Miss France Uses Crown as Platform to Speak About Race
She’s only been named Miss France for one day but Chloé Mortaud, a biracial woman, isn’t wasting any time. She is already speaking openly about race and ethnic profiling in her country. Mortaud — born to a white French father and African American mother — was crowned Miss France in a televised ceremony in Paris on Saturday. The very next day she spoke to reporters about racial discrimination. The 19-year-old said, “I want to explain to people that fear of the other is unfounded,” said, Mortaud who has dual American and French citizenship. “I want to incarnate … today’s French diversity.” While Mortaud isn’t the first non-white pageant winner, she is one of the first to speak publicly about race. France is home to one of Europe’s biggest Muslim populations and some of the largest black communities. While the country prides itself on being “color-blind” and treating all French in the same way, the political system there does not reflect that. (Continue Reading…)

Study Details the Power of Negative Racial Stereotypes
Barack Obama’s election as president may be seen as a harbinger of a colorblind society, but a new study suggests that derogatory racial stereotypes are so powerful that merely being unemployed makes people more likely to be viewed by others — and even themselves — as black. In a long-term survey of 12,686 people, changes in social circumstances such as falling below the poverty line or being sent to jail made people more likely to be perceived by interviewers as black and less likely to be seen as white. Altogether, the perceived race of 20% of the people in the study changed at least once over a 19-year period, according to the study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Changes in racial perceptions — whether from outside or within — were likely concentrated among those of mixed ethnicity, researchers said. (Continue Reading…)

Belafonte to Auction Unknown Papers of MLK
An original handwritten outline for Martin Luther King Jr.’s first speech condemning the Vietnam War owned by his friend Harry Belafonte is going on the auction block this week. Sotheby’s will offer the document for sale Thursday along with two others: the scribbled notes for a speech King planned to deliver in Memphis, Tenn., three days after he was assassinated and a letter of condolence from President Lyndon B. Johnson to King’s widow. The auction house put the overall pre-sale estimate for the three documents at $750,000 to $1.13 million, with the Vietnam speech valued at $500,000 to $800,000. Belafonte, a singer and actor, was an early disciple of King and his host on King’s visits to New York dating from the mid-1950s.mIn a telephone interview, Belafonte said he was putting his documents up for sale because “I am at the end of my life — I will be 82 shortly — and there are a lot of causes I believe in for which resources are not available, and there is a need to redistribute those resources.” (Continue Reading…)

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