TIME Demographics

Over 50% of Americans Will Be Nonwhite Within 30 Years

U.S. Census Bureau finds today's minorities will be in the majority by 2044

Half of all children in the U.S. will be nonwhite by 2020, according to new census data released Tuesday, and more than half the entire population by 2044.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 projections looked ahead at the national population up to 2060, making various projections on the country’s demographic makeup based on factors like birth rates, deaths and migration patterns.

The data suggests that, by 2044, the majority of the population will be nonwhite, with that number rising to 56.4 percent by 2060. The Hispanic population will see the largest growth from now until 2060, the Census Bureau predicts, jumping from 17.4 percent to 28.6 percent. The percentage of white Americans will drop from 62.2 percent now to 43.6 percent within 45 years.

Senior citizens will also make up a greater share of the population. Now, about one in seven Americans is over the age of 65. The last baby boomers turn 65 in 2029, and by 2030 the number of elderly citizens will jump to one in five. The foreign-born population is also expected to increase from 13 to 19 percent.

The predictions in the U.S. Census Bureau report rely on a number of assumptions based on current trends, and aren’t a guarantee of what the future U.S. population will look like.

 

MONEY Wealth

The Super-Rich Have a Racial Wealth Gap, Too

Even at the top end of the economic scale, the financial differences between blacks and whites are big — and they've changed little in 30 years.

TIME movies

Why Hollywood’s Diversity Problem Can’t Just Be Solved with Fancy Award Ceremonies and Gold Statues

Noble Johnson
John D. Kisch—Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images Publicity still of American actor Noble Johnson, 1920

For most of its history, Hollywood has worked hard to identify—and undermine—the work of black actors and filmmakers

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

Last Sunday’s Oscars have once again renewed debates over Hollywood’s diversity problem. “Not surprising that an organization who’s 94% White & 77% Male doesn’t recognize diverse talent,” one critic tweeted before the ceremony, using the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag that first trended last month, after the Academy announced its all-white list of nominees for best actor and actress, and snubbed director Ava DuVernay. Meanwhile, supporters of Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, who won for Best Director and Best Picture, argued that Hollywood was at least making progress. Iñárritu’s awards proved “compelling stories can be told by diverse talent,” Jack Rico wrote on NBC’s website the following day.

But recognizing black, Latino, and Asian talent has never been Hollywood’s problem. Hollywood has seldom overlooked the abilities of promising non-white filmmakers. In fact, for most of its history, Hollywood has worked hard to identify—and undermine—their work, which has been more detrimental to African American film than any Oscar snub. Keen to maintain its control over global film production, Hollywood wielded its political connections and economic might to establish systems that prevented independent black filmmakers from distributing their movies. When black filmmakers overcame these challenges, Hollywood responded by co-opting black cinema’s most marketable genres and directly competing with independent black film producers.

This history reaches back more than a century. When members of the first cohort of powerful American film producers, the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC),built up a national film market, they avoided offending their white audiences and censors in the South. That meant blacks wouldn’t be treated as equals either behind the camera or onscreen. Hollywood’s early producers were not members of the MPPC, but they gladly embraced and eventually strengthened these business policies as they battled their way to the top. When the first Hollywood blockbuster, Birth of a Nation debuted–a hundred years ago this month–Hollywood was already unmistakably invested in pleasing its white audiences at the expense of African Americans.

Fortunately, African Americans had their own cinema. It’s a little known fact, but long before the rise of Hollywood or better-known black filmmakers like Oscar Micheaux, black men and women began producing their own films. They developed sophisticated editing techniques, and invented new technologies for exhibiting motion pictures. In my book Envisioning Freedom: Cinema and the Building of Modern Black Life I describe how African Americans such as Harry A. Royston toured the country in the 1890s with film exhibitions “put together to please a colored audience.” Just a few years later, filmmakers like Mr. and Mrs. Conley, and William G. Hynes produced motion pictures about black progress. These pioneers of black cinema were the children of former slaves, or were born into slavery themselves. Their motion pictures broadcast ideas about black progress and raised money for black churches and other institutions dedicated to the mission of “racial uplift.” By the early 1900s, African American film could be found throughout the country.

