How I Became A Texan Muslim (Religion Documentary)

In the wake of the terrible events of 9/11, anger and suspicion about Islam and its teachings spread throughout the United States. For a few Americans, these events led to an awakening to the rich traditions of this major world religion. Curiosity turned to admiration of a faith that in its core offers peace and solace. How would these converts adjust to life as strangers in their own hometowns?

Police Bodycam Footage Shows ‘Black Panther’ Director Ryan Coogler Being Mistakenly Detained As A Bank Robber Because He Wanted A Discreet Withdrawal

The Atlanta Police Department released bodycam footage Wednesday that showed its officers detaining Ryan Coogler, the director of Black Panther, after they mistook him for a bank robber in January.

Police showed up to a branch of Bank of America on Jan. 7 after Coogler requested to withdraw $12,000 from his bank account, according to an incident report also released Wednesday.

The 35-year-old director showed his California ID, his bank card, and gave his PIN number, but the bank teller became suspicious when Coogler wrote on the back of the deposit slip to be discreet with the money.

“My stomach started turning,” the bank teller, who was pregnant, told police in the bodycam footage, adding, “I have to protect myself. I have to protect my child.”

Coogler was wearing sunglasses, a hat, and a face mask. Both Coogler and the bank teller are Black.

The bank teller told police on the video that Coogler’s account showed an alert indicating it was a “high-risk transaction.” That’s when she told her manager that she was uncomfortable. She called 911.

Coogler said he was waiting for the bank teller to bring him his money when suddenly he heard the sound of guns being pulled from holsters behind him.

Bodycam footage shows police officers handcuffing Coogler inside the bank, with a close-up of the back of his sweatshirt, which reads “Fear of God.”

“What’s going on?” Coogler asks as he put his hands behind his back.

The officers then bring him outside and put him in the back of the police car.

Coogler explains to officers that the money was for a medical assistant who works for his family who prefers to be paid in cash. He adds that he didn’t want the people around him to know how much money he was taking out and that he regularly gives bank tellers a note when withdrawing cash.

“She got scared when a Black dude handed her a note,” Coogler says to police in the video. “If she was scared, she’s got to admit that.”

While Coogler explains what happened, he also tells officers that he feels he’s about to have a panic attack and is trying to manage his emotions.

“Y’all explaining y’all’s perspective, right,” Coogler says to the police. “Y’all the ones with guns and vests. Y’all understanding what I’m saying? What’s my perspective? What’s my perspective? At the bank, she never shared there was a fucking problem, bro.”

Two people who were waiting for Coogler in a black SUV outside the bank are also handcuffed. After everyone is questioned and the police seem to determine there had been a mistake, Coogler asks for everyone to be removed from handcuffs. The police oblige.

Coogler asks for all the officers’ names. When an officer suggests he write it down, the director says he wasn’t going to reach in his car for a pen or piece of paper.

“I’m not reaching in there, bro,” Coogler says to the police. “I ain’t had guns drawn on me in a while, bro. Y’all understand what I’m saying? I’m trying to get my own money out of my own account. … It’s a major problem, man.”

Police wrote down a list of all the officers involved in the incident as well as the case number and provided it to Coogler, the footage shows.

In the 911 call, the bank teller tells the operator that when she asked Coogler a question about how he wanted the money, he told her to look at the note on the deposit slip.

“I asked for his ID and he handed me his ID,” the teller tells the operator in the 911 call. “It’s a California ID, but I didn’t look at his name because I’m just, like, so shook up. I don’t know what he’s trying to do.”

Coogler is a writer and director whose Oscar-winning and -nominated films include Black Panther and Creed. He is currently in Atlanta filming the sequel to his Marvel hit, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, set to premiere on Nov. 11.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for Bank of America said, “We deeply regret that this incident occurred. It never should have happened and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler.”

Chata Spikes, the public affairs director for the Atlanta Police Department, told BuzzFeed News that the department did not have an individualized comment but sent a link to an updated statement saying that the department had received “many requests” for comment.

“The responding officers acted appropriately given the information they had at the time, and quickly resolved the situation with no injury to anyone involved,” the statement reads.

Coogler did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement reported Wednesday by the New York Times, he said the situation “should never have happened,” but that Bank of America “worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on.”

Source: BuzzFeed News

“Fucking Immigrant Loser” — Merrill Lynch Advisor James Iannazzo Arrested And Fired After Tirade Against Female Smoothie Shop Workers Goes Viral

A customer whose tirade against employees at a Robeks smoothie shop went viral has been charged by police and fired from his job as a Merrill Lynch wealth advisor.

James Iannazzo ordered a smoothie from a Robeks outlet in Connecticut on Saturday for his son, who has a peanut allergy. He asked for the drink to not contain peanut butter, but he did not mention the allergy, the Fairfield Police Department wrote in a statement.

