Venus Williams is taller than you would imagine, yet as elegant as a gazelle — but this gracefulness is what you would expect. The Amazon of the tennis courts stood over racks of clothing in a New York City hotel space when I first saw her, adjusting garments and making selections for models, as fashion editors from various publications filed in for a champagne brunch. At first I mistook her for a model getting ready for the exclusive preview for her EleVen by Venus Williams Spring/Summer 2014 collection. No. It was the woman in charge, making the final adjustments. “It’s always fun,” Williams said of previewing her line during a recent mid-week gathering before the U.S. Open. “It’s always good to see it in person. Pictures look good, but when I see it in person I think, ‘I want to wear this, I want to wear that!’ So, it’s fun. That’s what we hope people think when they see it.” An EleVen sneak peak Her latest offering of sportswear — ranging from cute tennis dresses to colorful tops — fits an interesting niche. Much like the popular line of yoga wear, Lululemon, EleVen by Venus is gearing up to be a lifestyle brand that draws upon chic trends to develop fashionable pieces fit for tough workouts and relaxing afternoons with friends. “I think we all wear active wear to hang out now,” Williams said of her designs. “That’s just how life is. You put on your capris, and you run to the grocery store.” While there are items suitable for a number of activities, ranging from sports to spectatorship, Williams, of course, is partial to the tennis looks. “There are different pieces for different things. People like me, I wear tennis skirts all over. I don’t know why. I can’t get out of character!” More than just a larger-than-life character in the world of international tennis, Williams’ roles as a clothier and business women shone through as she spoke quietly and humbly about the new direction of her brand and the secrets to her success. Helping people lead healthy lives “My goal for EleVen is to help people live healthy and happy lives, and you’re a lot happier when you feel healthy,” Williams told theGrio. “You feel good about you. When you take care of yourself inside, and feel good about how you look on the outside. EleVen is, ‘Look Good, Play Well.’ That’s what we always say is our motto.” This motto has served her well. Williams — who runs, bikes, swims, runs sprints and more to maintain her professional edge — wants women and men who wear EleVen to enjoy the journey of fitness as a process you can love even if growth is incremental. “It’s not like you can get in shape after six weeks, and go hard, and then for the rest of your life, you’re good — or else I wouldn’t have to go to practice anymore,” she said of her fitness philosophy. “It’s about the journey of being fit throughout your life, and how to take that step. It’s not about being perfect every single day, but just being consistent.” Venus: Fortunate, humble, humorous As Williams chatted easily about her professional accomplishments, eyeing the perfectly-cut tennis dresses that are almost fit for a cocktail party but for the length, she marveled at the fact that she is living her dreams. She was surrounded by pretty jackets in modern, floral prints, some with a lacing detail in the back that cinches the waist. There were cute shorts and tank tops that flattered with unique silhouettes. A gaggle of reporters were there to hear her muse on the creative process that led to these looks, which were inspired in part by high fashion runways. No small accomplishment for a 33-year-old originally from Compton. How does she do it all? “I feel very fortunate, so fortunate,” Williams said. “That pretty much sums it up, but, obviously there’s a lot of self-belief and a ton of hard work. And you have to believe in yourself. It’s not easy. Sometimes you don’t believe in yourself. You have to fake it ’til you make it sometimes, too!” she added, laughing. The will of a chic champion But it’s not all work and no play, even if her work consists of playing tennis and creating clothing, very fun pursuits. In her limited spare time, Williams likes to read fantasy. She listens to energetic music to prep for big tournaments. To complement her clothing selections, she loves to wear Milani eyeliner and lip gloss, which she absolutely gushed about for its perfect tones. These are all elements in the life of a powerful, yet surprisingly gentle woman, whose determination is evident as she sets off to make EleVen — which was previously available through a now-defunct retailer — an even bigger success. She may have just exited the U.S. Open, losing a match to Zheng Jie of China last week, but you can tell that — for this champion — it is the small set backs that provide the opportunity to continue to push forward. This is the fighting, yet feminine, spirit of Venus Williams. “No one’s perfect,” Williams concluded, unpretentiously. “I’ve choked matches. That’s just the way it is. I’ll be honest about that. It’s about getting up and believing in you. There’re going to be so many people who say that you can’t. You can’t believe that. Sometimes it’s hard to put out that negativity. You just have to surround yourself with people who tell you can, and actually believe them.”
