Born Biracial is out!

FOR RELEASE ON April 24, 2019


Susan Graham


Born Biracial is about the birth of a national civil rights movement


The White mother of two biracial children, Susan Graham realized her census form required her to pick only one race for her children. Wanting further explanation, she called the Census Bureau. She was put on hold for a very long time while they tried to figure out the answer. They got a supervisor involved. Finally, the United States Census Bureau employee said, “You should put down the race of the mother for your children.”

“But that can’t be right,” Graham answered. “They are not just my race. They are biracial.”

“Well, they can’t be.”

“I beg your pardon, but they are,” Graham replied.

“Not to us,” the man answered.

“Excuse me, but why should they arbitrarily be classified as the mother’s race and not the father’s?”

“Because in cases like this,” he answered in a very hushed voice, “you always know for sure who the mother is, but not the father.” That was in 1990, and it caused Graham to start a national movement to rectify the situation.

Now, with the 2020 Census looming, Susan Graham went after and got the changes her children and children like them need. The emotional memoir of her marriage to a CNN anchor, being a mother to biracial children, divorce, and remarriage are woven into the story. In Born Biracial: How One Mother Took on Race in America, Graham’s sometimes turbulent personal story will make you cheer for the underdog in battles against the government and other minority organizations.

You’ll be touched by the cover comments from baseball Hall of Fame legend Rod Carew, whose daughter died for the lack of a biracial bone marrow donor. The praises by Dr. C .Vasquez and others will make you want to turn the pages and you’ll be hooked from the words of people who stood with Graham over the years and fought the good fight. Interracial families, educational institutions, libraries, and multicultural organizations should all own a copy.

This memoir is the perfect addition to any personal library for Mother’s Day. It is a mother’s story of how she fought for recognition for her children and those like them. A primer for advocates, this book is an important how-to for people who want to bring about change.

Susan Graham is the founder, president, and executive director of Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally). Specializing in race/ethnicity and public policy and an advocate for civil rights, Graham has testified before congressional committees in Washington. She has also been published in The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Orlando Sentinel, and in other major newspapers and magazines. Graham is married to Portuguese-American poet Sam Pereira.

Born Biracial (Memories Press, 2019, 240 pages, $14.95 ISBN:978-1-7339088) can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers.



Civil Rights Investigation

Civil Rights Office Investigating School Closures in Houston

The  civil rights office in the U.S. Department of Education is looking into a complaint that the closures of two predominantly minority Houston schools—Jones High School and Dodson Elementary School —discriminated against black and Hispanic students.

The complaint was filed by Charles X. White, of the Sunnyside and South Park neighborhood group, according to the Houston Chronicle.

School closures—primarily schools in minority neighborhoods— have been a lightning rod of debate in recent years. Urban school districts have responded to population losses and rising operating costs by consolidating and/or closing neighborhood schools and opening charter schools. But many parents in those neighborhoods have objected to the closures, arguing that they disproportionately affect minority students.

In May, the Washington, D.C.-based Advancement Project  filed three complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights division, contending that the closures and privatization in Chicago, New Orleans, and Newark, N. J., violated  Title VI of the Civil Rights Act because they heavily primarily affected African-American and Latino communities.

The Houston Independent School District board voted in March to close Dodson Elementary School and turn Jones High School into a specialty vocational school.  The superintendent had proposed closing five schools, but that number was whittled down to two.

The civil rights office confirmed the investigation to the Houston Chronicle and has sought more information from the district. The school district says it is taking the complaint very seriously and is cooperating with the department’s request for information.

“We believe that once the OCR has all the information it needs, HISD’s intent of providing the best schools for all children will be clear,” the district told the paper.

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Big Data and Racial Discrimination

White House says big data could be used to discriminate against Americans


Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images.


WASHINGTON — A White House review of how the government and private sector use large sets of data has found that such information could be used to discriminate against Americans on issues such as housing and employment even as it makes their lives easier in many ways.

“Big data” is everywhere.

It allows mapping apps to ping cellphones anonymously and determine, in real time, what roads are the most congested. But it also can be used to target economically vulnerable people.

Federal laws have not kept up with the rapid development of technology in a way that would shield people from discrimination.

The review, expected to be released within the next week, is the Obama administration’s first attempt at addressing the vast landscape of challenges, beyond national security and consumer privacy, posed by technological advancements.

President Barack Obama requested the review in January, when he called for changes to some of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs that amass large amounts of data belonging to Americans and foreigners.

The technology that enabled those programs also enables others used in the government and the private sector. The White House separately has reviewed the NSA programs and proposed changes to rein in the massive collection of Americans’ phone records and emails.