Hollywood studios were suspicious of any threat to their markets. With few exceptions, early Hollywood producers were unwilling to invest in black film, but they still wanted to lock out any competition. To do so, Hollywood played dirty. Hollywood studios forced theaters that wanted the screen their films into “block booking,” which meant the theater could only screen films by their production houses. Later, the big players, including Paramount, Universal, and Fox, directly purchased their own theaters and conspired to corner the market by marginalizing the opportunities of independent producers to distribute their pictures, and by closing in on profits of “second run” theaters–the only places that exhibited independent black films.

Independent black filmmakers continued to produce movies, but found themselves boxed in. To grow into an industry that could produce big-budget, feature films, black filmmakers would need bigger distribution markets. But as Hollywood tightened its grip on the channels of film distribution, filmmakers like Oscar Micheaux found it impossible to place their movies in enough theaters to earn back their money. The Supreme Court eventually ruled that Hollywood’s monopolistic practices violated US antitrust laws, but not before hundreds of independent black film companies had been destroyed.

In other cases, Hollywood muscled out black independents by making their most bankable actors sign non-competition agreements. In 1917, Noble Johnson, an African American actor who played Native American, Latino, and Asian characters in Hollywood movies, co-founded the Lincoln Motion Picture Company. He produced and starred in three films before Universal demanded he disassociate himself from Lincoln Pictures or never work for Universal again. Johnson, who relied on his earnings from Universal to help finance his venture with Lincoln, had little choice but to resign. As the Lincoln Picture’s main draw, Johnson’s departure sounded a death knell to the company.

Despite the challenges that independent black producers faced, they proved there was a market for “race films.” Hollywood producers, having established a national (white) market for their films, began paying attention to the audiences they had ignored for decades. In the late 1920s, a growing number of Hollywood studios began producing “race films”; others toned down the virulent racism in their own films, and replaced white actors in blackface makeup with more African American performers. When the Great Depression hit, Hollywood, strapped for profits, doubled down on its efforts to woo over black audiences. The industry was still unwilling to offend the South, but after decades excluding African Americans actors, Hollywood producers could pitch featured roles as maids and butlers as “progress.” The 1939 film Gone with the Wind, and black actress Hattie McDaniel’s Academy award an Oscar for best supporting actress, exemplified Hollywood’s new inclusivity.

Hollywood’s strategies in Mexico haven’t been all that different from its efforts to squelch independent black film in the US. From World War I, when US films first came to dominate Mexico’s film markets, to NAFTA, the industry has relied on its powerful lobbies, tactics like block booking, and the recruitment of talented Mexican actors and filmmakers to work on Hollywood films. None of this, of course, is any secret. “Freed of fences and trade spikes, more folks in foreign countries will want to buy what Americans make and market,” Jack Valenti, former president and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPPA) wrote in support of NAFTA in 1993. Today, Hollywood controls about 90% of Mexico’s box office.

Without a doubt, Hollywood has a diversity problem, but one that can’t just be solved with fancy award ceremonies and gold statues. Above all, Hollywood is an industry motivated by profits, with a century-long history of aggressive and monopolistic business practices. So next time the Academy hands out its awards, we should remember to ask ourselves–who’s really winning the prize?

Cara Caddoo is the author of “Envisioning Freedom: Cinema and the Building of Modern Black Life (Harvard University Press, 2014). She teaches at Indiana University, Bloomington.

TIME Crime

University of Minnesota Drops Racial Descriptions From Crime Alerts

Nebraska v Minnesota
Hannah Foslien—Getty Images A general view of TCF Bank Stadium on Oct. 26, 2013 in Minneapolis.

Suspect descriptors will now only be included on a case-by-case basis

The University of Minnesota will no longer include vague racial descriptions in e-mailed campuswide crime alerts, after pressure from student groups.

