DCentric » Media http://dcentric.wamu.org Race, Class, The District. Wed, 16 May 2012 20:20:35 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Copyright © WAMU Farewell, DCentric http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/05/farewell-dcentric/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/05/farewell-dcentric/#comments Fri, 11 May 2012 16:14:56 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=16051 Continue reading ]]> Today is my last day as the senior reporter for DCentric. It’s been a little over a year since I started writing for this blog, and I’m blown away at just thinking about all of the interesting topics I’ve had the opportunity to explore.

I have my own highlights, among them: producing a series on D.C.’s unemployment divide; asking why the local crime and punishment museum hires black men to wear prison jumpsuits; exploring what’s behind rock bands playing D.C.’s Ethiopian restaurants; and writing about gentrification — a lot. I’m also grateful that I’ve been able to share some personal stories about identity. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my posts at least half as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

This beat has been challenging, too. Race and class can be loaded, emotionally-charged topics, and they typically come with broad declarations of what’s right and wrong. I’ve learned a lot in my time here, but above all, it’s that things aren’t usually cut and dry. I hope meaningful conversations about these issues continue to happen in D.C., and that they grow in number. Such discussions will be important as we figure out how to navigate all of the changes our city is going through.

So, many thanks to my colleagues, both here at WAMU 88.5 and elsewhere. You’ve provided me with support and feedback, and for that, I am grateful.

And finally, of course, I’d like to thank to you, the readers. I strongly believe in DCentric’s mission: to explore race and class and open up a space for elevated discourse. If I’ve had any success here, it’s in large part to the readers. Thank you for following my work, questioning it, offering insightful comments and contributing to this ongoing conversation, whether in person or over Twitter. I’m moving on, but stay in touch. Seriously!


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Can Wireless Tablets Bridge The Digital and Education Divide? http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/05/can-wireless-tablets-bridge-the-digital-and-education-divide/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/05/can-wireless-tablets-bridge-the-digital-and-education-divide/#comments Wed, 09 May 2012 19:38:25 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=15944 Continue reading ]]>

Elahe Izadi / DCentric

Teacher Bernadette DeSario works with students conducting historical research on wireless tablets.

Coolidge High School students sit in small groups as they prep for their Advanced Placement U.S. history exam. They’ll be expected to write essays on the materials they’ve learned.

“How or why did the anti-slavery movement become more radical during the period between 1815 and 1816?” teacher Bernadette DeSario asks the students during a class last week. ”We’re going to look at a couple of websites that will provide us with primary source documents.”

The students hunch over small, wireless tablets, swiping the screens as they read letters and other 19th century documents, looking for information to support their answers.

Coolidge doesn’t have many computers, principal Thelma Jarrett said. These students get to use tablets provided by Verizon Wireless, through a program running at four D.C. high schools. It’s intended to level the playing field for high school students in low-income schools, particularly as they get ready for college. The program includes tablets that students can use during class, and also a bus converted into a “learning lab,” stocked with tablets, printers and other devices. The bus, which visits the school once a week, is where students go to get help from Howard University tutors in writing college essays and applying to schools.

Coolidge is a Title 1 school, meaning a high percentage of its students come from low-income homes; 64 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunches. DeSario said many of her students don’t have access to technology, and that the using the tablets helps them develop good, online research skills.

“It’s putting them so far ahead,” she said. “When they get to college, they’re going to be expected to know how to use this technology.”

DeSario has seen increased class participation and better grades from some students after they starting using the tablets. “They’re so much more engaged,” she said.

Senior Lidya Abune said using the tablets has been useful, for both class work and in preparing for college.

“We can access research and we’re exposed to the technology,” she said. ”We didn’t have a lot of chances and opportunities to use the computers. And we have no Internet at home.”

That’s not uncommon in the District, which has a clear digital divide. Many people in low-income neighborhoods are not connected to high speed Internet.