“It was a moment to step back and say, `Does this change our basic framework or our look at the way we’re dealing with records and privacy,’” Obama’s counselor, John Podesta, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“With the rapidity of the way technology changes, it’s going to be hard to imagine what it’s going to look like a generation from now. But at least we can look out over the horizon and say, `Here are the trends. What do we anticipate the likely policy issues that it raises?’”

Podesta led the 90-day review, along with some of Obama’s economic and science advisers. The goal, Podesta said, was to assess whether current laws and policies about privacy are sufficient.

But an unexpected concern emerged during White House officials’ meetings with business leaders and privacy advocates: how big data could be used to target consumers and lead to discriminatory practices.

Civil rights leaders, for example, raised in discussions with the White House the issue of employers who use data to map where job applicants live and then rate them based on that, particularly in low-paying service jobs.

“While big data is revolutionizing commerce and government for the better, it is also supercharging the potential for discrimination,” said Wade Henderson, president and chief executive officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Some employers might worry that if an applicant lives far enough away from a job, he or she may not stay in the position for long. As more jobs move out of the city and into the suburbs, this could create a hiring system based on class.

“You’re essentially being dinged for a job for really arbitrary characteristics,” said Chris Calabrese, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. “Use of this data has a real impact on peoples’ lives.”

The civil rights advocates could not offer specific examples of such injustices, but instead talked about how the data could be used in a discriminatory way.

Federal employment laws don’t address this nuanced tactic, Calabrese said. Similarly, anti-discrimination laws for housing make it illegal to target customers based on credit reports. But the laws don’t address the use of other data points that could group people into clusters based on information gleaned from social media.

For instance, companies sell data amassed from social media sites that clumps people into clusters, such as the “Ethnic Second-City Struggler” category. A bank could target people who posted something on social media about losing a job as a likely candidate for a high-interest loan. The idea is that a person who lost a job may be behind on mortgage payments and might be open to a high-interest loan to help get out of a bind, Calabrese said.

“You are individually targeted for a loan based on inclusion on one of these lists and get a high interest rate. That is in spite of the fact that if you walked in off the street you might qualify for a lower rate. You never know that you are being targeted individually since you just click on an ad on the side of a website,” Calabrese explained. “That is the discrimination.”

Jennifer Barrett Glasglow, chief privacy officer for data broker Acxiom, said her company in Little Rock, Ark., screens clients before selling them data to help ensure that the data will be used appropriately and not for discriminatory reasons.

She also said a discriminatory offer can be made without Acxiom data.

“We’ve got to be careful that we don’t go after the data itself,” she said.

Glasglow said the “Ethnic Second-City Struggler” category can be very effective for reaching communities in need, such as for advertising a sale or an offer that provides more affordable services. Glasglow said consumers can report what they believe to be unfair practices to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“Let’s go after the people engaged in bad practices,” she said.

The concept of putting people into categories, or “segmenting,” for marketing purposes is not new, said Eric Siegel, an expert in predictive analytics, which is the art of determining what to do with data on behaviors ranging from shopping habits to criminal activity.

Few dispute that there are lots of good reasons to use big data.

“There’s been a push by the administration to say that these are important tools, and the ability to apply analytics to that data is important for a whole range of issues from health care to education to public safety,” Podesta said.

It can help communities be more efficient.

A New York data-analysis operation under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg allowed the city to pinpoint properties with a higher risk of deadly fires by analyzing fire department data in conjunction with data on illegal housing complaints and foreclosures.

The federal government recently announced an initiative to provide private companies and local governments with better access to climate data. This data could help communities and developers decide where not to build based on predictions about sea levels.

Political campaigns, particularly the 2012 presidential campaign, rely on large data sets to target specific donors who might be able to deliver the most cash. Those kinds of analyses led to a multibillion-dollar haul in contributions, the most expensive White House run in history.

Nuala O’Connor, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said there needs to be more transparency in how companies are using this data, and that means updating some laws.

One is the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act of 1986. Podesta said he will recommend an update to that law, which governs how the government can access private communications for law enforcement purposes. This is something privacy advocates and some members of Congress have long sought.

“There are certainly gaps in the law,” O’Connor said, speaking broadly. “The technology is outpacing regulatory and legislative change.”

Source: PBS Newshour

DOE Still Wrong, says The Multiracial Advocacy

What is so maddening about this is that the U. S. Department of Education still refuses to use the term “multiracial” in their data. What civil rights do multiracial people have if they are not part of the data used to determine discrimination?! No doubt, OMB will approve this. -Susan 

Education Department to Delay New Civil Rights Data Survey Questions



In response to a slew of complaints from schools and districts, the U.S. Department of Education is planning to delay for two years a significant expansion of its civil-rights data collection that asked more questions about student discipline and bullying.

