Category Archives: Ethnicity

Intolerance surges in the UK, Cameron blamed

Hate crimes and other forms of overt bigotry are surging in the United Kingdom, and while the sharpest increase targets Muslims, other victims include people of color, the LGBT community, and the perennial targets of European intolerance, the Roma [previously].

One key reason for the rise was the venomous sentiment whipped up by winguts in their successful campaign for the Brexit, the successful referendum leading to the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union.

But Britain’s Prime Minister comes in for his share of the blame as well.

The rise in bigotry has drawn fire in a special report from the  Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance [ECRI].

First, a video report from RT:

Cameron responsible for rise in xenophobia & racism abuse in UK – watchdog

Program notes:

A report condemning “considerable intolerant political discourse in the UK, particularly focusing on immigration” was published by the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on Tuesday. David Cameron was singled out, in particular, for describing asylum-seekers arriving from the Middle East and North Africa as a “swarm.”

More on the report from EurActiv:

In a report, the Council’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) condemned “considerable intolerant political discourse in the UK, particularly focusing on immigration”.

“It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians,” said ECRI Chair Christian Ahlund.

“The Brexit referendum seems to have led to a further rise in ‘anti-foreigner’ sentiment, making it even more important that the British authorities take the steps outlined in our report as a matter of priority.”

In a shock referendum result, Britain voted on June 23 to leave the 28-nation European Union.

Pro-Brexit supporters campaigned heavily on immigration, and the need to regain control on Britain’s borders, in a referendum battle fought against the background of Europe’s worst migrant crisis since World War II.

Numbers, and assignment of blame

In the following excerpt from the report, note in particular the role in inciting intolerance played by the The Sun, a British tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the same loathsome corporation that owns Fox News.

From the report:

According to  the  Home  Office,  there  were  52,528  hate motivated  criminal offences recorded by the police in the year 2014-2015. These include offences of hate  speech  and  violence.  Of  note, 42.930  (82%) belonged  to  the  category  of race  hate  crime;  5,597  (11%)  were  sexual  orientation  hate  crimes;  3,254  (6%) were  religious hate  crimes;  and  605  (1%)  were  transgender  hate  crimes.  There was an overall increase of 18% compared with 2013-14; the largest increase was in relation to religious hate crime (43%).

When broken down further according to type of offence, the data show that 59% of  all hate-motivated  offences in  2014-15  were  public  order  offences (the  vast majority involving public fear, alarm or distress, 30% related to violence against the person and 7% to criminal damage and arson. ECRI was not able to access any data on offences of incitement to hatred recorded by the police.

In addition to reported hate crime, a survey to measure unreported hate crime is conducted  annually.  The  Crime  Survey  for  England  and Wales  is  a  face-to-face victimisation  survey  in  which  persons  aged  16  and  over  are  asked  about  their experiences of crime in the past 12 months. The latest survey data revealed that there are an estimated 222,000 hate-motivated criminal offences on average per year, of  which 106,000  relate to  the  race  strand.  On  comparison  with  the  police figures  above,  it  appears  that  approximately  only  one  in  four  hate-motivated offences is recorded  by  the  police. This may  indicate  deficiencies  in  police recording  of  hate-motivated  offences and unwillingness  of  hate  crime  victims  to report such crime.

Hate speech in political discourse

In  its fourth  report,  ECRI  recommended  that  the  authorities  take  particular  care, when  developing  and  explaining  policies,  to  ensure  that  the  message  sent to society as a whole is not one likely to foment or foster intolerance and it urged the authorities to take measures to tackle the exploitation of racism in politics. In this context,  ECRI  welcomes the  Report  of  the  All  Party  Parliamentary Inquiry into Electoral Conduct, published  in  October  2013,  and  its  2015 General  Election Update, as  good  examples of  politicians actively  encouraging  responsibility to combat racism in political discourse.

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Racial profiling begins in America’s pre-schools


Continuing with today’s theme, a sobering new study reveals that institutional racial profiling begins in the nation’s pre-schools.

From the Yale Child Study Center:

Preschool teachers and staff show signs of implicit bias in administering discipline, but the race of the teacher plays a big role in the outcome, according to research [open access] conducted by the Yale Child Study Center. The results help explain why black students tend to be suspended at much higher rates than white students, the authors say.

Release of the findings has been requested by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is scheduled to be presented to federal and state officials on Sept. 28.

Researchers used sophisticated eye-tracking technology and found that preschool teachers “show a tendency to more closely observe black students, and especially boys, when challenging behaviors are expected,” the authors found.

