Barneys Settles Racial Profiling Allegations For $525K

realtalklogoBarneys has agreed to a $525,000 settlement for racial profiling after a nine-month investigation found that the security and staff personnel of its flagship store on New York’s Madison Avenue were targeting minority customers.

According to the New York Daily News, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigators interviewed nearly a dozen complainants, including customers and former employees, who noticed a pattern of racial profiling began last year following a “dramatic spike” in shoplifting and credit card fraud.

“This agreement will correct a number of wrongs, both by fixing past policies and by monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employees to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated,” Schneiderman said.

In April 2013, a 19-year-old college student named Trayon Christian said he was racially profiled and accused of fraud by two undercover cops after purchasing a $349 Ferragamo belt at Barneys. Two months prior, 21-year-old nursing student Kayla Phillips said she was also accused of credit card fraud by four plainclothes cops after buying a $2,500 Celine bag.

Rap mogul, Jay Z, came under fire last fall after teaming with Barneys for a holiday collection. He issued a statement, saying, “I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgements, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?” Continue reading

Better Pay your Capital One Bill Before they Show up at Your Job

ImageCredit companies are now going through extreme lengths to get what’s owed to them. If you’re a Capital One credit card holder, you may want to take a look at your recent bill and read the new card holder agreements that were sent along with it. This may lessen the shock you receive when you answer your doorbell and it’s a Capital One representative looking to collect on your bill. Or can you imagine the embarrassment when a Capital One representative shows up at your job?

According to Capital One’s new agreement the company may “contact you in any manner we choose” and that such contacts can include calls, emails, texts, faxes or a “personal visit.” Those visits may be anywhere “at your home and at your place of employment.”

But they won’t stop there.

Not only will they visit you during your evening meal, but they will also take measures to “spoof” their phone number when they call you. When a company spoofs their phone number it shows up as a totally different number on your caller id. Tricky, tricksters.  But is it legal?  If Capital One is spoofing their number for the purpose of collecting a debt, it pretty much isn’t. According to the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer.

LA Times reporter, tracked down (ha) a representative from the credit card company to get to the bottom of these new updates. But of course, deny, deny, deny.

Latino, African-American Applicants Unfairly Denied Sandy Relief Funds?

hurricane-sandy-update-620x405Reconstruction, Rehabilitation Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program were rejected by the state; while 13-percent of Caucasian applicants were denied from the same program. Similarly, FSHC says 38-percent of African Americans and 20-percent of Latinos that applied to the Resettlement Grant Program had their applications rejected; while 14-percent of Caucasians were rejected from the same program. President of the Latino Action Network (LAN) Frank Argote-Freyre and members of the New Jersey chapter of the NAACP reviewed the data along with FSHC and noticed inequities in both the amount of Latino and African Americans that applied for the programs, and the amount of Latino and African American residents that were approved to receive relief funds. Argote-Freyre says he wants to know how the Christie Administration plans to correct the error. “Given the misinformation presented to the Spanish-reading community by the Governor’s relief website, I think Governor Christie should explain what he intends to do to help those who were unfairly rejected or who missed deadlines due to the administration’s neglect,” Argote-Freyre stated in a press release.

“We hope that these data, supplied by the Christie Administration itself, will help to shed light on why these programs are not working.”LAN is currently in litigation with the Christie Administration. The group claims that information provided on the English version of New Jersey’s Sandy recovery web site was omitted from the Spanish version of the web site, and left many Spanish speaking Sandy victims unable to take advantage of grant program benefits.READ MORE: http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2013/12/latino-african-american-applicants-unfairly-denied-sandy-relief-funds/

In hip-hop, violence is taking on a diminishing role

lightbulbNowadays gangsta rap doesn’t hold the same sway as in the days of Tupac and Biggie. For artists like Drake and Nas, the battles are of ideas and emotions.

Among the most important rap albums released over the last year or so, one contains a song about Nas‘ complicated relationship with his teenage daughter. Another has a track in which Killer Mike outlines President Reagan’s contribution to the prison-industrial complex. A third disc finds Drake pondering the impossibility of real-life romantic connection in the age of the nip-slip Twitpic. The title of Drake’s record, which last week won the Grammy Award for rap album? “Take Care.” To say that hip-hop has evolved over the last 25 years — since the days when rappers such as Ice-T and Ice Cube were terrorizing the likes of  Tipper Gore, who famously lobbied for the adoption of the Parental Advisory sticker — seems an almost-laughable understatement, equal to saying that the Internet has had some effect on the way we consume music. Once perceived as a site of uncut nihilism, hip-hop has made room, in a way that outsiders can’t ignore, for practicality and ambivalence and staunchly middle-aged concerns. Achievement too.