Master Lock Vault
From hurricanes to tornados or fires, every state in the United States is vulnerable to some type of emergency weather situation. Just in time for National Preparedness Month this September, Master Lock is educating consumers on the importance of preparing for emergency situations, such as severe weather, that can strike at any time.
“We often think that emergencies won’t happen to us,” said Mario Armstrong, The Digital Lifestyle Expert™ and Master Lock representative. “In reality, emergencies catch families off guard all the time, which can make our digital lives very vulnerable. Technology is making it easier than ever to stay informed of emergencies and safeguard what’s most important in these situations — our loved ones, our digital memories and the items that can help us with a speedy recovery.”
Master Lock offers five top tips to help families navigate emergency situations:
1. Stay Informed. Don’t let a situation catch you off guard. Be in the know on the latest emergencies by signing up for automated alerts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA offers a text message program that sends regular safety tips and alerts and allows users to search for open shelters and open disaster recovery centers. For general monthly safety tips, text “PREPARE” to 43362 (FEMA) to sign up. To receive bi-monthly tips specific to a disaster type, text its keyword, such as “HURRICANE” or “TORNADO,” to 43362 (FEMA). For more keywords, visitwww.fema.gov/text-messages.
FEMA also supports Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) that sends free texts messages to WEA-enabled cell phones within range of a severe weather event, AMBER emergency or dangerous local situation. To learn more about these alerts and how to activate them, visit www.ready.gov/alerts.
2. Know the Facts. At the time of an emergency, terms used by the news or weather anchor to describe the conditions can be confusing. Understand what the most common terms mean:
According to FEMA, a tornado watch means that a tornado is possible, but a tornado warning means that one has been sighted and to take shelter immediately.
However for flooding — the leading cause of weather-related death — a watch means that flooding is possible, a flood warning means that a flood is occurring or will occur soon, while a flashflood warning notes that a flashflood is currently happening and to get to high ground immediately.
3. Safeguard Your Stuff. Possessions can be replaced, but critical documents are vital to efficient disaster recovery. Ensure your critical documents, such as identification cards, passports, and insurance policies are always accessible by storing digital copies in a safe place online, such as the Master Lock Vault. By uploading important documents into this free, secure digital safe deposit box, all items are protected from fire, flood and theft, and can be accessed from any internet connection or mobile device when they are needed most. Currently, only 15 percent of Americans have digital copies saved and stored online*, leaving them at risk in case of a home emergency.
4. Make a Plan. Almost half of Americans do not have an evacuation plan and/or shelter, food and water readily available should they experience a severe weather emergency*. By preparing for a disaster in advance, families will be able to communicate and cope with the situation at hand more easily.
Before an emergency happens, sit down with family members and decide how to get in contact with each other, map out evacuation routes for the area, determine a neighborhood, out-of-neighborhood and out-of-town meeting place and practice what to do in the event of an emergency. To allow home access to family members and neighbors if needed, securely store keys outside with a Master Lock 5400D or 5422D Lock Box.
5. Gather an Emergency Kit. Build an emergency disaster kit so that it’s ready when needed most. A basic supply kit should include at least one gallon of water per person for at least three days, a three-day supply of non-perishable food for each person, manual can opener, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, local maps and cell phone with a charger (or solar charger), according to FEMA.
