The creative director of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony has been fired after a Holocaust joke he made during a 1990s comedy skit drew attention this week.
Kentaro Kobayashi, a popular comedian and actor, joked during a television appearance in the 1990s, “Let’s play the genocide of the Jews,” according to a video that began circulating early Wednesday.
By the end of the night, he had been fired — less than 48 hours before the opening ceremony for the beleaguered Olympics, which was rescheduled from 2020 because of COVID-19.
Kobayashi is the second Tokyo Olympics creative director to be fired over offensive comments. His predecessor was fired in March for mocking the weight of a female comedian. The composer for the opening ceremony stepped down this week amid revelations that he had bragged about abusing a child with disabilities.
Seiko Hashimoto, who became the Tokyo Olympics’ committee president in February after her predecessor stepped down over past sexist comments, said she regretted not moving faster in other cases and sought to move swiftly in evaluating Kobayashi’s comments. “As soon as possible we decided we will have to address the issue and we decided on the dismissal,” she said, according to tweets from New York Times reporter Motoko Rich.
Yaffa Ben-Ari, Israel’s ambassador to Japan, tweeted that she was grateful for the swift action.
“As the Ambassador of Israel to Japan and as a daughter of a #Holocaust survivor, I was shocked to hear about the anti-Semitic remarks made in the past by the famous comedian Kentaro Kobayashi,” she wrote. “I expressed to @Tokyo2020 my strong condemnation of Kobayashi’s disgusting act. Such acts should not be associated with Japan nor with the Olympic Games. I value the quick response by @Tokyo2020 that dismissed the director this morning.”
Source: The Jewish News
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.
The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Hate Crimes Task Force is helping investigate a violent anti-Semitic attack last Friday on a Jewish man in Brooklyn, N.Y., announced Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol posted a surveillance video on Twitter that shows two people physically assault a Jewish man who was on his way to a synagogue on July 19. The victim’s tefillin were also stolen; Shomrim volunteers later recovered the religious items.
According to the NYPD, the 41-year-old visibly Jewish man reported that he was walking when two men approached him from behind and “repeatedly punched him in the face with a closed fist causing pain and a laceration.” The victim refused medical treatment at the scene of the crime and was not taken to a hospital.
“Yet another sickening anti-Semitic attack, this time in Flatbush. It’s outrageous,” Cuomo said on Saturday in a statement posted on Twitter. “To our Jewish community—I know this is exhausting. No one should have to worry about being attacked for their religious beliefs, ever. We will continue to fight against hate in all its forms.”
Police noted that “the incident has been deemed possible bias.” No arrests have yet been made.
Shomrim is offering $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case. Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa added $5,000 on top of the reward.
“This is a continuation of anti-Semitic attacks that are occurring in New York City in addition to the many crimes against Asians,” Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, said at a Sunday afternoon press conference near the scene of the crime.
Source: Cleveland Jewish News
“This is a continuation of anti-Semitic attacks that are occurring in New York City in addition to the many crimes against Asians,” Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, said at a Sunday afternoon press conference near the scene of the crime. Task Force
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
Working mothers are often expected to work like they don’t have children and raise children as if they don’t work. This impossible standard is at the root of gender inequalities in the workplace, according to two new Washington University in St. Louis studies.
The research papers, published separately in Demography, demonstrate how inflexible schedules and biased hiring practices, combined with gendered cultural norms around breadwinning and caregiving, lead to discrimination against mothers and perpetuate existing gender inequalities in the workplace.
The research also forewarns why mothers may face increased workplace discrimination post-pandemic, according to Patrick Ishizuka, assistant professor of sociology in Arts & Sciences.
“The pandemic has further opened our eyes to the struggles that working parents face — particularly mothers,” Ishizuka said.
“Mothers have disproportionately shouldered the burden of caregiving during the pandemic. As a result, they also have been more likely to drop out of the labor force, reduce their work hours or utilize family leave provisions made possible through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. And for parents who have been able to work remotely, their parental status has been more salient than ever before with kids showing up on Zoom or being heard in the background.
“My concern is that instead of creating policies to support families, employers will be more likely to discriminate against mothers because they will view them as less committed to their jobs,” he said.
Discrimination in hiring: Can mothers be ideal workers?
Previous research into employer discrimination against mothers in the hiring process has focused exclusively on college-educated women in professional and managerial occupations. Little was known about whether less educated mothers navigating the low-wage labor market experience similar disadvantages.
To study discrimination across the labor market, Ishizuka conducted a field experiment in which he submitted 2,210 fictitious applications to low-wage and professional/managerial jobs in six U.S. cities. For each position, he submitted two similarly qualified applications. The only difference was that one application included signals of motherhood, such as Parent Teacher Association volunteer work, while the other application — also for a female candidate — listed volunteer work in an organization that was unrelated to parenthood.
Wesley Charles Martines, 32, of Los Gatos, was arraigned on July 13 and is being held in Elmwood men’s jail after he was arrested July 9 in connection with possession of assault weapons, multiple silencers, drugs and the making of a pipe bomb.
Campbell, CA police found him “prowling outside a business,” the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office said in a July 15 news release.
“Once again, law enforcement saved lives before the blood and tears flowed,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “All of us have a role in stopping the next mass shooting, suicide, or domestic violence murder. Please call law enforcement if you know that someone is armed and dangerous.”
Campbell police responded to a call about the suspect just after midnight on July 9, when a business owner notified Campbell police about a man, who he could see on his security camera, looking into vehicles on a car lot and into a storage shed.
Police responded quickly and stopped a truck driven by the suspect. Inside the truck, law enforcement discovered weapons, body armor, ammunition inscribed with messages including “To a widow from the Grim Reaper,” drugs, a pipe bomb filled with pellets but no explosive material inside and a journal containing the anti-Semitic and racist writings as well as a plot to go to a sporting goods store, dress as an employee and tie everyone up, according to the District Attorney’s office.
Joanna Mendelson, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Center on Extremism, said her organization was still learning about the specifics of the case at the time of the interview, but the suspect’s behavior reflected a trend of extremist actors for whom specific groups are the targets of their ire.
“While there’s more information that needs to come to light in regards to this particular case, it underscores the grave danger those motivated by hatred pose to our society,” Mendelson said.
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