In a Twitter post, she called it a sad waste of food when so many people are dying of hunger.
who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, moved to Italy in the
1980s to study medicine. She became an Italian citizen and is an
ophthalmologist in Modena.
While her ascent to a top government position reflects the success of immigrants, it also has stoked nativism.
Just before Kyenge arrived for Friday’s rally, a group smeared blood-red paint and anti-immigrant messages onto mannequins.
“Immigration kills,” read signs attached to the dummies.
The far-right political group Forza Nuova (“New Force”) claimed responsibility for the mannequins.
scene was also littered with fliers that said Italy’s future growth
depends on “protecting the Italian identity,” according to the ANSA news
Insults from other politicians
weeks ago, Italian Sen. Roberto Calderoli likened Kyenge to an
orangutan. Calderoli, a member of the anti-immigration Northern League
party, made the remarks at a political rally.
love animals – bears and wolves, as everyone knows – but when I see
the pictures of Kyenge, I cannot but think of, even if I’m not saying
she is one, the features of an orangutan,” he was quoted as saying.
After his comments were published, Calderoli said “if I’ve offended her, I apologize.”
was a joke, a comment in a joking way. There was nothing particularly
against her,” he said. “It was just my impression. … It is all very
well that she be a minister but in her own country. Given that this
government needs to govern Italy, I hope that it is done by Italians.”
responded diplomatically, saying Calderoli “does not need to ask
forgiveness to me, but he should rather reflect on the political and
institutional role that he carries. It is on this that he needs to make a
profound reflection also to then apologize.”
added, “Also, he must go beyond putting everything on a personal level.
I think the time has come for us to study the problem of
Kyenge has also received death threats before visiting an area where the Northern League is powerful.
local politician recently said on Facebook that Kyenge should be raped
so she can understand the pain felt by victims of crime, which some
politicians blame on immigrants.
been called a “Congolese monkey,” “Zulu” and “the black anti-Italian.”
One Northern League official said “she seems like a great housekeeper”
but “not a government minister.”
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta appealed to Northern League leader Roberto Maroni to “close this chapter right away.”
A young girl has switched schools after she was told that she would not be allowed to sport her hairstyle of choice.
According to 7-year-old Tiana Parker and father Terrence Parker, Deborah Brown Community School in Tulsa, Oklahoma gave Tiana a hard time and sent her home for sporting dreadlocks. School officials told Terrence that her hairstyle did not look “presentable,” according to local outlet KOKI-TV.
“She’s always presentable. I take pride in my kids looking nice,” Terrence, who is a barber, to the outlet.
However, the school felt that Tiana’s hairstyle could “distract from
the respectful and serious atmosphere it strives for,” according to
KOKI-TV. A representative of the school told The Huffington Post over
e-mail that, “The parent of the student in question elected to choose a
forbidden hairstyle which is detailed in the school policy. The parent
was asked to change the hairstyle, however on Friday, August 30th, the
parent choose to dis-enroll her child from our program.”
Indeed, the charter school’s dress code specifically says “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable.”
Commentors have been speaking out against the policy on the school’s Facebook page,
as some accuse it of being racist. A post from the school yesterday –-
which is unrelated to the incident –- has amassed over 275 comments
related to Tiana.
“They can have a weave. ie, white people hair styles. Meaning, your
child must go through painful and expensive hair alterations….rather
than natural options…like an afro or dreads. Disgusting,” wrote
commentor Rosemary Michelle Malign.
3. Toni Christina Jenkins, Red Lobster Waitress Receives Racist Insult In Tip Section Of Receipt (PICTURE)
WARNING: Contains graphic language.
A teenage waitress has revealed how a customer left a racist insult in the ‘tip’ line of a receipt.
Toni Christina Jenkins had just finished serving a couple at the Red Lobster restaurant in Tennessee on Saturday afternoon, when she
discovered the slur.
In the slip for the $45 dinner, one of the customers had written ‘none’
in the tip line, and the word ‘nigger’ beneath it.