The video shows him demanding three employees tell him who made the drink, but they say they are not sure and that he should call the franchise’s corporate office with the complaint. The confrontation quickly escalates, with Iannazzo hurling obscenities at the employees, calling them “f****** stupid, f****** ignorant high school kids.”

Iannazzo then throws a drink at one of them, hitting her shoulder and prompting another worker to call 911. (The employee did not suffer any injuries, according to police.) When the employee demands he leave, he continues yelling at her, calling her a “f****** immigrant loser.” The video then shows him trying unsuccessfully to enter a door leading to an employees-only area of the shop.

Iannazzo left the scene before police arrived and later turned himself in, according to police.

A video of the confrontation has been viewed more than half a million times on Twitter as of Sunday afternoon.

Merrill Lynch spokesperson Bill Halldin confirmed to Newsweek on Sunday that Iannazzo had been fired.

“Our company does not tolerate behavior of this kind. We immediately investigated and have taken action. This individual is no longer employed at our firm,” the statement said.

Iannazzo’s attorney, Frank J. Riccio, wrote in a statement that he “stressed to the staff” that the smoothie must not contain peanuts, which is reflected by the receipt.

“His son has a life-threatening peanut allergy. Upon drinking the Robeks smoothie, his son had a severe allergic reaction which required transport via ambulance to the hospital,” the statement said. “When faced with a dire situation, Mr. Iannazzo’ parental instinct kicked in and he acted out of anger and fear. He is not a racist and deeply regrets his statement and actions during a moment of extreme emotion.”

Authorities charged him with intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the second degree, breach of peace in the second degree and criminal trespass in the first degree. He is set to appear in court February 7.

Iannazzo is still listed as employed on Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, where he has one denied complaint from April 2015.

Forbes in 2021 ranked Iannazzo as one of the 25 best in-state wealth advisors. He has worked for Merrill Lynch for about 26 years.

“It’s good to see financial institutions taking clear, decisive action in response to such foul, racist and misogynist behavior,” said Morgan Simon, co-founder of the investment firm Candide Group and author of Real Impact: The New Economics of Social Change. “And in the long-term, it’s important to address the fact that racism is a cancer within finance, period, with less than 2% of global assets managed by firms owned by women or people of color.”

Source: Newsweek

The Railroad Journey And The Industrial Revolution

In which John Green teaches you about railroads, and some of the ways they changed the world, and how they were a sort of microcosm for the Industrial Revolution as a whole. Prior to the invention of steam powered railroads, pretty much all locomotion had been muscle-powered. You either walked where you wanted to go, or rode on an animal to get where you were going. The railroad changed human perception of time and space, making long distance travel much faster and easier. Railroads also changed habits, including increasing reading. People needed some sort of distraction to ensure they didn’t have to talk to other people on the train. Like any new technology, railroads also scared people. All kinds of fears surrounded rail travel, but over time, people got over them. And the quality of boiler manufacturing improved, so the trains exploded less often, which also made people feel safer.

Eddie Huang Opens Up On Racism Towards Asian Community, Pop Smoke, And Leaving ‘Fresh Off The Boat’

Producer, director & personality Eddie Huang sat down with Ebro in the Morning for an honest conversation about racism against the Asian community following the shooting at massage parlors in Atlanta. He also discussed some of the experiences he has had himself, and its effects in the community.

He also spoke about the passing of Pop Smoke, solidarity among different races in Los Angeles, his decision to leave the show ‘Fresh off the Boat,’ and more.

He directs the film, ‘Boogie’ which is in theaters now.

The Real Story Of The Green Book – The Guidebook That Helped Black Americans Travel During Segregation

Until the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, the Green Book was critical for black Americans wanting to travel across the country.

Road tripping in the 20th century became an iconic American obsession, and the rising middle class was eager to travel the country on the new interstate highway system. The Green Book was a unique travel guide during this time, when segregation was practiced all over the country.

The book, which grew to cover locations in all 50 states, listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, beauty salons, and other services that would reliably serve African Americans. The listings grew from user correspondence and a network of African American postal workers under the guidance of Victor Hugo Green, the book’s publisher.

The American road trip would go on to be an anchor in the civil rights discussion, as it highlighted the injustices and prejudice that African Americans suffered under Jim Crow. Before the Civil Rights Act outlawed racial discrimination in public accommodations, Victor Green’s booklet helped black Americans navigate their country.

Why Some Black Activists Say Plan To Put Harriet Tubman On $20 Bill Is An Insult To Her Legacy

This week, the Biden administration announced that it would resume efforts to put the image of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, a move first championed by the Obama administration in 2016. Biden press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the Treasury Department is “exploring ways to speed up” the process to ensure the 19th century freedom fighter is recognized.

