Shanelle Davis becomes first African American valedictorian of Benjamin Cardozo High School

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This story is a month old, but I just found out about it. This year, Shanelle Davis became the first African American valedicatorian of Benjamin Cardozo High School. She seems humble but aware of her place in the school’s history:

“School is like, it’s very diverse, but it’s predominantly Asian. So most African-Americans in the school think that OK so since there’s been like always an Asian or a white valedictorian that they can’t do it. But then I can be an example for them to show that they can also do it. So maybe next year they’ll have another African-American one,” Davis said.

Malaysian jetliner shot down

Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

A second Malaysian Airline commercial flight went down today, but this time the U.S. is confirming that it was shot down. The Ukrainians are saying that the Russians or pro-Russian fighters did it. Putin is saying that the Ukrainians are to blame, but he’s not saying that pro-Russian forces didn’t shoot it down.

Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, blamed Ukraine’s government for creating what he called conditions for insurgency in eastern Ukraine, where separatists have bragged about shooting down at least three Ukrainian military aircraft. But Mr. Putin did not specifically deny that a Russian-made weapon had felled the Malaysian jetliner.

Jose Antonio Vargas detained

Jose Antonio Vargas has been detained. He was detained at an airport in Texas while trying to travel to LA. He thought that he might have trouble since he was leaving from a border area. He was right. Vargas is the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who came out as an undocumented worker three years ago. Since then, he has been traveling the country and talking with other undocumented workers.

Kathryn Ma’s new book

An author named Kathryn Ma, not to be confused with Karen Ma, has a new book called The Year She Left Us. From the NY Times review, it is an about a young woman who is adopted from China by a Chinese American lawyer. It seems from the description that Ma knows what she’s talking about when she talks about culture. I like this passage in the review:

Defriending Facebook

Last night I deactivated Facebook. My personal account is on hold indefinitely, and the bigWOWO Facebook page is no longer active. I deactivated for similar reasons as when we cleared out the bottom tier at the beginning of the year: It was just taking up too much time and mental energy. When you’re reading your feed and every day you’re asked to click on stuff like “8 things you need to know about racism in Hollywood,” it’s a waste of time since you know there aren’t 8 things that you absolutely need to know about racism in Hollywood.

“Boys don’t tip.”

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Here is an interesting story.

Warren Sapp, NFL Hall of Famer, went to a restaurant with another dude, and the waitress asked, ““Hey, boys, what can I get you to drink?” Sapp and his friend are black, so Sapp told her not to call him “boy.” What happened next is not totally clear. The waitress says she didn’t call him that again, that she switched to “sugar” and “honey.” Sapp says she called him “boy” again. It was a $69 bill, no small change for two people, and Sapp responded by not tipping at all. Instead, on his receipt, he wrote, “Boys don’t tip.”

The Hobby Lobby debate and Biblical companies

People are angry at the recent Supreme Court decision concerning Hobby Lobby and its refusal to pay for insurance that includes contraception for female workers. The NY Times reports:

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. It was, a dissent said, “a decision of startling breadth.”

New Common Core math

Sorry for not posting more on Asian American issues, but I’m Asian American’ed out.

For you parents with elementary/primary school kids out there, this article will ring familiar: Math Under Common Core Has Even Parents Stumbling. In the first few paragraphs, the article tells the story of a family that moved to a better school district in Louisiana only to pull their children out of school because they didn’t like Common Core Math. The father, who is a pipe designer at an engineering firm, had to watch YouTube videos to understand the new math. The parents have now decided they will opt-out and homeschool their children in the fall.

Hofstra to eliminate SAT requirement

Hofstra University has decided to eliminate the SAT requirement. Beginning in 2014, students have the option of deciding whether to submit their SAT scores as a part of their admissions application.

“I will feel more empowered. I am a good student and have good grades, but…” junior Keana Cooper said, referring to how some students just struggle with standardized testing.

“I am an all A student, a great student, but when it comes to the standardized tests, you get nervous. It wont reflect your abilities in school,” junior Madison Tarabay added.