But at the same time, black teachers hold black students to a higher standard of behavior than do their white counterparts, the researchers found. While the study did not explore why this difference in attitude exists, the researchers speculated that black educators may be demonstrating “a belief that black children require harsh assessment and discipline to prepare them for a harsh world.”

White educators, by contrast, may be acting on a stereotype that black preschoolers are more likely to misbehave in the first place, so they judge them against a different, more lenient standard than what they’re applying to white children.

“The tendency to base classroom observation on the gender and race of the child may explain in part why those children are more frequently identified as misbehaving and hence why there is a racial disparity in discipline,” added Walter S. Gilliam, director of The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy and associate professor of child psychiatry and psychology at the Yale Child Study Center.  Gilliam is one of five researchers who conducted what is thought to be the first such study of its type.

Findings suggested that when the preschool teacher and child were of the same race, knowing about family stressors led to increased teacher empathy for the preschooler and decreased how severe the behaviors appeared to the teacher. But, when the teacher and child were of a different race, the same family information seemed to overwhelm the teachers and the behaviors were perceived as being more severe.

“These findings suggest that teachers need support in understanding family struggles, as they may related to child behaviors, especially when the teacher and child are of different races,” Gilliam said.

Primary funding for the research came from the WK Kellogg Foundation.

Police violence leads to reluctance to call the cops

Following up on our previous post, a new study reveals that the distrust of police in America’s black community leads directly to a reluctance to call on police when violence and crimes occur in the nation’s black neighborhoods.

From the American Sociological Association:

A new study shows that publicized cases of police violence against unarmed black men have a clear and significant negative impact on citizen crime reporting, specifically 911 calls.

“This is the first study that empirically investigates what happens to crime reporting after publicized episodes of police violence against unarmed black men,” said sociologist Matthew Desmond, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and the lead author of the study. “In showing that citizen crime reporting drops precipitously after such events, this study suggests that police misconduct can actually make cities less safe by suppressing one of the most basic forms of civic engagement: calling 911 for matters of personal and public safety.”

Titled, “Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community” [$36 for 24-hour access], the study, which appears in the October issue of the American Sociological Review, investigates how publicized cases of police violence against unarmed black men — most prominently the 2004 beating of Frank Jude by white police officers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin — affected 911 calls in Milwaukee. Desmond and co-authors Andrew V. Papachristos, an associate professor of sociology at Yale University, and David S. Kirk, an associate professor of sociology, at the University of Oxford, relied on data from the Milwaukee Police Department on every crime-related 911 call in Milwaukee from March 2004 through December 2010.

In the Jude case, the researchers analyzed patterns of crime-related 911 calls for roughly the same period of time before and after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke the story in February 2005. According to court and news reports, Milwaukee police officer Andrew Spengler and several other off-duty police officers beat Jude so badly that the admitting physician at the hospital took photographs of Jude because his injuries were too extensive to document in writing.

“We estimate that the police beating of Frank Jude resulted in a net loss of approximately 22,200 911 calls reporting crime the year after Jude’s story came to light,” Papachristos said.

More than half of the total loss in calls — 56 percent — occurred in neighborhoods where at least 65 percent of the residents were black, which according to 2000 U.S. Census data accounted for 31 percent of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods. For comparison purposes, there were approximately 110,000 crime-related 911 calls from all Milwaukee neighborhoods during this time period.

“Once the story of Frank Jude’s beating appeared in the press, Milwaukee residents, especially people in black neighborhoods, were less likely to call the police, including to report violent crime,” Kirk said. “This means that publicized cases of police violence can have a communitywide impact on crime reporting that transcends individual encounters.”

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Chart of the day: Racial disparity in trust of police

From a new survey from the Pew Research Center:


Charts of the day: Hollywood’s distorted lenses

Today’s Charts of the Day contains lots of charts, and they reflect a concern we’ve long held about the media shaping out visions of life and its possibilities.

Simply put, films, as seen from both the screens we watch and from behind the lens are radically divergent from the worlds we live in.

blog-morleyFilm portrays not the world as it is, but a world designed to sell, both the products they display so lavishly on screen When esnl was a tad, brand name products didn’t appear prominently, or brands were replaced by pseudonyms, most recently aped by the Morley cigarettes consumed so abundantly by The X Files Smoking Man. Similarly, liquor brands in films before the days of product placement were always pseudonymous.

But no more.