“It’s important that our notes, our money — if people don’t know what a note is — reflect the history and diversity of our country,” Psaki said during a White House press briefing. “Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that.”

Many initially praised the move put forth by Obama-era Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to highlight the American abolitionist. To supporters, the idea of having Tubman, herself an ex-slave, replace former President Andrew Jackson, a slave owner, is a bold rebuke to an ugly era in American history.

But some Black activists say putting Tubman on the $20 bill is an uneasy fit with her legacy.

“Harriet Tubman did not fight for capitalism, free trade or competitive markets,” Feminista Jones, an activist, author and advocate, wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post in 2015.

“She repeatedly put herself in the line of fire to free people who were treated as currency themselves,” Jones added. “She risked her life to ensure that enslaved Black people would know they were worth more than the blood money that exchanged hands to buy and sell them. I do not believe Tubman, who died impoverished in 1913, would accept the ‘honor.’”

Tubman, born into slavery around 1822, was the fourth of nine children, and grew up working in cotton fields in Dorchester County, Md. In 1849, Tubman escaped her plantation under the cover of darkness, following the North Star to Philadelphia, and at 27 years old began working as a maid. After saving enough money the following year, she returned to the South to liberate her sister’s family. Over the next 10 years, Tubman helped more than 700 slaves escape to freedom, becoming the most well known of the Underground Railroad’s “conductors.”

Jones, in an interview with Yahoo News this week, questioned why putting Tubman on a bill would honor her legacy.

“Why would we want to put somebody who fought for freedom from this kind of capitalist oppression?” Jones asked. “Why would we want to take her image and then make her the face of this thing that so many people lack access to?”

“I’ve studied Harriet Tubman extensively,” she added. “If there’s one thing that I understand, is that she did not get recognized for all of the amazing things that she did. She died a pauper, and she was a U.S. veteran. The [country] should have honored her as a veteran. She was the only woman to lead a raid for the Union Army. That in itself is just an amazing accomplishment for the all-women crowd. So why not acknowledge that?”

Instead of putting a Black woman, or any woman of color, on a note, Jones says Black women merely want to be valued equitably in society.

“When it comes to representation, I’ll be quite honest, I don’t care much about it,” Jones said. “Representation without action, without policy change, without improvement of daily life means nothing to me.”

Historically, Black women have made a fraction of what white men and women make, despite being the most educated population in the country. For every dollar a white man earns for work in the United States, a white woman earns 79 cents and a Black woman earns just 62 cents, according to a 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

The median net worth of Black women in America paints an even grimmer picture. Single Black women ages 20 to 39 with children but without a bachelor’s degree have a median net worth of $0, according to a 2017 report from the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity. Single Black women ages 20 to 39 with a bachelor’s degree fare even worse, having a median net worth range of -$11,000 to $0. White women, on the other hand, fare considerably better. Single white women ages 20 to 39 with a bachelor’s degree have a median net worth range of $3,400 to $7,500.

The push to have Tubman on the $20 bill was initially set to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement in 2020. But the year came and went without any revision to the $20 bill.

The plan to put Tubman on the $20 bill stalled under the Trump administration. Donald Trump, while still a candidate in 2016, called the push to replace Jackson with Tubman “pure political correctness.” He hailed Jackson as his political hero and installed a portrait of the former president in the Oval Office amid criticism from some historians and activists who noted that Jackson, in addition to being a slave owner, committed genocide against Native Americans.

However, not everyone is so supportive of the move. Ashley Stevens, a Black Twitter user with a substantial following, said she thinks “there’s some sort of perversion” in putting Tubman on the bill.

“A woman who was traded as capital becoming the face of capital doesn’t sit right with my spirit,” Stevens said Monday in a tweet that went viral. “If you wanna honor Tubman there are much better ways to do so that would change the material benefits of people’s lives. Build schools, parks, a historical center, etc in her name. Putting her face on the 20 dollar bill isn’t even a feel good. It’s giving me the yucks.”

Source: Yahoo

Photographer Nate Gowdy Captured Images Of The Chaos Outside The Capital – ‘Still Processing What I Witnessed’

Photographer Nate Gowdy has documented close to 30 official Trump rallies since 2016, so he thought he knew what to expect when he arrived in Washington, D.C. after leaving Atlanta this week.

“My flight from Atlanta to Baltimore the night before should’ve prepared me for what would be one of the most surreal scenes I’ve documented,” he explains. “I’d never been aboard a plane where the dichotomy of people’s views was so starkly apparent, with people donning red hats and Trump merch side by side with people just getting from one place to the other.”

A chant of “Four More Years” began and was booed by others on the plane, which then resulted in someone shouting: “Go back to Venezuela!”

