Can new mobile apps for hailing cabs stop taxi discrimination in New York City?

Hailing a New York City cab while black may get a little easier in the coming days, if new technologies now being released have the expected impact.

Racial discrimination by taxi drivers is a phenomenon that has long plagued New York City cab seekers of color, many longtime residents and visitors say.

Even famous actor Danny Glover has had what many people of color describe as a common experience. The movie star caused a stir more than a decade ago when he filed a complaint with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), claiming in part that he had been denied rides by several of the city’s yellow cab drivers because of his race.

“I was so angry,” he said in a press conference to discuss the incident. “The fact that my daughter’s here to go to school, it really upsets me that if she’s standing on the corner waiting to get a cab, she can’t get a cab. It happens to her, it happens to countless people every single day.”

All of that could change, however, with the advent of new mobile apps that seek to streamline the process of hailing a cab, while rendering drivers essentially colorblind regarding the race of potential passengers.



Incredibly, Rejected Asian Americans Start New “Historical Asian American College and University” Movement



Hun Loo “Lincoln” Gong, a self-made billionaire who designed the first chip that enabled laptops to automatically read both Apple and PC software in Chinese and English, was rejected from Harvard in 1981.

He has never forgotten that, nor the fact that it’s impossibly difficult for Asian Americans to get beyond the limitations of top institutions with increasingly high percentages of Asian American students.

“Schools just don’t want to go beyond 30-40 percent Asian,” said Gong. “It’s true for private schools like Harvard or even public schools like UC Berkeley. But think what kind of student body you can have with all those Asian American rejects.”

That’s when the light went off in Gong’s head.

“I never forgot when I was rejected from Harvard, I got a scholarship to attend Lincoln University in Pennsylvania,” Gong said.  He didn’t realize it was a historically black school at the time, but applied because his immigrant father would only let him go to a school named after the family hero.

At Lincoln, Gong learned about the purpose of historically black universities, and how they served a real need when blacks were excluded from colleges before the Civil War.

“When you think of it, the exclusion of top Asian American immigrants now is just like it was for blacks back then,” Gong said. “Where are we going to get the best education if we get shut out of the top schools?”

Gong knew of other high level executives in the tech field who were Asian immigrants, now naturalized citizens, but were rejected from their top choices like Harvard, UC Berkeley, and Stanford.  Last month, during a poker night in San Jose, Calif., Gong got his millionaire buddies to pool close to $1 billion dollars to create a full-fledged university based in California, that would cater to what he called the “vengeful rejects.”

“Those are the students who want to let Harvard and Berkeley and Stanford know the schools made a great, big mistake,” said Gong, who still speaks with an accent and broken English.

The goal would be to buy real estate in San Francisco as a hedge against the education business. “At least we’ll have the buildings,” Gong said.

Then they will set up a virtual online university that will give opportunities to Asian immigrants abroad to receive American degrees, as well as Asian Americans who got rejected from the top schools.

“We will let them in for a relative small cost, and they can pay us when they make it big,” said Gong. “We have high standards, so I expect all of them to make it.”

The approach is unusual, but Gong said he thought the typical university system was overrated. “We’ll give them what they need to succeed,” he said. “We don’t have to give them Shakespeare. We’re very focused.”

The working name for the school is Vincent Chin University or VCU, named for the iconic Chinese American who was beaten and killed in a racist murder in 1982.

“VCU was also one of my favorite teams in the NCAA tournament” said Gong, who liked VCU because of its coach, Shaka Smart. Gong said this VCU will have at least a chess team to start, but with  ping pong and badminton teams added if they are competitive. “We must be able to compete with the world champs in Asia,” he said. “Otherwise, we’ll stick to our studies.”

Due to the current Lunar New Year, VCU will take on the mascot, the Snakes.

“The Snakes will be crafty and  un-traditional,” said Gong, “And we won’t  be afraid to be 90 percent Asian if that’s the way it goes.”

Gong made his remarks at a special April 1st announcement ceremony in San Francisco’s Chinatown. “Even though Harvard and Berkeley could be Asian American universities if they were honest in their admissions policies, VCU will be the first of this country’s official Historical Asian American Colleges and Universities,” said Gong.