And just as the ads designed to sell those well-placed product are peopled with the the young, the attractive, and the nubile heterosexual, so are the films in which they are placed, creating worlds with little placed for those who fail to meet the implicit standards governing the entertainments we crave.

Similarly, today’s films are also dominated behind the screen by a cast of characters bearing little resemblance to the diversity that is the world of Homo sapiens.

Just how divergent are those two worlds is the subject of today’s Charts of the Day.

From the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism:

Though the conversation on inequality in Hollywood is now at peak volume, a new report reveals that little has changed on screen or behind the camera.

Authored by Professor Stacy L. Smith and the Media, Diversity & Social Change (MDSC) Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the study is the largest intersectional analysis of characters in motion picture content to date. The group examined the 800 top films from 2007 to 2015 (excluding 2011), analyzing 35,205 characters for gender, race/ethnicity, LGBT status and – for the first time – the presence of disability. The results reveal that Hollywood remains impervious to change.


Just 31.4% of all speaking characters across the 100 top films from 2015 were female, a figure that has not changed since 2007. While race/ethnicity has been a major focus of advocacy in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite, characters from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups were 26.3% of all characters. LGBT-identified characters represented less than 1% of all speaking characters. The report includes data on characters with disabilities, who filled a mere 2.4% of all speaking roles.

“The findings reveal that Hollywood is an epicenter of cultural inequality,” said Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Founding Director of the MDSC Initiative. “While the voices calling for change have escalated in number and volume, there is little evidence that this has transformed the movies that we see and the people hired to create them. Our reports demonstrate that the problems are pervasive and systemic.”

The research exposes the depth and breadth of exclusion. Of the top 100 films of 2015, 49 films included no speaking or named Asian or Asian-American characters and 17 featured no Black/African American characters. Similarly, 45 films did not include a character with a disability and 82 did not feature a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender character.

One bright spot was an 11% increase in female lead or co-lead characters from 2014 to 2015. Even there, however, only 3 of the films featured a female lead or co-lead actor from an underrepresented racial/ethnic group. Not one of the males or females in leading roles was Asian, echoing the concerns expressed by prominent Asian and Asian-American actors and others in that community.


The report illuminates why these inequalities may exist by coupling new data on 2015 films with evidence from the group’s previous reports, reaching back to 2007. Behind the camera, female directors were just 4.1% of those hired on the 800 films evaluated. Women of color were almost absent from these ranks, with just 3 Black or African-American females and 1 Asian female in the director’s chair. Overall, directors from underrepresented racial groups fared poorly. Only 5.5% of the 886 directors examined were Black or African American and 2.8% were Asian or Asian American.

“Despite the advocacy surrounding female directors, film is a representational wasteland for women of color in this key role,” said Dr. Smith. “Advocates need to ensure that their work reflects the barriers facing all women, not just a select few.”

For the first time, the researchers present data on characters with disabilities. The few portrayals that exist—just 2.4% of all characters—are predominantly male, as just 19% of the characters with disabilities were female. There were also no LGBT characters depicted with a disability across the study sample.

“This is a new low for gender inequality,” said Dr. Smith. “The small number of portrayals of disability is concerning, as is the fact that they do not depict the diversity within this community.”

The report provides multiple solutions to addressing what Dr. Smith has previously referred to as the “inclusion crisis” facing Hollywood. These include simple strategies for reaching gender equality on screen within a short time frame—just three years. Other solutions invite prominent Hollywood figures to tackle the problem contractually and encourage institutions to set transparent inclusion goals for achieving change.

“Raised voices and calls for change are important, but so are practical and strategic solutions based on research,” said Dr. Katherine Pieper, one of the study’s co-authors. “The momentum created by activism needs to be matched with realistic tactics for creating change.”

The report is the latest from the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative.

Key Findings

Gender. Out of 4,370 speaking or named characters evaluated, 68.6% were male and 31.4% were female across the 100 top-grossing films of 2015. This calculates into a gender ratio of 2.2 male characters to every one female character.  There has been no meaningful change in the percentage of girls and women on screen between 2007 and 2015.

Of the 100 top films of 2015, 32% depicted a female as the lead or co lead of the unfolding narrative. This is an 11% increase from last year. Five of these films portrayed female leads/co leads 45 years of age or older at the time of theatrical release in 2015. In stark contrast, 26 movies in 2015 featured leads or co leads with males 45 years of age or older.

Females were over three times as likely as their male counterparts to be shown in sexually revealing clothing (30.2% vs. 7.7%) and with some nudity (29% vs. 9.5%). Girls/women (12%) were also more likely than boys/men (3.6%) to be referred to as physically attractive.


