Give Salt Lake Mayor Erin Mendenhall credit. While activists in other cities have tried to attack problems of systemic racism by calling for the defunding of police departments, she recently raised department salaries by 30% for new recruits and 12% for senior officers.
Her reasoning was that doing so would help the city attract and keep the best officers. We would add that it brings a level of dignity to the job of a law enforcement officer, which promotes a high standard of performance.
This move gave the mayor and the City Council the credibility to proclaim last Tuesday that racism is a public health crisis, with a resolve to look closely for racist legacies within the city’s own policy framework and beyond.
Perhaps the most galling aspect of a hyperpartisan culture is that words like “racism,” which ought to unite people in condemnation, have become politicized. People find conspiracies and hidden agendas that twist and burden meanings with heavy layers of sinister intentions.
The city’s resolution rests on a more straightforward definition, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Racism is a system — consisting of structures, policies, practices, and norms — that assigns value and determines opportunity based on the way people look or the color of their skin.”
That sounds a lot like the Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, which former Gov. Gary Herbert and other political and community leaders unveiled last December. At the time, Herbert said the compact was just a beginning; something “individuals and businesses can rally around” to examine themselves and come up with better anti-racist policies and actions.
Herbert said the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers had “pricked our conscience.” He added that it “reminded us all we have not gotten to the promised land yet. We are not where we wanted to be or should be.”
Source: Deseret News
British women’s soccer players took a knee on the first day of competition at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, in a protest against discrimination and racism that was quickly reciprocated by their opponents from Chile.
It was the first time Olympians in Japan utilized newly relaxed rules on athletes expressing their views.
“Taking the knee was something we spoke about as a group. We feel so strongly and we want to show we’re united,” said Steph Houghton, one of Britain’s co-captains, as quoted by the BBC. “We want to fight all forms of discrimination and as a group of women, we wanted to kneel against it.”
Soccer players from the U.S. and Swedish women’s squads also took a knee before their match — in which Sweden upset the Americans. Just before play began, a referee joined the players at midfield in dropping to the turf on one knee. An assistant referee also took a knee.
Other athletes, including New Zealand’s women’s soccer team, also took a knee on Wednesday. Their opponents from Australia remained standing, with their arms intertwined. Moments earlier, the Australians had posed for their team photo holding a large flag representing Australia’s Aboriginal people — a banner that was first raised 50 years ago.
“We are delighted that the IOC has made room for athletes to use their voices for good at the Olympic Games and are proud of our athletes for making a global stand for greater racial equality,” said Rob Waddell, who is the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s chef de mission for the Tokyo Games.
New Zealand says its Olympic delegation includes 33 athletes who are of Maori descent.
The International Olympic Committee eased its rules on “athlete expression” on July 2, detailing ways in which Olympians can express their opinions while also observing the IOC’s Rule 50 — which is intended to preserve the neutrality of the Olympic Games.
A Missouri legislative committee on Monday held a hearing on how educators teach K-12 students about race and racism without hearing from any Black Missourians.
No Black parents, teachers or scholars testified to the Joint Committee on Education during the invite-only hearing on critical race theory.
Aside from an official from Missouri’s education department, the only people who testified Monday were critics of critical race theory, which is a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism.
Missouri NAACP President Rod Chapel called it “ridiculous” to have a conversation about inequity while “excluding the very people who are saying we’ve been treated inequitably.”
“That talks more to the kind of hearing that they wanted to have than the information that they wanted to gather,” Chapel told reporters after the hearing. “They wanted to hear from their friends who were going to support their political talking points.”
Republican Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, who leads the committee, said she wanted to use the hearing to highlight voices of parents upset about critical race theory who have said local school officials ignored their complaints.
“I felt today it was important to hear from people who have tried to go through the official cycle of authority within their districts and have basically been turned away,” she told committee members.
O’Laughlin said she also invited an associate professor of teaching who specializes in Black history, but he declined to testify.
She said there will be more committee hearings on critical race theory and more opportunities for the public to weigh in.
“I’m certain this won’t be the last conversation,” she said.
Heather Fleming, a former Missouri teacher who now offers diversity and inclusion training, said she wanted to testify Monday but was not allowed. She said without any African Americans involved in the discussion, “you’re talking about us, without us.”
“What not having any African Americans in the room really showed was that this wasn’t really about understanding,” Fleming said.
Source: Columbia Missourian
The surveillance video captures a brutal scene: A woman is thrown down a flight of stairs and smacks into the subway platform violently enough to fracture a bone in her face. It was May 28, and the woman, in her 60s, was among dozens of people attacked during a spate of anti-Asian violence this year.
It may not even have been the first such attack by the suspect, John Chappell, a law enforcement official said. Two months earlier, Mr. Chappell, who had dozens of prior arrests, had been suspected of lighting an Asian woman’s backpack on fire, the official said. He was released just days after his arrest in May.
Six months into a series of brutal attacks on people of Asian descent across the city, Mr. Chappell’s case underscores the challenges the police and prosecutors have faced in both preventing the violence and punishing those responsible.
