Voices in Focus: Racial Disparity and Racial Profiling

Mitt Romney chatted with Greek-American billionaire John Catsimatidis at a fundraiser that the latter held for him in New York CIty. (Photo via Greek News)Here’s what caught our attention in the ethnic and community media this fine Friday morning:

* The liberal bastion of New York City may not be the most friendly territory for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, but a trio of fundraisers here and in Connecticut netted the Republican $3 million, Greek News reported — thanks in large part to the efforts of the Greek-American billionaire John Catsimatidis,  who owns the Red Apple and Gristedes supermarket chains, as well as a Pennsylvania oil refinery.

Catsimatidis hosted a lunch event for Romney at the Waldorf-Astoria, Greek News reported, and dismissed the suggestion that Romney was fundraising in hostile territory:

“Don’t forget, New York is a town of businesspeople, investment bankers, bankers, and they respond to him whether they’re Republican or Reagan Democrats or businesspeople who used to be Clinton Democrats,” Mr. Catsimatidis said. “They love this guy because he’s a straight arrow, he’s level-headed, and he’s going to do the right thing for our country.”

* Amsterdam News reported that the notoriously violent Salvadorian gang MS-13 is making inroads in New York City, spreading out from Long Island, where it has long had a presence:

After making a murderous run out on Long Island, city authorities are very leery of MS-13’s movements, as the San Salvador-based clan has been active in places like Corona, Queens, and Parkchester in the Bronx, though they have yet to venture into the ’hood.

An afternoon drive-by earlier this month—in which three alleged MS-13 members were hit reportedly by Latin King members—has got some agencies and Queens residents on high alert.

The crackling sound of erupting gunfire sent startled school children and their chaperones scurrying for cover as they headed home from their study sessions at nearby P.S. 82 and M.S. 217 in Jamaica, Queens, on March 1. During the brazen afternoon attempted murders, three young men were wounded in a Wendy’s parking lot at the busy intersection of 89th Avenue and 139th Street near Jamaica Avenue. Police say the violent act was fueled by feuding street crews.

* Also from Amsterdam News, we got some dispiriting news about the disparity between black and white families when it comes to homelessness:

According to a report from the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness (ICPH), one out of every 141 Black family members stayed in a homeless shelter in 2010, seven times the rate of whites. In New York City in 2009, twice as many Black families (55.9 percent) were found in homeless shelters compared to the general population of the five boroughs. White families represent 1.9 percent of the city’s homeless and make up 36.1 percent of families in New York.

The ICPH study report also stated that homeless children are nine times more likely to repeat a grade, four times more likely to drop out of school and three times more likely to be placed in special education programs than peers who live in homes.

* And lastly, racial profiling of New Yorkers of South Asian descent is still alive and well a decade after 9/11, according to an 18-month study that looked into racial profiling by national and local law enforcement agencies of New Yorkers of South Asian descent, the South Asian Times reported.

The study, which was based on surveys, focus groups, and interviews, asked Desi New Yorkers about their experiences with those agencies.

On interactions with law enforcement, for example, 73 percent of respondents surveyed were questioned by law enforcement about their national origin; 66 percent reported being questioned about their religious affiliations; and 85 percent reported being questioned about their immigration status.

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