Scroll down to see the receipt
Toni Christina Jenkins is waitressing at the Red Lobster seafood
restaurant as she trains to be a nurse
Jenkins, who is studying to be a nurse, posted the receipt on her
Facebook account, along with the explanation: “This is what I got as a
tip last night… so happy to live in the proud southern states…God
Bless America, land of the free and home of the low class racists of
Jenkins says she has since been inundated with support, telling
MailOnline: “I don’t get tips all the time. I really don’t care cause
God is my provider, I don’t worry about tips.”
The 19-year-old added: “They were extremely rude, but I introduced
myself to them and they didn’t respond. When I came to take their order
they simply told me they wanted their food and to put everything in a
Yet since the image went viral, some have suggested Jenkins added the
insult herself because she was bitter she hadn’t received a tip.
The picture also made an appearance on Reddit where one poster
questioned the handwriting, claiming it was “totally different” to the
Jenkins confirmed on Facebook she is now being “harassed” about the
validity of the receipt but thanked her supporters, calling on them to
continue sharing the image, because: “the more you share the more
awareness we create.”
Jenkins claims this racist slur was left for her by two of her customers
on Saturday afternoon
It’s not the first time racial slurs have found their way onto food
Last year a Papa John’s pizza outlet was forced to apologise after a
customer received a receipt identifying her as “lady chinky eyes”.
And in February 2012 a receipt purporting to show a banker leaving a 1%
tip for a $133.54 bill and the ‘tip’ to “get a real job” went viral.
It later emerged the receipt from True Food Kitchen in Newport,
California, had been Photoshopped and was a hoax.
The original receipt does not contain the tip “Get a real job.” Also,
the real bill was for $33.54, not $133.54, and the tip given was $7, not
4. Teenager reveals facial injuries she suffered after a bottle of champagne was smashed over her head by man whose advances she
Published: 11:25 EST, 12 September 2013
A teenager who was smashed over the head with a bottle of champagne after she spurned the advances of a thug
in a nightclub has revealed the facial injuries she suffered in the
Monique Henville, 19, was approached by the man while she was drinking with her friends in a nightclub.
He poured champagne over head after she refused to speak to him and then lost his temper when she continued to ignore him.
Monique said she was unable to speak or eat for six weeks following the attack
Police have released a picture of a man they would like to speak to (left) in connection with the attack on Monique (right)
Two University of Alabama sorority members have come forward to confirm
what many already know: sororities are blocking black women from
pledging. While a some sorority sisters chose to remains anonymous,
Alpha Gamma Delta’s Melanie Gotz spoke with her school’s newspaper on
the record, describing how alumnae bar black candidates:
“Are we really not going to talk about the black girl?” The question - asked by Alpha Gamma Delta member
Melanie Gotz during her chapter’s sorority recruitment - was greeted by
silence. The sorority’s active members and a few alumnae gathered in
the room to hear the unexpected news that there would be no voting on
potential new members that night. The chapter, they were told, had
already agreed on which students would be invited back for the next
it’s not just alumnae that are blocking black pledges. Some sororities
have a voting system—but black women are still kept from pledging:
“Not a lot of rushees get awesome scores,” the Tri Delta member said.
“Sometimes sisters [of active members] don’t get that. [She] got
excellent scores. The only thing that kept her back was the color of her
skin in Tri Delt. She would have been a dog fight between all the
sororities if she were white.”
a Chi Omega sister said a University of Alabama employee named Emily
Jamison kept a promising black recruit from being considered:
“I know [the recruit] got perfect scores from the people in chapter the
first day, and she got cut after the first day and I know it had to do
with our advisor - is the one that dropped her,” the Chi Omega member
said. “Her name is Emily Jamison.”
University of Alabama is no stranger to segregation. Governor George
Wallace made his now infamous “segregation now, segregation tomorrow,
segregation forever” statement there fifty years ago in 1963. Although
Wallace’s attempt to block black students from entering the university’s
doors was thwarted, it seems he had a point about segregation sticking
around for a while.
. 6. Black Boys Have an Easier Time Fitting In at Suburban Schools Than Black Girls
Minority young men are considered by their white peers to be cool and tough; minority young women, on the other hand, are stereotyped as
“ghetto” and “loud.”