University of Minnesota Vice President Pamela Wheelock sent an e-mail to students and faculty on Wednesday saying that a suspect’s description would now only be included “when there is sufficient detail that would help identify a specific individual or group,” according to the Star-Tribune.

The student-led campus advocacy group Whose Diversity? has been pressing for school officials to change policy recently, including a Feb. 9 demonstration outside the office of the university’s president, Eric Kaler.

Campus officials say they will now decide whether to include a description of a suspect on a case-by-case basis. The shift away from including racial information is rare but is in effect at the University of Maryland, according to the Star-Tribune, another Big Ten school.

TIME Race

Advice for Young Black Boys, 3 Years After Trayvon Martin’s Death

A Million Hoodies March Protests Death Of Trayvon Martin
Mario Tama—Getty Images A Million Hoodies March protests the death Of Trayvon Martin on Mar. 21, 2012, in New York City.

"You could be a Trayvon," columnist Touré wrote in 2012

It was three years ago — on Feb. 26, 2012 — that unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was shot by George Zimmerman. It would be months before Zimmerman, who had said the shooting was in self-defense, was found not guilty, a decision that inspired a new wave of debate about racism and the law. Following the verdict, TIME devoted a cover story to the way the case had shaken the country, as well as its reverberations on a more intimate scale.

As a columnist for TIME, Touré addressed the situation in the Apr. 2, 2012, issue of TIME. He responded to the news with a list of eight pieces of advice for people who “could be a Trayvon”:

Many black families have been forced into uncomfortable but necessary conversations since the Feb. 26 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. His death and the release of the uncharged shooter, George Zimmerman, have reminded many of how vulnerable we still are. The icy cold wind of racism has crept into our homes and made the hairs on the backs of our necks stand up. Blood memories of strange fruit have been stirred. Young black boys have been reminded that they are walking targets for hate. What do you say to them about what happened to Trayvon? Here’s a start:

1. It’s unlikely but possible that you could get killed today. Or any day. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. Black maleness is a potentially fatal condition. I tell you that not to scare you but because knowing that could save your life. There are people who will look at you and see a villain or a criminal or something fearsome. It’s possible they may act on their prejudice and insecurity. Being black could turn an ordinary situation into a life-or-death moment even if you’re doing nothing wrong…

Read the rest of his advice, here in the TIME Vault: How to Stay Alive While Being Black

Read the cover story from 2013, here in the TIME Vault: After Trayvon

TIME politics

How the First Black U.S. Senator Was Nearly Kept From His Seat

Hiram R Revels
MPI / Getty Images circa 1870: Hiram R Revels

Feb. 25, 1870: Hiram Revels, a Mississippi Republican, is sworn in as the first black member of the U.S. Senate

Hiram Rhodes Revels was a rising star of the Republican Party in 1869. A gifted orator — a skill he’d honed in his pre-political career as a minister — he’d just won a seat in the Mississippi state senate when he delivered an opening prayer so moving it left the statehouse awestruck.

“That prayer, one of the most impressive and eloquent prayers that had ever been delivered in the Senate Chamber, made Revels a United States Senator,” Revels’ fellow Mississippi legislator, John R. Lynch, later wrote. “It impressed those who heard it that Revels was not only a man of great natural ability but that he was also a man of superior attainments.”

So why, when Revels was chosen the following year to fill one of Mississippi’s two empty seats in the U.S. Senate, did his appointment raise the ruckus that would land him on TIME’s top-ten list of contested officeholders? Because some Democrats argued that since the 14th Amendment, which granted citizenship to people of color (including recently-freed slaves), had been ratified in 1868, Revels had only technically been a citizen for two years — not long enough to meet the Senate’s requirements.

Their argument was quashed, and on this day, Feb. 25, 1870, Revels became America’s first black Senator, serving out the unexpired term in a Senate seat that had been vacated when Mississippi seceded from the Union. The state’s other seat had formerly been occupied by Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The irony of that reversal wasn’t lost on Revels’ Senate colleagues, including Nevada Senator James Nye.