The Education Department had wanted to dig deeper into school discipline and other issues starting in the 2013-14 school year. But now, that information won’t be required until the 2015-16 school year, according to new documents posted on the office for civil rights’ website.

Data points that will be delayed include: the number of incidents of violent and serious crimes, number of school days missed by students who received out-of-school suspensions, and number of allegations of harassment or bullying on the basis of sexual orientation or religion.

Reporting that data will be optional. And the department says in its Dec. 4 Federal Register response that it will use the extra time to “provide intensive technical assistance to schools and school districts so they will be prepared to provide accurate data when required for the 2015-16 collection.”

The Education Department, which received nearly 300 comments on the proposed new questions, said “many of the commenters who raised concerns about the proposed data collection focused on the need for more notice and lead time to provide comprehensive and accurate data…”

In a statement today, the department told me: “The proposed additions and changes to the 2013-14 and 2015-16 [data collection] reflect the need for a deeper understanding of and accurate data about the educational opportunities and school context for our nation’s students.”

Indeed, accuracy of the civil rights’ data has been a problem. The data collection became public last year for the first time, and reports school-level data that often can’t be found anywhere else on everything from course-taking to grade-level retention.

Federal officials, however, are keeping a few new questions for the 2013-14 year, including ones about chronic absenteeism, distance education, and the cost to parents of preschool and kindergarten programs. (Schools and districts will answer the survey questions in the fall of 2014, which will reflect data from the 2013-14 academic year.)

Final approval of this new data collection, which must come from the federal Office of Management and Budget, is expected in early 2014.

Source: Education Week

Civil Rights Documentaries

Initiative Promotes Civil Rights History With Free Documentaries

From guest blogger Alyssa Morones

A new initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities will provide schools and communities with free access to documentaries that trace the history of the civil rights movement, from the first seeds of change that sprouted in the 1820s to the 1967 Supreme Court decision that overturned the ban on interracial marriage.

The website was launched this week, and comes in the wake of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

In addition to selected clips from the documentaries, the initiative, called Created Equal, will feature an array of resources for communities to have their own film screenings and conduct reflective discussions, according to a press release from the NEH. The featured documentaries include The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, The Loving Story, and Freedom Riders.

Funding for the Created Equal initiative comes through a cooperative agreement between the NEH and the Gilder Lehrman Institute. The NEH’s Division of Public Programs, and its Bridging Cultures and We the People initiatives funded this cooperative agreement.

Over the next three years, the initiative will provide funding to 473 communities to host public discussion programs centered around the films, according to the press release. Each recipient will receive a film set and $1,200 in programming grants. The programs will be held at public libraries, museums, NAACP chapters, African American heritage sites, and cultural centers across the nation. Events already planned by these venues include everything from film screenings to book discussions to theatrical productions to interviews with former activists.

The website will also supply background essays by civil rights scholars and lesson plans to help teachers meet college and career-ready Standards through guided classroom discussions and by giving students the background texts and materials necessary to assert and defend an argument.

Speaking of the civil rights movement, we noted in a recent blog post here that new social studies standards in Tennessee have won high marks from the Southern Poverty Law Center for their treatment of the issue.

Source: Education Week

Supreme Court Case

Civil rights, employment discrimination, HARASSMENT, Title VII
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar
April 24, 2013
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Eradicating unlawful discrimination and retaliation in the workplace is one of core purposes of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Respondent Dr. Naiel Nassar, a former faculty member of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW), alleges that his employer denied him a job in retaliation for a prior resignation letter alleging race discrimination in the workplace. Specifically, Nassar’s resignation letter stated that his supervisor made derogatory comments about his Middle Eastern descent. Petitioner UTSW argues that Nassar needs to prove that retaliation was the sole motivating factor for the negative employment action. In contrast, Nassar argues that he need only show that retaliation was a motivating factor, but not necessarily the only one, for the negative employment action. A holding for UTSW may make it more difficult for victims of retaliation under Title VII to sue their employers, whereas a holding for Nassar may increase the costs borne by employers in defending against potentially meritless litigation.
Source: [LII] Legal Information Institute | Cornell Law School

PR Kids President: “MLK would be proud!”

I worked with my friends Tommy and Jordan cleaning up this beach.