Emil Guillermo is an award-winning journalist and commentator on race and diversity issues. Based in California, he writes for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Discrimination Against Asians In College Admissions

46 minutes of aradio show about Descrimination against Asians in college students

In just days now, spring college admissions letters will start to flow.  Here’s a wrinkle you may not have thought of.  A lot of Asian-Americans, with high scores and high grades, feel they’re not getting an even break.  Feel that top colleges are tapping the brakes on Asian-American admissions to hold down Asian-American enrollment.

Meaning an Asian-American kid, they say, has to clear an unfairly high bar to get in.  In the age of Tiger Mom talk and affirmative action angst, that’s a volatile charge.

This hour, On Point:  college admissions, and the Asian-American factor.

-Tom Ashbrook



Carolyn Chen, director in Asian American Studies at Northwestern University, where she is also professor of sociology. In December she wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled, “Asians: Too Smart for Their Own Good?

Rod Bugarin, has spent more than 15 years in admissions offices at selective schools, including Wesleyan, Brown and Columbia. In the New York Times’ Room for Debate pages, he wrote a response to Carolyn Chen’s op-ed: “Scores Aren’t the Only Qualification.”

David Hollinger, professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1992.

Creeping Sharia: Dinner lady sacked for serving Muslim children with non-halal meat at multi-faith school

islamic logic;  it’s ok to force non-muslim kids to eat inhumanely ritual slaughtered halal meat but giving non-hala to muslim kids by mistake gets you fired and is an insult to islam.





All 1,400 students at Moseley school are served halal meat, regardless of their religion.

It has not been specified what type of meat was served, but the person responsible for serving the food was dismissed following a disciplinary hearing last Monday.

Parents were informed of the mistake this month, and reacted with outrage, forcing headteacher Carl Jansen to apologise for the ‘unintentional error’.

However, Muslim parents are demanding others be held accountable for the mistake, which they say call ‘an insult to our faith’.

‘The school have failed the children,’ one parent said yesterday. ‘How did this meal get into the school system to be fed to the children?

‘It’s just shocking that dietary requirements haven’t been met.’

‘It is a disgrace that this could be allowed to happen and we demand more action is take,’ a father of a sixth form student said yesterday.

‘It could not just be the error or one lady, there must be people at the top responsible too who also need to be sacked. It is an insult to our faith.’

Not all parents have taken the news with the same shock, saying the dinner lady should not have been sacked over a mistake.

‘It’s a little bit harsh to sack somebody because of one little mistake,’ father-of-three Barry Jackman said.

‘Yes, we have to respect religions and standards which are expected – but it was a one-off and surely the lady doesn’t deserve to lose her job.’

The details of the non-halal school dinner only came to light last month, when provider Birmingham council department Direct Services confirmed the mistake.

Sheila Walker, head of Direct Services, said: ‘This was found to be due to an error and was unintentional, nevertheless, we have failed to ensure the integrity of Halal only food at Moseley School.’

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson added: ‘We of course apologise for any concerns this has caused.’


English professor brings discrimination suit




Macalester College is being sued by English Professor Wang Ping for discrimination in the promotion process. According to court documents, Wang is filing under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, claiming that she was unlawfully discriminated against by the college on the basis of gender, race and national origin.

President Brian Rosenberg confirmed that the college was involved in a legal case with Wang.

“To be clear, she is suing us,” Rosenberg said. Rosenberg declined to comment further on the case.

In the lawsuit against the college, Wang—who is currently on sabbatical and not teaching any courses this semester—is requesting compensation for all earnings, wages, and other benefits she contends that she would have received if it weren’t for the alleged discriminatory practices of the college. Wang also requests damages for mental anguish and emotional distress she has suffered, and a declaratory judgement that the College’s practices related to her promotion process are unlawful.