Though I’m sure my name was a hint, I happen to be black. My parents are
West African (Mali and Senegal to be exact), and I was born and raised
in France. When I was 13, my family and I moved to a suburban community
outside of Atlanta. The school I attended, though relatively diverse for
Georgia, was majority white. I had an easy time there. I made friends
quickly, a lot of them white. To this day, more than ten years later, my
friend circle is still very much white, populated by the people I met
at my mostly-white high school, or at my mostly-white university, or in
my mostly-white neighborhood. I have always attributed my ability to fit
into both multicultural and white environments to my personality and my
immigrant’s need to adapt to whatever environment I’m in.
But recent research published in the American Sociological Association'sSociology of Education journal shows that my gender (male) was one of the determinative factors in the relative ease of my social integration. In an articlepublished
last year, Megan M. Holland, a professor at the University of Buffalo
and a recent Harvard Ph.D., studied the social impact of a desegregation
program on the minority students who were being bussed to a
predominantly white high school in suburban Boston. She found that
minority boys, because of stereotypes about their supposed athleticism
and “coolness,” fit in better than minority girls because the school
gave the boys better opportunities to interact with white students.
Minority boys participated in sports and non-academic activities at much
higher rates. Over the course of her study, she concluded that
structural factors in the school as well as racial narratives about
minority males resulted in increased social rewards for the boys, while
those same factors contributed to the isolation of girls in the
Another study looked at a similar program, called Diversify. Conducted by Simone Ispa-Landa at Northwestern University, it showed how
gender politics and gender performance impacted the way the minority
students were seen at the school. The study shows that “as a group, the
Diversify boys were welcomed in suburban social cliques, even as they
were constrained to enacting race and gender in narrow ways.” Diversify
girls, on the other hand, “were stereotyped as ‘ghetto’ and
‘loud’”—behavior that, when exhibited by the boys in the program, was
socially rewarded. Another finding from her study was that because of
the gender dynamics present at the school—the need to conform to
prevalent male dominance in the school—“neither the white suburban boys
nor the black Diversify boys were interested in dating” the minority
girls. The girls reported being seen by boys at their schools as
“aggressive” and not having the “Barbie doll” look. The boys felt that
dating the white girls was “easier” because they “can’t handle the black
The black boys in Ispa-Landa’s study found themselves in peculiar
situations in which they would play into stereotypes of black males as
being cool or athletic by seeming “street-smart.” At the same time,
though, they would work to subvert those racial expectations by
code-switching both their speech and mannerisms to put their white
classmates at ease. Many of the boys reported feeling safer and freer at
the suburban school, as they would not be considered “tough” at their
own schools. It was only in the context of the suburban school that
their blackness conferred social power. In order to maintain that social
dominance, the boys engaged in racial performance, getting into show
fights with each other to appear tough and using rough, street language
around their friends.
When Class Became More Important to a Child’s Education Than Race
In the case of the girls, the urban signifiers that gave the boys so
much social acceptance, were held against them. While the boys could
wear hip-hop clothing, the girls were seen as “ghetto” for doing the
same. While the boys could display a certain amount of aggression, the
girls felt they were penalized for doing so. Ispa-Landa, in an
interview, expressed surprise at “how much of a consensus there was
among the girls about their place in the school.” She also found that
overall, the girls who participated in diversity programs paid a social
cost because they “failed to embody characteristics of femininity” that
would have valorized them in the school hierarchy. They also felt
excluded from the sports and activities that gave girls in those high
schools a higher social status, such as cheerleading and Model U.N.,
because most activities ended too late for the parents of minority
girls. Holland notes that minority parents were much more protective of
the girls; they expressed no worries about the boys staying late, or
over at friend’s houses.
Once minority women leave high school and college, they are shown to
continue to struggle with social integration, even as they achieve
higher educational outcomes and, in certain locales, higher incomes than
minority men. Though, as presaged by high-school sexual politics, they
were still three times less likelythan black men to marry outside of their race.
For the second time in as many sessions, the Supreme Court heard a case
about affirmative action last Tuesday. Following last year’s Fisher v.
