Black Stats, a new book by Oakland-based academic, author, and activist Monique Morris, explores that data and much more about black American life from education to the entertainment industry to the justice system. "There's a lot of information that floats in the public domain about black America," says Morris, and a lot of damaging numbers get tossed around without context. She hopes her book can debunk persistent myths and reset misleading narratives, explaining, for instance, that black overrepresentation in jails doesn't mean the majority of the incarcerated population is black. She also explores areas that aren't usually talked about and she says could use a lot more research, like sexual identity and the rising rate of acceptance of gays in the black community.
Morris talks about some of the surprising and lesser-known numbers she came across in her work, and you can see more in the charts below the video:
The beauty of great data visualization is that it renders wildly complex information into easily digestible pieces. What was once complicated still is, but now it's much easier to understand. Music does that in its own way, taking individual notes that fit together via incredibly complex patterns and stringing them together to make a rich and nuanced flow that gets past the complexity. When the two come together, you get something like this. Prepare to be mesmerized and blow part of an otherwise productive day with Igor Stravinksy's The Rite of Spring, visualized, from the people at The Music Animation Machine.
Latest update (7/10/14): On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act, making New York the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana, albeit only in nonsmokable forms such as pills, oils, or vapors.
Colorado and Washington were just the start. The movement to end the prohibition of pot is catching fire, with legalization bills and ballot measures now being discussed in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Marijuana activists predict that recreational pot smoking will become legal this year in Alaska, Oregon, and quite possibly Rhode Island, which could be the first state to take the leap by a vote of its legislature. But that's not all: 24 states are looking at creating or expanding medical-marijuana programs, or are vastly scaling back penalties for small-time possession. With a slew of polls now showing that most Americans think pot should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, it's probably only a matter of time before legalization sweeps the nation.
Even if you don't like football, you've probably heard of Donte' Stallworth. Back in March 2009, the then-Cleveland Browns wide receiver made news when, driving drunk the morning after a night of partying with friends, he struck and killed a pedestrian crossing a Miami street.
Stallworth ended up serving just 30 days in jail. He also reached a financial settlement with the victim's family and was suspended by the NFL for the entire 2009 season, but he couldn't dodge being seen as just another celebrity escaping justice by virtue of being rich and famous. After his return to football in 2010, Stallworth never again was quite the same. He was a free agent for the entire 2013 season, and after 10 years in the league, his time in football might be over.
For most, that'd be the end of life in the limelight. But Stallworth has gotten a jump on an unusual second act: On the strength of his social-media savvy and his passion for foreign-policy wonkery, he has built a Twitter following of some 143,000 users, who check in with @DonteStallworth to get his take on everything from the latest blown call to the last Snowden revelation (the most recent being a flash mob in New York City this week to encourage people to sign up for health care). And along with Chris Kluwe and Richard Sherman, he's pushing back against the dumb-jock stereotype, one tweet at a time.
I recently caught up with Stallworth to talk about his future in the NFL, football and concussions, and how he uses Twitter to interact with the world.
Donte' Stallworth: I've heard both sides of the argument. I don't know. I mean for one, I do feel like the name itself is obviously—it's a derogatory term toward a certain racial and ethnic group. However, at the same time, I do know that there have been many Native people—I don't like to call them "Native Americans," I guess, definitely not "Indians"—I've seen and read a lot about there's a big number of Natives that don't mind the Redskins name and they actually embrace it. Although there are a number of groups as well that are opposed to it.