By Betsey Piette
Philadelphia — On April 24, political prisoner and world-renowned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal turns 60. He has spent over half his life in solitary confinement on Pennsylvania’s death row, and most recently, since early 2012, he has been in general population at SCI Mahanoy where he still faces life in prison despite ample evidence of his innocence.
In December 2011, nearly three decades of relentless struggle on Abu-Jamal’s behalf resulted in lifting the death sentence he had faced since 1982 when he was unjustly convicted of the murder of a Philadelphia police officer.
Threats to Abu-Jamal’s life continue. That the Fraternal Order of Police in Philadelphia is still determined to silence him is evident in their recent attacks on Debo Adegbile, President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Department Justice, because of his legal advocacy work for Abu-Jamal. While an attorney for the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, Adegbile provided support for attorneys who successfully argued for relief in Abu-Jamal’s 1982 death sentence due to erroneous instructions given to the jury by the prosecutor. The FOP used the opportunity of Adegbile’s nomination to further promote their lies and distortions about Abu-Jamal’s case.
I wrote an article attempting to identify some of the unearned benefits and privileges my fellow male gamers and I are afforded simply by virtue of being male. Please check out the full article in context over on Polygon.
- I can choose to remain completely oblivious, or indifferent to the harassment that many women face in gaming spaces.
- I am never told that video games or the surrounding culture is not intended for me because I am male.
- I can publicly post my username, gamertag or contact information online without having to fear being stalked or sexually harassed because of my gender.
- I will never be asked to “prove my gaming cred” simply because of my gender.
- If I enthusiastically express my fondness for video games no one will automatically assume I’m faking my interest just to “get attention” from other gamers.
- I can look at practically any gaming review site, show, blog or magazine and see the voices of people of my own gender widely represented.
- When I go to a gaming event or convention, I can be relatively certain that I won’t be harassed, groped, propositioned or catcalled by total strangers.
- I will never be asked or expected to speak for all other gamers who share my gender.
- I can be sure that my gaming performance (good or bad) won’t be attributed to or reflect on my gender as a whole.
- My gaming ability, attitude, feelings or capability will never be called into question based on unrelated natural biological functions.
- I can be relatively sure my thoughts about video games won’t be dismissed or attacked based solely on my tone of voice, even if I speak in an aggressive, obnoxious, crude or flippant manner.
- I can openly say that my favorite games are casual, odd, non-violent, artistic, or cute without fear that my opinions will reinforce a stereotype that “men are not real gamers.”
- When purchasing most major video games in a store, chances are I will not be asked if (or assumed to be) buying it for a wife, daughter or girlfriend.
- The vast majority of game studios, past and present, have been led and populated primarily by people of my own gender and as such most of their products have been specifically designed to cater to my demographic.
- I can walk into any gaming store and see images of my gender widely represented as powerful heroes, villains and non-playable characters alike.
- I will almost always have the option to play a character of my gender, as most protagonists or heroes will be male by default.
- I do not have to carefully navigate my engagement with online communities or gaming spaces in order to avoid or mitigate the possibility of being harassed because of my gender.
- I probably never think about hiding my real-life gender online through my gamer-name, my avatar choice, or by muting voice-chat, out of fear of harassment resulting from my being male.
- When I enter an online game, I can be relatively sure I won’t be attacked or harassed when and if my real-life gender is made public
- If I am trash-talked or verbally berated while playing online, it will not be because I am male nor will my gender be invoked as an insult.
- While playing online with people I don’t know I won’t be interrogated about the size and shape of my real-life body parts, nor will I be pressured to share intimate details about my sex life for the pleasure of other players.
- Complete strangers generally do not send me unsolicited images of their genitalia or demand to see me naked on the basis of being a male gamer.
- In multiplayer games I can be pretty sure that conversations between other players will not focus on speculation about my “attractiveness” or “sexual availability” in real-life.
- If I choose to point out sexism in gaming, my observations will not be seen as self-serving, and will therefore be perceived as more credible and worthy of respect than those of my female counterparts, even if they are saying the exact same thing.
- Because it was created by a straight white male, this checklist will likely be taken more seriously than if it had been written by virtually any female gamer.
I am ugly- I am beautiful
I am worthless- I have worth
I am sick- I will heal
I hate myself- I will learn to love myself
I am weak- I am strong, or I wouldn’t be here today
I am moody- I have profound emotional depth
I am lost- I will find myself
I am scared- I have courage
I am crazy- It is normal to struggle
I am in pain- It’s okay to hurt
I am tired- I will not give up
I’m not good enough- I am better than “good enough”
I can’t change- I can change
We are thrilled to announce the success of our graduate Sam Lutalo-Kiingi from Uganda, the first Deaf African to earn a doctorate in linguistics. His thesis is entitled ‘A Descriptive Grammar of Morphosyntactic Constructions in Ugandan Sign Language (UgSL)’, and is the first attempt at describing the morphosyntax of an African sign language, many of which are severely under-documented.