About Master Lock
Master Lock is the world’s largest manufacturer of padlocks and related security products providing innovative security solutions for home, automotive, campus, power sports, bike and storage security needs for consumers and industry alike. Master Lock Company LLC is an operating unit of Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc., a leading consumer brands company. Headquartered in Deerfield, Ill., Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc. (NYSE: FBHS) is included in the S&P MidCap 400 Index. For more information about Master Lock, visit www.masterlock.com.
*Survey conducted by Survey Monkey from 3/12/13 – 3/14/13 based on data representative of a national U.S. census sample
Jaylen Bledsoe is a one of kind superstar. The 15-year old sophomore started his own tech company a few years ago, and has found entrepreneurship to be his calling. As a result, he is his own man, and a millionaire because of it.
Jaylen says that he started his firm when he was 12-years old, and plans to attend Harvard after he finishes high school. Jaylen’s company, Bledsoe Technologies, is now worth an estimated $3.5 million. This means that if he manages his wealth in the right way, he will be set for life.
Jaylen doesn’t spend his time memorizing lyrics from the rapper “2Chainz,” sippin “sizzurp” or chasing girls on Saturday nights. Instead, he spends his time chasing paper, pursuing his dreams and positioning himself for a truly empowered existence. Personally, I’m proud of him. I can also see that he is the beneficiary of good parents and role models. Our kids are like products off an assembly line: The outcomes we see in kids Jaylen’s age are direct products of what they’ve been exposed to on a daily basis.
Jason’s company does web design and other forms of IT consulting for companies located mainly in the Midwest. He actually reminds me of another young person I met recently, Emerson Spartz, the founder of Spartz Media. Spartz is not African American, but both of these young men serve as powerful templates for what our boys can become if given the right guidance.
When I spoke with Emerson, we both agreed that around the age of 12, we probably had ADHD. But we also both agreed that, while ADHD gets you in trouble in school, it can actually be beneficial to have a mind that races from one good idea to the next. Personally, my short attention span caused me to struggle in school until I gained my footing in college. High school felt like prison to me, and my horrible grades reflected that sentiment.
Emerson’s parents had a better idea: Take him out of the school system altogether. But not only were they going to home school their son, they also decided that they weren’t going to force him to learn any particular subject. Instead, Emerson’s parents focused on making sure that their child could read well, communicate in writing, and do math, which is pretty much what any person needs to know in order to succeed in life. I’ve rarely seen anyone struggle in their profession because they’ve never read old English literature or learned the Periodic Table in Chemistry.
So, basically, Emerson’s parents allowed him to study whatever he wanted, which sounds almost insane. They also required him to read a biography of a successful person every day to get a vision for his future. Before long, Emerson, like a lot of kids, gained a strong interest in Harry Potter. He then went on to found Mugglenet.com, the largest Harry Potter site in the world. So, just like Jaylen, Emerson was a 15-year old millionaire. He is now a 26-year old genius with a natural and burning desire to learn new things. Speaking to him was like talking to other college professors in academia.
Young men like Jaylen and Emerson define the vision of what we’re seeking to do with the group of educators we’ve gathered around the country for our homeschooling initiative at Your Black World. The public school system is failing our black boys, turning potential leaders into tiny men with low self-esteem. This has produced a state of emergency where, for every Jaylen Bledsoe, we produce a thousand wannabe rappers and basketball players. The next Martin Luther King is being killed every single day of the week.
Public school systems have become a virus, infecting millions of our boys with the disease of mediocrity. With each additional day of education, they become more deeply socialized into the mental health crisis that undermines their ability to be strong husbands and fathers. They then enter into an economic system that is not wired to give them employment, even when they’ve made good choices and obtained several years of post-secondary education. We must be honest and admit that this country is not designed for most black men to be successful.
My suggestion on this issue is simple: 1) Every black child in America should be home schooled, even if they go to school someplace else, and 2) Every black child in America should be taught the basics of how to run their own business.
