Source: Election 2016 is entering the home stretch (and not a minute too soon), and voters are going to […]



Election 2016 is entering the home stretch (and not a minute too soon), and voters are going to be casting their votes by mail in some states in just a few weeks.

Hispanics and Asians could be crucial, and their percentage of the U.S. population is growing. This year  Hispanic and Asian voters will form 16% of the eligible voter pool, and will continue growing each year. But voter turnout rates among Hispanics and Asians is relatively low, according to Pew Research and the U.S. Elections Project.  In the 2012 presidential election, 64% of non-Hispanic white eligible voters cast ballots, as did 67% of black eligible voters. But the voter turnout rate was 48% among Hispanics and 47% among Asians.

One possible reason for lower registration (and turnout) rates among Hispanics is that they tend to be younger. In fact 44% of all Hispanic voters are millenials. But even that doesn’t explain it fully, because even among millenials, Hispanic/Asian registration trails significantly. Language barriers might be an issue. Also, Hispanic and Asian voters are concentrated in non-competitive states like New York and California and Texas. Or it may come down to the lack of a “family tradition” of voting in US elections.

We hope that more people who have the right to vote will do so. And from a demographic perspective, we would be fascinated to learn why Asian-Americans and Hispanics lag behind other groups in registration and voting habits.

    Ask just about anyone about MSG and they’ll wrinkle their noses and shake their heads. Monosodium Glutamate is […]




Ask just about anyone about MSG and they’ll wrinkle their noses and shake their heads. Monosodium Glutamate is one of those substances that everyone assumes is bad, otherwise why would everyone insist on no MSG. But they might have a difficult time determining why they should be against the food flavor additive. Lately chefs and the medical establishment have been speaking out about the value of MSG. Changing minds may be hard to do though.

Turns out the hysteria against MSG is largely based on xenophobia.

Our favorite political number cruncher and prognosticator, came up with this explanation for MSG fear years after the myths about it were debunked:

That MSG causes health problems may have thrived on racially charged biases from the outset. Ian Mosby, a food historian, wrote in a 2009 paper titled “‘That Won-Ton Soup Headache’: The Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, MSG and the Making of American Food, 1968-1980” that fear of MSG in Chinese food is part of the U.S.’s long history of viewing the “exotic” cuisine of Asia as dangerous or dirty. As Sand put it: “It was the misfortune of Chinese cooks to be caught with the white powder by their stoves when the once-praised flavor enhancer suddenly became a chemical additive.”

So, time to finally give MSG a break. Then maybe we can start on GMOs.



Trump v. Nixon

POSTED BY Admin POSTED IN Uncategorized

The events of the past few weeks, culminating with the killings of black men in Baton Rouge, La., and Minnesota, […]

The events of the past few weeks, culminating with the killings of black men in Baton Rouge, La., and Minnesota, followed quickly but the sniper murders of police officers guarding a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas have prompted comparisons to 1968. When they make this comparison, it’s race they’re talking about. 1968 was the year that racial tensions reached a fever pitch in the U.S. with the assassination of MLK, and the third year of major race riots in U.S. cities.

The Dallas police killings even echo a 1968 riot in Cleveland.

But have race relations really degraded to match the anger and destruction of 1968? One presidential candidate thinks so.  Donald Trump’s campaign is saying his nomination acceptance speech tonight will be modeled on Richard Nixon’s 1968 nomination acceptance speech.

Good luck with that one. Or not.

Let’s compare and contrast 1968 and 2016. One big difference is there is no costly, deadly, polarizing war today, at least not on the level of Vietnam.

What about racial riots? In the late 1960s there were a series of riots across the country, some of which their cities never fully recovered from.  Watts 1965, 34 dead, over 1000 injured. Detroit 1967, 43 dead, over 1000 injured. Newark 1967, 26 dead, almost 1000 injured. All of those were before 1968.

The last comparable riot was in Los Angeles in 1992 in which 55 people died. When we measure civil disorder, political breakdown, assassinations, death tolls, there is no comparing the late 60s in the U.S. with today.

But what about race, generally? Is there a parallel? When Nixon addressed a nation as a “law and order” candidate he was trying to ease the fears of a predominately white electorate, maybe not in so many words, that he would crack down on those agitators (wink, wink) doing all the destruction (you know who, wink, wink). He also said he would get tough on violent crime, and though he didn’t mention race in this context, white America knew what he meant.

This was all part of Nixon’s southern strategy. That’s where he used race and white outrage about civil rights legislation in the 60s to turn the “solid south” from solid Democrat to solid Republican.