“[Jefferson Davis] went out to establish a government whose cornerstone should be the oppression and perpetual enslavement of a race because their skin differed in color from his,” Nye declared on the Senate floor. “Sir, what a magnificent spectacle of retributive justice is witnessed here today! In the place of that proud, defiant man, who marched out to trample under foot the Constitution and the laws of the country he had sworn to support, comes back one of that humble race whom he would have enslaved forever to take and occupy his seat upon this floor.”

While Revels might have taken issue with his characterization as a member of “that humble race,” he apparently didn’t mention it publicly. His time in office was marked by moderation and forgiveness. He was a staunch advocate for granting amnesty to former Confederates, provided they swore an oath of loyalty to the Union, and he spoke out against segregation, believing it only perpetuated prejudice.

“I find that the prejudice in this country to color is very great, and I sometimes fear that it is on the increase,” he said in one floor speech. Amid the tensions of the Reconstruction Era, he attempted to soothe the fears of his fellow politicians. In an argument for educating freed slaves, he promised, “The colored race can be built up and assisted … in acquiring property, in becoming intelligent, valuable, useful citizens, without one hair upon the head of any white man being harmed.”

Read a 1967 story about Edward William Brooke III, the first African American senator elected after the ratification of the 17th Amendment, here in the TIME Vault: An Individual Who Happens To Be a Negro

TIME Civil Rights

On 50th Anniversary of Assassination, Malcolm X’s Legacy Continues to Evolve

Malcolm X
Michael Ochs Archives Malcolm X in 1960

Decades later, one thing hasn't changed: his is seen as a story of rebirth

It’s amazing what 50 years can do for a legacy.

The opening line of TIME’s 1965 remembrance of Malcolm X described the recently-assassinated human rights activist as a “pimp, a cocaine addict and a thief” whose brand had already begun a “transfiguration” after death.

Now, 50 years after the anniversary of his assassination on Feb. 21, 1965, that transfiguration continues. Malcolm X is often listed beside the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks as an influential figure in the struggle for black equality. That’s because, though his is a complicated story of personal evolution — an evolution that continued even after his death — the lesson he offers about the importance of change has been constant throughout the decades.

During his life Malcolm X was already reinventing himself, from a troubled youth to an advocate of black separatism to a human-rights activist. Similarly, his legacy has grown after his death, from a reputation as a dangerous rabble-rouser to that of an American icon. At the heart of his new-found status is an of persistence in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. These days, his belief that black lives do matter even if the world suggests otherwise, and that it’s possible to create transformation, is particularly resonant.

“Most of his career is about opposition, cynicism, pessimism, but there’s a positive side—a kind of deep self-respect and pride and sense of defiance,” explains Tommie Shelby, Harvard University professor of African and African American Studies. “That sense of spirit and militancy in the face of oppression and what looks like pretty low prospects for things getting better is what people are attracted to in him.”

Malcolm X’s autobiography, which was co-written by Alex Haley and released in the months following its namesake’s death, is at the heart of the change in public perception of him. The work careens through a life rife with drugs, crime violence and advocacy for ideas that were as controversial then as they are now. But, as Shelby notes, that’s not what lingers in the mind of the reader.

As the autobiography recounts, the author and activist, then called Malcolm Little, moved to Harlem as a young man to try to make a living and escape the tragedy of his childhood. His father had been killed in a mysterious train accident and his mother had been committed to a mental institution. Malcolm was smart, and knew it, but felt the world presented him with few options outside of crime. Without “the white man’s American social system” he and his counterparts “might have probed space, or cured cancer, or built industries,” he wrote.

This is the world Malcolm, in his own retelling of his life, defies. The way in which he challenges oppression is less significant than the act of actually doing it. Indeed, Malcolm defies the system in many ways, in rapid succession. He goes from being a child in Michigan, who strove to conform, to a devout advocate for Sunni Islam. He takes stops in between as a black separatist, a professional criminal and a pensive convict. His life is one of perpetual rebirth—and that’s still what appeals about him.