After the events of January 6th, when a mob of Trump supporters breached the Capitol and swarmed for hours until they were ejected from the government building, Gowdy states: “I’m still processing what I witnessed yesterday. We all are. It’s difficult to know what people are thinking when they’re breaching security barriers, attacking law enforcement, threatening members of the media, flaunting pandemic safety protocols, and bashing down the doors and windows to Congress, feeling enabled by the words they’ve just heard uttered from their ringleader, the President of the United States, who tells them that they are fighting the good fight. Throughout the afternoon, I heard countless individuals quipping how it was the best day of their life, and that it was one for the history books. How do you capture something so unprecedented, particularly when you don’t believe the ‘truths’ they do?”

Source: Rolling Stone

‘Forgotten By Society’ – How Chinese Migrants Built The Transcontinental Railroad

When one thinks of the transcontinental railroad, rarely do Chinese migrants come to mind. But in a new exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington, a vital revision is presented.

Until spring 2020, Forgotten Workers: Chinese Migrants and the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad peels back the layers to see who else should be commemorated during the recent 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s completion – an achievement which has typically been celebrated with photos of old locomotives, successful-looking men in suits and anonymous workers hammering away.

But this exhibition takes a different tack, tracing the forgotten Chinese workers who built the western leg of the railroad across the Sierra Nevada mountains, connecting the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad in 1869.

“Historians have always known and written about the Chinese workers, but it’s forgotten by society,” said Peter Liebhold, who co-curated the exhibit with Sam Vong. “We’ve forgotten the contribution of these workers, and in fact, we forget the contribution of all workers. We tend to focus on the achievement of the few and not the stories of the average everyday person.”

Ittells the story of Chinese workers through old maps, detailing where they worked, their labor materials – from conical hats to miner’s picks – and photos, showing the tents they lived in, their working conditions and their nomadic lifestyle.

“The artifacts on view are meant to help visitors understand how forgotten workers had to endure hazardous, unfair conditions, in addition to backbreaking labor,” said Leibhold. “The 150th anniversary is not just about completing a railroad, but the workers involved.”

From 1863 and 1869, roughly 15,000 Chinese workers helped build the transcontinental railroad. They were paid less than American workers and lived in tents, while white workers were given accommodation in train cars.

Chinese workers made up most of the workforce between roughly 700 miles of train tracks between Sacramento, California, and Promontory, Utah. During the 19th century, more than 2.5 million Chinese citizens left their country and were hired in 1864 after a labor shortage threatened the railroad’s completion.

The work was tiresome, as the railroad was built entirely by manual laborers who used to shovel 20 pounds of rock over 400 times a day. They had to face dangerous work conditions – accidental explosions, snow and rock avalanches, which killed hundreds of workers, not to mention frigid weather.

“All workers on the railroad were ‘other’,” said Liebhold. “On the west, there were Chinese workers, out east were Irish and Mormon workers were in the center. All these groups are outside the classical American mainstream.”

The exhibition features a century-old pair of chopsticks, as well as canisters for tea and soy sauce. The railroad company provided room and board to white workers, but Chinese workers had to find their own meals, which were often brought to them from local merchants.

There are also miner’s picks and shovels, conical hats, as well as photos of the camp sites where the workers lived in Nevada in 1869. There are photos, as well, of the Native Americans, many of whom protested against the building of the railway in 1869, which displaced the Lakota, Shoshone, Cheyenne and other communities.

The Chinese workers were educated and organized; 3,000 laborers went on strike in 1867 to demand equal wages, as the white workers were paid double.

“They were unsuccessful because they were out in the middle of nowhere,” said Liebhold. “The railroad stopped them from getting food. That’s one way it failed.”

One telling photo on view is a shot of the Union Pacific board members sitting in a business class train car from 1869. By paying laborers a low wage, they were able to skim millions from the construction and get rich.

“Building railroads is often profitable but operating them isn’t necessarily, if you look at the history of railroads in the US,” said Liebhold. “To totally condemn the businessmen is challenging because they took huge risks raising money to build a railroad that was astronomically difficult. Many people didn’t think it was possible.”

There is one photo from 1869 that shows how the company commemorated the last hammered spike to complete the railroad, however, only one Chinese worker is in the photo. Many of the actual workers were left out.

This story could still be one which resonates with today’s America. “There’s no question this is a story about migrant labor,” he said. “Chinese workers were not citizens, weren’t allowed to become citizens. From the 1850s to 1882, they were tolerated in the US, but not accepted as peers.

“Then, there was the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred immigrants from coming into US, unless you were a diplomat or a businessperson,” said Liebhold. “You’re always welcome if you’re affluent, then you’re allowed to come in.”

Source: The Guardian