Today Trump doesn’t have to use the southern strategy. He and other Republicans have benefitted from what Nixon laid down. The south has been in the R column for decades. Remember the last time Mississippi went for a Democrat? Not for more than 50 years.

But today’s electorate, even in the south, is much more diverse than that of 1968. Around 83 percent of the U.S. population in the 1970 census was white, non-Hispanic. Today, less than 70 percent is, according to census data.

Aren’t the Black Lives Matter protests (and counter-protests and death threats against BLM) indicative of a huge racial rift today?  Sure. Racism persists. But on a 1968 level? Not so much.

Nixon was running just three years after the Voting Rights Act and one year after the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage nationwide. Also note that 1968 also featured the first interracial kiss on U.S. television. In April 1968, a poll found almost one third of Americans thought Martin Luther King, Jr., had “brought his assassination on himself.”

In 2016, we’re in the eighth year of the administration of the first African American President in history.

How about the white vote? Just as in 1968, the GOP relies on the white vote more than Democrats do.  In 1968, Democratic candidate Humphrey received 38 percent of the white vote. In 2012, Obama received 39 percent of the white vote.

Humphrey lost in a squeaker. Obama won big.

Trump minority outreach, such as it is.

How about the Latino vote?

In a 2012 election loss post-mortem, the GOP vowed to reach out to Hispanics in order to broaden the largely-white party’s appeal. What happened? Trump, who in his very first address to the nation as a candidate over a year ago, said Mexico was sending rapists and murderers to the U.S. He also asserted that Gonzalo Curiel, the judge presiding over lawsuits against Trump University, could not be fair because he’s Latino.

How about Muslims? Do we really need to rehash Trump’s “outreach” to Muslims? Using a racial test to decide who enters the country is something that even some in his own party have denounced.

Oh, and did you know that there was a white supremacist running a radio show this week from inside the Republican convention in Cleveland? This, just weeks after one of Trump’s media people showed an image of Hillary Clinton atop a pile of money, with a Star of David superimposed.

Now you could chalk those last two incidents to extreme campaign derp. There’s plenty of evidence that Trump’s campaign is the most inept in history. But there’s also plenty of evidence that he’s actively courting not just angry white people, but angry white racists. Nixon used “dog whistles” to court racists. Trump uses a megaphone.

Trump could win the election, but he would have to do so by expanding the white vote. We’re really not going out on a limb her by saying that, barring a 180-degree shift in his stances, Trump is not going to expand the Black or the Latino vote. Period.

And, given how Nixon’s presidency ended, isn’t it still too soon to invo



Racial Battle Fatigue

POSTED BY Admin POSTED IN Uncategorized POST TAGGED African American, black, racism

Over ten years ago University of Utah researcher William A. Smith coined the term “racial battle fatigue” while studying how […]

Over ten years ago University of Utah researcher William A. Smith coined the term “racial battle fatigue” while studying how racial “microagressions” marginalized black students at predominately white colleges and universities. Racial Battle Fatigue, he wrote, meant African descent constantly worry, have trouble concentrating, become fatigued, and develop headaches when navigating personal and professional spaces that have historically favored white people.

More recently a series of studies have built on Smith’s findings, with researchers coming to similar conclusions about what has been described as the pitfalls of living while black. ThinkProgress details one of the latest academic works, featured in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, focused on generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) — defined as more than six months of severe worrying and tension.

Researchers examined data from the National Survey of American Life, a study of more than 5,800 American adults -– 60 percent of whom were African American, nearly 25 percent were Afro-Caribbean, and 15 percent were non-Hispanic whites. More than 40 percent of the African Americans surveyed recounted receiving some form of racial discrimination, and nearly 5 percent suffered from GAD. Meanwhile, nearly 39 percent of Afro-Caribbean respondents said they received discrimination, and less than three percent developed GAD.
Whites who suffered from GAD in the study did so because of other forms of discrimination, head researcher Jose Soto, Ph.D. told For all races, non-racial discrimination counted as a source of GAD. Soto acknowledged that Afro-Caribbean respondents had less of a sensitivity to racial discrimination — perhaps a result of their different history. Even so, Soto said that people of the black diaspora entering unwelcoming environments endure stress that can become mental illness, similar to what soldiers face on the field.
“The results of our study suggest that the notion of racial battle fatigue could be a very real phenomenon that might explain how individuals can go from the experience of racism to the experience of a serious mental health disorder,” said Soto, head investigator at Pennsylvania State University. “While the term is certainly not trying to say that the conditions are exactly what soldiers face on a battlefield, it borrows from the idea that stress is created in chronically unsafe or hostile environments.”