Principal Jarrett said many students go to the library to use computers. She’d like to see the tablet program expand, which can pose an interesting alternative to standard computers. For one, they don’t require much space and they can be cheaper than desktops, she noted. The pilot program, which is at eight schools in D.C. and Maryland, is one that Verizon hopes to eventually expand.

Paying for college?

The Verizon Wireless program may provide some support in helping these students get into college. But there’s still the matter of how to pay for it. The cost of college has gone up dramatically — it’s tripled over the past three decades — and it’s increasingly becoming out-of-reach for the middle class, too.

Abune said she received help in fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and didn’t know a lot about the college application process. Her family “couldn’t afford it, but I really wanted to try and go to a good college.” She’ll be at Bucknell University in the fall on a full scholarship.

Others have applied to scholarships, but are prepared to take on student loan debt, such as senior Zenayda Berrios. She’ll be attending Bennett College, where tuition, room and board comes to about $24,000. The high cost isn’t deterring her from pursuing a degree in psychology, though.

Principal Jarrett said her approach is to not let the cost of college get in the way of students’ ambitions to attend.

“We encourage them to go for college, and then we’ll worry about paying for it,” she said.

She also noted that many students at the school qualify for federal Pell grants, given their income levels. But she acknowledged that many will have to turn to student loans, and “I know that is a last resort.”

Figuring out how to pay for post-secondary schooling will likely become a big issue in the District; a new D.C. measure requires all high school seniors to take a college entrance exam and apply to a college or trade school in order to graduate from high school.

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Marion Barry: Breaking Down Race, Plexiglass And ‘Dirty Shops’ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/04/marion-barry-breaking-down-race-plexiglass-and-dirty-shops/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/04/marion-barry-breaking-down-race-plexiglass-and-dirty-shops/#comments Fri, 06 Apr 2012 17:52:44 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=15228 Continue reading ]]>

dbking / Flickr

Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry

Councilman Marion Barry’s criticisms of Asian-owned stores in Ward 8 set off a whirlwind of criticism and debate Thursday. Here’s the rundown: Barry made some offhanded remarks after he won the contested Ward 8 council seat race, captured by NBC4 Washington: “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops. They ought to go, I’ll just say that right now, you know. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”

On Thursday, Barry’s Twitter account clarified his criticism, aiming it at carry-out joints that sell greasy food and put up plexiglass barriers between customers and employees. And many of such restaurants, he said, are owned by Asians. Barry faced criticism throughout Thursday, including denunciations from Councilman Tommy Wells (Ward 6), Council Chair Kwame Brown and Mayor Vincent Gray. Barry eventually apologized for offending the Asian American community. Barry said he intended to criticize some, not all, Asian-owned businesses, but he remained staunch in his view that Ward 8 deserves better food options and less plexiglass.

Part of Barry’s scourge centers on the feeling that predominately black Ward 8 is often disrespected, and that feeling is at the heart of many issues east of the Anacostia River. By bringing race into the mix, Barry touched upon a history of animosity. In many cities, some view Asian grocers and liquor store owners in predominately black communities as profiting off of customers while not treating them with respect.

In light of Barry’s comments, The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis spoke with Gary Cha, owner of Yes! Organic and past president of Korean-American Grocers Association. Cha, who owns a Ward 8 grocery store, told DeBonis that Barry “shouldn’t have said Asians.” But, Cha added:

Any of those people running a dirty store that have an adverse impact on the community should go. And sometimes I am ashamed some of the Asian business owners don’t spend the time to keep the stores in a respectful manner.

… I do go around and say, look, if you clean your store, your business will probably go up by 65 percent, no-brainer. I’ve probably said that a thousand times to people, but it doesn’t work. … In that sense I am with [Barry], but just like saying things about African-Americans — not all African-Americans do certain things.