Many of the attacks are unpredictable and carried out by people in the throes of mental health episodes, seemingly at random. Officials say they doubt many of the hate crime charges related to the attacks will stick in court, and those arrested are often released quickly. And the Police Department appears to have scaled back its efforts to stop them: An undercover unit intended to prevent anti-Asian attacks has not been active since May after officers faced threats of violence themselves.
But the attacks have continued, and anxiety and trauma still grip many pockets of the city’s Asian communities, where the violence feels fresh even as the spotlight on it has dimmed.
“There’s still this fear that permeates throughout the community,” said Chung Seto, a community leader and political strategist in Chinatown. For many, she said, the fear feels like a continuation of the darkest days of 2020, when city residents were afraid of going outside because of the coronavirus.
Source: NY Times
Instagram has admitted a mistake in its technology meant racist comments and emojis were not removed.
It comes after a flood of racist abuse was directed at England footballers Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho following the men’s Euro 2020 final.
Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said content had “mistakenly” been identified as within guidelines instead of referred to human moderators.
The issue had now been fixed, he said.
“We have technology to try and prioritise reports and we were mistakenly marking some of these as benign comments, which they are absolutely not,” he told BBC News.
“The issue has since been addressed.
“Reports on these types of comments should [now] be reviewed properly.”
On Monday, BBC News reported a comment containing several orangutan emojis on Saka’s Instagram.
Within minutes, a notification was received saying the platform’s technology “found that this comment probably doesn’t go against our guidelines”.
BBC News requested a further review but received no response.
On Thursday, Saka himself responded to the abuse.
“To the social media platforms… I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me, Marcus and Jadon have received this week,” he wrote.
“I knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”
Following Mr Mosseri’s comments, on Wednesday night, several more racist comments and emojis were reported – but no notification of the results of any review was received.
A quick scroll on Saka’s account reveals plenty more racist comments yet to be reported and removed.
“It is absolutely not OK to send racist emojis, or any kind of hate speech, on Instagram,” Mr Mosseri added in a series of tweets.
“To imply otherwise is to be deliberately misleading and sensational.
“Emojis are difficult, as are words whose meaning changes based on context.
Prince William has been criticized again for addressing racism in soccer after he did not publicly support his sister-in-law Meghan Markle after she spoke about facing racism.
The Duke of Cambridge said he was “sickened” by the racist abuse aimed at England players following their loss to Italy at the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.
“It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour. It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable,” he wrote on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Twitter account on Monday.
While William has been outspoken on the matter of racism in soccer, he defended his family after Duchess of Sussex spoke about her experience with racism in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on March 7.
During the interview, she said that some royals raised “concerns” about how dark her and Harry’s first child’s skin would be. She and Harry did not mention the names of these royals, though Winfrey said that Harry told her it was not the Queen or Prince Philip who made the remarks.
A March 9 statement from Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Queen also acknowledged the allegations, saying that “the issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning.”
When asked about the interview by reporters on March 11, William responded that “we’re very much not a racist family.”
Royal fans say William’s comments on racism in soccer are hypocritical
Twitter user Love, Lola pointed out that Meghan Markle was trending on Twitter in the US following William’s statement on Monday.
“Many were calling out his hypocrisy,” the Twitter user wrote, before sharing screenshots of the 22 verified accounts she said she had found criticizing the duke.
Read the complete article at: Yahoo
The president of the state chapter of the NAACP is leveling accusations of racism and white supremacy against auditor Beth Wood and state Sen. Lisa Barnes, R-Nash, over Wood’s investigation of corruption in the Rocky Mount City Council and Barnes’ proposed legislation intended to address it.
“The truth is that Beth Woods and Lisa Barnes, a Democrat and a Republican, respectively, are operating tactics and strategies out of the old 1898 racist playbook,” state NAACP president Anthony Spearman wrote in a memo posted on the group’s Facebook page and sent to the Conference of NC State Conference of Branches of the NAACP.
Wood’s investigation, conducted by the Office of the State Auditor, found that multiple city officials prevented efforts to collect $47,704 in utility bills owed by council member Andre Knight. Records show the councilman’s debt was wiped clean by the city-run utility system, with direct involvement from the city manager’s office. The story was reported by Carolina Journal in May 2020.
“The former City Manager then instructed the Finance Director to handle the council members’ account. The city provided no evidence that any other customer had their outstanding utility accounts handled in this manner,” the investigation report says.
The state’s investigation found other indications of corruption including:
- Multiple downtown development managers failed to follow program guidelines, resulting in $32,452 of uncollected loans and $28,000 of improperly awarded funds, including to a nonprofit chaired by Knight.
- The Engineering Division’s non-compliance with the city’s code of ordinances could cost the city $31,000.
- City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney failed to comply with the city’s travel policy, resulting in $1,575 in unallowable travel expenses, including lobster and steak dinners … and an individual steamed seafood bucket.
Councilman Knight blames racism for the audit’s findings.
The audit was conducted after more than 200 complaints to the auditors’ corruption hotline.
“That’s an attempt to break the black majority in this city we have fought very hard for,” Knight said in an interview with WTVD.
Read the complete article at: Richmond Observer