Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

Women Fired for “I Love Being Black” Button

16 April 2007

A woman in Missouri was fired for wearing a button saying “I (heart) being black” among other buttons commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, according to the Progressive. The human resources director said it was offensive, and compared it to wearing a swastika to work, because, obviously, MLK Jr. was known for his fascism and belief in the superiority of the Aryan race.

As the woman, Daphne Jones, pointed out, “Workers here wear ‘I love being Irish’ buttons on St. Patrick’s Day. And he said that was acceptable.”

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Census Data Not to be Shared

30 March 2007

The ACLU, Japanese American Citizens League, and Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee have all asked Congress to ensure that census data will not be shared with surveillance agancies, according to the ACLU. This follows a report in USA Today that said census data had been shared during WWII when Japanese were kept in internment camps.

“Wartime hysteria led our government to violate the privacy and trust of Americans,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. She also noted that, while the census was important, it could not be effective if people were afraid of who might find out what their responses were.

It was also discovered in 2004 that the Census Bureau had shared some zip code information about Arab Americans.

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Evidence Against Charity Apparently Fabricated

26 February 2007

Five years ago the government shut down the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the nation’s largest Muslim charity, on the basis that it was linked to terrorism, according to the Los Angeles Times. Thousands of hours of FBI wiretapping transcripts were classified, and the defense lawyers have been working with government summaries.

When they compared one transcript they had of a conversation to its government summary though, it was found that a number of comments never actually in the conversation were in the summary. Defense attorneys say that “not only are the summaries so inaccurate and misleading as to be useless,” but that the “author of the attached summary has cynically and maliciously attributed to the defendants racist invective and inculpatory remarks the defendants never uttered.”

Though the attorneys have the clearance to view the original documents, they cannot show it to their clients.

There were also apparently issues with translation, and some of the material was translated from Arabic to Hebrew, then to English.

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Prison for Communications Monitoring

18 February 2007

In a possible violation of federal law, the government has established a prison primarily for middle easterners with the purpose of monitoring their communications, according to the Raw Story. Letters sent from the prison are reviewed and copied prior to delivery by prison staff, resulting in weeks of delays, unless it is to a lawyer, court, or congress. Also, all phone calls are monitored and visits recorded, and are required to be entirely in English. Further, while normal prison rules allow for five hours of phone time per month, this prison allows only fifteen minutes and can be reduced to three minutes a month at the decision of the warden.

Though it supposedly targets terrorists, not all of the inmates there are considered high-risk or have been convicted of violent crimes. One inmate, Dr. Rafil Dhafir, has never been convicted or even charged with terrorism-related activities or a violent offense, but is instead there for sending humanitarian aid to Iraq in violation of US sanctions.

It is also unclear whether the creation of the facility complied with the law, as the public was not appropriately notified.

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UCLA Student Tasered

16 November 2006

A student was tasered multiple times at UCLA recently, according to Prison Planet. Campus police were doing a random check and asked for his ID. When he refused they took him from the library, at which point one of the officers put a hand on his arm and he yelled for them to get off of him. One of the officers then tasered him. They told him repeatedly to stand up, though people are rarely able to stand any sooner than a minute after being tasered, and tasered him again for not complying.

The incident was video-recorded.

From an accompanying Prison Planet article:

The officers repeatedly order Tabatabainejad to stand even as they administer further shocks – sending 50,000 volts of current that override the nervous system and temporarily paralyze muscles shooting through his system again and again. He can’t stand and the cops know it… Tabatabainejad is hit again and again despite his screaming and the protests of the onlookers.

The student, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, is Iranian-American

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Scary Foreigners

29 October 2006

Raed Jarrar recently had trouble boarding a flight to California, according to The Progressive. He was at JFK airport with a T-Shirt that read “We will not be silent,” in both Arabic and English. A security guard decided that the passengers found this threatening (and he was quite possible entirely correct) and told Jarrar to either turn it inside out or put another shirt on over it, which Jarrar did to avoid missing his flight. Jarrar was also moved from his seat (3A) to the back of the plane. Said JetBlue spokesperson Jenny Dervin: “In that situation, our crew members have the responsibility to create a safe environment as well as safe travel. If there’s anything that upsets or confuses our customers, our crew members have to address them.”

Stephanie Schwartz also had a similar problem while wearing the same T-shirt and trying to board the Staten Island Ferry.

Raed Jarrar’s blog can be found at

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School Buses in Louisiana

25 September 2006

School bus driver Dolores Davis of Coushatta, Louisiana is facing termination due to her seating arrangements on her bus, according to News of the Weird, which she insists were “just a coincidence.” She had decided to assign seats on the bus, and it just so happens that all nine black kids were placed in the back two rows of the bus while the white kids were seated up front. She insists that she is not a racist.

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Man Arrested for Stealing His Own Car

1 September 2006

And I’m sure it’s entirely coincidental that he’s black.

Keith Spence saved his money for a year, finally buying a red 1993 Cadillac Eldorado coupe, according to Unknown News. He was pulled over in February because his rear window was cracked. Then four police officers dragged him and the two passengers from the car and told them they were under arrest for stealing the car.

In June Spence represented himself in court. Although he had the title proving ownership of the red Cadillac coupe, it was the testimony of the owner of the stolen car that got him cleared. The car that was actually stolen was, though a Cadillac, a grey sedan. The red coupe owned by Spence was quite clearly a different car altogether.

Spence’s car, though, had been sold at an auction two months before he had his day in court. He and his lawyer are planning on suing the city. Spence says he only wants his car back, which, ironically, was in fact taken from him unjustly, stolen, by the city.

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Racial Profiling at JFK

27 August 2006

The New York Civil Liberties Union said that it will be investigating allegations of racial profiling at the John F. Kennedy International Airport. A number of people have been detained there, possibly entirely due to their ethnicity.

Racial profiling is an inadequate means of fighting terrorism, as most people of Arab descent are not terrorists and many terrorists are not of Arab descent. Racial profiling is, by definition, discrimination on the basis of race and therefore racism. It encourages irrational and unnecessary distrust between people of different races, because profiling on the basis of race is saying that people of certain races are more likely to be terrorists or criminals.

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Another Attack on Journalists

8 August 2006

Press freedom is important, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be more controlled, it means the press should have more freedom. The New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York affiliate of the ACLU, reports that New York City Police have frequently detained photographers and filmmakers and forced them to show their film to the police, and even to destroy it.

The practice was noticed when Rakesh Sharma, a noted maker of documentaries, was held for several hours after filming taxicabs in NYC. The NYPD has no procedure for dealing with such occurrences, which often results in the detainment of innocent photographers or filmers.

These people are threatened with arrest if thy refuse to show their photographs and/or destroy them.

The NYCLU is suing the NYPD for harassing and detaining photographers.

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