All Articles Tagged "race relations"

#SayHerName $1.9 Milllion Awarded To Family Of Sandra Bland In Settlement

September 15th, 2016 - By Quindara Lazenbury
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Sandra Bland


Last July, Black Lives Matter Activist Sandra Bland was found dead in a jail cell with her death ruled as a suicide. The incidents that preceded the assumed suicide sparked outrage and protest against police brutality and racial discrimination across the nation.

Sandra Bland was pulled over for allegedly failing to properly signal when merging between lanes. And the routine traffic stop escalated after an altercation occurred between Bland and police officer, Brian Encinia, who later arrested Bland for assaulting a public servant. When Bland was found dead in her jail cell three days later, Many Black Lives Matter protesters stood in solidarity, urging an investigation into her death.

Now one year later, CNN reports Bland’s family has been awarded $1.9 million in a wrongful death lawsuit settlement. While it’s hard to put a price on someone’s life, plenty would argue less than $2 million is hardly sufficient. One bright aspect in the settlement is that several changes in jail procedures are also expected to come about now, including proper cell time checks monitored by electronic sensors, continuing education for jailer screenings, and an on-duty staff nurse or medical technician for all shifts in case of emergency. These changes are significant in that they may save the lives of many black and brown bodies.

But the most important question is what’s next? What do we do about the ongoing effects of racial discrimination and police brutality? How does this win enact change systemically for the many others whose deaths were in vain?

11-Year-Old Rapper Baby Kaely Creates Powerful Song About Race Relations

July 21st, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Baby Kaely and Marsai Martin," Better Place" video

Baby Kaely and Marsai Martin,” Better Place” video

In a time when race relations and gun violence are in the forefront of most social conversations, our younger generation is just trying to make it all make sense. Baby Kaely, an 11-year-old rapper and YouTube phenomenon, has questions, and has made it her mission to express that she just wants to be “living in a better place.”  Baby Kaely teamed up with Marsai Martin, 11-year-old actress of ABC’s “Black-ish,” to push the message of equality through their song titled “Better Place.”

The video for “Better Place” has already managed to garner over 19,000 views in one day. With more than 730,000 subscribers on YouTube, and more than 165,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram combined, as she has been rapping since she was the tender age of four, Baby Kaely is pushing to use her platform to vocalize social issues that the average 11-year-old only sees on the news, but doesn’t quite talk about amongst their peers.

“I’m so worried for our future;  what kind of world do we live in when even the superheroes wanna shoot ya?” raps Baby Kaely. For this powerful  message to be pushed by an artist so young, shows just how much these issues are affecting everybody, no matter age or race.

Also, check out Baby Kaely rapping her heart out in her song “Heaven.”

The then 7-year-old rapper wrote the song with her father as a triubte song for the kids affected by the Sandy Hook shooting that occurred in December 2012. The music video for “Heaven” was directed and produced by gushed about Baby Kaely, saying, “I am honored to have work with this 7-year-old wonder child.”


For more information about Baby Kaely please check her out on Twitter and Instagram.

Times It Sucks To Be The Only Black Person At Work

March 10th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Sometimes, depending on your field and where you work (or the gentrification status of your neighborhood), you find yourself being one of the only black people at your place of employment. And while you try to roll with the punches, it can get uncomfortable. Especially if you end up being a guinea pig of sorts for all the White people you work with who don’t usually fraternize with Black folks.

Most of your co-workers mean well. They’ve just always wanted to touch a Black person’s hair, haven’t figured out what types of statements are racist, or just really don’t know what to do around a co-worker of another race or background. In the end, it’s mostly all good–except for these awkward moments that every person who’s ever been one of the only black people at their job is sure to identify with.

Did we miss any of your least-favorite moments? Let us know in the comment section!

Overtipping And More Struggles Of Trying To Be A Black Ambassador

February 18th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Do you ever feel like a Black ambassador? Sometimes it’s because you’re one of the few Black people in your office (or school, or book club, or church–whatever). And sometimes it’s because you know people are waiting for any possible chance to confirm their belief in certain stereotypes. At some point in many of our lives as Black men and women, there’s a particular kind of pressure where you feel like you’re supposed to be a representative for the whole entire race.