Homeschooling may not mean taking your child out of school every day, but it does mean using the time that your child is not in school to teach him skills he will need to be a successful adult: The basics of black history, how to be a good parent, how to invest, etc. In other words, it means being a truly educated human being with adequate life skills and the ability to engage in critical thinking.
Secondly, being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean not working for anyone else, but it does mean having alternative streams of revenue so that you are not enslaved by a corporation that causes you to check your freedom and self-esteem at the door. That way, when situations call for you to stand up, you’re not faced with a corporate overseer telling you to sit right back down. Living paycheck-to-paycheck, deep in debt, on one stream of income is a surefire pathway to a lifetime of socioeconomic servitude.
When I come to Medgar Evers College in New York this month with Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill (Columbia University), Dr. Wilmer Leon (Howard University) and Dr. Christopher Emdin (Columbia University) for our next forum on Wealth, Education, Family and Community, our goal is to emphasize a new paradigm of thought as it pertains to how we go about developing our youth. They must be prepared to survive and compete in a world that doesn’t always love them, and have the skills necessary to overcome obstacles that they will most likely face in their path.
We MUST create more Jaylen Bledsoes and fewer Lil Waynes. The truth is that both of these young men are geniuses, and both of them know how to work hard. The difference is that one is a net asset to his community and the other is a blatant liability. One of these men is positioned for freedom and the other has been pre-assigned to psychological slavery. One of them is going to live long and prosper, while the other one might be d**d before the age of 35. Both of these men are prototypes, and every prototype can be replicated with the thoughtful design of pre-determined structural and environmental factors. Don’t believe me? Check out Rosz Akins and the Carter G. Woodson Academy in Kentucky, where she manufacturers extraordinary young black men who are equipped to become world leaders in politics, business, science and everything else. This DOES NOT happen with luck.
We live in a world where a prison cell and a casket are being built for every black boy on the day he is born. If we do not change the trajectory of that child’s life at an early age, then their fate is already sealed. Not only do our boys have the tools to survive all enemies foreign and domestic, they have the power to thrive and conquer when their energies are channeled in the right direction. Our community MUST regain control of this process.
By: ANN BROWN
New York-based attorney Janine A. Morris, who is also the author of Diva Diaries, and manager, Litigation and Discovery at Viacom, always wanted to find a way to reach and help develop young people. So now she is in the process of building a group called SELAH to do just that. SELAH is a mentorship program based in New York and New Jersey for young adults, from the age of 12 to18. Its goal is to facilitate a means for the powerful influence of entertainment to be used in a positive manner in the lives of youth. While working in media, Morris says she realized the strong effect that entertainers and media had on young boys and girls. “Some negative effects and some positive. I felt that there was a need for our entertainers to also use their influence in a good way. I started a program at my job at the time that brought local celebrities into the schools to speak with children about what it really meant to be cool… which was staying in school and becoming successful,” she says. “As my career grew, I wanted to start a mentorship program that embodied the same philosophy.” And it was Morris’ mother, who died two years ago from cancer, who inspired her. “Everyone who knew her could attest that she was a woman with great integrity. I believe it was with that integrity that she raised me, my siblings and our friends to be better participants in this world. So I named the organization, SELAH, after a term used to emphasize her life at her funeral. SELAH stands for Sharing Entertainment, Leadership and Heritage,” she says. SELAH currently has 10 people on staff. For Morris, mentoring young children is vital to their becoming thriving adults. “In this day and age, it is a lot harder for young women, and men, growing up. To be ‘cool’ is such a necessity for kids to survive in this social climate. Unfortunately, kids lose sight of where the line has to be drawn between being cool and being wise,” she explains. “Mentoring is a way to help kids get some guidance on issues they can’t otherwise discuss with parents, friends or school staff. A ‘cool’ stranger is sometimes easier to relate to. That makes it a lot easier for a mentor to share wisdom and insight with a teen who somewhat looks up to them.” Young mentors especially benefit from mentoring, says Morris. “I will add that young women need mentorship, in particular. Not just because of their desire to