Ward 7 faces a similar problem with the lack of sit-down eateries and proliferation of plexiglass, which can make customers feel like they’re being suspected as criminals. Thai Orchid’s Kitchen was originally supposed to open in Ward 7 as a carryout joint, plexiglass and all (co-owner Ramaesh Bhagirat of Guyana has lived in Ward 7 for 20 years). But neighbors reached out to the owners, and D.C officials enforced zoning rules. The restaurant opened sans glass, with chairs.

But what happens when such pioneers get robbed? In the case of Thai Orchid’s Kitchen, neighbors rallied around the owners after an armed robbery, spawning regular, large dinners and convinced Bhagirat to stay put.

The psychology of the plexiglass (informally called “bulletproof glass”) is potent, and black proprietors can feel the need to use it, as well. The glass barrier is partially a relic of post-1968 riots D.C., and having plexiglass can make business owners and employees feel safer (despite studies showing that plexiglass is not that much of a crime deterrent). For some proprietors, the decision to balance personal safety with making a show of respect is a painful one to make. Take Olivia’s Cupcakes; when the shop opened in Ward 7, owner Cindy Bullock said, “It broke my heart to do that, but it’s a deterrent.”

As far as Barry’s complaint of unhealthy options and few sit-down eateries: some are trying to change that, too. Earlier this year, District officials led business owners and investors on tours of Ward 8, encouraging them to open up shop and increase culinary choices.

At the end of the day, there a number of factors that contribute to improving Ward 8′s food options. And getting nicer restaurants and stores will take more than telling proprietors to take down plexiglass, whether they’re Asian or not.

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In Your Words: George Zimmerman And To Be White And Hispanic http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/in-your-words-george-zimmerman-and-to-be-white-and-hispanic/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/in-your-words-george-zimmerman-and-to-be-white-and-hispanic/#comments Wed, 28 Mar 2012 17:44:16 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=14890 Continue reading ]]>

Courtesy of Orange County Jail

A 2005 photo of George Zimmerman.

Race looms large in the story of Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teenager shot and killed by Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman claimed self-defense in the Feb. 26 incident and hasn’t be charged with a crime. The lack of charges have led to nationwide protests by those who believe Zimmerman would have been charged had Martin not been black.

But how much does the race of the shooter matter in the story? Zimmerman’s father is identified as white and his mother as Hispanic. Many believe Zimmerman racially profiled Martin, but Zimmerman’s family has used his ethnic heritage as a defense against such claims.

A number of you weighed in on the role of race in the story and the complexity of racial identity for Hispanics, who are considered a minority group in the United States. C_vs writes that Hispanic is an ethnicity, referring to “people of various backgrounds who are united by the Spanish language and Latin-American culture.” But Hispanics can be of any race.

Laribos writes that the Martin case highlights the need for more nuanced ways to identify Hispanics:

… As Latinos continue to increase in numbers and political power in the USA, I believe that we will need to get used to making this distinction between Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic whites.  As it currently is, we US Americans are so used to assuming that “white” refers exclusively to Anglo-Saxon or Nordic white people.  Now, we need to get rid of that assumption, and comprehend the complexity of white/European identity.  Not all white people in the USA are descended from northern/western Europeans; there are also millions of white people whose ancestors come from Latin America (but whose ancestors’ ancestors originally came from Spain/Portugal/other parts of Europe).

So yeah, it’s not so popular yet for US Americans to talk about “White Latinos” or “White Hispanics” or “Mestizos” in the national discourse, but again, now that Latinos (not only white Latinos, but also black and brown Latinos) are increasing in numbers and political strength, the rest of us US Americans are gonna need to get used to it.

