- Created on 24 October 2013
Black Boys Considered 'Cool' And 'Tough' While Black Girls Stereotyped As 'Ghetto' And 'Loud' In Suburban Schools
Many studies have focused on young African-American boys and their experience in school. From gender biases in teacher grading that start as early as elementary school to blaring disparities in disciplinary practices, black male youth seem to be at a perpetual disadvantage in academic environments.
However, two studies that examined programs aiming to increase diversity by bussing minority students to primarily white schools revealed an area where black boys reportedly engaged with relative ease.
- Created on 23 October 2013
Farryn Johnson (pictured) has filed a racial discrimination complaint with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights against the popular eatery chain, Hooters. The former waitress, who worked at the Baltimore Harborplace Hooters location, alleges in the filing that she was fired from her position because she sported blond highlights and was told her hair color violated the company’s employee image standards according, to CBS Baltimore.
Johnson contends she worked with other non-black employees who wore their hair in different shades and received no repercussions. The 25-year-old woman, however, claims she was singled out by her employers and warned that blond hair on blacks was not a look they felt was acceptable. The young woman told CBS Baltimore, “They gave me write-ups and they told me I need to take the color out of my hair. And they said I couldn’t have blonde in my hair because I’m black. They specifically said, ‘Black women don’t have blonde in their hair, so you need to take it out,’” she stated.
Johnson is being represented by attorney Jessica Weber, who spoke to CBS Baltimore about the double-standard bias. “What’s wrong is that both federal and state law clearly say employers can’t impose two separate and distinct rules governing employee standards –- one for African-American employees and one for everyone else. And that’s clearly what Hooters did here,” Weber said.
CBS Baltimore also asked Delegate Mary Washington, who is drafting legislation that would prevent employers from requiring or prohibiting specific hairstyles, to weigh in on Johnson’s controversial filing. Washington points out that Johnson is just one of many who are being put through the wringer at their places of employment because of the way they wear their hair. “There’s some women and men who are told to dye their hair, that if they are gray, somehow they are not projecting a youthful image. So I think really further clarifying hair and restricting employers from doing that, will help all kinds of people,” said Washington.
Meanwhile, Hooters declined to comment on the Johnson case.
- Created on 21 October 2013
LONDON (AP) — African tribal art has long been treasured by wealthy Western collectors, but increasingly the continent's contemporary art scene is the one making its presence felt at museums, auction houses and art fairs.
The trend is spurred by wealthy Africans supporting home-grown talent and European collectors searching for the next big thing. Several London galleries focused on African art have opened in the past few years, the flagship Tate Modern has set up an African acquisitions committee, and this year's sale of African art at the auction house Bonhams has passed the 1 million pound ($1.6 million) mark.
London's Somerset House is hosting the 1:54, the British capital's inaugural contemporary African art fair, this week. And the mood there is buoyant.
"People are caring more in the press, collectors are opening their doors, and museums are showing more African artists," said Mariane Lenhardt, whose Seattle-based M.I.A Gallery is selling fierce-looking, nail-studded busts by London-based sculptor Zak Ove.
Bonhams auctioneer Giles Peppiatt, whose annual Africa Now auction took in a record 1.3 million pounds ($2.1 million) this year, said he has never seen so much interest.
London now has four galleries focused on African contemporary art, three of them opening in the past three years: The more established October Gallery, an early champion of acclaimed Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui; the Jack Bell Gallery, opened in 2010; the Tiwami Contemporary, a Nigeria-focused gallery that opened the next year; and GAFRA, only a few months old.
The Tate, home to the capital's best-known collection of contemporary art, launched an African acquisitions committee last year. Frieze, London's high-end contemporary art fair, is this week featuring two African galleries. It's a tiny figure, but double last year's total.
Market watchers say some of the excitement stems from the fast-growing economies of sub-Saharan Africa, some of whose newfound wealth is being reinvested in local artists.
Also important is the slow death of the notion that African art consists of wooden masks, carved statues, and tribal talismans, said Neil Dundas, whose South Africa-based Goodman Gallery is displaying at Frieze.
What makes this contemporary art "African" is as a question as complicated as the continent itself. Some artists, like the Ivory Coast's Aboudia, live in Africa and tackle explicitly African issues. Others, like Ove, were born outside the continent but draw on its culture to shape their work.