be in the in crowd, but because their self worth is very crucial to their lives as young women and as adults. They often get mixed signals from parents and images in the media. They can particularly use the mentoring in regards to this, to get guidance on maintaining their self value throughout their journey to remain socially relevant.” Through SELAH, young men and women will be partnered with a mentor who will sit down with them and set their goals, long-term and short-term. “The short term goals are expected to be met throughout the school year, with the help of the mentor if need be. Different executives, media personalities and celebrities will be ‘featured mentors’ who will also be guest speakers throughout the year to discuss different topics that will be helpful to the children,” explains Morris. The children are encouraged through incentives. “As the kids apply the mentoring they’ve received, and as they reach their goals, we will reward them with incentives for reaching them. For example, if a young man gets his GPA up to the goal that was set, he can win tickets to a concert or an exclusive opportunity to hang with his favorite celebrity, etc.,” says Morris. Morris is in the process of putting the foundation together for the organization, this includes getting its official non-profit status and fund-raising efforts underway. “The plan is to fund-raise through different events and functions as well as accepting donations from any donors,” she says. “The organization is just getting started so at the onset, getting children to understand the concept and view this as ‘not your grandmother’s mentorship program’ was an obstacle. However, once the format was explained it became easier. The response from the entertainment world has been great so far. The plan is to have 50 kids every school year and have more open-to-the-public programming during the summer time,” she says.
Jeff Cox CNBC.com
The battle to boost the minimum wage escalated Thursday when thousands of workers at hundreds of fast food restaurants in 50 U.S. cities walked off the job to demand decent pay.
From San Diego to New York, workers stopped flipping burgers, frying fries, and slathering on secret sauce in what organizers called the largest strikes against the nation’s fast food companies ever.
“You’re trying to go up and you’re just going down,” said protester Shantel Walker, 31, of Brooklyn who makes $7.25 working at a Papa John’s in Manhattan. “All of us are in the same financial crunch. We’re trying to take care of our families and our livelihood.”
The strikes mark the latest salvo in a nearly year-long battle to get not only higher wages but also an opportunity to unionize without facing retaliation from employers. The workers’ ire is at the heart of a politicized debate to raise the country’s minimum wage that eventually may be decided in Washington.
U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez told The Associated Press the strikes were a sign of the need to raise the minimum wage. “For all too many people working minimum wage jobs, the rungs on the ladder of opportunity are feeling further and further apart,” Perez said.
Workers are demanding that the $200 billion fast food industry more than double starting salaries to $15 an hour from the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage and the $8.94 median wage for front-end workers.
Workers mobilized in cities from Alameda, Calif., to West Haven, Conn., and across the nation, including several demonstrations in New York City. To date, strikes have been held in one city or the other, or in regions, but nothing like Thursday’s national push, according to organizers.
“Our workers are not getting paid sufficiently to take care of our families,” Shonda Roberts of Oakland told KNTV outside the McDonald’s on East 12th Street in Oakland.
About 200 workers marched through the midtown Manhattan McDonald’s Thursday morning, and more gathered downtown in the Financial District. As the streets became more crowded with protesters beating drums and blowing loud whistles, police struggled to keep traffic moving.
The strike comes as a growing number of minimum wage fast food workers are not teenagers, but adults trying to support families, particularly since the Great Recession. Only 16 percent of fast food industry jobs now go to teens, down from 25 percent a decade ago. More than 42 percent of restaurant and fast-food employees over the age of 25 have at least some college education, including 753,000 with a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Industry defense The National Restaurant Association has countered that only about 5 percent of fast-food workers earn the minimum wage. Other defenders of the industry note that increased wage costs will be passed onto consumers.
“The restaurant industry provides opportunity to over 13 million Americans with jobs that meet critical needs within our economy. We welcome a national discussion on wages, but it should be based on facts. The restaurant industry is the nation’s second largest private sector employer and our industry is an industry of opportunity,” said Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs at the National Restaurant Association.