Whether it’s tipping excessively, worrying that people will label you angry for the smallest things, or politely answering the same silly question for the umpteenth time, there are a few things that we all do when we feel that it’s time to put the Black ambassador hat on.

Have you ever had one of these moments? Or do you do something different when our differences (real or imagined) are under the spotlight? Sound off in the comment section to let us know your feelings about dealing with such struggles.

Black Lives Matter Protest Hillary Clinton Rally

November 1st, 2015 - By Toya Sharee
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black lives matter interrupt hillary clinton rally


Democratic presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton visited the campus of Clark Atlanta University on Friday to discuss proposals for criminal justice reform but was greeted by a few protesters from the Black Lives Matter Movement. When Clinton replied, “Yes, black lives do matter,” the group continued to chant over the former First Lady’s speech.


According to Mashable, the activists caused a disturbance for nearly 12 minutes singing Janelle Monae’s, “Hell You Talmbout”, a protest song in which the singer chants the names of victims of police brutality. The crowd continued to protest despite efforts from both Rep. John Lewis, a leader in the civil rights movement and R&B singer, Usher.

Clinton continued among the disruption, although much of what was said was hard to hear:

“I have some issues to discuss and proposals to make if our friends will allow me to do it, they may actually find them to their liking.”

After the small group of protestors eventually left, Clinton urged:

“I’m sorry they didn’t listen, because some of what they demanded I am offering and intend to fight for as president.”

“We have to come together as a nation.”

According to CNN, an Atlanta-based group affiliated with Black Lives Matter called #AUCShutItDown, said the aim of the protest was to press Clinton to talk specifically about the issues facing the African-American community:

“We’re not going to allow for Hillary to come here and have a cookie-cutter black conversation and to exploit black production for her vote.”

Activist, Johnetta Elzie tweeted that Clinton was taking “baby steps” in addressing a plan to tackle race relations in America in a major way:

“Hillary’s baby steps towards addressing racial justice in a real way aren’t working. She is lagging behind her competition, Sanders.”

Many activists express disappointment with Clinton’s failure to talk about race relations in clear detail like her opponent, Bernie Sanders. The Vermont Senator has been very outspoken about injustice and racial inequality throughout much of his career and even led sit-in’s during the 1960’s civil rights movement.

Clinton might want to step up her game and start having some real conversations about racial inequality if she hopes to win the young votes that helped elect President Obama in both 2008 and 2012, especially if Black Lives Matter has a say.

Were the protesters wrong for interrupting Hillary?  Take a look at the rally below:

Café Mocha Tackles Race Relations On This Weekend’s Episode

June 26th, 2015 - By Raven Carter
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Rolonda Watts

Rolonda Watts

This weekend the discussion is race relations. Rachel Dolezal isn’t the only one pretending to be Black. Dr. Jay Richards talks about the psychology behind this issue. Attorney and radio personality Mo Ivory also joins in the chat.

And just what does veteran CBS local newscaster Rolonda Watts think of the slanted way the media portrays Black victims? We’ll discuss the Charleston massacre as well.

Did Y’all See that Tami Roman, former Basketball Wives star, is pregnant at 45? Don’t miss the ladies of MadameNoire on the latest episode ofDid Y’all See on Café Mocha Radio this weekend. and check out the MadameNoire YouTube page for more.

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Visit Café Mocha Radio for air times around the country and on SiriusXM Channel 141. #CMR #CafeMocha

Fathers Talk Race and Parenting In ‘Brown Boy Bad’

May 26th, 2015 - By Kay Hudson
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Like many people, the killing of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of his killer troubled me.

Later, my misgivings were multiplied when both police officers accused of wrongdoing in the deaths of Eric Garner and Mike Brown were cleared.

I thought about what I could do to affect some type of change. As an automotive journalist for, I often create something I call a “test-drive-interview,” which consists of me interviewing someone while they test-drive a new car.

Obviously, we talk about the vehicle during these chats, but we talk about it in an organic, unscripted way. And we don’t just talk about the car. We also talk about the interviewee’s career and life decisions, what drives them (pun intended) and whether they tend to focus on the journey or the destination.