Black people aren’t making it up. And given events like the most recent shooting of a black man, execution-style, by cops, it doesn’t look like this fatigue is likely to let up.

It’s been nearly two weeks since the Orlando massacre and, aside from the still raw shock and grief for many, […]

It’s been nearly two weeks since the Orlando massacre and, aside from the still raw shock and grief for many, it’s been interesting to see what’s been reported, not reported, speculated on, debunked, and used as a rallying cry for everything from gun reform to, predictably, closing the borders.

In the initial hours after the tragedy it wasn’t even clear that the shootings happened at an LGBT nightclub. The LGBT community was swift to point this out, even if the Governor of Florida appeared to go mum on that. Mainstream media followed up, mostly responsibly, covering how the horror affected the LGBT community in Orlando, and nationwide, in what is the traditional month of LGBT pride.

What has been reported on less is that it was Latin night at Pulse nightclub. What’s been covered even less than that, is who the Latin victims were. Nearly half were were Puerto Rican. And that’s devastated a community within a community within a community, as well as the island of Puerto Rico, which has had its share of economic hardships of late, and has led to an exodus of young Puerto Ricans (who are American citizens, remember) to Orlando.

From Mother Jones:

As many as 23 of those who died were identified as being Puerto Rican. Although it’s unclear how many were actually born on the island, many of the victims had family there. As they grapple with the unspeakable loss of loved ones, these families also face unusual challenges in the wake of the largest mass shooting in US history, from the potentially steep cost of burial and other expenses, to navigating the complex web of victims’ services as a Spanish-speaker with limited English.

Although pledges to help are coming from the government, advocacy organizations, and private companies, even those families who receive some assistance may struggle to cover all the costs, especially those with large extended families who may have wanted to fly in and support relatives in Orlando. “Once they arrive here to be able to claim the remains of their loved ones, it’s like where do they stay? How do they get from point A to point B?” said Samí Haiman-Marrero, a local Orlando business owner and a part of the core team of Somos Orlando (“We Are Orlando”) a coalition of organizations that formed after the tragedy to act as a bridge between families who need assistance and organizations that can help. They have connected families with resources that offer a variety of services, including housing, or grief counseling in Spanish.

Some of the issues this killing brings up are hefty burial expenses for families wanting to bury the bodies in Puerto Rico. And the longstanding taboo against homosexuality in Puerto Rico, with much more deeply ingrained machismo and homophobia than one sees in many Latino communities in the mainland U.S.

And freelance writers like Verónica Bayetti Flores say that the massacre robbed the LGBT Latinx community in Orlando, but everywhere as well, a feeling of sanctuary.

“When I’ve been in a queer club, on Latino night, I just feel whole. It feels freeing to have so many people that are sharing that experience with you, to hear rhythms that connect you back to your culture, to know that being Latino doesn’t make you any less queer, to know that being queer doesn’t make you any less Latino, and to know that we’re actually really essential part of both of those cultures.”




While emotions are still raw from Sunday morning’s tragic massacre in Orlando, some important but little-known facts are emerging about […]

While emotions are still raw from Sunday morning’s tragic massacre in Orlando, some important but little-known facts are emerging about other acts of violence against LGBT Americans – including murder – that happen routinely in the U.S.

Here’s one. People of color made up 80 percent of the LGBT people killed in America during 2014, according to the most recent report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

The minority LGBTQ community is disproportionately affected by crime. Why so vulnerable? A few reasons, in no particular order:

- Many minorities are closeted within their communities and many people in their communities still deny their existence.

- Many pockets of cultures still harbor fearful and violent views towards LGBT people.

- LGBT people are less likely to trust law enforcement to help them, believing it will lead to more harassment by officers. This goes doubly for LGBT people of color. This means crimes often go unreported. And perps know they will get away with them.

The U.S. has come a long way in LGBT rights, but still has a long way to go.


Well, he didn’t say this in so many words, but if you look at his history of comments on the […]

Well, he didn’t say this in so many words, but if you look at his history of comments on the matter, that’s the narrative.

The latest is Trump bashing Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge presiding over two class-action suits against Trump University.

From the Wall Street Journal yesterday:
Mr. Trump said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel had “an absolute conflict” in presiding over the litigation given that he was “of Mexican heritage” and a member of a Latino lawyers’ association. Mr. Trump said the background of the judge, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants, was relevant because of his campaign stance against illegal immigration and his pledge to seal the southern U.S. border. “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest,” Mr. Trump said.

