Things That Matter

Felony Hate Crime Charges Have Been Filed Against The Man Who Harassed A Woman For Wearing A Puerto Rico Flag Shirt

All Mia Irizarry wanted to do was celebrate her 24th birthday. What she got instead was a horrific moment that she will most likely never forget. On June 14, Irizarry rented out a pavilion at a public park in Chicago to host a party for her birthday. While she was setting up, an older man, identified as Timothy Trybus, approached her angrily because of her Puerto Rico flag shirt.

Timothy Trybus confronted Mia Irizarry about wearing her Puerto Rico flag shirt while being in America.

Irizarry recorded the entire confrontation, which was 30-minutes long, and posted it on Facebook. The incident happened last month but police have finally arrested Trybus over the incident and has been charged with two felony hate crimes. These filed hate crime charges will enhace the misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor disorderly conduct he was originally charged with.

The man, who was reportedly intoxicated, asked if Irizarry was an American citizen.

Posted by Mia Irizarry on Thursday, June 14, 2018

“Are you a citizen? Then you should not be wearing that,” the man said. “I would like to know is she an American citizen? Why is she wearing that s—?”

“First of all, the United States owns Puerto Rico,” Irizarry responded.

“You’re not going to change us,” the man said. “The world is not going to change the United States of America. You should not be wearing that in the United States of America.”

While there was a male police officer on the scene, he did not help Irizarry despite her pleas for assistance and has resigned.

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“I do not feel comfortable with him here; is there anything you can do?” Irizarry asks the police officer.

The officer has been identified as Patrick Connor, a 12-year veteran of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. He has resigned from the department after severe backlash from his actions in the video.

A female police officer was the only one that told the man he had to stop harassing Irizarry.

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While more officers were on the scene later, it wasn’t until a female officer arrived that she was able to control the man.

Mitú has reached out to Irizarry and will update this story when she responds.


READ: New York Police Are Looking For A Man Who Wore A ‘MAGA’ Hat While Attacking A Latino Subway Rider 

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7 of the Most Racist Tropes in Disney Movies

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7 of the Most Racist Tropes in Disney Movies

Disney

On November 12th, Disney launched its much-anticipated streaming service Disney+, a platform that offers over 7,000 television episodes and 500 films of Disney titles to its subscribers. And while the influx of beloved Disney content is exciting, some Disney fans can’t help but cringe at the outdated, stereotypical tropes that some of the House of Mouse’s older content employed. And while racist tropes and offensive stereotypes were par for the course decades ago, we are now living in a world where sensitive cultural representation in the media is of the utmost importance. 

Aware of people’s lowered tolerance for racism in their entertainment, Disney+ has issued content warnings on some of their titles. The warning reads: “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions”. And while some are applauding Disney for acknowledging the problematic nature of some of their content, others don’t think that a mere content warning is enough. Others are calling for Disney to make a greater effort to reckon with their problematic legacy. In light of these development, here are seven of the most racist moments in Disney movies that you can look out for when deciding on your next Disney+ viewing.

1. The Siamese Cats in “Lady and the Tramp”

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When “Lady and the Tramp” was released in 1955, it wasn’t unusual for the entertainment industry to create characters based on offensive stereotypes of what they believed people of Asian descent acted like. One of the most offensive instances of this were there characters “Si” and “Am” in “Lady and the Tramp”–two mischievous and troublesome cats who come into Lady’s home and make a mess, which Lady is ultimately blamed for. It doesn’t help that the cats are illustrated with slanted eyes and sing with broken accents. 

2. Everything about “Song of the South”

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Probably the most offensive and problematic of all Disney movies, “Song of the South” was released in 1946. It follows the story of a young boy who befriends Uncle Remus, a former slave who teaches him about life through a series of fables. The movie is upsetting for many reasons, one of which is the way the movie expresses nostalgia for the pre-Civil War way of life–which even the movie’s black characters seem to long for. The song “Song of the South” is the perfect example of this, where a black choir sings, “This heart of mine is in the heart of Dixie. That’s where I belong”. 

3. The Crows in “Dumbo”

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The crows in “Dumbo” are a play on blackface minstrel characters that much of the American audience would’ve been familiar with at the time of “Dumbo”‘s release in 1941. To add insult to injury, the character of Jim Crow (yes, that’s actually his name), was voiced by white actor Cliff Edwards, voicing an exaggerated version of a stereotypical black Southern voice. In “Dumbo”, Jim is depicted as lazy, dumb, and indulgent. This offensive stereotype of black people was well-known in the South. 

4. Sunflower in “Fantasia”

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In the original “Fantasia” released in 1940, the movie features a little black character named Sunflower. Sunflower was a black little girl with the body of a donkey. She was drawn with dark skin, an over-exaggerated nose and lips and braids in her hair. From her brief appearance in the movie, her apparent purpose in life was to help the glamorous white centaurs with their beauty routine (she was shown as filing the nails of a centaur). In later version, her character was cropped out completely of the movie to avoid a public outcry. 

5. “What Makes a Red Man Red?” in “Peter Pan”

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The racism inherent in “Peter Pan” is laid out plainly in the song “What Makes a Red Man Red?” that Neverland’s tribe of Native Americans sings to explain their history to the Lost Boys. The song is meant to be the origin story of how Native Americans got their skin color. The lyrics are as follows: “Let’s go back a million years/To the very first Injun prince/He kissed a maid and start to blush/And we’ve all been blushin’ since”. 