Commenter Kathleen Rand Reed writes that Hispanics should explore their identity choices before going down the same route that other light-skinned immigrants have gone, such as the Irish and Italians. Lighter-skinned Latinos who identify racially as “white” and ethnically “of color” are traveling down “an identity two-way street,” Reed writes:

When benefits are distributed (especially those to assuage injustice and discrimination toward African Americans) or they are in legal trouble many Latinos want to be considered “minorities”.  But for the privileges, these same Latinos check “White” on the forms for racial identity, much like the Italians, Sicilians and Irish learned to do in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Other commenters wrote that the media shouldn’t treat Zimmerman as white. Janet Page wrote:

The media is constantly pitting ‘Whites’ against ‘Hispanics’ in immigration issues. Now when it is convenient to make a story racist the description changes and Hispanics are now white. You can’t have it both ways. There might indeed be a racist element to the story but you should stop calling it white on black.

Others felt focusing on Zimmerman’s race isn’t as relevant as Martin’s race. JayT writes:

… It’s not the fact that it was between what’s mistakenly pronounced as black and white males, by some, but the complete handling or mishandling, if you will, of the case, due to the fact that the victim was a black male. I believe those variables are what prompts one to then bring in the division of races along with the mere fact that Hispanics are not apart of the Black group although both sides are often synonymous with the term “minority”.

Federal authorities have gotten involved in the investigation and as the case continues to unfold, Zimmerman’s race has become less and less of a focus in media coverage. Do you think it’s irrelevant to the story?

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Dissecting Geraldo Rivera’s Hoodie Comment http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/dissecting-geraldo-riveras-hoodie-comment/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/dissecting-geraldo-riveras-hoodie-comment/#comments Fri, 23 Mar 2012 18:27:41 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=14897 Continue reading ]]>

Peter Kramer / Getty Images

Geraldo Rivera is a FOX News correspondent.

Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old black Florida teenager killed by Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman, was wearing a hoodie at the time of the shooting. Zimmerman, who hasn’t been charged with a crime, told a 911 dispatcher that Martin “looks like he’s up to no good, or on drugs or something,”

As the case has captured national attention, many have focused on the hoodie. It’s being used as a symbol to stand in solidarity with the Martin family, and now, it’s being partially blamed for the incident. Controversial television personality Geraldo Rivera said on the March 23 edition of “Fox and Friends” that:

I believe that George Zimmerman, the overzealous neighborhood watch captain should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law and if he is criminally liable, he should be prosecuted. But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.

Rivera went on to say that he tells his “dark-skinned” son Cruz to not leave the house wearing a hoodie because “people look at you and they — what do they think? What’s the instant identification, what’s the instant association?”

Many then took to Twitter to criticize Rivera, who then tweeted this:

Its sad that I have to be the one reminding minority parents of the risk that comes with being a kid of color in America--channel the rage
Geraldo Rivera

Rivera’s advice shifts responsibility from aggressors to victims, much like saying rape victims were “asking for it” because of what they were wearing. But Rivera’s statements also somewhat allude to the painful decisions that many parents have to confront, of how to protect their black and brown children in a world where racism exists and can costs lives.

A more nuanced approach comes in a TIME piece entitled “How to Talk to Young Black Boys About Trayvon Martin” by Touré. The fourth point (emphasis mine) reads:

You will have to make allowances for other people’s racism. That’s part of the burden of being black. We can be defiant and dead or smart and alive. I’m not saying you can’t wear what you want, but your clothes are a red herring. They’ll blame it on your hoodie or your jeans when the real reason they decided you were a criminal is that you’re black. Of course, you know better. Racism is about reminding you that you are less human, less valuable, less worthy, less beautiful, less intelligent. It’s about prejudging you as violent, fearsome, a threat. Some people will take that prejudice and try to force their will on you to make sure you feel like a second-class citizen and to make certain you get back to the lower-class place they think you’re trying to escape. The best way to counter them involves not your fists but your mind. You know your value to the world and how terrific you are. If you never forget that, they can’t damage your spirit. The best revenge is surviving and living well.

