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Rinku Sen
Rinku Sen is the President of the Applied Research Center and the publisher of ColorLines, the magazine on race and politics.

Entries by Rinku Sen

Building a Racial Justice Movement

(3) Comments | Posted August 28, 2013 | 3:45 PM

This week, the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with events in Washington, D.C., and many other cities. A hot summer of race news -- Moral Mondays to preserve voting rights in North Carolina, the efforts of the Dream 9 to expose...

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The Difference Between Equity and Binders Full of Anybody

(0) Comments | Posted October 18, 2012 | 6:00 PM

Maybe I have no sense of humor, but when Gov. Mitt Romney said the words "binders full of women" during this week's debate, it didn't occur to me to make an Internet joke, complete with visuals of feminine legs sticking out of binders. He seemed to have left out a...

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What Fires Young Progressives' Activism? A New Study Asks Them

(2) Comments | Posted May 24, 2012 | 1:32 PM

Today,'s publisher, the Applied Research Center, released "Millennials, Activism and Race," a report on the motivations of young people who are active in progressive politics. Following up on last year's research, "Don't Call Them Post-Racial," this report gives us more information about what draws 18- to 30-year-olds...

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The 9/11 Story I Choose to Tell: We All Belong to Each Other

(0) Comments | Posted September 7, 2011 | 10:32 PM

This piece was originally published on

September 11 has become a national day of reflection and resolution. Collective reflection creates a story of the event, sometimes more than one. One version of the event's aftermath is that the country came together while grief acted as a softening...

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Wal-Mart Gets A Free Pass For Bias From The Supreme Court

(118) Comments | Posted June 23, 2011 | 9:20 AM

Originally published on

The Supreme Court issued its decision in the Dukes v. Wal-Mart sex discrimination case this week, a frustrating ruling that doesn't challenge the existence of bias, but that exempts the company from accountability. The case highlights the difficulty of addressing discrimination at a time...

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An Uptick in Racism in Campaigns in 2010

(0) Comments | Posted November 1, 2010 | 9:58 AM

If the election of 2008 was a referendum on race, the midterms are feeling like a recount. The dominant political discourse of 2008 centered on an improbable question: Could a black man overcome decades' worth of conservative fear mongering about scary, criminal, lazy black people and win a majority of...

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Why I Don't Use the I-Word -- In Any Form

(14) Comments | Posted October 14, 2010 | 6:29 PM

Since we launched the Drop the I-Word campaign, thousands of people and numerous media outlets have pledged not to label immigrants criminals and to affirm their humanity and dignity. Of those thousands, some are immigrants, both undocumented and with papers, who are asking us to stand up for...

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How Breitbart Won -- and Why We Must Rethink "Racism"

(10) Comments | Posted July 26, 2010 | 11:25 AM

Originally published at Colorlines

We had to trod a familiar path last week. It started with credulous acceptance of Andrew Breitbart's latest round of lies, moved to the subsequent debate about who's a racist and then on to the expected round of apologies. Now it culminates with calls for...

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Repeat Police Offenders Remain on Force and Hidden from Public

(8) Comments | Posted April 27, 2010 | 12:53 PM

In a joint investigation, ColorLines magazine and The Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute has found the 2006 ruling Copley Press v. Superior Court, combined with California state laws that protect police privacy, has blocked the public from knowing whether local police officers have engaged in misconduct, or...

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An Interactive History of the Tea Party's Many Co-Conveners

(3) Comments | Posted April 21, 2010 | 4:10 PM

Originally published on ColorLines.

John McCain. Newt Gingrich. CNBC. Fox News. Even poor old Michael Steele. It's taken a whole lotta leaders to keep this party going. Click your way down memory lane.

Ironically, it all started with a quintessentially black oratorical device: the call and response. John McCain asked his campaign rally if they knew who Barack Obama was. Somebody shouted back, "A terrorist!" And so it began: About thirteen months of madness in a public square dominated by the Tea Party's wild, demonstrably false but still lasting claims about both the president and his agenda. But they didn't do it on their own. Conservative think tanks and lobby groups, corporate media outlets and the Republican Party have all kept the party jumping--and profited from it.

We've put together an interactive timeline of that dismal history. Watch the videos, follow the links, then forward...

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A Way Forward on Marriage Equality

(24) Comments | Posted April 1, 2010 | 12:51 PM

Originally published by Progressive Media Project

The gay rights movement needs to strengthen its ties with the black community. To do so, it should be wary of claiming that marriage equality is the civil rights issue of the 21st century.

Such a claim is a...

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What Progressives Must Learn from the ACORN Debacle

(7) Comments | Posted March 25, 2010 | 3:14 PM


If we do our work well, we should expect similar attacks and know that long track records won't protect us.

Cross-posted from

I've been expecting it for months, but I was still bummed to see the

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Is the Recovery Really Working? (VIDEO)

(1) Comments | Posted February 15, 2010 | 2:08 PM

President Obama says the stimulus saved or created 2 million jobs in 2009. But is the recovery really working? The American dream of good jobs and strong communities is still just a dream for too many. The unfair economy hurts certain groups more, and that ends up hurting everyone. From...

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State of Whose Union? Obama and Race at One Year

(1) Comments | Posted January 28, 2010 | 4:33 PM

President Barack Obama gave us a call to action of sorts last night. Commentators Chris Rabb and Lola Adesioye sat down with ColorLines' Tammy Johnson following the President's State of the Union address. Chris is...

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Copenhagen and Us

(3) Comments | Posted December 16, 2009 | 9:49 AM

Negotiations have resumed in Copenhagen after a walkout by the African delegation on Monday. African governments were concerned with the lack of commitment by rich country governments to reducing their own emissions. This follows on the heels of last week's leaked "Danish text" controversy; the text...

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Casting a Wider Net for Green Jobs

(2) Comments | Posted November 14, 2009 | 2:23 PM

More than $200 billion of stimulus funds through the Recovery Act have been earmarked for green jobs programs, yet it is extremely unclear how the communities most devastated by the recession -- women and people of color -- will benefit from these opportunities in the new green economy. Racial and...

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Obama Should Have Turned It Down

(11) Comments | Posted October 9, 2009 | 6:37 PM

Obama's winning the Nobel Peace Prize reminds me of this clothing commercial in which a man whose face you can't see is at an interview or on a date. He's told that he has horrible work history or got the lady's name wrong just before he's offered the job...

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Young, Green, and Out of Work

(2) Comments | Posted October 5, 2009 | 6:45 PM

Last week, the Labor Department reported that youth unemployment stands at 18.2%, nearly twice the national average of 9.8%. The percentage of young people without a job is a staggering 53.4 percent, the highest figure since World War II. Looking deeper, the statistics for youth of color are terrible...

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ACORN is the New Dirty Word

(14) Comments | Posted October 2, 2009 | 6:08 PM

Over the last 18 months, conservatives have launched a nationwide assault on the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which is now peaking with widespread media coverage and Congressional action. This isn't the first time that the 37-year-old organization has been under attack. With chapters in more than...

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Post-9/11 Immigration Debate Needs Shift in Focus

(3) Comments | Posted September 11, 2009 | 5:50 PM

Re-printed from For more on the term "illegal," watch the Word! video.

Since September 11, 2001, immigration opponents have honed their "immigrant as criminal" narrative, knowing that the specter of the foreign terrorist works perfectly.

Fifteen years ago, the nation's major newspapers refused to use "illegal" because it...

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