Sunday, November 28News That Matters

Tag: Race and Ethnicity

Ballroom Takes Root in Colombia. But Who Is It For?

Ballroom Takes Root in Colombia. But Who Is It For?

LifeStyle
BOGOTÁ, Colombia — The theme was Met Gala — that is, if the Met Gala had vibrators and whips. On a Friday night in October, hundreds of attendees crammed into a second-floor dance studio near the northern edge of Bogotá adorned with flowers, chains, corsets and long flowing wigs, their carefully painted makeup smearing as the night wore on.Contestants were vying for a grand prize, and when it came time to compete in the sex siren category, contenders pulled out all manner of props, including lollipops and bottles of liquor to tantalize the judge as they stripped down to near nudity.Sitting next to the judge, the competition’s commentator, Jhon Dewar Cordoba Valdes, known to most as Papu, chanted phrases of encouragement, interspersing his raps and rhymes and shouting various unprintable ex...

Pinterest Pledges $50 Million on Reforms to Resolve Discrimination Allegations

Technology
Pinterest pledged $50 million to overhaul its corporate culture and promote diversity as part of an agreement to resolve allegations that it discriminated against women and people of color, according to court documents and statements from the plaintiffs and the company.The settlement was announced on Wednesday by Seth Magaziner, the general treasurer of Rhode Island, who was acting on behalf of the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island and other Pinterest shareholders that had sued the company, which is known for its colorful virtual pinboards.The shareholders had accused Pinterest’s board of directors of failing to respond to a culture of discrimination and retaliation against women and people of color. By allowing the discrimination to continue, the shareholders argued, the board ...

‘I Can’t Just Quit’

Sports
As Sika Henry worked to become the first female African American professional triathlete, she remembered her childhood conversations about race with her family.Her parents told Henry and her brother, Nile, stories about their paternal grandfather, who was a track and field athlete and football player in the 1920s. Because of segregation, he was not allowed to play in the N.F.L., and instead pursued a career as a jazz musician.This memory stuck with Henry. She uses it as motivation in her journey in triathlon, a sport in which few contestants look like her.“He said to my dad one day, ‘I never thought I’d see the day when Blacks could play professional sport,’” Henry said.And at times, Henry didn’t know if she would ever compete professionally in her sport, either.No other African American w...
The Real Surprise of ‘Passing’: A Focus on Black Women’s Inner Lives

The Real Surprise of ‘Passing’: A Focus on Black Women’s Inner Lives

LifeStyle
Midway through the new drama “Passing,” Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson), the light-brown-skinned, upper-middle-class protagonist, offers a unique insight into her psyche when she says to her friend Hugh, “We’re, all of us, passing for something or the other,” and adds, “Aren’t we?”Until now, Irene has successfully maintained her cover as both a respectable wife and proud African American woman. But when Hugh (Bill Camp) challenges her by asking why she does not pass for white like her biracial childhood friend, Clare Kendry (Ruth Negga), her response is a revelation, startling me almost as much as it did him.“Who’s to say I am not?” she snaps back.In that moment, I realized that what I had considered the B-plot of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, “Passing,” had risen to the surface in the writer...

Why Are More Black Children Dying by Suicide?

Technology
“This is a deterrent,” said Dr. Kali D. Cyrus, a psychiatrist at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., and an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University. Talking about your family’s business with a white person — much less an outsider — is often discouraged in the Black community, added Dr. Cyrus, who is Black.Most mental health care for children takes place in public schools via school psychologists or counselors. This is especially true in low-income districts where other resources are scarce. But these professionals are also in short supply.Even when mental health professionals are available, research has shown that Black adolescents’ depression often goes untreated because of negative perceptions of services and providers or feelings of shame about experiencing depressive ...
Interracial Dating: Do You Hide Your True Self While Dating?

Interracial Dating: Do You Hide Your True Self While Dating?

LifeStyle
Last September, when Remy Barnwell, 26, started dating Ben Podnar, who is white, she was hesitant to wear her hair in its natural state. As a Black woman, she was uncertain of how he would respond to her tightly coiled strands.On her first date with Mr. Podnar, Ms. Barnwell, a tax attorney in Washington, D.C., arrived wearing box braids that concealed her natural Afro. Six months would pass before she let Mr. Podnar see her kinky coils.“I definitely noticed the first time she took her braids out and I remember her being very concerned about how I would feel,” said Mr. Podnar, 29, an audience development director for the Center for American Progress in Washington.Ms. Barnwell, who said straightening her hair since childhood “reinforced the idea that my natural hair was not enough,” was plea...
The Superheroes From House of Slay Are Here to Stay

The Superheroes From House of Slay Are Here to Stay

LifeStyle
One evening, just before Halloween, a party was held at Chinese Tuxedo, a trendy Cantonese restaurant in Chinatown in Manhattan. Attendees entered through a back alley lit by yellow lanterns, past graffitied walls covered in posters of superheroes. Inside they sipped Champagne while Asian drag queens, West Dakota, Panthera Lush and Dynasty, writhed around the restaurant’s poles. The evening’s invitation had dictated: “Dress to Slay.”That was not because guests were about to get bloody, however. They were celebrating the birth of a new kind of superhero.Forget Shang-Chi. Forget the Eternals. The most unexpected supe debut is happening this week online, courtesy of House of Slay, a web comic book series about five Asian best friends who fight the God of Darkness. And who also happen to be re...

An Indigenous Canadian Director Channels Traumatic Memories Into Film

LifeStyle
Although Beans’ struggles relate specifically to her time and place, they are likely to resonate with anyone who has raised an adolescent — or been one. When Beans practices profanity in front of her bedroom mirror, smiling proudly when she finally utters a curse, it’s impossible not to notice the doll and stuffed animals still on her bureau. And any viewer will be alarmed when a tough older girl encourages Beans to harm herself so she will be impervious to the pain inflicted by others.“It doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of the Oka crisis,” Deer said, adding that the character is coming of age “in a tumultuous, unwelcoming world that is indicative of where we currently are.”An incident during filming reinforced that view. Deer shot “Beans” at several spots where the historical events ...
What a $50 Million Donation Did for One H.B.C.U.

What a $50 Million Donation Did for One H.B.C.U.

LifeStyle
PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas — In-person learning resumed at Prairie View A&M University at the end of August, and the campus was soon buzzing with familiar sounds and sights: freshmen laughing in the dining hall, students walking across the sprawling yard in between classes.There were also inescapable nods to our current era, like signs on light posts with different reminders, including “Today’s Task: Wear Your Mask.”If colleges have been among the most disrupted institutions during the pandemic, they have also been centers of hope and resilience. At Prairie View, a historically Black university, some of that optimism has been magnified by a $50 million donation from MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Jeff Bezos, who has quietly given billions of dollars to underfunded organizations since 202...
Can Progress on Diversity Be Union-Made?

Can Progress on Diversity Be Union-Made?

Business
Mr. Erlich is one of the authors of a book addressing the history of racial exclusion in the building trades. He notes that the original Boston Residents Jobs Policy in 1983 came out of the fight by Black workers for jobs on building sites. But it had to include residents and women to gain white political support and overcome the opposition of union leadership.“There is a legacy of racism, which by no means has been eliminated,” Mr. Erlich said. “I respect folks in the community that complain that things are not changing fast enough. And they are not changing fast enough.” Still, he argues, unions realize that “they need to become less homogeneous and reflect the demographics of the city.”And he warns that the nonunion contractors that will hire workers of color do not generally provide tr...