A big part of our editorial focus at is reaching out to affluent, Black women who are often overlooked by the automotive industry. As a result, all of the test-drive-interviews I’ve done in the past have been with women.

I decided the easiest way I could contribute to the #BlackLivesMatter movement was to create a new series of test-drive interviews featuring successful Black men. The idea being, that mainstream America needs to see more images of upstanding Black men in the media.

Later, I decided to ask my first male interviewee to wear a hoodie during his interview. I wanted to make the subconscious point that just because a Black man is large (like Eric Garner and Mike Brown) and wearing in a hoodie, does not mean that he is dangerous or unintelligent.

Before we started the interview, while I was still taking pictures of the test-drive vehicle, an unkempt white man with blackened teeth approached us. While his friend watched from the driver’s seat of a nearby cargo truck, the man spoke to us with a surly demeanor, claiming ownership of the vacant lot in which we were standing. He also kept one hand hidden inside the waistband of his pants—a familiar pantomime implying that he had a gun.

A tense conversation ensued.

After he understood that we were not whoever he assumed us to be, things took another uncomfortable turn. The man changed his tone from outright hostility to inappropriate familiarity. First, he assured us that he has Black friends and then he tried to sell us anything and everything that could be considered stereotypically Black. From BBQ ribs to an “old school” Buick Regal with big rims and tinted windows, you name it, he tried to sell it. Aggressively.

After they left, we tried to get back to our video shoot, but it was impossible to talk casually about the vehicle and it’s features when we both felt so offended by what had just happened. So, instead of talking about the car, we decided to talk specifically talk about race.

The results were better than I could have hoped for. Not only did we discuss race- and size-based assumption, but also how to discuss racism with our children in a society that considers itself post-racial.

The project has grown quickly. It now consists of two major parts: Brown Boy Bad(?), a series of test-drive-interviews with Black fathers, and B4 Brown Boy Bad a companion podcast (co-produced with Thomas Reid), in which these same fathers discuss their first childhood memory of racism.

You can find out more about the project, listen to the podcast, make a donation and purchase a limited edition Brown Boy Bad Bracelet at

Originally posted on

School and Race Relations: Kid-Friendly Rebuttals for the Baltimore Riots

May 1st, 2015 - By Rich
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“Mother, mother – there’s too many of you crying.” It’s a shame that those lyrics from decades ago still speak to the racially driven social climate today. For the better part of the week and weekend, many of us watched the peaceful protests and marches that took place in Baltimore over the recent death of Freddie Gray. The details behind what happened when Gray died while in police custody have yet to be released but footage recorded from an eye-witness clearly shows he was badly injured when they picked his limp body from the concrete to load him into the paddy wagon. Long story short – Baltimore residents are pissed and took to the streets – looting, rioting and destroying police squad cars.

My 13- year-old son is required to watch national news over the weekends because his father and I want him to be aware of what’s going on nationally and globally. He’s fully aware of the Freddie Gray story and we’ve discussed, once again, the lack of information behind a young black man’s death at the hands of police. He said there wasn’t even a mention of Freddie Gray at school and in the classroom until … wait for it … the riots! He came home frustrated and angry over the same uninformed “they” and “thug” questions and commentary from his white classmates and even teachers. So, I took it upon myself to make sure he knows how to refocus the argument to the fact that a man was killed by the people who are supposed to “protect” the public. Mommies, here are a few kid-friendly rebuttals for the Baltimore Riots.

School and Race Relations: Kid-Friendly Rebuttals for the Baltimore Riots

On #RaceTogether And The Struggle To Have The Right Conversations About Race Relations

April 1st, 2015 - By Alexandra Olivier
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Charlesimage /

Charlesimage /

Each morning, I start my day with a cup of coffee. I’ve been doing so since high school and I have yet to kick the habit. Initially a huge Dunkin’ Donuts fan, everything changed when I discovered Starbucks’ vanilla latté.

The usual order is a hot cup paired with a chocolate croissant, toasted please, and then I’m out the door–unless I plan to use the coffee shop as a workspace. It’s simple: get an overpriced coffee and croissant and bounce. But if Starbucks had their way, I would leave with a lot more than that.