This past weekend I helped out in the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service. Our service project was to help people along the Jersey Shore who are still really in bad shape after Super Storm Sandy. My parents were in charge of this whole project. We had 329 people there to help.
We saw so many destroyed houses including this one in Mantoloking.
The police chief had ordered that kids under 18 were not allowed to work inside houses because it was very dangerous. Many houses were about to fall down. Others that looked okay outside were full of dangerous mold inside. My friends Tommy, Jordan, Matthew and I worked together. 
As Matthew’s dad drove us down the Barrier Island on the way to the area we were assigned to clean, we saw things much worse than I ever saw on the news. I really thought that 3 months after Sandy things would be better.
We saw a bunch of big arcade games on the street. They used to be on a boardwalk that was completely washed away by the storm.  We saw houses on their side and others completely cracked like an eggshell. As we cleaned up the beach, we dug up roof shackles and cinder blocks that were covered with sand, but we have no idea how far away the water brought them from. 
I felt proud of the work we did because I was helping people. I think Martin Luther King, Jr. was proud of us too. I also think he would be really proud of what we are doing for equality at Project RACE. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great person. He did a lot of good for people of different races while he was alive. And even now after he was killed, people are still doing great things in honor of what he stood for. He knew people could make a difference and so do we. That’s why we have Project RACE. We believe we can make a difference for multiracial people. Even kids!
– Karson

Civil Rights Advocate Dies

Eugene Patterson, voice on civil rights, dies at 89

Published January 13, 2013
Associated Press
  • Obit Eugene Patterson_Cala.jpg

    Eugene Patterson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and columnist whose impassioned words helped draw national attention to the civil rights movement as it unfolded across the South, has died at 89.
    Patterson, who helped fellow whites to understand the problems of racial discrimination, died Saturday evening in Florida after complications from prostate cancer, according to B.J. Phillips, a family spokeswoman
    Patterson was editor of the Atlanta Constitution from 1960 to 1968, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1967 for editorial writing. His famous column of Sept, 16, 1963, about the Birmingham, Ala., church bombing that killed four girls — “A Flower for the Graves” — was considered so moving that he was asked by Walter Cronkite to read it nationally on the “CBS Evening News.”
    “A Negro mother wept in the street Sunday morning in front of a Baptist Church in Birmingham,” Patterson began his column. “In her hand she held a shoe, one shoe, from the foot of her dead child. We hold that shoe with her.

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Canada: York cops continue to battle hate crimes

Jeremy Grimaldi
December 30, 2012

N-Racism 1-mb

Hate crime targets, Seun Oyinsan and Rita Brown were targets of racism that shocked the GTA. photo: Michael Barrett

When an interracial Newmarket couple had their lives threatened and their cars and home scrawled with racist graffiti, the region gasped.  There was embarrassment and anger locally and throughout the GTA. There was shock. Much of the Toronto media portrayed the incident, which began to unfold a year ago, as the result of small town struggling with growth and diversity. Others, however, including Newmarket Mayor Tony Van Bynen, never wavered from their belief this was not a random act. The latter group was right, as the man convicted of the crimes turned out to be the former partner of Rita Brown, one of the victims, along with her then-partner, Seun Oyinsan.

But in the weeks before charges were laid, one of Canada’s fastest growing communities, in a region expected to have 62 per cent of its residents born outside of Canada by 2031, held its breath.

“Any urban society will have challenges based largely on the fact that you are close to your neighbours and you will impact more and interact more than in rural areas,” Mr. Van Bynen said.

Despite these problems, though, he believes the town saw the ugly face of racism and intolerance, learned from the experience and is now stronger as a result.

“There is strength in our diversity,” he said. “Take a look at the great mosaic emerging in our community — there are 14 different languages in our schools.”

He also referenced the group Newmarket Cares as an organization that came out of the racist ordeal stronger than before. It started by providing security cameras for the family targeted by the racist graffiti. Now, it is raising cash to help the victims of this month’s fire on Timothy Street.

“Although we may never eradicate racism, views change with each new generation”, said Det. Brett Kemp, who heads up York Regional Police’s hate crime unit. “There are some (who) hold on to bigoted ideologies and will use this sort of crime to spread the ideology,” he said. “There’s always work to do, including getting out and talking to teachers, educators and students about human rights and equality.”

It’s part of a larger thrust by the police service to tackle the issue. Chief Eric Jolliffe recently finished up a thesis on enhancing the force’s relationship with York’s visible minority communities. Since the incident, Mr. Oyinsan and Ms Brown have separated, something she said is a result, in part, of last year’s incident.

The man convicted of the crime was involved in car crash and has been in hospital since late October. Despite what transpired, Ms Brown said that because he has no family, she is in touch with him and is helping him out.

SOURCE: – a division of Metroland Media Group Ltd.