“Nine out of ten salaried restaurant workers, including owners and managers, started as hourly workers. The fact is, only five percent of restaurant employees earn the minimum wage and those that do are predominantly working part-time and half are teenagers,” DeFife added.
He said that restaurant jobs provide workers with valuable skills, such as a strong work ethic, that would help them advance their careers.
McDonald’s, which has 34,000 restaurants across the globe., was quick to defend its salaries. “McDonald’s aims to offer competitive pay and benefits to our employees. We provide training and professional development for all of those who wish to take advantage of those opportunities,” the company said in a statement.
Thursday’s strike was expected to be “the largest attempt at worker organizing in this industry ever” amid support from the Service Workers International Union, and grassroots efforts from community groups, local politicians and the clergy, said Tsedeye Gebreselassie, an attorney at the National Employment Law Project.
“The workers are responding to total failure on behalf of the federal government to raise the minimum wage to keep up with inflation and the cost of living,” Gebreselassie said.
Organizers stressed the importance of the strike spreading to Southern states.
“The South has always been the model for low wage employment, from slavery to the Jim Crow laws, to the present,” said Dorian Warren, an assistant professor of political science at Columbia University who has published work on labor organizing and inequality. “It’s also the most anti-union part of the country, so the fact that workers feel empowered enough to take collective action is enormous.”
Strikers have complained that while revenue is up about 13 percent at fast-food restaurants as of August, it’s not being passed on to the workers.
All the media attention paid to the strikers Thursday may re-ignite the minimum wage debate, in which opponents say higher employment costs will mean fewer jobs and higher prices for customers.
In The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, the conservative Employment Policies Institute ran a full-page ad with a picture of a robot making pancakes, warning that higher wages would mean “fewer entry-level jobs and more automated alternatives.”
“You can either raise prices and lose customers, or (automate) those jobs,” said Michael Saltsman, EPI’s research director, adding that “the idea that restaurants are rolling in the money is not representative of the situation franchisees face.”
The protests come 50 years after Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led hundreds of thousands of Americans in a March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. One of their demands was to raise the federal minimum wage to $2 a hour, roughly equivalent to $15 in today’s dollars.
—By CNBC’s Jeff Cox. Follow him @JeffCoxCNBCcom on Twitter. Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch unit agreed to pay $160 million to settle a racial bias lawsuit that went through two appeals at the United States Supreme Court, the New York Times reported, citing the plaintiff’s lawyer.
Longtime Merrill broker George McReynolds filed the lawsuit in 2005 accusing the brokerage of steering blacks into clerical positions and diverting lucrative accounts to white brokers, resulting in lower pay and fewer career growth opportunities.
The payout in the suit, which was filed on behalf of 700 black brokers who worked for Merrill, would be the largest sum ever distributed to plaintiffs in a racial discrimination suit against an American employer, according to the New York Times.
The preliminary settlement was confirmed to the newspaper by a spokesman for Merrill Lynch and Linda Friedman, a Chicago lawyer who represents the brokers. (http://link.reuters.com/wes62v)
“We are working toward a very positive resolution of a lawsuit filed in 2005 and enhancing opportunities for African-American financial advisers,” Bill Halldin, a spokesman for Merrill Lynch, told the paper.
Merrill Lynch and Stowell & Friedman, the law firm representing McReynolds, could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.
Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters.
(Alexandria, Va., June –, 2013) The U.S. Army was proud to participate in the 27th Annual Conference of the 100 Black Men of America, June 5-9, 2013 in New Orleans. Along with many of America’s leading corporations, the U.S. Army was eager to support the mission of the “100” — mentoring African-American youth – by sharing information on Army educational and career options for civilians, veterans and active duty Soldiers.
Article from CNN courtesy of “The Rundown”
If Twitter needed any more evidence that it has a serious security problem, this should do it: Stocks plunged sharply on Tuesday after a hacker accessed a newswire’s account and tweeted about a false White House emergency.