The transfiguring impact of his assassination, which had been noted by TIME, also affected the book. His story took on a whole new life, one less associated with racial separatism than with perseverance. The fact that his death was likely at the hands of assailants from the Nation of Islam—a deeply controversial organization that he had repudiated shortly before—likely provided the extra boost to make him a credible figure in the American zeitgeist.

“Many prominent black leaders thought that Malcolm X’s influence would quickly and quietly disappear,” says Christopher Strain, professor of history at Florida Atlantic University. “The autobiography made Malcolm a kind of ideological hero, especially among black youth.”

Case in point: In the immediate years following TIME’s portrayal of Malcolm as a thief, the magazine changed course. In 1970, TIME noted that Malcolm should and would be viewed as more than “a byproduct of the rage and rhetoric” of race politics. At the turn of the century, more than three decades after he was killed, the magazine declared The Autobiography of Malcolm X one of the ten most groundbreaking books of the 20th century. Malcolm X’s had told a “haunting tale of racial persecution and rebirth” that “changed minds and lives.”

By that time, Spike Lee had released his film biopic Malcolm X, with Denzel Washington playing the title role, and Public Enemy had sampled the leader’s speeches in their music. Even figures like President Barack Obama pointed to Malcolm X’s change in approach late in life and embraced his legacy.

“His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will,” Obama wrote in his memoir, Dreams from My Father. Obama also noted that Malcolm had “safely abandoned” his more problematic views at the end of his life.

And, at a time when protests over racial issues continue to sweep America, Malcolm X continues to inspire. When asked about the relevance of Malcolm X today, Alicia Garza—who helped organize the #BlackLivesMatter movement—seems like she doesn’t know where to begin.

“What was so powerful about Malcolm was that he was courageous enough to change his mind and courageous enough to admit that he made mistakes,” she says. “What we are inspired by and hoping to embody is that spirit of curiosity and experimentation and innovation.”

Read TIME’s 1965 report on the assassination of Malcolm X, free of charge, here in the archives: Death and Transfiguration

TIME Race

I Think I’m Attracted to White Men Because of My Own Internalized Racism

xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

To this day I’m still working on freeing myself from the years of damage the media and the society and the history have done

xojane

Having a crush on someone is, for me, the absolute worst. It’s like being trapped and controlled by my thoughts and feelings about the person I’m into. And because of my social anxiety and general awkwardness, and the fact that my life isn’t a rom-com, nothing positive ever comes from these situations. Unfortunately, it happens more often than I would like.

Most recently, it was a handsome brown-eyed friend whose deep voice and bright smile lingered in my imagination during every waking moment for months. Thinking about him all day rendered me basically useless as a productive human being. I could barely write, study, or finish an episode of Gilmore Girls without curling up into the fetal position with a sigh, where I would just feel.

When I have feelings for someone, even if it’s just a crush, I fall pretty hard. Although I can be attracted to someone of any race or gender, like so many of my other major crushes, he’s male and white. And I know this has something to do with why I’m attracted to him.

I have a thing for white guys. And writing that last sentence makes me feel gross, like I’m a traitor, or a self-hating black woman. I know it’s wrong to think this way, to focus on being with a white guy as the ultimate goal in my love life. And I have been trying, very hard, to resist the notion that I must aspire to getting a partner who has lighter skin than I do.

Even as a kid, I knew it was strange. I hadn’t yet learned the word problematic, hadn’t studied sociology, and didn’t know how to think critically about race, but something about being attracted to the white boys in class, and hating my dark-skinned, kinky-haired, full-lipped face when I looked in the mirror didn’t sit well with me.

When I was in high school, I read The Color Complex, learned about the Clark doll tests, and it hit me. Huh. I was literally taught by society to hate myself. This realization didn’t instantly dismantle the structures of white supremacy in my colonized mind. To this day I’m still working on freeing myself from the years of damage that the media and my history books and the boys who made fun of me at school have done.

Just to be clear, I’m speaking from personal experience, and I don’t think that every single black woman is attracted to white guys because of internalized racism. But I have a feeling that some of us, and perhaps many women of color, are.

