Those Whom Revolution Left Behind
As Cuba’s economy continues to experience a significant boost from normalized relations with the U.S., many black Cubans and women have yet to see the benefits. Structural inequality and ongoing discrimination have shuttled the disadvantaged into an underclass of limited opportunity despite persistent and high-profile government attempts to eradicate the problem. While a significant number of white Cubans were able to flee abroad to the U.S. and send remittances back to their families, many Afro-Cubans were tied to what opportunity they could get in low-paying government jobs. Women have found themselves disproportionately shouldering domestic tasks, disappearing jobs, and lack of social capital relative to men. Boston Review, The Root, and the Thomson Reuters Foundation examine how political, social, and economic developments have re-marginalized Cuba’s black minority and women over the last two decades.
“Prejudice never disappeared. It was simply concealed under the table. And silence allowed all the problems to grow, under the table.”
“Cuba After the Thaw” (Boston Review)
“One-on-One With Afro-Cubans: What It Means to Be Black in Cuba” (The Root)
“In Cuba, racial inequality deepens with tourism boom” (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
(Image Credit: Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters)
MHP members call for investigation into conditions facing people with disabilities in Turkey
- Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputies called on the Turkish parliament to confront the problems facing Turkey’s 8.4 million–strong disability community, including illiteracy (36.34% of the community) and unemployment (77%), according to a 2002 survey.
- As state positions set aside for people with disabilities have gone unassigned, accommodations gone unfulfilled, and high financial burdens continued mounting, advocates have criticized the government’s slow response, fueling the MHP’s motion.
- Women with disabilities face particularly difficult circumstances including public harassment and domestic violence, but have seen their concerns take a backseat in disability advocacy organizations largely run by men.
“MHP calls on Parliament to investigate problems of the disabled” (Today’s Zaman)
“Women with disabilities facing double challenges” (Andalou Agency)
(Image Credit: Sunday’s Zaman)
Israel announces multibillion-shekel plan to improve living conditions of Israeli Arabs
- The government announced that 13 billion shekels ($3.3 billion) will be allocated towards education, infrastructure, culture, sports, and transportation over five years in predominantly Arab areas.
- Poverty, unemployment, underemployment, and lower educational achievement and attainment have long plagued Israel’s Arab minority, which comprises around a fifth of the total Israeli population.
- The Mossawa Center, an Arab advocacy organization, criticized the announcement as vague and far short of the funding requested to bring the living standards of Israel’s Arab citizens in line with its Jewish population.
“Israel to spend $3 billion more to improve living standards of Arab minority” (Reuters)
“Israel Seeks to Bring Arab Citizens Into Mainstream With Funds” (Bloomberg)
Students lobby Portland school board for ethnic studies class
- The Asian Pacific Islander Leaders for the Liberation of Youth (ALLY) have lobbied the Portland Public Schools Board of Education for the creation of at least one ethnic studies class in all 10 of the public high schools in Oregon’s largest city.
- Asking that the class count towards the social studies graduation requirement, the group has called for a course that covers the contributions of Asian, Pacific Islander, African, Latino, Arab, and Native Americans and LBTQ Americans of color to American history and culture.
- Students supported their curriculum-based arguments with data indicating increased academic performance, attendance, and graduation rates for students who have taken similar courses in other schools.
“Students Call For Ethnic Studies in Portland High Schools” (NBC News)
“Textbooks don’t tell the history of minorities, students say. Teenagers want to change that” (The Oregonian)
(Image Credit: Casey Parks/The Oregonian)
British PM announces name-blind admissions and hiring measures, new gender pay equity policies
- PM David Cameron announced that the UK’s University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) will switch to name-blind applicant evaluation in 2017 to reduce racial bias in college admissions.
- Numerous studies have indicated that culturally inflected differences in names significantly impact job applicants’ likelihood of being hired, with those with names traditionally from black and other ethnic minority communities receiving fewer interviews.
- Cameron also outlined new policies to address the gender pay gap, including forcing private companies to publish bonuses, requiring large public sector organizations to publish pay data, and pushing for the elimination of all-male FTSE-350 boards.
“Ucas to enforce ‘name-blind’ applications to tackle racial bias” (The Guardian)
“The perfect name for a job application, based on biases” (BBC)
(Image Credit: David Cheskin/PA, via the Guardian)
Estates of Emergency
France’s notorious housing estates–akin to housing projects in the U.S.–have long existed as symbols of an unintegrated France. Though President François Hollande has pledged to address the long-standing segregation that divides Paris’s poor banlieues from its more affluent city center, rampant unemployment, limited educational opportunities, crime, and stigmatization continue largely unchecked. The Guardian reflects on conditions in Paris’s most notorious estates a decade after riots forced what one banlieue mayor has called “social and territorial apartheid” into the national consciousness.