Texas non-decision, the court will now be deciding whether states can
ban the consideration of race in college admissions through ballot
initiatives as the Michigan did in 2006. Based on the tenor of the oral
arguments, some court watchers have predicted that the court’s
conservative majority will now take the opportunity to further limit the
use of affirmative action in admissions across the nation. As Garrett
Epps noted last
week, it is nearly impossible to have a measured conversation about
affirmative action, an issue that splits even the most ardent liberals.
However, there appears to be a general consensus that minority
populations benefit from these programs. But very rarely do commentators
stop to consider the diversity of that minority population, and even
fewer consider what impact affirmative actions programs have on the
disparate, intersecting groups who participate in them.
A couple of months ago, Ebony.com editor Jamilah Lemieux started the
Twitter hashtag #blackpowerisforblackmen to discuss the little-talked
about but deeply-felt existence of black male privilege. Tweets like “#blackpowerisforblackmenbecause the Black men’s problems are the community’s problems” and “#blackpowerisforblackmen bc
although black women played a pivotal role in the civil rights
movement, we’re only told about MLK&other blk men” speak to a
history of minimizing of the experience of black women. The hashtag,
which attracted no small amount of blowback from black males, revealed
the dilemma that many black women face: having to combat both racism and
sexism. Like the research about the diversity programs, the
conversation showed that what we sometimes instinctively think of as
“the black experience” is complicated by gender. The ostensible purpose
of affirmative action is to increase the presence of minorities in
colleges and universities. But as the Supreme Court considers further
limiting the scope of such programs, it is important to remember that
unless cultural expectations about race and gender change, full
educational integration will remain a pipe dream.
7. Social media colorism
8. A new report released Thursday found that, while black women are becoming a political and economic powerhouses, they’re still quite
vulnerable in other respects.
” examined data from the past six decades from the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and
Human Services, among other sources. What it uncovered about the state
of black women might surprise you. Here are a few highlights:
As they have from the beginning of their experience in America,
Black women lead all women in labor force participation rates. Even as
mothers of small children, Black women are overwhelmingly likely to
Black women are especially likely to be a victim of violence in
America. In fact, no woman is more likely to be murdered in America
today than a Black woman. No woman is more likely to be raped than a
Black woman. And no woman is more likely to be beaten, either by a
stranger or by someone she loves and trusts, than a Black woman.
Largely due to years of pay disadvantages, decreased access to
employer-sponsored pension plans, and a stunning lack of overall wealth
accumulation,Black women over 65 have the lowest household income of any
demographic group in America.
Black women make up the most dynamic segment of the Rising American
Electorate. In the past two Presidential elections, Black women led all
demographic groups in voter turnout. And even without President Obama
on the ballot, in the recent pivotal Virginia gubernatorial election,
Black women once again exceeded all other groups in turning out on
Election Day. As such, Black women were a key factor in turning Virginia
Blue heading into the 2014 mid-term elections.
9. 16-year-old Houston girl speaks out after purported photos of her rape go viral
claims she was drugged and raped at a house party last month. The teen
refuses to stay silent about the ordeal and says she hopes that coming
forward with her story will help police catch her rapist.
A Texas teen claims she was forced to live through her rape twice — once in the real world at a house party, and again in the virtual world
as photos of the attack went viral online.
Jada, a 16-year-old from Houston, says she was mortified after images
of her, naked and unconscious, were shared on social media. But she
refuses to stay silent about the alleged sexual assault — because she’s
much more than just a rape victim.
“There’s no point in hiding,” Jada told KHOU. “Everybody has already seen my face and my body, but that’s not what I am and who I am.”
Jada says the attack happened at a friend’s home last month. The high school junior was invited over for a party.
“Just kids hanging out,” said Jada. “I just got swooped into it.”
Jada claims the teenage boys who were hosting the party gave her punch
to drink. She believes it was spiked with a drug. The young girl claims
she passed out at the party and had no idea about what happened until
her classmates started sharing tweets, photos and videos on social
The 16-year-old high school junior says she was raped at a house party last month. "Everybody knows,” said Jada. “And everybody’s texting me, 'are you OK?'”
The young woman says she believes she was raped that night. Houston police are investigating the allegations.
“I had no control,” said Jada. "I didn’t tell anyone to take my clothes off and do what they did to me.”
Her mom asked to remain anonymous, but gave her consent for Jada to go public with her identity.