In my case, both personal experiences and white supremacy are to blame. Personal experiences include the black boys who made fun of me and made me feel ugly when I was a kid and the black men who have harassed me in public.

Undoubtedly, mass media and Eurocentric beauty standards have also had an effect on my repeated crushes on white guys. White men in mass media are portrayed as handsome, romantic, kind, caring, and ideal partners. Black men in the media are portrayed as lying, cheating, abusive, and delinquent. And throughout my childhood, everyone and everyone would remind me, with or without words, that being a black girl, especially one with darker skin, means being undesirable.

I wanted to make up for that, as do many other black girls. So we would buy skin lightening creams, try to stay out of direct sunlight, and chemically relax our hair or otherwise alter its natural state or appearance. It wasn’t enough, and it never would be. Being black isn’t something you can hide with wigs, weaves, or extensions, no matter how well-done they are.

MTI4MDkwMDgwOTc4OTg5MDI2

Let’s talk more about hair for a minute, because it is at the core of black beauty standards. The above picture is probably the only picture I have of myself within the past 10 years with my hair in its natural, uncovered state. Since the idea of being seen with my natural hair meant letting people see me as my most authentic black self, showing it to the world is slightly terrifying.

Viola Davis, who started wearing wigs after developing stress-related alopecia, continued to wear them after her condition was resolved. She described her insecurity about her natural hair in an interview with Vulture: “I wore a wig in the Jacuzzi. I had a wig I wore around the house. I had a wig that I wore to events. I had a wig that I wore when I worked out. I never showed my natural hair. It was a crutch, not an enhancement . . . I was so desperate for people to think that I was beautiful.” I’ve been wearing wigs for the past few years for the same reasons.

The idea of being with a white man was never about the men themselves, who, besides their whiteness, are often mediocre. It’s that being loved by a white man would make up for my perceived inadequacy as a black woman.

Black girls, especially darker-skinned ones, are unwanted. Up until very recently (praise be to Shonda Rhimes), we were not the love interests. Books, TV shows, and film didn’t acknowledge our humanity and complexity, with the occasional exception of the lighter-skinned black girl. The way we are portrayed in the media is representative of real life desirability politics. According to OkCupid’s data on race and attraction, black women are the least desirable among all groups of women.

The first, and only, boyfriend I ever had was a white guy. As inexperienced and anxious I was about relationships, he made me feel comfortable because he made me feel good about myself. I was very insecure, so I needed him to frequently tell me that I was beautiful.

I realize now, years later, that I probably had no business being in a relationship with anyone at the time. But he was hard to resist, because by just saying simple, trite things about how much he cared about me, he made me feel like royalty. Because this white man had chosen me, somewhere in the depths of my subconsciousness, where the internalized racism dwells, I knew that I had won the jackpot. Knowing that he had chosen me instead of a white woman somehow compensated for my blackness and made me feel special. It proved that I was actually beautiful (despite what I had been made to believe my whole life) and capable of being loved. And as an added bonus, if we ended up having kids, I wouldn’t worry as much about my daughter (who would have lighter skin and curlier hair than I do) having the same self-esteem issues that I did as a child.

The guy I mentioned at the beginning of this piece ended up flat-out rejecting me. Which was totally fine, and expected. What I felt afterward were the normal symptoms of “being rejected by your crush” syndrome: humiliation, hurt, longing, loneliness. But also disappointment in knowing that I’ve once again failed to achieve the ultimate goal of obtaining the white male gaze. I felt worthless: I’m not pretty, or smart, or interesting. I, as a black woman, am not worthy of loving, or at least that’s how I felt. I’m working on realizing I am worthy of those things (in general, not just from white men) unlearning years’ worth of lies I’ve been told about my value.

Loving oneself as a woman of color is as vital to survival as it is revolutionary. That’s why the idea of a young black girl wanting to look like her brought tears to Janelle Monáe’s eyes during an appearance on The Queen Latifah Show. This is why Lupita Nyong’o’s rise to fame as a dark-skinned black woman is so relevant to our community. And why at the SAG Awards Viola Davis thanked the creators of How to Get Away With Murder “for thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old, dark-skinned African-American woman who looks like me.”

