”

    “That’s one place,” Montenegro said.

    Maria Hinojosa, the host of “Latino USA,” on NPR, spoke up. “I just want to second Lori in saying that, in twenty-five years, in all of my reporting, I have never found that situation.”

    3. Univision.com: The Trump Campaign Is The First In 20 Years Without A Spanish-Language Communication Team.

    According to Univision.com, Univision News’ efforts to reach the Trump campaign for comments always go unanswered, in part because Donald Trump is the first Republican presidential nominee in 20 years not to have a specialized Spanish-language communications team. The July 20 report explains that George W. Bush was the first to hire a spokesperson for Hispanic media, and that both John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 followed his lead.

    4. The Hill: Spanish-Language Signs Meant To Represent Hispanics Had Grammatical Errors.

    The Hill reported on July 21 that the signs written in Spanish that were “being waved at the convention” by attendees had grammatical mistakes. They read “Hispanics para Trump,” failing to translate “Hispanics” and using the preposition “para” instead of the correct one, “por.”

    5. Fusion: “When You Photoshop White People Out” Of Republican Convention Pictures, “There’s Hardly Anyone Left.”

  • Aided By Right-Wing Media, Anti-Choice Groups Are Hijacking Black Lives Matter For Their Own Agenda

    How "#UnbornLivesMatter" Ignores Communities That Lack Reproductive Health Care Access

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    Following the shooting deaths of two black men -- Alton Sterling and Philando Castile -- and the targeting of police officers in several U.S. cities, anti-choice groups have attempted to hijack the vocabulary of Black Lives Matter to attack access to reproductive care.

    Since the movement’s inception, the phrase “black lives matter” has been a grass-roots response to issues of race, policing, and structural violence against non-white bodies. In reaction, anti-choice groups have attempted to co-opt Black Lives Matter activists’ rhetoric by promoting their own phrase, #UnbornLivesMatter, to spread misinformation about abortion and its accessibility for women of color.

    Salon’s Amanda Marcotte described the discrepancies between those on social media “talking about the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile” and those tweeting with the hashtag #UnbornLivesMatter, many of which “focused on shaming liberals for believing there are more important things to worry about than women terminating unwanted pregnancies.” Marcotte traced the development of #UnbornLivesMatter and concluded that “while the hashtag surge was organized by a bunch of right wing fringe sorts, the grim fact of the matter is that this undermining, race-baiting language has trickled up to the more mainstream anti-choice movement.”

    Indeed, even before #UnbornLivesMatter’s recent prominence, anti-choice groups have long alleged that higher abortion rates among black women reflect an attempt by Planned Parenthood to explicitly target black communities.

    Clinic escort Pearl Brady told Vox that protesters “often target young women of color,” and patient advocate Amanda Patton said they shout things like: “‘Black babies’ lives matter!’” In a longer essay, clinic escort Lauren Rankin described the moment when two regular clinic protestors began using the language of Black Lives Matter to harass patients:

    But about a month ago, something changed. Two of our regular protesters—both men, neither of whom are Black—turned up at the clinic, megaphone, Bible, and camera in tow. Nothing unusual about that. But from the back of their crossover vehicle, they pulled out two new signs, both featuring a Black infant. The signs read:

    “Black life matters.”

    “Hands Up, Don’t Abort!”

    I felt paralyzed for a moment, genuinely stunned. My mind raced. Did they really just go there?

    [...]

    These two men have spent the better part of the last two years of their lives screaming at women who enter an abortion clinic. They and their hate-group (and I use that phrase deliberately) have filmed patients and companions as they enter the clinic, without their consent, and plastered those videos across the internet. These men associate with known anti-abortion terrorists, who have threatened violence against abortion providers.

    And yet, they feel perfectly comfortable appropriating a grassroots, progressive movement for racial justice in order to further shame Black patients and their partners. These men parade these signs specifically to target and harm Black women who have abortions. These men are accusing Black women who have abortions of perpetrating racial genocide, of inflicting systemic violence against their own children.

    These men are despicable, and they’re not alone.

    Right-wing media figures have amplified and repeated claims of a racist rationale behind the provision of access to abortion care. For example, frequent Fox News commentator and former GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told ABC’s Martha Raddatz that Planned Parenthood engages in racist population control by placing “most of their clinics in black neighborhoods.” Beyond this, Carson has also criticized Black Lives Matter for supposedly excluding the black lives “eradicated by abortion.”

    Rush Limbaugh has made similar arguments on numerous occasions, alleging that “Planned Parenthood [is] doing the job the [Klu Klux] Klan could never finish” and that supporters of the reproductive health organization endorse the abortion of “60 percent of black babies.” Limbaugh has even stated that “the original goal of Planned Parenthood was to abortion various minorities out of existence.”

    Right-wing media have also frequently attacked the Black Lives Matter movement itself. Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has labeled Black Lives Matter “a hate group” that wants police officers dead. Similarly, Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera referred to Black Lives Matter activists as “a bunch of troublemakers” who were “attracting a lot of attention to themselves.”