“No one’s daughter deserved this,” the mother said. “No human being deserved this.”
In the meantime, supporters of the alleged rapist are chiming in online, according to The Root.
Tweeting under the hashtag #jadapose, some teens are lying down on the floor with bent legs, in a cruel imitation of Jada’s prostrate body.
Jada is hoping that going public with her story will help bring her rapist and others to justice.
“I’m just angry,” said Jada.
10. Nigerian kidnapped schoolgirls: The world’s media have failed in their response to the kidnap of 200 girls
Their abduction by terrorists has had little coverage compared with the missing Malaysian airliner
When members of the Islamist
terror organisation Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from
the town of Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria last month, they disguised
themselves in military uniform. The girls, who knew that many schools in
the state of Borno have been attacked by jihadists, initially believed
that the unexpected visitors had come to take them to a safe place. But
as they climbed reluctantly into trucks and on to motorcycles, the men
began firing into the air and shouting "Allahu Akbar”. Some of the girls
decided to make a run for it, but the majority were coerced into
travelling to a bush camp. There the terrorists forced them to cook for
To say that Boko Haram opposes gender equality is an understatement.
The group’s name is a Hausa phrase which translates as “Western
education is sinful”; abducting teenage girls fulfils several of the
group’s aims, bringing the girls’ education to an abrupt end and forcing
them into traditional female roles. Of course Boko Haram doesn’t just
target girls; in February, it carried out a massacre at a rural boarding
school in the neighbouring state of Yobe, where most of the 43 victims
were boys. But it was clear from the outset that the kidnapped girls
were at high risk of sexual violence, a point made by the British
Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in one of his first statements about
Last week, these fears appeared to have been
well-founded when unconfirmed reports suggested that the girls had been
taken out of Nigeria and were being forced to “marry” members of Boko
Haram. It should not need pointing out that “marriage” in this context
means domestic enslavement and mass rape. The former British prime
minister Gordon Brown, who is now United Nations special envoy on
education, observed that the girls’ desperate families still do not know
“whether they’re about to be murdered or used as sex slaves”.
is one of three countries which have just announced their endorsement
of a Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, an
initiative by the British government which has been signed by more than
three-quarters of UN member states. So what are the Nigerian authorities
doing about this egregious example of sexual violence within their own
borders? When I spoke to the Foreign Office on Friday, a spokesman told
me that Mr Hague had offered assistance to the Nigerian Minister for
Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali, two weeks earlier – and was still waiting
for a response.
Almost three weeks after the girls were seized,
there is mounting anger in Nigeria about the government’s failure to
locate and rescue them. Officials tried to play down the gravity of the
incident, claiming that just over a hundred girls had been taken but
latest figures suggest at least 223 remain missing. Fifty-three escaped
but the military, which claimed to have rescued most of the teenagers,
has had to admit its failure to retrieve a single one. Distraught
relatives went into the forest armed with bows and arrows but were
warned to turn back by local people, who said they stood no chance
against the heavily armed jihadists.
“We don’t know where they are
up until now, and we have not heard anything from the government,” the
father of one of the girls told The New Yorker last week. He is one of
the lucky ones: his daughter Deborah Sanya, 18, took one look at the
terrorists’ camp and realised that her only chance was to run and hide
in the forest. She persuaded two of her friends to go with her and they
managed to get to a nearby village. But her cousins and many of her
friends are still missing.
On Friday morning’s Radio 4 Today
programme, the Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka described the
abduction as an “atrocity”. Soyinka has been critical of the Nigerian
government’s response almost from the start, previously accusing the
President, Goodluck Jonathan, of insensitivity towards the girls’
plight. But it has to be said that it is not just the Nigerian
government which is open to this charge. Where were the international
television crews and big-name foreign correspondents when so many
teenage girls were abducted? Without intense scrutiny from the world’s
media, a weak government fighting an undeclared war with well-armed
terrorists was never likely to mount the kind of search and rescue
operation demanded by such dire events.
Anyone who doubts the
power of the world’s media to affect the actions of governments should
consider the very different response to the disappearance in March this
year of a Malaysian airliner. The unsolved mystery of Flight MH370 is a
tragedy for the relatives of those on board, and it now looks as if they
may not discover what happened to their loved ones for months or years.