Thankfully, we live in a time when it is becoming both legal and acceptable for people to date whomever they want. I don’t think my attraction to white men is inherently problematic. Though since it has been a pattern, I do think that it’s necessary to analyze it and interpret racial patterns of attraction with a sociological lens, and I would encourage everyone to do the same. Be attracted to whomever you want, but understand why you have these attractions and how they perpetuate racism if you’re white, and how they reflect internalized racism if you’re a person of color.

Keziyah Lewis wrote this article for xoJane.

Read next: I Am a ‘Conscious’ Black Woman Who Fell for a White Man

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Law

Alabama’s Governor Apologizes to India After a Man Was Injured in a Police Encounter

The 57-year-old man was left partially paralyzed after being wrestled to the pavement near his son's home

The governor of Alabama has tendered an apology to the government of India for the actions of two police officers in the city of Madison last week that resulted in serious injuries to an Indian man.

“I deeply regret the unfortunate use of excessive force by the Madison Police Department on Sureshbhai Patel and for the injuries sustained by Mr. Patel,” reads a letter from Governor Robert Bentley to Ajit Kumar, the Indian Consul General in Atlanta.

Patel, 57, was left partially paralyzed after being thrown on the ground by two police officers who stopped him on the sidewalk near his son’s home on Feb 6. Patel had come from India to help take care of his 17-month-old grandson.

“I sincerely hope that Mr. Patel continues to improve and that he will regain full use of his legs,” Bentley’s letter reads.

Bentley said he has also initiated an investigation into the incident by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, parallel to the one being conducted by the FBI.

Eric Parker, the 26-year-old policeman who turned himself in following the release of dashcam footage of the incident, and who was subsequently fired, has pleaded not guilty to assault charges leveled against him.

TIME Parenting

5 Things One Mom Wishes She’d Been Told Before Adopting her Black Son

Alexander Landau, 21, was hospitalized when he was 19 years-old after he was stopped by Denver Police. Landau at his attorney's office, Tuesday May 3, 2011, was given a $795,000 settlement after beating during a traffic stop by police. RJ Sangosti, The De
RJ Sangosti—The Denver Post/Getty Images Alexander Landau

Alex Landau’s mother Patsy Hathaway believed that love was enough when it came to raising her adopted black son—until he was beaten up by Denver police in a routine traffic stop. Landau says he was attacked after asking for a warrant; police say they thought he was reaching for one of their guns.

“Had I prepared Alex properly, he would have suffered less,” says Hathaway today, five years after the 2009 incident. “I regret this. But he would not have become the leader that he is destined to be either. Alex is in a position to help reduce others’ suffering, as well as to expose injustice and racism.”

Landau, who was given a settlement by Denver Police in 2011, is now a student and an activist. His mom wants everyone to know what she learned: a list of ways adoptive parents of kids can better support their children of a different race throughout their lives.

  1. “Preschoolers experience prejudice. So teach younger children the best you can [about racism], in simple language. Lessons can become more elaborate as kids mature.”
  2. “Children should deeply understand that racism is not their fault; there’s nothing wrong with them. Try to explain that without vilifying others.”
  3. “Universalize it. Talk about white slavery in Greece, the Jewish experience, the struggle that Hispanics face. It’s not just blacks who have suffered; it’s a problem of how people treat each other. You don’t want children to feel that it’s just their race, or who they are.”
  4. “Talk about the movement, the civil rights leaders and how they made a difference. Introduce people your children can identify with and want to emulate.”
  5. “When kids are older, parents need to get practical about how to handle potentially dangerous situations like police stops. Make sure your kids know their rights and that they understand the recommended way to handle themselves with the police. We want our kids to live to become peaceful agents of change.”

Hathaway’s story is part of Time’s special report on interracial adoption, available exclusively to Time for Family subscribers here.

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