Still, many parents fear that no matter how well they prepare their children, they can still become the victims of violence because of their appearances. Liz Dwyer of GOOD writes one of her sons doesn’t think he can be gunned down like Trayvon, partially because of where he lives:

I’m glad he believes he’s safe, but Trayvon was in a gated community, not an urban ghetto. Ruha Benjamin, assistant professor of sociology and African American studies at Boston University, says middle-class black Americans cannot “buy our way out of racial violence.” Benjamin, who has two boys of her own, says the reality is that our sons, “no matter how well-dressed, how well-spoken, might be in the wrong gated community with the wrong bag of threatening Skittles and get mowed down by someone who has decided, essentially, they are out of place.”

Martin wasn’t targeted simply because he was wearing a hoodie, because a hoodie, in of itself, isn’t a symbol that an individual is up to no good. It matters who is wearing it and where. Would Zimmerman have called 911, reporting a “suspicious” person in his gated community, had Martin been a white girl wearing a hoodie? What if Martin hadn’t been wearing a hoodie at all? Martin could have been wearing different clothes, but he couldn’t change the fact that he was young, black and male.

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Trayvon Martin And How ‘A Million Hoodies’ Began http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/trayvon-martin-and-how-a-million-hoodies-began/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/trayvon-martin-and-how-a-million-hoodies-began/#comments Thu, 22 Mar 2012 18:10:54 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=14847 Continue reading ]]>

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Supporters of Trayvon Martin rally in Union Square during a "Million Hoodie March" in Manhattan on March 21

The case of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager shot and killed Feb. 26 by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., has captured the nation’s attention. The shooter, George Zimmerman, claims self-defense and hasn’t been charged with a crime.

“This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or on drugs or something,” Zimmerman told a 911 dispatcher, adding that Martin was wearing “a dark hoodie, like a gray hoodie.” Moments later, Zimmerman shot an unarmed Martin in the chest, and claimed it was in self-defense.

Daniel Maree, 24, started the Million Hoodies for Trayvon Martin rally and social media campaign.

Federal authorities said Monday that they would take over* join the investigation. The announcement came on the same day that Daniel Maree, a 24-year-old digital strategist in New York City, wrote a blog post and uploaded a YouTube video, pushing for Zimmerman to be charged. Maree asked people to post photos of themselves wearing hoodies with the hashtag #millionhoodies, sign a petition calling for Zimmerman’s prosecution and for New Yorkers to march on Union Square Wednesday. The Million Hoodies for Trayvon Martin movement is now spreading to other cities, including D.C. (Disclosure: Maree used to be my neighbor and we’ve hung out a few times).

The Martin case resonated with Maree on a number of levels. He grew up in South Africa where “as a black person you feel like you’re at home” since the country is majority-black, Maree said.

“When you come to the States, when I came, it was kind of surprising. You actually do feel like a minority, because you are one. That feeling is tangible,” Maree said. “And then to have situations like this, which happened to Trayvon Martin, it shows it’s not just a feeling that we’re imagining. It’s real.”

Maree also spent some time in Florida as a kid, and lived there for two years before relocating to D.C. for college. In Florida, he remembered “coming home late at night sometimes and being stopped by the police for no other reason than for being a young African American in a gated community,” he said. When he heard about the Martin case, Maree said, “I immediately thought, ‘This could be me. This could be my little sister [who still lives in Florida].’ And, to me, that felt totally unacceptable.”

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Supporters of Trayvon Martin rally in Union Square during a "Million Hoodie March" in Manhattan on March 21.

Such sentiments have been articulated by many others in recent days, including in pieces published in The New York Times and GOOD, and in one that aired on MSNBC.

The case has spurred a national conversation and people from around the world began posting hoodie photos Wednesday. Maree said some of the most powerful images have been photographs parents have taken of their young children in hoodies. Hundreds of people showed up for the New York rally Wednesday, including the Martin family. Another rally will take place on 2 p.m., Saturday at D.C.’s Freedom Plaza.

In the past, similar social media movements have received criticism as being an easy way to feel involved — or slactivism. A few YouTube commenters have made similar criticisms of the million hoodies movement, which Maree rejects.