But the missing plane remained at the top of the international news
agenda for weeks, long after any realistic hope of finding survivors had
faded. Politicians held daily press conferences, despite having
next-to-nothing to report.
There is a very good chance, by
contrast, that the Nigerian schoolgirls are still alive – and could be
rescued. Mr Brown has called for international military assistance,
including air support, and he’s due to meet President Jonathan this
week. But the sluggish response of the international media speaks
volumes about the low priority afforded to violence against women and
girls. Scouring thousands of miles of ocean for debris is much more
appealing, it seems, than reporting on the abduction and probable
enslavement of more than 200 female students. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-worlds-media-have-failed-in-their-response-to-the-kidnap-of-200-nigerian-schoolgirls-9321186.html
11. Williams sisters Singapore racism
SINGAPORE – Serena Williams says comments by the head of the Russian Tennis Federation referring to her and older sister Venus as “brothers” were bullying, sexist and racist, and that she supported the
one-year suspension imposed by the WTA against the official.
was also fined $25,000 for making the comments on Russian television. He said the sisters were “scary” to look at.
think the WTA did a great job of taking [the] initiative and taking
immediate action to his comments. I thought they were very insensitive
and extremely sexist as well as racist at the same time. I thought they
were in a way bullying.
”- Serena Williams, in response to Russian official Shamil Tarpischev’s remarks
“I think the WTA did a great job of taking [the] initiative and taking immediate action to his comments,” Williams said Sunday in
Singapore ahead of her WTA Finals defense. “I thought they were very
insensitive and extremely sexist as well as racist at the same time. I
thought they were in a way bullying.”
Asked whether he regretted his comments, Tarpischev told The
Associated Press on Saturday at the Kremlin Cup that the program on
which he spoke was “a humorous show.” When asked about his ban,
Tarpischev said: “I can’t comment. I don’t understand it.”
In a statement released later by the Russian Tennis Federation,
Tarpischev denied any “malicious intent” and said his quotes had been
taken out of context.
The WTA said it would seek his removal as chairman of the Kremlin Cup tournament, which ends Sunday.
Russia’s Maria Sharapova, also in Singapore for the WTA Finals, condemned her compatriot’s comments.
“I think they were very disrespectful and uncalled for, and I’m glad
that many people have stood up, including the WTA. It was very
inappropriate, especially in his position and all the responsibilities
that he has not just in sport, but being part of the Olympic committee,”
12. Black Girls Face Harsher Discipline in Schools than White Peers
Thursday, December 11, 2014
by Tanzina Vega for the New York Times
To hear Mikia Hutchings speak, one must lean in close, as her voice
barely rises above a whisper. In report cards, her teachers describe
her as “very focused,” someone who follows the rules and stays on task.
So it was a surprise for her grandmother when Mikia, 12, and a friend
got into trouble for writing graffiti on the walls of a gym bathroom at
Dutchtown Middle School in Henry County last year.
Even more of a surprise was the penalty after her family disputed the
role she was accused of playing in the vandalism and said it could not
pay about $100 in restitution. While both students were suspended from
school for a few days, Mikia had to face a school disciplinary hearing
and, a few weeks later, a visit by a uniformed officer from the local
Sheriff’s Department, who served her grandmother with papers accusing
Mikia of a trespassing misdemeanor and, potentially, a felony.
As part of an agreement with the state to have the charges dismissed in juvenile court, Mikia admitted to the allegations of
criminal trespassing. Mikia, who is African-American, spent her summer
on probation, under a 7 p.m. curfew, and had to complete 16 hours of
community service in addition to writing an apology letter to a student
whose sneakers were defaced in the incident.Photo
Sakinah White, a teacher, said her 17-year-old daughter tried to hurt
herself after an incident at school led to criminal charges. CreditKevin
Liles for The New York Times
Her friend, who is white, was let go after her parents paid restitution.