The shocking tweet came from the Associated Press earlier this afternoon: “Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.”
The AP’s communications team quickly tweeted from its own account that the main AP Twitter was compromised, but investors had already panicked. The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) immediately plunged by more than 140 points. And there it is: After years of hacks that typically involved little more than obscene language, Twitter’s subpar security measures have now caused serious real-world consequences. Many hacks happen when account owners use guessable passwords or access Twitter over public Wi-Fi and shared computers. If one person who tweets from a corporate account loses his or her phone, an entire corporation’s Twitter account could be at risk.
The AP incident appears to be an example of social engineering. The news service posted a story Tuesday afternoon explaining that attackers gained access to the account after launching phishing attempts. When phishing, attackers pose as legitimate companies, such as Twitter, in an attempt for account holders to give up their passwords.
While Twitter can’t control those issues, critics say the company could do more to prevent them.
Banks that finance such loans will be penalized.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced today that it will sue banks that finance predatory auto dealer loans. The goal is to prevent dealerships, which are exempt from the agency’s oversight, from hiking up interest rates offered on loans. The hikes lead to banks getting their rate and sellers pocketing the rest. The practice is known as the “dealer’s markup,” and according to CFPB, it also leads to racial discrimination.
“Consumers should not have to pay more for a car loan simply based on their race,” said CFPB director Richard Cordray. “Today’s bulletin clarifies our authority to pursue auto lenders whose policies harm consumers through unlawful discrimination.”
According to the agency, research shows that the markup practice may lead to African-American and Latinos paying higher markups than white consumers with similar income levels and credit records. It’s the kind of predatory lending that was a major factor in the nation’s economic and home foreclosure crisis.
CFPB is urging banks to take steps that would discourage auto dealers from taking advantage of consumers by revising markup policies and finding other ways to compensate them such as a flat fee for each transaction.
The agency was created as part of the sweeping Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed and signed into law in 2010. California Rep. Maxine Waters, now top Democrat on the House Financial Services, fought so hard for its inclusion that she led a coup of several Congressional Black Caucus members who sat on the committee at the time that threatened to prevent the bill from getting a full House vote if it was left out.
CFPB’s mission is to ensure that lenders market financial products and services fairly to all consumers and penalize discriminatory practices.
(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Your Take: Here’s what’s behind Big Telecom’s PR push for Internet “innovation,” says Rashad Robinson.
by Rashad Robinson (Special to The Root) — It seems the telecom industry is nervous that its days of simply informing the government how it prefers to conduct its own affairs may finally be numbered. With current Federal Communications Commission Chair Julius Genachowski reported to be stepping down, and buzz building around a potential nominee likely to serve as a much more rigorous public advocate, Big Telecom is ramping up its PR machine to warn us of the danger of informed, effective government oversight. ColorOfChange members have seen this all before, when we organized to stop the FCC from rubber-stamping what would have been a disastrous merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. Here’s what the telecoms don’t want you to know: The FCC’s landmark “open Internet rules” ensure that fixed broadband providers — the AT&Ts, Comcasts and Verizons that run DSL, cable or fiber into your home or office — can’t censor your access to the Web. Specifically, fixed broadband providers can’t block sites they’d rather you not visit, and they can’t favor one Web user’s network traffic over another (for example, by slowing a site’s load time). These open Internet rules represent a critical win for consumers, who for the most part have no real choice when it comes to selecting a broadband provider — and thus no choice about the quality of broadband service we receive. Every monthly cable bill is a fresh reminder of how a lack of competition keeps us tied to underperforming, unresponsive telecom monopolies primarily dedicated to price-gouging their customers. Without the FCC serving as a watchdog — protecting our right to all access the same Web, no matter what telecom market we live in — broadband providers would be working overtime finding new ways to charge us even more for even less.