Category: Justice

Two-thirds of people banned from BART are black — and agency isn’t asking why

Two-thirds of the people BART banished from its property last year were black, and a committee the agency set up to monitor potential civil rights violations in the unique exclusion program isn’t scrutinizing the racial disparity.

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BART banned more people from the system in 2017 than in previous years in an effort to protect riders and employees. Agency officials say the use of these prohibition orders — which last from one month to a year — has paid off.The program, though, is booting black people from trains and stations at far higher rates than others, raising concerns about racial profiling.Of the 315 people barred from the Bay Area’s backbone transit system last year, 209, or 66 percent, were identified by police officers as black, according to BART data. Fifteen percent were identified as white and 12.5 percent as Latino.

A 2015 BART survey of weekday customers, the latest available, found that 12 percent were black, 44 percent were white, 23 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander, and 18 percent were Hispanic.

ESPN Is Terrified of Jemele Hill’s Honesty on Racism

EYESI’ve watched the N.F.L. on ESPN for more than 20 years in part because I grew up with the kind of father who pretty much refused to talk to me until I showed interest in the game. One Sunday when I was 12, I parked myself on the couch next to him, and because we were watching Brett Favre, I asked him what an interception was. “When you throw it to the other team,” Dad said. That quarterback would go on to set the N.F.L. record for passing interceptions.

On Monday, ESPN issued a two-week suspension to Jemele Hill, a tough, opinionated black woman who anchors “SportsCenter,” because she violated the network’s social-media guidelines. The night before, the Dallas Cowboys’ owner, Jerry Jones, had said that if any of his players were “disrespectful” of the flag, they wouldn’t play. Hill noted on Twitter that this puts his black players in a bind: “If they don’t kneel, some will see them as sellouts.”

Then she remarked that Cowboys fans could boycott the team’s sponsors if they were dissatisfied with Jones’s position, instead of relying on Cowboys players to protest. Hill clarified that she wasn’t calling for Cowboys fans to boycott the N.F.L., but rather that “an unfair burden” has been put on players. (This wasn’t the first time controversy had arisen about one of Hill’s tweets; last month, she called President Trump a white supremacist.)ESPN’s decision to suspend Hill, whom it pays to express her opinions, suggests that the network might be scared of boycotts and that the Cowboys’ sponsors, as well as the network’s own, are more important than supporting the idea that black people might be people.

Let’s be clear: The N.F.L. players who refuse to stand for the anthem aren’t protesting the flag or the anthem; they’re objecting to the obscenely high number of unarmed black people brutalized and killed by police officers in the United States. When Jerry Jones says that players can’t be “disrespectful,” what he’s really saying is that black people are not supposed to complain that we are routinely killed by the police, even when unarmed. We are supposed to embrace the idea that our lives should not be valued, because floating the opinion that maybe we shouldn’t be killed for no reason might offend advertisers.

It’s also hard to reconcile ESPN’s decision to suspend Jemele Hill for not quite calling for a boycott with the outspokenness that ESPN prizes in anchors who are not black women, who say things much more offensive and only get a slap on the wrist.

Suspending Jemele Hill is the sort of desperate move ESPN undoubtedly hopes might attract more viewers, much like the network’s sudden decision not to allow an Asian-American broadcaster named Robert Lee to call a college-football game last August. ESPN’s subscriber base dropped to 87 million households in September from a high of 100.1 million in 2011, and the network has laid off more than 100 people this year in addition to 300 workers in October 2015.

Immigrants Shouldn’t Have to Be ‘Talented’ to Be Welcome

peopleThe terms of the debate over President Trump’s decision to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are familiar, as are the terms of the larger conversation about immigration in this country: On one side are hardworking immigrants; on the other are politicians who wrongly claim that these immigrants harm the economic interests of native-born Americans. As protests broke out across the United States in response to Mr. Trump’s move, reporters and immigrant advocates stressed that the administration’s actions will hurt achievers — people who have graduated from college, people who have bought houses, people who work for high-tech companies.

There is nothing wrong with this story. It’s one that most, if not all, immigrants like to tell about themselves — even if their actual story doesn’t neatly fit the narrative. In fact, as Hannah Arendt pointed out in her essay “We Refugees,” written in 1943 at the height of the 20th century’s refugee crisis, people whose stories fit the narrative least well — the most desperate and the worst-wounded of the immigrants — are especially invested in thinking of themselves as destined for success and, of course, as future loyal citizens.

But something goes awry when this becomes the dominant story told about immigrants in America. This has been happening for a number of years: The good people of America talk about immigrants as hard workers who conscientiously contribute to the economy. (I myself have made it onto a few lists of exemplary immigrant success stories.) In fact, DACA was designed to reward achievement: to qualify for the program, an applicant had to be in school or hold a high school diploma or equivalent, or have been honorably discharged from the armed forces. Those who hadn’t been able or lucky to meet those requirements were apparently deemed unworthy of staying in the country where they had lived since they were children.

When Mr. Trump issued an executive order banning entry by citizens of predominantly Muslim countries, American technology companies responded with a lawsuit in which they stressed that immigrants have founded and run many large tech companies. The revocation of DACA has brought forth similar — and much-quoted — responses from Silicon Valley. When the president threw his support behind a reform plan that would drastically reduce immigration to this country, editorial writers argued against it by pointing out that immigrants benefit the economy.

Former Manhattan ADA Accused of Dealing to Police Former Manhattan ADA Accused of Dealing to Police

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44-year-old David Leung, who served as the assistant district attorney is Manhattan from 1993 to 2003, was busted by an informant on September 27 after sliding the undercover two bags of weed for $200. This sounds more like the explanation for a character being written off of Law & Order than real life. Following the transaction, police searched his vehicle and found seven more bags totaling over eight ounces in his trunk. The irony of Manhattan’s former ADA being arrested for selling weed in the marijuana-arrest capital of the world is sweet chin music to the criminal justice system. What’s even worse is that Leung knew some of the prosecutors when he appeared in court yesterday. How embarrassing.  After his departure from the district attorney’s office, Leung began a private practice and moved to Indiana. He was apparently unable to resist the allure of the fast life on the streets of New York City. Because that’s what all bored guys in their 40s do. Leung has not been indicted, but will return to court on January 22. Until then, he’s free without bail.

[via Gothamist]

Ethics Trouble Not Over for Jesse Jackson Jr.

Jesse Jackson Jr.’s resignation from Congress might end his once-promising political career but it doesn’t mark the end of troubles for the civil rights icon’s son. Just two weeks after voters re-elected him to a ninth full term, Jackson on Wednesday sent his resignation letter to House Speaker John Boehner, citing his ongoing treatment for bipolar disorder and admitting “my share of mistakes” while confirming publicly for the first time that he’s the subject of a federal probe and cooperating with investigators. Federal authorities are reportedly investigating Jackson’s possible misuse of campaign funds and the House Ethics Committee is investigating his dealings with imprisoned ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. It was unclear how the committee would proceed following Jackson’s resignation. The committee could still decide to release a final report on him but it no longer has the power to punish Jackson. Jackson, 47, was never charged with wrongdoing and in his resignation letter wrote, “they are my mistakes and mine alone.” Jackson’s attorneys offered few details of the reported probe into misuse of campaign funds. “Mr. Jackson is cooperating with the investigation. We hope to negotiate a fair resolution of the matter but the process could take several months,” according to a statement from Jackson’s attorneys, including former U.S. Attorney in Chicago Dan Webb. “During that time, we will have no further comment and urge you to give Mr. Jackson the privacy he needs to heal and handle these issues responsibly.” CONTINUE READING