Living while black: CNN’s year-end report on racial profiling

CNN — It’s happened yet again.

An African-American man in suburban Cleveland says a bank teller called police on him this month when he tried to cash a check from his employer. Although the man didn’t explicitly cry “racial profiling,” many observers see the incident as another in a dispiriting and all-too-familiar series.
In 2018, police across the United States have been urged to investigate black people for doing all kinds of daily, mundane, noncriminal activities.

Lawsuit filed: Police chief condones white officers’ racism, abuse

ASSOCIATED PRESS — According to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, white police officers in a Washington, D.C., suburb have used racist slurs, circulated text messages expressing a desire to “reinstitute lynching” and put a black face and Afro wig on a training dummy. 

Civil rights groups sued Maryland’s Prince George’s County and its police chief on behalf of several current and former officers. The suit accuses police officials of condoning racist, abusive behavior by white officers and retaliating against black and Hispanic officers who complain about misconduct.

The suit claims the county’s police chief, Henry Stawinski, has allowed racism to “thrive” in his department since his appointment nearly two years ago.

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Saks Fifth Avenue accused of race and age discrimination in lawsuit

Saks Fifth Avenue

 

NBC NEWS — Eight men, the majority of whom are older and black, say they were subject to age and race discrimination while employed at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, alleging in a lawsuit filed Nov. 20 that they couldn’t advance because of a “glass ceiling” for people of color.

The ex-employees, who are represented by The Cochran Firm, worked at the high-end department store’s flagship location in midtown Manhattan. Some of them were hired back in 2010 and 2011, and were placed in sales in the men’s department with “limited customer traffic and far removed from the department’s front entrance” — putting them at a disadvantage, according to the suit.

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Veterans Affairs official hung portrait of Ku Klux Klan’s first grand wizard in his office

Painting of Nathan Bedford Forrest hanging in VA Officer's office, obtained by ABC News

ABC NEWS — A senior official at the Veterans Affairs Department hung a painting of the first Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and Confederate general in his office but removed it after some employees circulated a petition to force him to take it down.

David Thomas, a deputy director in the VA office that verifies small businesses for government contracts, never directly received complaints from his coworkers about the painting, a spokesman for the federal agency said Wednesday.

The portrait depicts Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate Army general turned inaugural KKK leader, posing on the back of a horse. The words “No Surrender” and the date 1862 are written on a title card below the painting.

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Florida governor’s debate gets heated: ‘The racists believe he’s a racist’

ABC NEWS —  A topic now engrained in the dynamics of the Florida gubernatorial debate, both candidates had a lot to say when it came to the controversies regarding racism.

Republican Ron DeSantis was asked about his affiliations with political donors and figures who have at various points made questionably racist remarks, including a donor who once called President Obama the N-word and his own use of the phrase “monkey this up” when referring to Democrat Andrew Gillum, his African-American opponent.

DeSantis got very testy on the topic, at one point saying he can’t know everything his supporters or people he is affiliated with could have said at one time or another. He instead said he would represent all Floridians, regardless of race, but would not participate in political correctness.

Gillum responded saying “I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist, I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”

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Louisiana might finally get rid of its racist jury system

Louisiana State Penitentiary

SLATE — On Nov. 6, Louisiana voters will decide the fate of a Jim Crow–era law that allows juries to convict people on felony charges with only 10 of 12 jurors agreeing on a guilty verdict. Roughly 2,000 inmates are currently serving life sentences as a result of nonunanimous verdicts in Louisiana.

The split-jury rule was adopted in 1898 in response to the equal protection rights awarded to black citizens by the 14th Amendment. To minimize the influence of black jurors, lawmakers made the change. At the constitutional convention where the law was instituted, its proponents made their motivation abundantly clear—white supremacy.

“Our mission was, in the first place, to establish the supremacy of the white race in this state to the extent to which it could be legally and constitutionally done,” reads an excerpt from the convention’s Official Journal of Proceedings.

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John Legend wants Louisiana to remove ‘white supremacy’ from its constitution

CNN reports, that as part of his continued work in criminal justice reform, John Legend is calling on Louisiana to change its constitution.

In an opinion piece published by the Washington Post Tuesday headlined “It’s time for Louisiana to strip white supremacy from its constitution,” the singer writes about the state’s continued acceptance of non-unanimous jury decisions, which he calls “a 120-year-old measure put in place to suppress the rights of African Americans.”

Video: The racist roots behind the death penalty

death row“The death penalty in the South has roots in lynching,” says University of Virginia law professor and author Brandon Garrett. In a video interview at Salon, Garrett says “there’s a long, ugly history of racial bias in the American death penalty.” Garrett’s latest book is “End of Its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice.” In it, Garrett explains what led to the decline of the death penalty, and how reforms could one day bring it to an end. Read more in this article at Salon.

Law school doesn’t teach engaging with racists

racial justiceLaw school students may sometimes have to defend positions they don’t necessarily agree with. However, a group of Yale law students is disagreeing with the argument that they should have to defend racist points of view. The students are taking issue with a recent opinion piece in Time magazine by a Yale Law School dean. Read more about the story at The Nation.

BMW charged with racism, sexism in EEOC complaint

racial justiceA temporary worker is accusing the BMW division of Mini of racism and sexism in a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Michelle Savoy also says the company retaliated against her when she asked about being moved from temporary status to permanent. Ms. Savoy worked as a temp at Mini for ten years. More on the story is available at Automotive News.