“I don’t think standing in solidarity with people, in any way, shape or form is a small thing. It’s a very powerful message that you can send,” he said.

Race has loomed large in the Martin case, even as questions rage over the racial identity of his shooter and its relevance in the larger story. But even though the case raises issues of racial profiling and discrimination in the justice system, the crowd at the New York rally was a racially diverse one, Maree said. And before the crowd, Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said. “This is not about a black or a white thing. This is about a right or wrong thing.”

*This post has been updated.

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Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman And Beyond Black And White http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/trayvon-martin-george-zimmerman-and-beyond-black-and-white/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/trayvon-martin-george-zimmerman-and-beyond-black-and-white/#comments Tue, 20 Mar 2012 15:28:26 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=14785 Continue reading ]]>

Werth Media / Flickr

A photo of Trayvon Martin appears on a protester's sign during a March 19 rally in Sanford, Fla.

A national debate about racism in the criminal justice system has been reignited by the Feb. 26 killing of an unarmed black teenager in Florida by a non-black man who hasn’t been charged with a crime.

Here’s what happened, according to news reports and newly-released 911 recordings: Trayvon Martin, 17, was walking from a convenience store to his father’s house in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. That’s when Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman, 28, spotted him. Zimmerman called 911, reporting a seeing a suspicious person. “This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something,” Zimmerman said to the dispatcher, and began following Martin. A struggle ensued and Martin, unarmed, was fatally shot in the chest. Zimmerman claims self defense and hasn’t been charged with a crime. Federal authorities announced late Monday that they would launch a full-scale criminal investigation following protests over local police’s handling of the case.

The narrative appears to be a sadly familiar one, of seemingly double standards, of little to no punishment when the shooter is white and when the person shot is black. Benjamin Crump, the Martin family’s lawyer, has said that if the roles were reversed and Trayvon Martin was the shooter of a white man, an arrest would have been made immediately.

Orange County Jail

A 2005 photo of George Zimmerman.

But a letter from Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman, to the Orlando Sentinel complicates the narrative. Robert Zimmerman writes that his son, George, is “a Spanish speaking minority.” (He also goes on write that his son has black family members. “The media portrayal of George as a racist could not be further from the truth,” the letter states.).

Orlando Sentinel reporter Rene Stutzman has been closely following the case and had an exclusive interview with Robert Zimmerman. Stutzman tells DCentric that George Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is Hispanic.

Does Zimmerman’s Hispanic heritage change the larger story? Maybe not, but it does demonstrate that America’s longstanding black-white debates about racism have been complicated by the country’s shifting demographics. Racial identity for Hispanics is much more fluid than for other groups. Many Hispanic immigrants feel they are accepted as white by larger society, but those with darker complexions still face plenty of discrimination, according to a 2010 American Sociological Association report. In other words, a light skinned Hispanic, such as Zimmerman, may be treated as a white man by larger society, while a darker Hispanic may be treated as black. And when it comes to racial profiling, anyone can discriminate against anyone else. A person can even be sued for racially discriminating against another person of the same race.

In the end, no matter how many debates about race this case spurs, one thing won’t change: a teenager who was carrying little more than a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea is dead. And for now, a community is torn apart as so many questions remain unanswered.

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Photos: What Won’t You Stand For? http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/02/photos-what-wont-you-stand-for/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/02/photos-what-wont-you-stand-for/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2012 21:07:02 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=14413 Continue reading ]]> Want to end racism? Why not start with putting it on a T-shirt.

Until 8 p.m. today, a pop-up booth will be in Farrguat Square where people can create T-shirts with customized messages. It’s part of USA Network’s Characters Unite campaign to bring awareness to hate and discrimination.

Passersby can stamp T-shirts that read “I won’t stand for…” with a number of words, including discrimination, intolerance, homophobia, racism, sexism and hate. Some individuals, including D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, told DCentric about what they chose to stand against. Is there anything you won’t stand for? Why?