Wang was hired by Macalester in 1999 and began working as a tenure track assistant professor in 2001, teaching Creative Writing in the English Department. In 2003, Wang’s request to seek early promotion to the position of associate professor was denied by the college. In 2005 Wang was ultimately promoted to associate professor with full tenure, and sought promotion to full professor in 2009. She was denied her promotion to full professor, and was told in a letter that her application “did not provide sufficient evidence that you have met the standards for promotion at this time.” Court documents note that a white, male colleague in the same department also applied for promotion around both times Wang applied, and was granted the promotions on both occasions, despite the fact he had fewer published works and less service to the community. There were also documented procedural violations in the promotion process.

Wang says she was confident that she was qualified for promotion, and received similar support from colleagues in the English Department and other faculty members.

“Everyone told me my [promotion] was a slam-dunk, that I’ve done more than enough,” Wang said. “And I was denied. I was just really shocked.”

Wang filed an appeal to the Faculty Personnel Committee’s decision to deny her the promotion based on what Wang found to be various violations of the college’s promotion policies and procedures. The faculty appeals committee submitted its findings to President Rosenberg, stating that the FPC, which is made up of faculty members, the President, and Provost Kathleen Murray, had “violated Professor Wang’s academic freedom” by denying her promotion. Rosenberg ultimately ruled that there had been no violations.

After her failed appeal, Wang decided to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. government agency that enforces federal employment discrimination laws.

Since filing the discrimination charge with the EEOC, Wang was ultimately granted promotion in the spring of 2012.

Wang was born in China and received her B.A. in English literature at Beijing University. She moved to the United States in 1986 and went on to obtain a Masters in English Literature at Long Island University and her doctorate in Comparative Literature at New York University. A widely published poet, Wang has written extensively on the Chinese-American immigrant experience, sexuality in Chinese culture, migrant workers, environmental issues and industrialization. Wang is the recipient of various awards and fellowships, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry and the Asian American Studies Book Award.

According to court documents in the public record dated Dec. 21, 2012, Faegre Baker Daniels law firm in Minneapolis, which is serving as Macalester’s legal representation in the case, will take a videotaped deposition of Wang on Friday, Feb. 15 at 9:00 a.m. According to court documents, the oral examination will take place before a court reporter, a notary public, and a qualified videographer.



OC Company Boss To Asian Employee: You Can’t Speak Vietnamese Even On Private Time



A veteran Orange County lab assistant who claims that his boss banned him from speaking Vietnamese anytime on the job–even on breaks or at off-duty functions–has agreed to settle his employment discrimination lawsuit prior to a scheduled 2013 trial.

Hung Trinh filed a state lawsuit in April but lawyers for Quest Diagnostics Inc. of San Juan Capistrano got the matter transferred several blocks away to the Santa Ana courtroom of U.S. District Judge James V. Selna.
Trinh, who lives in Lake Elsinore, claims he injured his back on the job and suffered “constant harassment” because of his Asian race by supervisorEstela Comba.
“Plaintiff believes that Ms. Comba had a problem with Vietnamese employees and specifically with him,” the lawsuit stated. “Ms. Comba would prohibit him and the other six Vietnamese employees to speak Vietnamese even when they were not on company time. Ms. Comba even prohibited the seven Vietnamese employees from speaking their language at potluck parties.”

According to the lawsuit, Trinh’s complaints to the company’s Human Resources department resulted in an even “higher level of hostility” that culminated in him being fired for an alleged unexcused work absence on Nov. 1, 2011, even though he actually worked a shift that day.
“[The company’s] conduct amounts to intolerable and discriminatory working conditions amounting to wrongful discharge,” wrote Trinh lawyers Rex P. Sofonio and Maribel B. Ullrich of Irvine.

In court documents, Quest Diagnostics officials denied any wrongdoing but on Nov. 20 they filed a post-mediation, joint stipulation with Trinh to dismiss the matter before a jury could hear the case.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
In California, it is against the law for employers to discriminate based on a disability or race.
Though Orange County’s Little Saigon is home to the world’s largest and most vibrant enclave of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam, issues over language occasionally arise.
As the Weekly‘s Matt Coker reported last month, William Leo McDougall, an 83-year-old resident of Laguna Woods, received a 16-year suspended prison sentence for killing Manh Ban Nguyen, his 94-year-old roommate, to stop him from singing Vietnamese songs.