Female teens (42.9%) and young adults (38.7%) were more likely than middle-aged females (24.7%) to be shown in sexualized attire. A similar pattern emerged for nudity (41.2%, 36.9%, and 24.4%, respectively). As age increased, females were less likely to be referenced as attractive.

Of the 1,365 directors, writers, and producers of the 100 top-grossing films of 2015, 81% were men and 19% were women. Of 107 directors, 92.5% were male and 7.5% were female. This translates into a gender ratio of 12.4 male directors to every one female director. Women fare slightly better as writers (11.8%) and producers (22%) but far worse as composers. Only 1 female composer but 113 male composers worked across the sample of 100 movies of 2015!

Across 800 films and 886 directors, only 4.1% were women. This translates into a gender ratio of 24 males to every 1 female. Only 3 Black and 1 Asian female directors worked on the 800 films examined. Even more problematic, only 1.4% of all composers were women from 2007 to 2015 (excluding 2011). This translates into a gender ratio of 72 male composers to every 1 female composer.

Race/Ethnicity. In 2015, 73.7% of characters were White, 12.2% Black, 5.3% Latino, 3.9% Asian, <1% Middle Eastern, <1% American Indian/Alaskan Native, <1% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and 3.6% Other or “mixed race.” Together, a total of 26.3% of all speaking characters were from an underrepresented racial/ethnic group. There was no change in the percentage of White, Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian or Other races/ethnicities from 2007 to 2015.


Only 14 of the movies depicted an underrepresented lead or co lead. Nine of the leads/co leads were Black, one Latino, and four were mixed race. Not one lead or co lead was played by an Asian actor.

Only three female leads/co leads were played by female actors from an underrepresented racial/ethnic group, the exact same number in 2014. Just one of these actors was an underrepresented female 45 years of age or older.

A full 17% of films did not feature one Black or African American speaking or named character on screen.  This number is identical to what we found in 2013 and 2014. Even more problematic, Asian characters were missing across 49 films.

In 2015, only 4 of the 107 directors were Black or African American (3.7%) and 6 were Asian or Asian American (5.6%). Across 886 directors from 2007 to 2015 (excluding 2011), only 5.5% were Black and 2.8% were Asian.

LGBT.  Only 32 speaking or named characters were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender across the sample of 100 top films of 2015.  This is an increase of 13 portrayals from our 2014 report. Just one transgender character appeared sample-wide, as well as 19 gay men, 7 lesbians, and 5 bisexuals (3 males, 2 females).


Not one lead or co lead was LGBT identified across the entire sample of 100 top films of 2015. 82 of the 100 top movies of 2015 did not depict one LGBT speaking or named character.

More racial/ethnic diversity was found across LGBT characters than sample wide. Just over 40% of LGBT characters were from an underrepresented racial/ethnic group.  One teenaged character was depicted as gay across the entire sample and only two lesbian parents were portrayed.

Characters with Disabilities. Only 2.4% of all speaking or named characters were shown with a disability. A full 45 of the movies failed to depict one speaking character with a disability. Most of the portrayals appeared in action adventure films (33.3%). Only 2% of all characters with disabilities were shown in animated movies.


61% of the characters were featured with a physical disability, 37.1% with a mental or cognitive disability, and 18.1% with a communicative disability. These designations were based on U.S. Census language and domains.

Only 19% of characters with a disability were female and 81% were male. This is a new low for gender inequality in film. Not one LGBT character with a disability was portrayed across the 100 top films of 2015.

The report also highlights many other results on gender, race/ethnicity, LGBT, and disability in film as well as simple and straightforward solutions to Hollywood’s inclusion crisis.




Map of the day: Unauthorized immigrant patterns

From a new report from the Pew Research Center, two graphics on shifts in the patterns of America’s unauthorized immigrants.

The report reveals that while the largest single source of those immigrants is still Mexico, the number of Mexicans living in the U.S. without official approval has declined significantly, while growing numbers are coming from other Latin American nations and from Asia.

Our first graphic is a map revealing another shift, this time isn the pattern of destinations for those immigrants:


And another shift is revealed in the second graphic, this time a significant shift in the years of residence in the U.S.:


R. Cobb: A matter of class consciousness

R. Cobb [previously], the most brilliant underground editorial cartoonist of the 1960’s and 70’s, drew this one 49 years ago for the late, great Los Angeles Free Press, proving some attitudes never seem to change:

And 50 years ago, he drew this one, especially relevant now in light of this story: