Why Surf Culture Desperately Needs More Diversity

A friend of mine who owns a surf brand recently received an absolutely bonkers series of racist emails. The sender purchased my friend’s product online, then somehow figured out his ethnicity after the fact. Before the order arrived, the customer sent an email canceling his purchase, citing my friend’s ethnicity as the reason. {snip}

{snip}

{snip} But my friend’s run-in with at least one surfer’s ethnic phobias did force me to realize how much I, a white guy from a mostly-white Californian beach town, have overestimated the shared experience of all surfers. All part of the same tribe, right? Clearly, that’s also not remotely true.

It’s clear that surf culture does have a problem, and that problem stems from a lack of diversity within our ranks. “History of Surfing” author Matt Warshaw pointed out in a 2015 essay published on Surfer.com that, as a pastime developed largely by brown-skinned Polynesians (as well as Africans in some places and Peruvians in others), surfing has always been multi-cultural.

After all, it was whites who were forced to “break surfing’s glass ceiling in terms of race, a hundred-plus years ago, in Hawaii,” says Warshaw. For surfers, “Hawaii is always there in the back of our minds. Play the race card, in other words, and you answer to Duke Kahanamoku.”

That historical aspect may very well be true, but it doesn’t at all address the issue that surfing today, at least in the world’s two most globally influential surfing nations — the USA and Australia — is overwhelmingly white and upper middle class. This is true in countless lineups, where you’re likely to paddle out and find a mostly homogenous pack of white people surfing on expensive boards, wearing expensive gear in areas with a high cost of living. If you can’t afford it, you ain’t surfing.

I called Jeff Williams, co-president of the Black Surfer’s Collective (an organization that brings inner-city black kids in L.A. to the beach) to talk to him about diversity in surfing. “I’ve never really had problems with actual racism in surfing,” Williams said. “I’ve surfed all over the world, and everywhere I’ve ever been, most surfers are pretty cool.” But he does see the lack of minorities in the surf in the U.S. as problematic. “Look, anytime you try to talk about diversity in surfing, it all boils down to access,” he said. {snip}

Williams thinks {snip} it would take something like a “surfing Tiger Woods” to get inner-city kids to start paying attention to surf culture in a real way. But if we did gain more diverse surf stars bringing different voices and experiences to the table, the mainstream surf culture could only change for the better. Think about The Brazilian Storm: the South American vanguard brought fiery competitiveness and legions of exuberant fans to the World Tour, giving professional surfing a much-needed injection of passion.

But tease that out to include more people of color and more people coming from communities not typically associated with surfing. What styles would emerge and what influences would inform them? What might surf art look like with if it was inspired by a surf experience that differed from the easygoing, middle-class beach life? How might board design evolve if more diverse voices were able to participate in the conversation?

I don’t have the answers, but you don’t have to look very far to find parallels in other sports. Skate culture is far more dynamic because of the cacophony of viewpoints, with universally-acclaimed skaters of diverse races and socioeconomic backgrounds adding to the melting pot. Surfing can only gain from more perspectives adding to our own understanding of what it means to be a surfer, and from embracing those who didn’t come to the beach easily, but made their way nonetheless.

{snip}

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De Blasio Wants to Scrap Admissions Testing for Elite High Schools

Mayor de Blasio unveiled a plan Saturday to boost black and Latino enrollment at the city’s eight specialized high schools — and he wants to scrap admissions tests outright.

In an op-ed for education-news site Chalkbeat, de Blasio announced that 20 percent of seats at those eight schools would be reserved for low-income applicants.

Kids in the Department of Education’s Discovery Program who score just below the admissions cut-off would be given one of those saved seats, according to the plan.

{snip}

“The Specialized High School Admissions Test isn’t just flawed — it’s a roadblock to justice, progress and academic excellence,” he wrote. {snip}

“With these reforms, we expect our premier public high schools to start looking like New York City,” he wrote. “Approximately 45 percent of students would be Latino or black.”

Under the current system, Asian kids predominate at the city’s top high schools. They make up 74 percent of the population at Stuyvesant, 66 percent at Bronx Science and 61 percent at Brooklyn Tech. At Queens HS for Science at York College, 82 percent are Asian.

{snip}

De Blasio has attributed racial disparities to the accessibility of test-prep classes and tutors to economically advantaged families.

{snip}

But Brooklyn Tech Alumni President Larry Cary has said, “The solution isn’t to kill the test. It’s to improve the quality of education offered in African-American and Latino communities.”

{snip}

At least 60 percent of kids at three of the specialized schools are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, according to DOE data.

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Amerika.org Under DOS Attack By Scared Leftists

You may have found it difficult to access this site since Friday, May 4, 2018 because an angry group of Leftists have been engaging in a denial-of-service attack against this site and its anti-SJW metal brethren. The bad news is that this took us down intermittently for five days, but the good news is that it shows they fear us.

Leftists realize that 2018 is a huge year because we are fifty years past the Great Revolution of 1968. During that time, Leftist policies have been revealed to (1) fail to fix the problems they claimed were inherent in the old order, and (2) produce even worse problems.

This has caused panic on the Left. They know their time is ending.

In response, they have unleashed an orgy of violence, repression, and censorship — much as history predicted they would do, based on the events in France in the 1700s and Russia in the 1900s — and have attacked what they see as the most accurate voices against them. We are proud to be on that list.

Thank you to all who have written, sent help, bought books, donated time, donated money, and most of all, not given up. They did not break you, and they have not broken us.

Now on to the good details. This DOS attack consisted of two prongs: a TCP/IP-based attack against the machine that hosts several of our sites, and an HTTP-based attack against our PHP-based scripts. Our host, Dreamhost, managed to block the former attack, and with some crufty old 1990s know-how, we have lessened the latter.

You can see one Leftist crowing about the attack — which also assaulted Gab.ai and American Renaissance, among others — via the Tweet pictured above.

Unfortunately for this Leftist, we have the IP addresses of his friends who are participating in the second prong of the attack. Links go to ARIN which will tell you which ISP owns this address. For the first prong, we think a rented botnet was used, possibly of Russian origin.

156.197.115.103
201.6.241.88
90.86.177.149
50.33.53.90
41.250.212.244
195.55.255.158
41.248.201.66
89.101.246.18
177.11.148.220
146.255.180.237
89.101.246.18
156.197.115.103
109.237.120.70
95.84.65.36
125.59.41.7
186.89.119.5
190.62.35.248
213.87.101.92
177.35.204.164
202.80.214.99
186.92.211.82
89.211.190.40
50.33.53.20
222.124.79.40
5.36.106.166
64.121.90.128
98.204.103.9
172.69.70.153
172.68.27.82

One of these IPs has been linked in the past to one Tulio Baars, who uses the email addresses [email protected] and [email protected], who you can find on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Baars works at Garage and Catarse, where he uses many of the same technologies employed in this attack. We continue investigating. In the meantime, several of the IP addresses used were linked to other email addresses such as [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected]. They seem to mostly be active at night, suggesting that they run their scripts and then go off to bed.

We will keep you posted with further announcements. In the meantime, thank you for reading and helping us weather this storm.

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Nigerian Rapper Goes Viral with His Take on ‘This Is America’

Last week, a Nigerian rapper released his own version of Childish Gambino’s hit song and music video “This Is America.”

It’s called “This Is Nigeria” and was written and performed by lawyer-turned-musician Falz The Bahd Guy. Like the hugely popular Donald Glover song and video (Gambino is his stage name), the Nigerian version looks at harsh everyday realities.

In “This Is America,” the issues include gun violence, racism and the distraction of viral entertainment and social media. Falz’s lyrics and visuals touch on some of Nigeria’s major problems: poor electricity supply, drug addiction and government corruption. The video even features veiled Muslim girls to allude to Boko Haram’s abductions of schoolgirls in the northeast.

Falz performs in pidgin English, a blend of English and local languages that is widely spoken in West Africa. {snip}

Released on May 25, just four days before the 19th anniversary of democracy in the West African nation, the three-minute video has been viewed on YouTube 2.9 million times. The hashtag #ThisIsNigeria has generated tens of thousands of tweets. And the song has captured the attention of the American rapper Diddy, who reposted “This Is Nigeria” on his Instagram account, where it currently has an additional 2.2 million views.

Falz, whose real name is Folarin Falana, is not new to social commentary. His music often reflects the views of his father, Femi Falana, a popular Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist. Falz’s previous songs “Child of the World,” “Confirm” and “Wehdone Sir” tackle sexual harassment, Internet fraud and the rise of wealthy megachurch pastors.

{snip}

Cultural critics like Joey Akan, a music journalist based in Lagos, are drawing parallels between Falz and Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.

Until his death in 1997, Kuti also used music to criticize military dictators, corruption and other social problems. But his frankness and acerbic criticism came with consequences: He was arrested on several occasions, jailed and beaten by soldiers.

If anything like that were to happen to Falz, some of his fans say they’ll have his back.

[Editor’s Note: The video is available here.]

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The Diversity Staff at the University of Michigan Is Nearly 100 Full-Time Employees

Year after year, media note and sometimes bemoan the ballooning cost of higher education.

{snip}

There are various reasons for surging costs, but the primary one is the remarkable expansion of university administration in recent decades. As Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado, wrote in the New York Times a few years ago:

{snip}

Universities are large and require administrators to function, of course. The problem is there seems to be no end to the expansion. This point was recently illustrated by Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint.

Perry, who also is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, used the University of Michigan as an example to highlight the rise of “diversicrats” (diversity bureaucrats) on today’s campuses. The numbers are astonishing.

  1. The University of Michigan currently employs a diversity staff of nearly 100 (93) full-time diversity administrators, officers, directors, vice-provosts, deans, consultants, specialists, investigators, managers, executive assistants, administrative assistants, analysts, and coordinators.
  2. More than one-quarter (26) of these “diversicrats” earn annual salaries of more than $100,000, and the total payroll for this small army is $8.4 million. When you add to cash salaries an estimated 32.45% for UM’s very generous fringe benefit package for the average employee in this group (retirement, health care, dental insurance, life insurance, long-term disability, paid leave, paid vacation, social security, unemployment insurance, Medicare, etc.) the total employee compensation for this group tops $11 million per year. And of course that doesn’t count the cost of office space, telephones, computers and printers, printing, postage, programs, training, or travel expenses.

If you fell out of your chair upon realizing that the University of Michigan has a full-time diversity staff of nearly one hundred employees, one of whom earns more than the president of the United States, you can be forgiven. I nearly did too.

{snip}

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Black Defendants Get Longer Sentences From Republican-Appointed Judges, Study Finds

Judges appointed by Republican presidents gave longer sentences to black defendants and shorter ones to women than judges appointed by Democrats, according to a new study that analyzed data on more than half a million defendants.

“Republican-appointed judges sentence black defendants to three more months than similar nonblacks and female defendants to two fewer months than similar males compared with Democratic-appointed judges,” the study found, adding, “These differences cannot be explained by other judge characteristics and grow substantially larger when judges are granted more discretion.”

The study was conducted by two professors at Harvard Law School, Alma Cohen and Crystal S. Yang. They examined the sentencing practices of about 1,400 federal trial judges over more than 15 years, relying on information from the Federal Judicial Center, the United States Sentencing Commission and the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

{snip}

It has long been known that there is an overall racial sentencing gap, with judges of all political affiliations meting out longer sentences to black offenders. The new study confirmed this, finding that black defendants are sentenced to 4.8 months more than similar offenders of other races.

It was also well known, and perhaps not terribly surprising, that Republican appointees are tougher on crime over all, imposing sentences an average of 2.4 months longer than Democratic appointees.

But the study’s findings on how judges’ partisan affiliations affected the racial and gender gaps were new and startling.

“The racial gap by political affiliation is three months, approximately 65 percent of the baseline racial sentence gap,” the authors wrote. “We also find that Republican-appointed judges give female defendants two months less in prison than similar male defendants compared to Democratic-appointed judges, 17 percent of the baseline gender sentence gap.”

The two kinds of gaps appear to have slightly different explanations. “We find evidence that gender disparities by political affiliation are largely driven by violent offenses and drug offenses,” the study said. “We also find that racial disparities by political affiliation are largely driven by drug offenses.”

The authors of the study sounded a note of caution. “The precise reasons why these disparities by political affiliation exist remain unknown and we caution that our results cannot speak to whether the sentences imposed by Republican- or Democratic-appointed judges are warranted or ‘right,’” the authors wrote. “Our results, however, do suggest that Republican- and Democratic-appointed judges treat defendants differently on the basis of their race and gender given that we observe robust disparities despite the random assignment of cases to judges within the same court.”

The study is studded with fascinating tidbits. Black judges treat male and female offenders more equally than white judges do. Black judges appointed by Republicans treat black offenders more leniently than do other Republican appointees.

More experienced judges are less apt to treat black and female defendants differently. Judges in states with higher levels of racism, as measured by popular support for laws against interracial marriage, are more likely to treat black defendants more harshly than white ones.

{snip}

“Our estimates suggest that a 10 percentage point increase in the share of Republican-appointed judges in each court would increase the racial sentencing gap by approximately 5 percent and the gender sentencing gap by roughly 2 percent,” the authors wrote. “During an average four-year term, a Republican president has the potential to alter the partisan composition of the district courts by over 15 percentage points, potentially increasing the racial and gender sentencing gap by 7.5 and 3 percent, respectively.”

{snip}

{snip} Republican appointees are markedly more likely to vote in a conservative direction than Democratic ones. {snip}

{snip}

But judicial ideology is one thing. The race and gender gaps identified by the new study present a different and difficult set of questions.

{snip}

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Race Studies Conference Discusses ‘White Rage,’ ‘Becky’

The University of New Mexico is hosting a social justice conference this week with speakers discussing racism, colonization, and white “anti-racism” in education.

According to the event flyer, the focus of the conference is to discuss “colonization being endemic in society and its connections to anti-indigeneity, antiblackness, anti-brownness, anti-immigration, anti-LGTBQ and anti-dis/ability rhetoric; discourses deeply rooted in the social fabric of the U.S.”

The Critical Race Studies in Education Association Conference is a three-day event sponsored by the Critical Race Studies in Education Association, several UNM departments, and social justice organizations like the Partnership for Community Action (PCA).

