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At 28 years old, Raven-Symoné has a very clear sense of who she is. The former “Cosby Show” actress and star of “That’s So Raven” recently sat down with Oprah and opened up about her strong sense of self, including her sexuality.
Raven has been relatively quiet about her personal life, but last year, when the Supreme Court ruled the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, Raven tweeted a status that many saw as her way of coming out…
“That was my way of saying I’m proud of the country,” she says. “But, I will say that I’m in an amazing, happy relationship with my partner. A woman.”
Raven’s reluctance to open up about her private life is something she has practiced since her early days as a young star, under her parents’ guidance. “People in my family, they’ve taught me to keep my personal life to myself as much as possible. So, I try my best to hold the fence where I can,” Raven says. “But I am proud to be who I am and what I am.”…
“I don’t want to be labeled ‘gay,'” Raven says. “I want to be labeled ‘a human who loves humans.'”
In fact, Raven tells Oprah that she rejects the notion of labels completely in all areas of her life. “I’m tired of being labeled,” she says. “I’m an American. I’m not an African-American; I’m an American.”…
“I mean, I don’t know where my roots go to,” Raven explains. “I don’t know how far back they go… I don’t know what country in Africa I’m from, but I do know that my roots are in Louisiana. I’m an American. And that’s a colorless person.”
“You’re going to get a lot of flak for saying you’re not African-American. You know that, right?” Oprah asks.
Raven puts her hands up. “I don’t label myself,” she reiterates. “I have darker skin. I have a nice, interesting grade of hair. I connect with Caucasian, I connect with Asian, I connect with Black, I connect with Indian, I connect with each culture.”
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The big revelations coming out of Emory didn’t stop there. Preterm birth is long understood to have a potential impact on a child’s cognition and language-learning skills. But Michael Kramer, an epidemiologist at Emory’s School of Public Health, examined the birth and school records of thousands of Georgians born between 1998 and 2003. When these children took state academic assessment tests in first grade, those born prematurely were more likely to fail.
The more premature the birth, the worse the child performed. Only 13 percent of the babies born on time or less than three weeks early fell short on first-grade tests, compared to a third of the children born 13 to 20 weeks prematurely.
“What we found explains some, but by no means all, of the academic achievement gap,” Kramer said. “There are real differences we can make in education by investing in what happens long before children reach school.”
Kramer’s findings also suggest that since poor minority families often concentrate in sections of a city and therefore send their children to the same set of the nation’s increasingly segregated (by both race and class) schools, children struggling to learn due to a preterm birth aren’t evenly disbursed. Some schools are likely serving large numbers while others, in wealthier communities and those serving mostly white students, may be serving few to none. (. . .)
“I think that our research may be shocking to a lot of people, but I hope not dispiriting,” said Corwin with Emory. “We have some clue what may be causing disproportionate rates of preterm births in some segments of the population, and we know that we can try to intervene early. The question is really whether that is something that we are prepared as a country to do.”