You may have heard that the coffee haven attempted to add a layer of complexity to their cups of liquid gold. #RaceTogether – a campaign to encourage open discussions about race – lasted for just one week (ending on March 22) and is said to be in a state of renovation.

“We knew this wasn’t going to be easy — these are very complex conversations that are happening — and that some would be uncomfortable having them,” said Laurel Harper, a spokesperson for Starbucks, in a statement to the Chicago Tribune. “But really our intent was to build awareness and ignite conversations and begin to get comfortable in having conversations about race.”

And while I respect their intentions, I don’t necessarily believe that Starbucks is the proper forum to discuss deeper issues that plague society.

No one wants to be confronted with the harsh realities that discussing race relations brings. So tossing your views on race out there as you order a venti iced passion tango tea during your morning rush is irresponsible.

And while race is the hot topic many are too afraid to touch, it’s being discussed in some form everywhere; from Ava DuVernay’s release of Selma to the actions of the Alcohol Beverage Cops who used excessive force against Martese Johnson at the University of Virginia. We’re very aware of race relations and tension nowadays, but could that be holding us back from the discussions we need to be having?

Following the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown and Eric Garner, along with a wealth of new disturbing incidents, there is no escaping the realities of race. There is much to talk about and even more ignorance to deal with, but this isn’t a simple conversation to be had.

We are all scrambling for answers: How can black men still be getting lynched in the South? How can so many police officers get away with murdering black men and boys?

In our scramble, it appears that the discussions and solutions are watered down ones. This is a delicate issue that needs to be handled with care. One that should probably be discussed in a classroom, in the office, or better yet, at home. But a crowded and busy Starbucks? The setting does not offer barely enough time or opportunity to even share an introduction on centuries worth of hate.

We’ve become a community hell-bent on pointing out what is and isn’t racist, but with blinders focusing on one side of the argument versus the entire scope. There are discussions about “forgetting” race and pushing forward with a smile and forgiveness, much like Common tried to encourage in a recent interview, but that ignores the disturbing fact that race relations haven’t progressed much in this nation we live in.

I agree with Starbucks in the idea that there should be more of an effort made to have these conversations; but perhaps sponsoring a panel where a meeting of minds can take place is a better route than getting people to have a painful conversation while waiting in line for cappuccinos.

‘Whites Only’ Surfaces Again: Austin Lawyer Says He Was Posting ‘Exclusively For White People’ Stickers

March 23rd, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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via HuffPost Live clip

via HuffPost Live clip

A criminal defense attorney, Adam Reposa, has taken responsibility for posting stickers on Austin, TX businesses that say “Exclusively for white people.”

In addition, the stickers say “Maximum of 5 colored customers/colored BOH staff accepted.” BOH apparently means the “back of house” workers at a restaurant. The stickers also feature a city of Austin logo and claim to be “sponsored by the City of Austin Contemporary Partition and Restoration Program,” reports Yahoo. No such program exists.

According to Austin Mayor Steve Adler, the stickers were discovered Wednesday morning and he considers them “an appalling and offensive display of ignorance in our city.”

Racial tensions have been high in the city as it continues to grow and some people are being pushed out. In fact, a report last year found that Blacks were fleeing the city, opting instead for the suburbs.

Raul Alvarez, board president for the East Austin Conservancy, feels the stickers are probably in response to gentrification in the area on Austin’s east side. And he was right.

“I certainly share the concerns about the history and culture and affordability that’s being lost because of the rapid development, but our organization tends to focus on what it is we can do to preserve what makes East Austin unique and not focus on strategies that divide the community,” Alvarez told the Austin American-Statesman newspaper.

Reposa was much more blunt in his response, which is posted in the video below. Beware: There’s some NSFW language there.


While there might be some truth to what he’s saying, there’s more to the story. HuffPost Live says the stunt was also a promotion for his Facebook page. It’s called The Technology, but it’s unclear what exactly is going on there.

And he was in the news thanks to Vice in 2012 for an ad in which he’s basically screaming about being a lawyer and rear-ending a small car with his truck. Vice described him as “a lunatic.”

Umm… thoughts?