CRSEA is made up of an “interdisciplinary consortium of experts” who wish to “identify and expose inequities for the ultimate eradication of white supremacy” by “countering and combating systemic and structural racism with scholarship,” according to its website.

The conference agenda lists social justice lectures primarily focused on race and education, such as “Antiblackness, White Rage, and the Threat to White School Space,” “Confronting white supremacist ideology in everyday campus life,” and “Undoing Colonization America’s Greatest Mind F**k.”

Other panels focus specifically on white women, such as “Examining Becky and the White Hegemonic Alliance” and “How college creates Becky: White women’s racism in higher education.”

UNM has supports other social justice efforts both on and off campus, as well, and recently announced a new graduate certificate program in Race & Social Justice. The courses that fulfill requirements for the certificate come from a variety of departments, including law, sociology, and women’s studies.

{snip}

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Seven Men Arrested After Reports of Touching Young Girls at Roseville Water Park

The Roseville Police Department arrested seven men on Monday after multiple girls reported men inappropriately touching them at the Golfland SunSplash water park in Roseville, said Rob Baquera, department spokesman.

The men were booked Monday night into the Placer County Jail on suspicion of lewd acts with a child under 14 years of age, as well as conspiracy to commit a crime.

{snip}

They were identified as Gursharanpal Banga, 34, Manpreet Dhillon, 26, Lakhveer Gill, 30, Baljinder Khaira, 38, Balwinder Malhi, 32, Dharampal Singh, 21, and Harpreet Talwar, 18.

{snip}

“The seven that were arrested all had evidence (against them) based on witnessed statements and were able to be identified in some fashion,” Baquera said.

The victims did not know each other, Baquera said. He added that police were investigating if there were other locations at the park where inappropriate touching may have happened on Monday.

{snip}

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With HB 514, Legislature Unambiguously Embraces School Segregation

There’s a word for what happens when majority-white suburbs pull their children from a majority-minority school district and place them into exclusionary, majority-white schools: segregation. With the advancement of HB 514, lawmakers are unambiguously embracing school segregation as state policy.

HB 514 allows four Charlotte suburbs – Cornelius, Huntersville, Matthews, and Mint Hill – the authority to create and operate their own charter schools. These suburbs can then limit enrollment in these schools to municipal residents. Cornelius is 85 percent white. Huntersville is 77 percent white. Matthews is 78 percent white. Mint Hill is 73 percent white. Students in these majority-white suburbs are assigned to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), where white students comprise just 29 percent of enrollment.

To facilitate the funding of the schools authorized by HB 514, a related budget provision (Section 38.8) creates a new authority allowing North Carolina municipalities to spend property tax revenues on any public school that “benefits the residents of the city,” including charter schools. As national school finance expert Michael Griffith notes, similar provisions in other states have led to school funding becoming “divided on class lines and on racial lines.”

It’s quite the one-two punch. First, the General Assembly allows these suburbs to create schools with the legal authority to exclude children from nearby communities comprised mostly of non-white students. Then, these suburbs can then use their out-sized property wealth to provide their racially-isolated schools with resource levels denied to other students in the school district. In other words, these schools will be both separate and unequal.

{snip}

{snip} What message does HB 514 send to the students of color in Charlotte who are witnessing policymakers use their power to create new schools for the exclusive use of their mostly white suburban classmates? Consider also the message delivered to white children in these suburbs who might emerge thinking that racially-isolated, better-funded schools are something that they deserve on the basis of their privileged status.

Furthermore, by exacerbating racial segregation, policymakers will be harming the educational trajectories of CMS students. Inclusive, integrated schools are a proven model for lifting the performance of all students. School integration leads to large, persistent academic gains, lower dropout rates, and higher lifetime earnings for students of color and students from low income families. When schools are integrated, white students become less prejudiced and enhance their capacity for working with others, with no negative impact on white student test scores. But when schools become more segregated, as proposed by HB 514, achievement gaps, incarceration rates, and dropout rates all tend to rise.

{snip}

The result of (HB 514) will ultimately amount to systemic racism. It’s about a system, not personalities, that marginalize communities of color. Supporters of HB 514 do so either because, or in spite of, this fact.

The fact is, we are now 64 years removed from Brown v Board of Education. We’re 53 years removed from the terroristic assassination attempt on Julius Chambers, whose legal heroism culminated in 1971’s Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education ruling that forced the integration of CMS. Yet the proponents of school segregation persist. In 2018, we have municipal governments in Cornelius, Huntersville, Matthews, and Mint Hill that are openly segregationist. We also have a General Assembly eagerly using the sanction of law to accede to the segregationist wishes of these communities. The mechanism created by HB 514 will undoubtedly be seized upon by other municipalities seeking to create white-flight schools of their own.

{snip}

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