Mayor Vincent Gray linked his T-shirt message to the fight for D.C. statehood. The District doesn’t have a voting member in Congress.  “We live with injustice every day in the District,” Mayor Gray said. “We live in a city where we can’t even approve our own budget with money we raised on our own. That, to me, is an injustice.” Rebecca McClay, 34 of D.C. said she wouldn’t stand for hate crimes against any variety. “It’s something that’s really appalling,” she said. “It seems to be in the news a lot lately and it seems to be very difficult to stop.” Charles King, 42, lives in Virginia. He said discrimination stood out to him. “I have dealt with it myself, my dad has, going back generations,” he said. “In this millennium, something like that shouldn’t exist.” Cary Hatch, 55, owns an advertising agency near Farragut Square and brought her employees to the booth. “Hate in any form really doesn’t fit in today’s society,” she said. “Whether I see discrimination or just people being marginalized, it’s all a form of hate.” Kennethia Simmons said she wouldn’t stand for violence. “People are getting killed every day over something dumb,” she said. The 20-year-old D.C. resident said her brother was killed last year. Tanya Moore, 36 of Oklahoma, works in a soup kitchen and food pantry. She chose injustice because “it fits pretty much everything we see and deal with on a daily basis.” Erica Hunter, 33 of Maryland said, “I don’t deal well with individuals who can’t tolerate others on any level.” Lanie Liem, 22 and an intern temporarily living in D.C, is originally from California, says she’s an advocate for LGBT, or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. “In California, we had the whole vote on Proposition 8,” she said, referring to a referendum that would outlaw gay marriage. “It’s stressful that we have a vote on our rights.” Althea Edwards, 50 of D.C., said she wouldn’t stand for injustice, particularly as it relates to homelessness and healthcare. “There’s a lot of injustice in America and if we don’t pull together we’re not going to get out of this mess,” she said. ]]>
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‘Linsanity’ and the Redskins: Race in Sports http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/02/linsanity-and-the-redskins-race-in-sports/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/02/linsanity-and-the-redskins-race-in-sports/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2012 20:10:17 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=14376 Continue reading ]]> Race has increasingly become part of the story in the buzz around the first Asian American NBA starter, Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks. Last week, a headline writer at ESPN was fired for publishing the headline “Chink in the armor” following a Knicks’ loss. The discussions and outrage surrounding the offensiveness of the phrase have led some in the D.C. area to revive an old question: is the name of Washington’s football team, the Redskins, racist?

Local newscaster Jim Vance offered his commentary during an NBC4 telecast, calling for greater attention and dialogue to the appropriateness of the team name. He states, “I don’t know if it should or not be changed, but I’d sure rather not be cussed out for raising the question.”

View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

But despite such calls, there’s little impetus to change Washington’s franchise name. In 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case brought by Native American activists who wanted the team name changed. And the Redskins team is one of the most profitable in the country, so there’s a lot of brand value attached to the team name.

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Help Diversify Our Reporting http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/02/help-diversify-our-reporting/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/02/help-diversify-our-reporting/#comments Fri, 24 Feb 2012 18:37:35 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=14332 Continue reading ]]>

Roger H. Goun / Flickr

Have you moved to D.C. in the past few years, but already had some kind of connection to the city? Perhaps you grew up here, or your parents once lived here. DCentric wants to hear your stories, and you can share them with us by filling out this brief survey.

The survey is DCentric’s first foray into a new WAMU 88.5 initiative called the Public Insight Network. It aims to create an online database of regular, everyday people who want to inform our station’s reporting by sharing their diverse experiences and backgrounds. Particularly given DCentric’s focus on race and class, this program is another way to diversify the voices that are heard in local media reports.

By filling out the DCentric form, or this generic one, you’ll become part of the database that our station’s reporters and producers can comb to find sources. And for those concerned about privacy, here are some of the basics: we won’t quote you without explicit permission and your information won’t be shared with anyone outside of the newsroom.

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