6. “Arabian Nights” in “Aladdin”

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Critics of “Aladdin” have long called the movie problematic for the way it depicts people of Middle Eastern descent and how it fails to illustrate the differences between various Middle Eastern cultures. Instead, the Kingdom of Agraba is a mish-mash of various cultures of the Middle East which implies that the cultures are interchangeable. And don’t forget the most problematic pat of the movie, the song “Arabian Nights” that contains the following lyrics: “I come from a land…Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face. It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home”.

7. Shun Gon in “The Aristocats”

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The Chinese cat Shun Gon in “The Aristocats” is another prime example of a racist character that Disney employed in their earlier movies. Shun Gon is a member of O’Malley the Alley Cat’s street gang. He speaks in broken English, has slanted eyes and prominent teeth, and plays the piano with chopsticks. In other words, it doesn’t get more offensive that this. 

Latino Couple Looking To Buy A Home Found A Clause That Said They Needed To Be “Wholly Of The White Caucasian Race”

Things That Matter

Latino Couple Looking To Buy A Home Found A Clause That Said They Needed To Be “Wholly Of The White Caucasian Race”

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Amid recent conversations about the benefits of affinity housing, the topic of housing discrimination remains relevant as ever. The Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination against tenants based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and family status—and while this legislation aims to protect people all over the country, it doesn’t keep discrimination completely at bay. For a Latinx couple seeking to buy a home in Stockton, California, this reality became uncomfortably clear when they saw their Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (CC&R), a document that outlines the necessary requirements to inhabit a property.

The CC&R for Yolanda Romero and Esai Manzo’s new home claimed that “no persons other than those wholly of the white Caucasian race shall use, occupy or reside upon any part of or within any building located on the above described real property, except servants or domestics of another race employed by or domiciled with a white Caucasian owner or tenant.” Additionally, according to the document, no person who was not “wholly of the white Caucasian” race could purchase the house. So, naturally, the couple second-guessed whether they should move forward with the contract—not because they don’t identify as “Caucasian,” but because they were concerned that their neighbors willingly signed documents with comparable clauses.

It made us second guess our offer,” said Romero. “We were concerned that people in the neighborhood might have signed documents with similar statements.”

credit: NBCNews.com

Before signing the document, the couple consulted their agent to determine whether this stipulation was actually legal. It turns out that the clause dated back to 1947, and racially restrictive housing covenants were outlawed in 1948 as a result of that year’s Shelley vs. Kraemer Supreme Court case. “People worry that it’s still enforceable, and even though it’s not, covenants like these hold symbolic meaning,” Dean of the Cornell University Law School, Eduardo Peñalver, told NBC News. “They can indicate whether someone feels like they’re welcome in a community and serve as a reminder of how pervasive housing discrimination was.”

And according to Peñalver, the Fair Housing Act technically outlaws covenants like the one the couple encountered in their CC&R. So why hadn’t this racially restrictive language been omitted from the document long before Romero and Manzo came into the picture?

We’ve inherited a segregated residential landscape that’s the result of explicit racial discrimination,” Peñalver said. “Though racial discrimination in housing has been outlawed, it manifests itself in more subtle forms and perpetuates the wealth gap and economic inequality.”

A 2012 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development study revealed that Latinx folks seeking to rent learned about 13 percent fewer homes than equally qualified whites; black people learned about 11 percent fewer homes than equally qualified whites; and Asians learned about 10 percent fewer homes than equally qualified whites. When purchasing property, there was no distinguishable difference between Latinx and white buyers, though this was not the case for black and Asian populations, who were shown nearly 18 percent fewer properties than potential white buyers. And the Latinx home ownership numbers have grown immensely in the past several years.

The 2017 State of Hispanic Ownership report confirms that more than 7 million people of Hispanic/Latinx descent owned houses that year—a number 44 times greater than 2016’s metric.

 

credit: Getty Images

The report cites expansion into areas with high Latinx populations as a source of this extreme growth, though it also highlights certain challenges to Latinx home ownership, from lack of affordable housing to “extreme uncertainty over immigration.” 51% percent of Hispanics believe the economy is on the wrong track, and 56% think it would be difficult to get a home mortgage today, but 88% indicate that they are more likely to own a home in the future than to rent—all of which are statistics that support further growth in the realm of Latinx home ownership.

Yet the issue of subversive housing discrimination remains. Many states use CC&Rs, which are officially recorded and filed with the state, and these documents often include outdated and questionable language. Because these covenants are part of the property records, it can be legally challenging to eliminate them entirely—but Peñalver encourages prospective buyers to file a statement with a county recorder or homeowners association (HOA) if they encounter similar clauses in their paperwork. However, this can prove unnecessarily difficult; in the case of Romero and Manzo’s property, the home does not belong to an HOA, so they would have to obtain “unanimous consent of homeowners in the community signing off on a new set of CC&Rs omitting the offensive language.” Even then, the “wholly of the white Caucasian race” clauses would remain in their property records, though the language would be removed from the revised CC&R document.

In the end, the couple proceeded with the purchase of this property, adding to the ever-growing numbers of Latinx homeowners across the U.S. Yet they remain a bit shocked by the whole process, and remind new homebuyers to always read the fine print.