“‘Nothing’s changed’: 10 years after French riots, banlieues remain in crisis” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Ed Alcock/The Guardian)
Several Israeli cities effectively bar Arab laborers from their jobs in schools as violence in the country grows
- Several municipalities including Tel Aviv, Rehovot, Hod Hasharon, and Modiin-Maccabim-Reut prohibited school staff including maintenance workers, cleaners, and construction workers (most of whom are Arab) from going to work during school hours.
- To date, 41 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in recent weeks as cycles of revenge killings, protests, and state-driven violence continue.
- While Arab-Israeli politicians and NGOs denounced the restrictions as illegal and racist, the Interior Ministry called for respect and equality without reversing the restrictions.
“Four Israeli cities, citing security, ban Arab workers from schools” (Reuters)
“Israeli Towns Move to Ban Arab Workers From Schools” (Haaretz)
(Image Credit: Moti Milrod/Haaretz)
The Sikhs and Hindus of Afghanistan
Afghanistan has seen millions uprooted as local communities have found themselves caught in the middle of the conflict between the Taliban and a coalition of Afghan and U.S. forces. After the Taliban took control of the country in the mid-1990s, two of the country’s religious minorities–Hindus and Sikhs–saw their insecurity skyrocket, with land seizures, open harassment, and economic exclusion causing most of the tens of thousands in their ranks to flee for asylum elsewhere. Anadolu Agency, a state-run media outlet in Turkey, provides a glimpse of the outlook Afghan Hindus and Sikhs have on their prospects today.
“Afghan Sikhs, Hindus fear violence but long for home” (Anadolu Agency)
“Feeling alienated, Sikhs choose to leave Afghanistan” (The Hindu)
“Oppressed by Taliban, Afghan Sikh families seek help from DSGMC” (The Times of India)
“Facing Intolerance, Many Sikhs and Hindus Leave Afghanistan” (Wall Street Journal)
(Image Credit: via Anadolu Agency)
Uyghurs face ban on Muslim names for children as China celebrates Xinjiang’s 60th anniversary
- The Tokhola (Tuohula) Village Communist Party in Xinjiang’s Hoten prefecture reportedly announced the ban on 22 popular Muslim names for Uyghur children.
- Children whose names are on the list must have their parents officially change their name or else risk exclusion from public schooling.
- The announcement comes as China celebrates the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region following the 1949 annexation of East Turkestan, which has prompted severe criticism from Uyghur leaders.
“Chinese Authorities Ban Muslim Names Among Uyghurs in Hoten” (Radio Free Asia)
Statement by the World Uyghur Congress
(Image Credit: Sina Webo via Radio Free Asia)
Syrian refugees struggle to integrate into Turkish society
- Turkey has become home to 2.3 million Syrians, making it host to the largest refugee population in the world.
- With opportunities in refugee camps limited, most have taken to cities in search of stability, but have found cultural barriers, few legal employment opportunities, limited healthcare access, and increasing resident suspicion.
- While the E.U. has drafted a proposal for funding assistance to Turkey, officials have mulled several options as integration has stalled, including establishing a safe zone in northern Syria to which refugees could return or refugee-only cities in Turkey.
“I regret coming here. If I can’t survive I’ll go back to Syria and die with dignity. We didn’t come to Turkey to be beggars.”
“Tensions simmer as Turkey struggles with burden of refugees” (Reuters)
“Migrant crisis: EU plan offers more money for Turkey camps” (BBC)
(Image Credit: Murad Sezer/Reuters)
Unmasking Addiction in Native Communities
The long-entrenched belief in Native Americans’ genetic susceptibility to alcoholism has for decades obscured the underlying social and psychological causes of high addiction rates in the community. The Verve takes a look at the science of addiction and the presence of its effects in Native communities, from poverty and disenfranchisement to familial precarity and unemployment.
“No, Native Americans aren’t genetically more susceptible to alcoholism” (The Verge)
(Image Credit: Kimery Davis via The Verge)
European court rules brothel owners in Amsterdam must share language with sex workers
- The European Court of Justice ruling sided with the city of Amsterdam, which blocked the application of a brothel owner to run a Red Light District window rental space because the owner could not communicate in the language of some of the workers.
- The business owner had his business plan denied because he rented to Hungarian and Bulgarian immigrant workers who did not speak Dutch and whose languages the owner did not speak.
- The court cited the safety of women, human trafficking vulnerability, the prevention of sex work by minors, and pimping deterrence as justifications.
“Court: Amsterdam brothel owners must speak prostitutes’ language” (The NL Times)
“Double Dutch barred in Amsterdam brothels” (AFP, via Yahoo! News)
(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/LeDeuxAlpe, via The NL Times)