Data from the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of
Education show that from 2011 to 2012, black girls in public elementary
and secondary schools nationwide were suspended at a rate of 12
percent, compared with a rate of just 2 percent for white girls, and
more than girls of any other race or ethnicity. In Georgia, the ratio of
black girls receiving suspensions in the same period compared with
white girls was 5 to 1, and in Henry County, that ratio was 2.3 to 1,
said J D Hardin, the spokesman for the county’s school district. And
researchers say that within minority groups, darker-skinned girls are
disciplined more harshly than light-skinned ones.
Afro puffs and braids have been banned by an Ohio school. Specifically “small twisted braids” have been deemed unacceptable at The
Horizon Science Academy in Lorain, Ohio.
The new dress code, which will begin this fall, was included as part
of a packet mailed to parents of Horizon students. Most rules included
in the dress code
were expected. Students are not allowed to wear excessive makeup, torn
clothing, or facial piercings. Those rules are not unusual, and are
banned in most schools.
However, one particular item on the list has upset numerous parents. As reported by MSN, the new dress code
specifically states that “afro-puffs and small twisted braids, with or
without rubber bands are NOT permitted.” As afro puffs and “small
twisted braids” were mentioned in particular, many parents feel the rule
Black Girl With Long Hair, explains why the afro puff and braid ban is particularly offensive to parents and students:
“The dress code restrictions highlight an age-old struggle that
naturals face … Our hair is viewed as radical, funky or unruly in its
natural state … restrictions are sometimes placed on us in academic and
professional settings that do not extend to our non-black counterparts.”
As explained by Wikipedia, Ohio has several Horizon Science Academy locations, with the headquarters in Cleveland. They are charter schools that focus on college preparatory work.
Complaints from multiple parents have prompted school administrators
to review the new dress code. In a release dated today, the Horizon Science Academy in Lorain explains that they did not intend to offend anyone with the new policy:
” … by no means did we have any intention of creating bias towards
any of our students. We truly apologize … and want to thank everyone for
The statement continues, assuring parents and students that their concerns will be addressed.
Banning afro-puffs and braids may not have seemed offensive at the
time. However, for many parents and students the ban was blatantly
racist, and only meant for students of a particular race. Now that
school administrators understand the rule’s implications they may be
able to find a compromise.
The family of 17-year-old Derrinesha Clay has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the Lansing Police Department, and a judge recently
decided that the lawsuit can proceed. The lawsuit stems from a 2011
incident in which Clay broke into a local Bank of America branch. It is
unclear what her intentions were, but she wound up hiding inside one of
the building’s offices.
Family members report that Clay had been dealing with issues related
to bipolar disorder. Officers assumed that she was attempting to rob the
bank, but when they found her, she was hiding from them, resting on her
knees, saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” The officer responsible for
killing Clay, Brian Rendon, claimed that she attacked him with a knife
or pair of scissors and the shooting was self-defense.
Security camera footage tells a different story. Clay does not appear
to be aggressive towards the officers in any way and is not seen
attacking them. She can only be seen hiding, crouching on her knees.
Another thing that pokes holes in Rendon’s claim of self-defense is that
Clay was shot in the stomach first, before Rendon fired a fatal,
execution style gunshot to her head.
officers who were present have given conflicting reports about whether
or not Clay did in fact resist arrest after being shot in the stomach.
Despite these inconsistencies, Rendon was cleared by an internal affairs
investigation. The police department has also stated that Rendon’s
actions were justified.
In what may be a small amount of redemption, U.S. District Judge
Robert Holmes Bell has ruled that evidence shows that the officers
involved could be lying about the incident and that Rendon shooting Clay
twice was mostly likely excessive force. Bell stated in court,
“Rendon’s shot to Ms. Clay’s head was unreasonable because she was on
her knees, she had already been shot in the stomach, and she was no
Bell dismissed the lawsuit’s claim against the city, but cited the
conflict between testimony from Rendon and two other officers at the
scene about whether or not Clay resisted arrest after being shot in the
stomach as reason to allow the lawsuit against Rendon to continue.
Police Chief Mike Yankowski directly disagreed with Bell, stating,
“This incident was an unfortunate tragedy for everyone involved.
Nonetheless, we strenuously disagree with Judge Bell’s ruling and stand
by the findings of the external MSP investigation and Prosecuting
Attorney Stuart Dunnings, both of which concluded that the officer’s
actions were justified given the circumstances he faced.”