    According to a March 2016 fact sheet from the Guttmacher Institute, women of color do experience higher rates of unintended pregnancy and more frequently elect to abort. Think Progress’ Kira Lerner explained that these numbers actually reflect “the difficulties that many women in minority communities face in accessing high-quality contraceptive services and in using their chosen method of birth control consistently and effectively. A similar racial disparity exists for other health measures including rates of diabetes, breast and cervical cancer and sexually transmitted infections.”

    Women of color are particularly vulnerable to the loss of a provider safety net when Planned Parenthood clinics are forced out of communities. According to Planned Parenthood’s associate director of global communications, Lori Adelman, “Planned Parenthood is often the primary health care provider for Latinos and African Americans in this country.”

    Black women are among the most adversely affected when access to Planned Parenthood and similar reproductive health care providers is denied. The National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda reported that “black women have more than double the unintended pregnancy rate of white women,” which is particularly concerning given “the risk of death from pregnancy complications was nearly three and a half times higher for Black women than for white women.”

    Renee Bracey Sherman wrote after the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby -- which enabled certain classes of employers to deny contraception benefits to their employees -- that because of these higher rates of unintended pregnancy and maternal mortality, “when employers deny access to birth control, they are actually putting Black women’s lives in danger.”

    In June 2016, the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that Texas’ anti-choice law HB 2 was an “undue burden on abortion access.” In an amicus brief filed during the case, advocates outlined the disparate impact of anti-choice restrictions on women of color. They explained that “African-American women have been denied access to necessary reproductive healthcare services disproportionately” and this has impacted them “in numerous, measurable, and profound ways.”

    Despite this disparity, anti-choice legislators have frequently invoked the language of racial equality to push their own agendas.

    For example, in a speech demanding greater abortion restrictions, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-KS) attacked members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for condoning higher rates of abortion in black communities. He said: “There is no one more hopeless and voiceless than an unborn baby, but [the CBC’s] silence is deafening. I can’t hear them. Where are they standing up for their communities, advocating and fighting for their right to life?”

    In Missouri, Rep. Mike Moon (R-MO) stole language from Black Lives Matter to promote his All Lives Matter Act -- a fetal personhood law which would enforce the scientifically unfounded belief that life begins at conception. Meanwhile, women have already been prosecuted for having miscarriages and stillborn births and for making attempts to self-abort, using laws that make actions taken by a pregnant person on her own body a criminal offense. For women of color, however, such laws also perpetuate harmful racial stereotypes.

    As Christine Assefa wrote for Feminist Wire, Moon’s bill “suggests that the state of Missouri codify into law the assertion that Black women are killing their own children, are incapable of making decisions about their own bodies, and cannot control their sexual desires.” She continued that these codifications “perpetuate historical, violent, and harmful stereotypes of Black women that reveal the deeply-rooted relationship between race and sexual politics."

    Beyond criticizing Moon’s bill, other reproductive justice advocates echoed these concerns about the hijacking of Black Lives Matter rhetoric to attack access to reproductive care.

    Planned Parenthood's director of constituency communications, Alencia Johnson, told Salon, “To appropriate the Black Lives Matter movement in the midst of the brutal tragedies too many in the black community face from state violence is repulsive.”

    Pamela Merritt, a co-director of the direct advocacy group Repoaction, argued that efforts by anti-choice groups to “to appropriate the language of Black Lives Matter are just the latest example of that movement's long history of pandering to their conservative and often racist base by insulting Black women and dismissing Black activism.” She concluded that this was particularly reprehensible when the “same movement is silent when Black children are shot and Black women are raped by police officers.”

    In a July 12 article Think Progress’ Laurel Raymond summarized the concerns of reproductive justice advocates about the rising popularity of phrases like “unborn lives matter”:

    "Black lives matter" provides a resounding answer to an unheard question: In the face of disproportionate policing and black deaths that are often unpunished and ignored, do black lives matter? Yes, they do. When other groups co-opt the phrase, they shift the focus away from this aspect of criminal justice -- and thus deemphasize the bigger problem at hand.

    "Unborn lives matter" goes one step further: not only does it derail that focus, but it also puts the primary blame on black women for choosing to have abortions. Anti-abortion rhetoric focused on black women argues for them to have that control over their bodies taken away from them -- even as black women take to the streets to protest for control of their bodies from the police.

     

  • To Latinos In Media, Trump’s Nomination Speech Sounded “Disgusting” And “Apocalyptic”

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Latinos in the media denounced the speech Donald Trump delivered when he officially accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, condemning the candidate’s hateful and anti-immigrant rhetoric, referring to the speech as “disgusting,” noting it contained “fearmongering” and “divisiveness,” and criticizing him for linking immigration and terrorism.

  • White Nationalists Love Trump’s RNC Speech: “Couldn't Have Said It Better,” “Couldn’t Be Happier”

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    White nationalists leaders are heavily praising Republican nominee Donald Trump’s “awesome” convention speech. The pro-white racists said they “couldn't have said it better” and “couldn’t be happier.” They also praised Trump for focusing on the “negative effects” of immigration and using “codewords” that appeal to whites.