Get that? Curiel is hostile toward Trump because he’s Hispanic and proud of it.

Let’s not overlook the unprecedented event of presidential nominee of a major political party to be attacking a member of the federal judiciary. That’s horrible even without the racial angle.

Now Trump claims Judge Curiel cannot carry out his duties as judge because his parents were born in Mexico. Let’s also consider this irony: Judge Curiel’s father arrived in the United States before Trump’s mother. This claim suggests that Mexican-Americans have inherently divided loyalties and that it is obvious on its face that any Hispanic in the United States would be hostile to Donald Trump. And, by extension, to all white people. That’s the implication isn’t it?

Trump’s campaign has been driven by building white backlash resentment against non-whites – mainly Hispanics and principally Mexican immigrants. It looks like he’s not going to scale back these attacks but instead double down on them: Those people are not us, they’re dangerous, they’re taking our stuff and pulling us down.

It’s going to be an ugly 5 months.


A new TV spot is creating a firestorm of racist accusations on social media. Here it is: a black man […]

A new TV spot is creating a firestorm of racist accusations on social media. Here it is: a black man and a Chinese woman are flirting, wherein she thrusts a detergent capsule in his mouth and bundles him into a laundry machine, sits atop the machine as the man spins and screams inside until out pops a handsome Chinese man dressed in a clean, white t-shirt.

You can watch it and read the commentary on CNN.

Fortunately for the U.S., it’s not an American ad. It’s running in China. Which doesn’t make it okay. But it does expose some interesting and shocking realities about racism in Asia. Specifically anti-black racism, and even more stunning, a pro-white bias.

From CNN:

This wouldn’t be the first time ads in China have been accused of racial insensitivity, there was considerable criticism online after the Chinese posters for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” seemed to downplay black actor — and co-lead — John Boyega.

While a large number of Africans live in China, particularly in southern Guangdong province, many have complained of facing discrimination and prejudice from locals due in part to a widespread stigma against dark skin.

That stigma also exists in other Asian countries, a Thai beauty company was forced to withdraw an ad and issue an apology after it released a commercial saying “just by being white, you will win.”

You have to wonder if this was an epic blunder, or whether the ad makers were tapping into some deep prejudice in China. Either way, ew.




“Expat” vs “Immigrant”

POSTED BY Admin POSTED IN Uncategorized POST TAGGED nationalism, race

A commentator in The Guardian poses a great question: Why are white people living abroad called expats, while people of […]

A commentator in The Guardian poses a great question: Why are white people living abroad called expats, while people of color are immigrants?

Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.

The commentator comes around to the point that most white people deny that they enjoy the privileges of a racist system. This is from a worldwide perspective, but can easily be applied just to the U.S.

One person in the comments section – yes, we know but the Guardian’s comment section is better than most – says that it’s not jut about race but about class:

I think it’s probably to do with economic dynamics, immigration is usually perceived as poverty driven. For example, relatively poor Bulgarians moving into France or the UK to work for better wages are considered to be ‘immigrants’ (although they are white). And a rich Qatari oil Tycoon living in a ridiculously luxurious flat in London is not considered an ‘immigrant’ (although he is not white).

Poor people are ‘immigrants’. Rich people are ‘expats.’ Whether it’s economics or race or both, it’s important to remember that language matters.

How would it look if there were more Asian actors playing lead roles in Hollywood blockbusters?   You may have […]

How would it look if there were more Asian actors playing lead roles in Hollywood blockbusters?



You may have seen actor John Cho in the Harold and Kumar comedies (he’s the uptight Harold who’s friends with the stoner Kumar). But have you wondered what John Cho would look like in bigger mainstream action movies? Check out the #StarringJohnCho website. A 25-year-old digital strategist William Yu, who’s Korean, Photoshopped Cho onto a collection of mainstream movie posters to draw attention to the fact that, as he says on the site, “whitewashing Asian roles in film abounds.”

On this blog we’ve pointed out the common practice for white stars to be cast as Asian characters, such as Scarlett Johansson playing Motoko Kusanagi in the dystopian crime story Ghost in the Shell, blonde and blue-eyed Emma Stone as Alison Ng in Aloha. Asian actors generally remain consigned to bit roles.

Cho is not affiliated with the website, but Yu did say on PRI’s radio show “The World” that Cho gave him an emoji heart.