News Highlights: Week of October 9

Indigenous People’s Day – Los Angeles, by Pamela J. Peters of Native News Online

While more and more cities across the U.S. are opting to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day, the need for increased visibility of Indigenous people in the U.S. doesn’t stop there. Pamela J. Peters, an Indigenous person living in Los Angeles, is upending stereotypes of Indigenous people perpetuated by both Hollywood and history through a photography project called #RepresentYourTribalNation. The project entails photographing a number of L.A-based Indigenous people—567, to be exact—with their names and nations to inspire a more modern and diverse understanding of the Indigenous people among us today. Peters says, “I want a larger audience to see us as contemporary natives in the city, but also see our tribal flags and the diversity that exists within a city like Los Angeles.”

Pinpointing Racial Discrimination by Government Officials, by Justin Wolfers of The New York Times

A legacy of studies like the landmark “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?” demonstrate racial discrimination in hiring based on an applicant’s name. Economists at the University of Southampton in Britain replicated the study with U.S government officials and found that emails signed with names “shown to be associated with African Americans”—like “Tyrone Washington,” for instance—were 13 percent more likely to be ignored than emails signed with names often associated with white people, like “Greg Walsh.” Not only was Tyrone less likely to get a response, but if he did, it was likely to be less polite than the one Greg received. But what if U.S. government officials were not discriminating based on race, but on socioeconomic status? What if they were inferring that the email sender was poor after perceiving their name to be of African American descent? To find out, researchers added a job title under the name to suggest income level, but they still concluded that officials discriminated based on race. They point out that this type of discrimination is covert and common: “The culprit may not be a hate-spewing white nationalist, but rather a librarian or a school administrator or a county clerk, unaware that she’s helping some clients more than others.”

Kneelers of Conscience, by Marian Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund

In response to President Trump’s recent public condemnation of the football players who choose to kneel in protest during the national anthem, Marian Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, draws attention to an important parallel between the recent protest and those of the 1960s. Black-and-white photographs of civil rights leaders also kneeling in peaceful protest show that this tactic has historically been used to resist racial injustice—and has been met with similar criticism. Edelman calls President Trump’s response to the protest “vulgar and utterly unpresidential,” and expresses that, “Americans standing up or kneeling down to insist our nation live up to her founding creed of liberty and justice for all are standing on the shoulders of moral giants throughout America’s history.”

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