There are signs of new interest. Among the Africa initiates at 1:54 was Belgian industrialist Guy Ullens, known for his huge trove of Chinese contemporary art. The art baron was impressed.
"The quality is very good," he said.
The price is also relatively cheap, at least compared to art from other developing markets. Anatsui's mesmerizing metallic tapestries can sell for more than 500,000 pounds ($800,000), but many of the works on display at 1:54 — like Ove's "Black Astronaut," which features aviator goggles and an alligator head — carry a price tag of several thousand pounds.
Overall, the African art market's figures remain small compared to the millions brought in by its counterparts in other developing markets.
But Peppiatt, the Bonhams auctioneer, said the growth over the past five years had been striking.
"I just think of where we've come from, which is: 'Nowhere,'" he said.
- Created on 21 October 2013
This Aug. 7, 2013 photo provided by Rahoul Ghose/PBS shows Henry Louis Gates Jr. during PBS' "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates Jr." session at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Los Angeles. (AP Photo / Courtesy of Rahoul Ghose/PBS)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Slavery in the United States was once a roaring success whose wounds still afflict the country today.
So says Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who examines both its success and shame in "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross," his new PBS documentary series that traces 500 years of black history.
"Slavery is a perfect example of why we need limits on the more unfortunate aspects of human nature," he says. "Slavery was capitalism gone berserk."
The horrifically profitable practice of slavery and the brutal inhumanity of Jim Crow loom large in "The African Americans" (premiering Tuesday at 8 p.m. EDT; check local listings), which, through its six hours, performs a neat trick: Its reach extends far beyond American shores, venturing through the Caribbean region and all the way to Africa, while deftly folding this sprawl of black history into the larger American story that, too often, has kept the role of black America shunted to the margins.
Slavery - "the supreme hypocrisy" - was always an essential ingredient of the American experiment. White America always drew heavily on the labor, culture and traditions of blacks while denying them due credit in exchange, not to mention their human rights.
The father of our country was one of its largest slave owners, even as one of his slaves, Harry Washington, understandably fled to join a British regiment and fight against the patriots.
"Because of the profound disconnect between principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the simultaneous practice of slavery, we've had historical amnesia about slavery," Gates was saying in a recent interview. "We still see the effects, and feel them."
Even the site for the nation's capital city - Washington, D.C. - was chosen to accommodate the mighty bloc of Southern slave owners.
And the series also notes that, among too many other cruel paradoxes, slaves cut the stone and laid the bricks for the U.S. Capitol.
"The African Americans" doesn't fall prey to white scapegoating. For instance, Africans practiced slavery long before white Europeans cashed in, and Gates journeys to Sierra Leone, where he visits with Africans whose forebears profited from it.
Gates - an author, Harvard scholar, social critic and filmmaker - is more interested in recognizing and discovering oft-neglected pieces of the American puzzle.
The series starts with what Gates deems a downright scoop. It turns out the very first African to come to North America was a free man accompanying Spanish explorers who arrived in Florida in 1513. This was more than a century before the first 20 African slaves were brought to the British colony of Jamestown by pirates who traded them for food.
Thus does his series roll the clock back 106 years to a largely unknown starting point in African-American history.
From there, it covers slavery, the Civil War, the Jim Crow era and the rise of civil rights. It concludes on a high note, exactly 500 years from where it began, with the second inauguration of Barack Obama, the nation's first black president.
Even so, Gates says he didn't want to sound a false note of triumph: "By nature, I'm an optimist, but we end the series with the message, 'This is the best of times, the worst of times.'"
Worst? He points out many dismaying facts. A disproportionate number of black men are imprisoned today. A huge percentage of black children are born out of wedlock to single mothers.
And it's no secret that, while a winning number of Americans cheered on Obama, many others disdain the idea of a black man in the White House, a mindset Gates sees as yet another legacy of slavery and the racism it perpetuated.
One possible solution - and one mission for his series - is to bring the big picture to the nation's schools, where Gates hopes to place "The African Americans" as part of a permanent curriculum.
"If we start with first grade, in 12 years we'll have the whole school re-educated about the real nature of American history," he says. "The series is designed to inspire black people about the nobility of our tradition in this country, and to inspire ALL people about the nobility of that struggle.
"If we confront the excesses and sins of the past," he says, "it will help us understand where we are today."