Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Stuff I've Been Reading!

Okay! My Firefox window is full of open tabs, and I'm going to drop a bunch of links here so that I can get rid of them. Yay? Yay!


Gay Kentucky Students: "You Can't Pee Here"

Fifteen students protested outside a Frankfort, Ky., high school on Friday after an official allegedly sent a notification to teachers advising them to bar gay students from leaving class to use the restroom.

The reported e-mail was sent by Franklin County High School assistant principal Karen Buzard after two female students were reportedly seen kissing in a bathroom, according to the Kentucky Equality Federation.


Letter from a slave freed in the Civil War, responding to his former master's promise to pay him if he'll return. Read this. Now. Two word summary: "Oh, snap."

Womanism and Feminism: The Difference?
When we look at social justice movements across the western world they all have one thing in common, they are led by whiteness. Despite a claim that said movements are about equality, the racial dynamics are positioned in such a way as to reaffirm our dissonance in worth and value. This purposeful erasure, or more specifically absence of power, is a result of the social belief that whiteness is not only naturally fit to lead but ordained to do so.

How many times have blacks and whites worked together in various organizations only to find that our voices are silenced? We continually make suggestions for activism only to have it denied and then later accepted when it is rephrased by a white member of the organization. The racism in this activity is never acknowledged and the white person is given the credit for the idea. When we make a comment as to how race interacts with an issue, we are again silenced and told that we “are imagining racism”, as though whiteness is any position to decide what is and isn’t racist.

Police Brutality and the National Political Agenda Great analysis on the original page, as always from these guys.
Just how systemic the police harassment and brutality is can be seen in polls and in social science research. For example, one 2001 Gallup poll found 83 percent of black respondents had experienced racial profiling in the last year. In addition, in a 2007 Gallup poll a fifth of the black respondents reported that had suffered discrimination at the hands of police officers, a proportion that has increased in recent years.

Lest some think that we are ignoring lots of white victims of police brutality here, we might note that one social science study back in the 1990s analyzed 130 police-brutality accounts in several cities across the country. In that reviews of cases, criminologist Kim Lersch discovered that the targets of this type of police malpractice are almost always black or Latino. The latter made up 97 percent of the victims of police brutality, while the overwhelming majority (93 percent) of officers involved were white. Police brutality overwhelmingly involves white-on-black or other white-on-minority violence.

Remedying Racism: The Supreme Court and Affirmative Action This is an issue I'm still deeply ambivalent about, but the people whose voices and judgment I've come to trust the most are making some very good arguments, and I'm doing my damndest to give them a fair hearing. Check out this article.
What would the reverse of this centuries-old anti-black discrimination and other oppression look like? The reverse of the institutionalized discrimination by whites against blacks would mean reversing the power and resource inequalities for several hundred years. In the past and today, most organizations in major institutional areas such as housing, education, and employment would be run at the top and middle-levels by a disproportionate number of powerful black managers and officials. These powerful black officials would have aimed much racial discrimination at whites, including many years of slavery and legal segregation. Millions of whites would have suffered—and still suffer—trillions in economic losses such as lower wages, as well as high rates of unemployment and political disenfranchisement, widespread housing segregation, inferior school facilities, and violent lynchings. That societal condition would be something one could reasonably call a condition that significantly “reversed the discrimination” against African Americans.

What is usually termed reverse discrimination is something much different from this fictional anti-white scenario. The usual reference is to affirmative action programs that, for a limited time or in certain places, have used racial screening criteria to overcome a small part of past and present discrimination that targets racially oppressed people.

Anti-Latino Racism: SPLC Report on Discrimination
We might note that the principal discriminators are not named as white in any sentence in the 64-page report. Indeed, the world “whites” never appears in the report, and the only place “white” appears is in a few references to “white supremacist” groups. Even in critical research reports like this there seems to be an etiquette of not offending white dsciminators explicitly, but leaving the elite and ordinary white actors as “implicit” in the commentaries, unless they are part of supremacist groups.


State-by-State Recovery Breakdown. Check the page and hover over your state to see what your area is getting.

California Appeal Court Declares Life Without Parole Sentence Unconstitutional for 14-Year-Old
EJI attorney Bryan Stevenson represents Antonio Nunez and argued his case at the Court of Appeal last October. “We’re very encouraged by the Court’s thoughtful and careful analysis of the issue presented by this case," Stevenson said today. "Young children who commit serious crimes may need punishment but those punishments must be reasonable and thoughtful. Hopelessly condemning 14-year-old children to die in prison is at odds with everything our constitutional norms and values are designed to protect.”

Antonio Nunez spent his childhood in a dangerous South Central Los Angeles neighborhood. Shortly after his 13th birthday, Antonio was riding a bicycle near his home when he was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting. His brother, who was 14 years old, ran to help Antonio and was shot in the head and killed. Antonio was critically injured and underwent emergency surgery to repair his intestines.

In the wake of his brother's murder, Antonio suffered severe trauma and depression. After he was released from the hospital, Antonio left South Central and spent over six months with family in Nevada before he had to return to Los Angeles.

Within weeks of his return to his home in South Central, 14-year-old Antonio got into a car with two older men who picked him up at a party. One of the men later claimed to be a kidnap victim. When their car was chased by the police and shots were fired, Antonio was arrested and charged with, among other offenses, aggravated kidnapping.

No one was injured during the chase, but Antonio was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

Britain's Youngest Female Funeral Director There may be hope for me yet! Also, check out this woman's amazing style. She wins at fashion.
Louise Ryan never wanted to be stuck in any ordinary job - so she figured it was only natural to follow in her father's footsteps and work with the dead.

Miss Ryan, who is already leading funeral processions, has undertaken 12 months of training, and at 20 years old is believed to be Britain's youngest female funeral director.

The teenager admits leading funeral processions and escorting coffins to churchyards is a far cry from her previous two jobs as a hairdresser and call centre worker.

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