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from Nicholas Wapshott:

Sterling: Defying a century of progress

A supporter holds a photo cutout of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling while standing in line for the NBA Playoff game 5 between Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles

The punishment of Clippers owner Donald Sterling for being caught expressing his racist beliefs -- “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” -- was swift and severe. The National Basketball Association, the players and a large majority of the team owners were quick to come together to condemn Sterling’s primitive remarks.

The same was true when the TV chef Paula Deen was revealed to have previously used a racial epithet -- the “n” word -- while being deposed for a workplace discrimination lawsuit. Notwithstanding the fact that Deen was a big cheese on the Food Network, she was abruptly fired.

Radio talk-show host Don Imus speaks with Rev. Al Sharpton during Sharpton's radio show, in New YorkThe same happened when Don Imus ridiculed black women college basketball players on his Imus in the Morning program on MSNBC. Though he appeared on Al Sharpton’s radio show to address the issue, it was too late. Before he could mount his full defense and apologize, he was out of a job.

Although Imus crept back onto the screen, on Fox Business, and Deen is due to tour with a private-equity funded personal cooking demonstration across the South, the market had spoken: sour prejudice against people because of their skin color is so offensive to so many Americans, respectable commercial companies or organizations cannot be seen to tolerate it. Those who show a visceral contempt for others who do not look like them are doomed.

from The Great Debate:

Cliven Bundy: Racism entwined with government antipathy

Conservatives would like us to believe that hatred of government and racism are totally separate phenomena. That one has nothing to do with the other. They're wrong.

Resentment of the federal government and racism have gone hand-in-hand in the United States for 200 years. In the 19th century, Democrats were the anti-government party. That was the legacy of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.  Southern slave owners embraced the Democratic Party because they feared the federal government would take away their property without compensation. And it did.

from The Great Debate:

Bundy: Counterfeit hero

The shelf life of heroes isn’t what it used to be.

Once upon a time, a hero would burst upon the scene -- a Charles A. Lindbergh, a Babe Ruth, a Red Grange, an Audie Murphy, a Neil Armstrong -- and he would not only receive reverent acclaim, that acclaim would last for decades. Sometimes forever.

Not anymore. Now we live in a world of false heroes -- people who have done nothing to deserve their heroism save for capturing media attention or satisfying a group of the like-minded. So they come -- and inevitably, they go.

from Nicholas Wapshott:

What Mandela meant

Nelson Mandela will be remembered as the person who, more than any other, brought an end to apartheid, the heartless policy of “separate development” in which white, black and South Asian South Africans were obliged to live apart. It is part of his towering achievement that the very notion of racial segregation is anathema to democrats throughout the civilized world. He will be mourned as a freedom fighter and the father of his nation, whose wisdom, patience and courage tormented his oppressors and finally drove them to accept that racial discrimination should have no place in a system of government.

Along with eight other conspirators, in 1964 Mandela was accused of sabotage and armed insurrection against the apartheid state. (He admitted sabotage but denied conspiring to violently overthrow the government.) He spent the next 18 years caged in primitive conditions on Robben Island and a further six in Pollsmoor Prison. Outside the prison walls, the government insisted on “grand apartheid,” the creed that insisted that whites, “natives,” “Asians” and “coloreds” should live in separate areas. Education, medicine, public services, and public spaces and buildings were similarly apportioned by race.

from The Great Debate:

Obama takes on the presumption of thuggery that permeates Martin case

Everyone looks to their president for protection against calamity, and black voters are no different. One little discussed fact of the Obama presidency is how it has been a singularly disastrous economic period for the first black president’s most loyal constituency: black people.

This has led to a running joke in families like mine where, nonetheless, black people cannot utter a word of criticism about him. They love him unconditionally.

from India Insight:

Justice delayed for Punjab beating victim

Burundi national Yannick Nihangaza was brutally beaten in April by allegedly drunk youngsters, and left for dead in Jalandhar, a city in Punjab. Nearly three months later, the 23-year-old Nihangaza lies in a vegetative state at a hospital.

His father has asked the Punjab government to allow him to bring his son back to Burundi. He also wants the state to prosecute the suspects and pay for his son's medical expenses.

from Full Focus:

Russia’s untouchables

Russia’s demographic situation is one of the many factors contributing to uncertainty in understanding the future of the country. As one of the world's only developing countries with a decreasing population, the Russian economy relies on a large influx of migrant workers to fill the gap. Photographer Denis Sinyakov documents the divisive issue of immigration.

from Global News Journal:

Pop star freed but Mexican attitudes still on trial

Mexican pop star Kalimba, accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in December, walked free on Thursday after a judge ordered his release for lack of evidence. For fans of the dreadlocked singer and dj, it was a justice of sorts, given that 73 percent of Mexicans believe he was innocent, according to a poll in leading newspaper Reforma. MEXICO/

Guilty or not, the case gave Mexico a bit of homegrown celebrity gossip over the past few weeks in a country where relentless news of horrific drug killings is daily fare. Seeing the singer arrested in El Paso, Texas, where he was recording a new album, then dressed in a orange jump suit and imprisoned in a Mexican jail and then crying on his release, made top news and created plenty of  chat both in Mexican homes and on the Internet.

from India Insight:

Does Indian literature owe its global success to the Raj?

As close to 50,000 people prepare to celebrate India's bulging roster of nationally and internationally renowned authors and poets at the seventh annual Jaipur Literary Festival, a public spat between its British organiser and an Indian magazine over allegations of perpetuating "a Raj that still lingers" threatens to ignite a decades-old debate over the role of colonial English in the country's literary success.

Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan (R) talks with Neville Tuli, founder and chairman of Osian's - Connoisseurs of Art Pvt Ltd, at the annual Jaipur literary festival, one of India's biggest, January 23, 2009. REUTERS/Abhishek Madhukar (INDIA)

As Delhi-based William Dalrymple and his fellow organiser stress the festival's intent to showcase works from India's array of states and dialects to thousands of book lovers, an article in India's Open magazine this month claimed the festival matters "because of the writers from Britain it attracts".

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Italian referee leads the way in battling racist chants

SOCCER-ITALY/Italian soccer has long struggled with racist chanting, a horror which has largely been stamped out in countries like England and Germany.

The problem persists in Italy but finally the tide is turning and ignorant fans are being beaten.

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