African-Americans, Race, Social Problems

California Poised to Become First State to Ban Discrimination Based on Natural Hair

The state’s Legislature approved a measure banning the form of racial discrimination. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.

Image: A woman getting her hair braided at Djene Hair Braiding in Harlem.

By Liam Stack

June 28, 2019

California is poised to become the first state to ban racial discrimination against people based on their natural hairstyle.

The State Assembly voted unanimously on Thursday to approve the measure, which the State Senate approved in April. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, to be signed into law.

The bill would update the definition of race used in existing law to be “inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”

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African-Americans, criminal justice, Race

Black People Are Charged at a Higher Rate Than Whites. What if Prosecutors Didn’t Know Their Race?

George Gascón, San Francisco’s district attorney, said the lopsided number of African-Americans in the city’s criminal justice system had compelled him to try something new.

By Timothy Williams

June 12, 2019

While riding the train in San Francisco three years ago, a white man told an African-American man that he smelled bad and should move away from him. An argument followed, and the African-American man, Michael Smith, was eventually tackled by police officers and accused of assaulting them.

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office charged Mr. Smith with seven counts, including battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. But after viewing body camera footage, a jury acquitted Mr. Smith, then 23, on most of the charges, and the prosecutors dropped the other counts. Mr. Smith’s lawyer said he does not believe a white person would have been arrested or prosecuted.

While the district attorney’s office disagreed with that assessment of the case, George Gascón, the district attorney, has acknowledged that a disproportionate number of African-Americans are prosecuted in the city, which led him to ask a troubling question: To what extent does bias affect the work of prosecutors?

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African-Americans, Healthcare, Race, Social Problems

The New Health Care – Doctors and Racial Bias: Still a Long Way to Go. It would be easy to look at a photo from the 1980s and conclude that things have changed. Many have not. Image: A lot of research shows that African-American patients are treated differently than white patients when it comes to cardiovascular procedures. By Aaron E. Carroll Feb. 25, 2019

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