We need to be eternally vigilant in the fight against racism
eternally vigilant in the fight against racism
The evidence of the Guardian survey on continuing discrimination (Racism in Britain: the stark truth uncovered, 3 December) is sobering but not surprising.
It is disappointing that, 25 years on, the same pattern of disadvantage, which was exposed by systematic research by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and other bodies, continues to challenge any complacency that racism is a thing of the past.
Of course there has been encouraging progress from those days when I was rebuked by sections of the press for describing Britain as a multiracial society and the sneer of “political correctness” was first heard.
We now have a black member of our royal family and both a home secretary and his shadow and a mayor of London from minority ethnic communities. Many of our national sporting teams are truly diverse and more successful for that.
Women Struggle to Get the Right Fit in Their Racecars
The last woman to appear on a Formula One Grand Prix entry list was Giovanna Amati of Italy, who entered three races for Brabham in 1992 but failed to qualify for any of them.
Susie Wolff became the last woman to take part in a Formula One weekend in 2014, when she ran in Friday practice for Williams at the British Grand Prix. Wolff retired from competitive racing in 2015 and is now team principal of the Venturi Formula E team.
This decade has had several women affiliated with Formula One teamsas test, reserve and development drivers. Simona de Silvestro, the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, worked with the Sauber F1 team in 2014, but was dropped before driving during a race weekend.
Beginning in 2015, the Lotus F1 team (now Renault) had a multiyear association with Carmen Jordá of Spain.
Tatiana Calderón, 25, a Colombian racing for Jenzer Motorsport in GP3, a feeder series to Formula One, has been Sauber’s development driver since 2017, and spent two days testing the team’s racecar last weekend.
“I did four or five seat fittings with my first team in GP3,” Calderón said. “It’s difficult to find the right angle for your arms to give them the most power, and because GP3 has no power steering, it’s critical. That’s when I learned that two centimeters (0.8 inches) can make a hell of a difference.
“Finding the right position was tough. I’m quite short, so my pedals were too far away. I couldn’t put anything on the back of the neck because it’s in the regulations — you cannot put something to rest your head. Then we were too close; I was hitting my legs when steering.”
The time spent finding her ideal seat position cost Calderón half of her first GP3 season.
“Finding the right spot was really tricky,” she said. “Here is the best strength-wise, but I crush my legs, so I have to move the pedals. If you’re not comfortable, you cannot focus on what the car is doing, or on really breaking those limits and pushing for more.”
When a driver reaches Formula One, they are “couture fitted” to their car. Teams customize seats and steering wheels, ensuring that controls are easy to use at racing speeds.
Final gender discrimination case at Salk Institute ends in settlement
The prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, has settled the final of three high-profile gender-discrimination lawsuits filed last year. The latest agreement was announced on 21 November.
Molecular biologist Beverly Emerson filed the suit in July 2017, arguing that discrimination against women at the Salk had limited her wages, laboratory space and research funding. Two other senior female scientists brought similar suits against the institute, and settled their cases out of court in August 2018.
Emerson had worked at the Salk for more than three decades, but in December last year, the institute declined to renew her contract. She is now at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.
“Salk recognizes Dr. Emerson’s more than thirty years of service to the Institute and looks forward to her continued contributions to the scientific community,” says a joint statement from Emerson and the institute, e-mailed to Nature.
The statement does not provide any further information on the settlement. Alreen Haeggquist, Emerson’s lawyer, says that neither she nor Emerson has further comment.
The three gender-discrimination cases were important for the field, says Nancy Hopkins, a molecular biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, where she led an effort to investigate gender discrimination in the 1990s. She says that the Salk cases are a reminder of how difficult it is to tackle discrimination. Such cases can fester for decades, she says.
“When they finally do erupt, it can cause so much damage to the reputation of the institution,” says Hopkins. “Hopefully, institutions will learn from this that they must deal with these situations.”
The discrimination cases have been part of a period of turmoil for the Salk. This June prominent cancer biologist Inder Verma resigned from the institute amid allegations of sexual harassment.
Annual march and rally sees Scots unite against racism
Annual march and rally sees Scots unite against racism
The annual St Andrew’s Day march and rally took place on the streets of Glasgow yesterday to make a stand against racism, discrimination and prejudice in Scotland.
The march, which has been taking place in Scotland for 30 years and is organised by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), had a gathering of about 1000 supporters who marched from Glasgow Green to a rally at Adelaide’s Auditorium on Bath Street yesterday.
Dave Moxham, deputy general secretary at the STUC, said: “The St Andrew’s day march is an annual statement made by the trade union movement, our friends and supporters that St Andrew’s day will not be used for narrow national purposes that some on the far right have been trying to make it.
Women Accuse FBI Training Academy of Discrimination
A dozen women who washed out of the FBI Academy have filed a federal complaint alleging they were judged more harshly than male trainees. The complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission takes particular aim at the tactics training assessments, the New York Times reported. “Female trainees are singled out in group tactical exercises because they are perceived as being weak and prone to failure,” they wrote. “Male trainees are provided multiple avenues for success, in spite of their errors. Male trainees are often permitted to retake tactical exams when female trainees are denied the opportunity to do so.” The FBI declined to comment. While women make up nearly half of the FBI’s employees, they represent only one-fifth of agents.
Danielle Snider was sailing through her training to be an F.B.I. agent last year, passing her fitness, academic and firearms tests. Then came the last phase: training on tactics like entering a house and confronting an armed attacker.
Ms. Snider, an Air Force Academy graduate, stumbled. In one day, instructors at the F.B.I.’s sprawling facility in Quantico, Va., wrote her up four times. With less than two weeks to go before graduation, she was bounced from the course in January.
But in one instance, a man in training with her made a similar mistake and it was overlooked, she said. It was part of a pattern, she and other women who failed out of the academy said, in which instructors — almost all men — scrutinized them more closely because they were women and treated men differently when they erred.
“Everyone is making mistakes,” said Ms. Snider, 30, who found another job with the federal government as an investigator. “I felt it wasn’t the same playing field for women. I think it is fundamentally unfair.”
Ms. Snider is among a dozen women who accused the F.B.I. of gender discrimination at its training academy, detailing their allegations in a complaint last month to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. One of the women also claimed she suffered discrimination because of her race, and another because of a disability.
Ms. Snider, along with nine of the other women, washed out of the academy during the tactics training. Some continue to work for the F.B.I. but not as agents.
“Female trainees are singled out in group tactical exercises because they are perceived as being weak and prone to failure,” they wrote in the complaint. “Male trainees are provided multiple avenues for success, in spite of their errors. Male trainees are often permitted to retake tactical exams when female trainees are denied the opportunity to do so.”
The F.B.I. declined to comment on the complaint. In a statement, the bureau said it was “prioritizing advertising and recruiting aimed at women both nationally and through the 56 field offices.” The F.B.I. also said the percentage of applicants to be agents who were women had increased, from 22 percent in the fiscal year that ended in September 2017 to 26 percent the following year. It hopes to reach 33 percent over the next year.
For years, the F.B.I. has struggled to add more female agents. Women composed only a fifth of the bureau’s 13,500 agents as of October. About 44 percent of the F.B.I.’s 35,000 employees are women.
Discrimination trial starts next week
A discrimination suit filed against Heartland Regional Medical Center is scheduled to begin in Dec. 3 and could last five days.
Dr. Ann Riggs sued the Heartland Clinic of Platte City in 2013 for gender discrimination and retaliation after she was put on leave and eventually fired.
In a petition filed by her attorneys, Riggs claims that she was understaffed while a male co-worker was given more staff members.
“The discrimination was in the form of unequal terms and conditions of employment in that she was consistently assigned fewer staff members than her male counterpart,” the filing reads. “(Riggs), however, saw more patients than him on an average daily basis.”
Riggs complained to the clinic administrator that the assignment of staffing was not equal in 2011.
Heartland denied those allegations and, in a response, claimed that an investigation was done into “the many allegations from female staff members that (Riggs)” had created a hostile work environment for others.
In December 2012, a meeting was allegedly held to inform Riggs that staffing would not change.
Later that month, an additional LPN (licensed practical nurse) was added to Riggs’ staff, but she claims no other staff was added after that date.
Heartland claims that no other staff was needed and the addition of the LPN proved that.
“(Heartland) admits that a trial LPN was utilized to test (Riggs’) theory that she allegedly needed more staff support, but when the LPN reported back that she was not needed and had no work to perform, the trial was not continued,” the answer reads.
Riggs also claims that Heartland deducted a very large loan payment from her check when they are usually forgiven or “very minimal.”
Heartland denies that allegation.
Riggs was escorted out of the clinic and put on paid leave in February 2013.
What to do if you face age discrimination at work
People get teased all the time at work. Spill your coffee and you’re a klutz. Order a rich dessert and you’re a glutton. Brag to the CEO and you’re a showboat.
If you’re older, colleagues might poke fun at your “advanced age” or label you a “geezer.” Such comments might seem like mild joshing but carry a sting.
Ageism manifests itself in myriad ways in the workplace. Sometimes, it’s subtle: a passing reference to your supposedly fading memory, false flattery about your retro hairstyle, how you’ll surely meet the high deductible on your health insurance.
More serious cases can deliver a gut punch. You get overlooked for a promotion in favor of a less qualified (but younger) co-worker. You’re excluded from serving on a high-profile project team. You feel marginalized at meetings when trying to ask questions or offer suggestions.
It can get lonely feeling like you’re always the oldest person in the room, especially if you notice a wave of millennial newcomers coming aboard.
“When you see everybody getting hired is younger and everybody getting pushed out the door is older, you feel like you have a target on your back,” said Dara Smith, an attorney with AARP Foundation in Washington, D.C.
It’s fine if your boss asks about your retirement plans, Smith says, as part of succession planning. But if the question arises repeatedly (“Are you sure you’re not ready to retire yet?”), that’s more worrisome.
Combating ageism requires tact and assertiveness. As long as you update your skills, keep pace with technology and maintain passion for your work, you’re on the right track.
“If you’re being bypassed for promotional opportunities and getting passed over for someone with less experience or skills, talk to your human-resources representative,” said Sara Czaja, director of the new Center on Aging and Behavioral Research at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.
If the resulting internal investigation doesn’t lead to what you deem a fair resolution, you can escalate matters by filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or hiring an attorney, Czaja says. But she urges individuals initially to “take a gentler approach” of voicing concerns within the organization and seeing if that works.
A trickier challenge becomes fending off flippant remarks. Hearing that you’re “set in your ways”, “change averse” or “slow on the uptake,” even if said with a smile, can convey age-based prejudice.
“A lot of people don’t recognize common stereotypes,” Smith said. “Those stereotypes can be so ingrained. The biggest red flag we see is work that was previously valued and it seems everything is fine and then you suddenly hear, ‘You’re not flexible enough’ or ‘You’re not versatile enough.’ You might think of that as a dog whistle.”
A racial discrimination suit against a leading cable company may move forward, U.S. appeals court says
An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the case had been decided. In fact, the case has not yet been argued, and the ruling by the Ninth Circuit decided a procedural question that will allow the lawsuit to continue.
A racial bias lawsuit involving one of the nation’s largest cable companies will be allowed to proceed after a black-owned provider of television programming alleged it had been discriminated against, a federal appeals court has ruled.
Not only did racial animus pose a plausible factor when Charter Communications repeatedly rejected negotiations with Entertainment Studios, the TV programmer, but the First Amendment cannot be used to throw out the suit, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
The three-judge panel’s decision on the free speech issue holds particularly sweeping implications, some legal experts say, because it could undercut a rising trend of companies citing the First Amendment to defend business practices or to attack regulation.
The opinion on Charter’s motion to dismiss also marks a victory for the 25-year-old programming firm founded by comedian Byron Allen, which bought the Weather Channel in March and accused Charter executives in court of hurling racist insults at Allen and other black Americans in numerous encounters.
In one alleged instance, Charter chief executive Tom Rutledge called Allen, who is black, “boy” at an industry conference and advised him to change his behavior, according to court documents. In another alleged example, the court said, Charter’s senior executive in charge of programming, Allan Singer, approached a group of black protesters outside Charter’s offices to tell them to “get off of welfare.”
Charter told the court that its decision not to carry Entertainment Studios was not related to race but rather other factors, such as that the company lacked operational resources.
Discrimination faced by non-religious at alarming levels worldwide, new report shows
People who leave a religion, criticise a religion or god, or who are simply non-religious, have this last year experienced serious persecution in many countries, including several where they face the death penalty, according to a new report released today.
The Freedom of Thought report, published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), highlights the discrimination and persecution faced by the non-religious including humanists, atheists, and agnostics.
Humanists UK has welcomed the report saying it highlights the extreme persecution that non-religious people face worldwide and reinforces the need for urgent global action.
For the first time, the report also singles out the top 10 worst countries to be non-religious. The five worst countries to be non-religious are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Maldives and Pakistan. United Arab Emirates, Mauritania, Malaysia, Sudan and Brunei Darussalam round off the worst 10.
In 13 countries blasphemy or apostasy is punishable by death.
IHEU president Andrew Copson said: ‘This report paints a dark picture, with significant discrimination faced by our non-religious friends and colleagues around the world. At a time of growing nationalism, we continue to see those who are brave enough to criticise and critique conservative religious leaders demonized as “unpatriotic” and “subversive”.’
Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson added: ‘In too many countries around the world, the situation is going backwards for humanists and other non-religious people. We will be working with the UK Government and other partners here in the UK to help combat this increasing discrimination.’
Countries are measured against a list of criteria under four key categories: constitution and government; education and children’s rights; family, community, society, religious courts and tribunals; and freedom of expression, advocacy of humanists values. Then the countries are ranked by severity from ‘free and equal’, ‘mostly satisfactory’, ‘systemic discrimination’, ‘severe discrimination’ and ‘grave violations’.
How Iran Discriminates Against The Baha’i Minority
On 2 November international civil society alliance Civicus hosted an event that showcased the persecution faced by the Baha’i people by the Islamic theocracy in Iran. The event hosted IranWire citizen journalist Saleem Vaillancourt, Wits University law professor Salim Nakhjavani and director of the office of public affairs of the Baha’i community in South Africa, Peter Mputle. It featured a showing of the IranWire documentary The Cost Of Discrimination which parallels the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran with apartheid in South Africa. The panellists then discussed South Africa’s role in defending the Baha’is and in promoting human rights. The Daily Vox explains.
Who the Baha’i people are
The Baha’i follow the teachings of religious messenger Bahá’u’lláh whose teachings include principles of essential oneness of humankind, the elimination of prejudice, the unity of all religions, the equality of women and men, the centrality of justice, the importance of education, and the true life as the life of the soul.
The Baha’i faith also does not bestow power upon a single priest or a clergy but rather supports an independent search for truth Mputle explains. “In the Baha’i faith, instead of clergy we have structures like a national spiritual assembly of nine members who are voted in every year and administers the affairs of the Baha’is in the country. There is a local spiritual assembly that works in the same way,” he said.