Using an inductive approach, a corpus-based methodology and extensive fieldwork in Uganda, Sam studied how UgSL signers construct utterances of morphosyntactic complexity. His findings include that UgSL has especially interesting ways of expressing negation and possession, as well as an unusually extensive pronominal system. As a native Deaf user of UgSL who is also fluent in several other sign languages, Sam also relied on introspection and his insider status among members of the Ugandan Deaf community, who were instrumental in providing data.
Great News. It is wonderful to see deaf people of color being successful.
Celis-Luna, a graduating senior involved in the center’s creation.
“College is when you find yourself. And having to hide a part of yourself doesn’t allow you to grow,” said Celis-Luna, adding that the resources and support would have been helpful at Cal State Fullerton and her first couple of years at Riverside Community College.
“The fact that Cal State Fullerton is giving us a resource center says: ‘We’re here for you. We accept you. We want you to graduate.’ That’s the biggest statement a university can make,” said Celis-Luna, who now has temporary deferral from deportation under an Obama administration program for people brought to the country at a young age and who meet certain requirements.
For Bupendra Ram, a graduating senior also involved in the center’s creation, college for the most part was a lonely experience.
“I was very alone. I didn’t have a community on campus that supported my needs. That’s what’s beautiful about this center. It caters to people who don’t have resources,” said Ram, who also was accepted under the 2012 Obama administration Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
College students who were gathered for the opening said they are looking forward to tapping into its resources. Approximately 800 students on campus are believed to be undocumented or have DACA status, officials said.
In Los Angeles, the UCLA Labor Center opened a Dream Resource Center in downtown in 2011 but also offered services prior to its creation, according to Natalia Garcia, a project coordinator. The center offers internships and scholarships, conducts studies on the experiences of immigrant youths and offers other resources and services.
UC Berkeley opened the Haas Dreamers Resource Center in 2012 as part of an Undocumented Student Program, Director Meng So said. Undocumented students are eligible for free legal support, emergency grants for housing and other expenses, book vouchers to buy textbooks and other services, So said.
At UC Berkeley, about 300 of the approximate 30,000 students are undocumented, So said. Asked why the university is allocating special resources to the group, he said: “It’s a question of equity. Once you admit students to the university, it’s the responsibility of the university to fully support them.
“We’re telling them: ‘We believe in you.’ It’s not a sink or swim mentality,” he said, adding that the students and their families are taxpayers as well and deserving of the services.
For about three decades, Cal State Fullerton has had an informal network of faculty, staff and administrators working to help students living in the country illegally, said Carmen Curiel, interim director for a new department: Diversity Initiatives & Resource Centers.
The new center on the second floor of the Pollak Library cost approximately $200,000, said Lea M. Jarnagin, associate vice president for student affairs.
The space designated for undocumented students kicks off a make-over for all the existing culturally-diverse resource centers in the coming year, Jarnagin said. They are the African American Resource Center, the Chicana & Chicano Resource Center, the Asian Pacific American Resource Center and the ASI LGBTQ Resource Center.
Asked to address potential criticism on the expenditure and whether the students are taking spots from American citizens, Jarnagin said: “They are our students. They may be undocumented. But they are our students. They are not taking space from anyone. They belong here.”
(Photo Credit: H. LORREN AU JR.)
i want to create a tv show about a group of friends where they’re all queer except the one token cishet friend who’s only there to say stereotypical “straight” things for laughs like “macklemore got me into rap” and “my mom and i got into a fight because she wouldn’t buy me a fourth obey snapback”
Or we could just stop stereotyping people.
by Samantha Taylor
I was taking a Black Feminism/Womanism class at Portland State University when I first read about bell hooks’s struggle with suicidal thoughts while she was at Stanford. I thought, “Wait, I’m not the only one? And people actually talk about this!?” At some point, I breathed an audible sigh of relief that my classmates misinterpreted as boredom; yes, they actually thought that a black, queer gurl in a Black Feminism class was bored. How simple people can be sometimes! What really happened was, in that moment, I felt as though a hand had reached out and plucked…
Hey y’all. So I wrote a thing.
[tw for suicide] y’all GO READ THIS phenomenal piece. it had me in tears. i couldn’t pick just one part to quote.
The decision could lead more states to enact bans against race preferences in university admissions, but it does not affect university affirmative action programs in other states.
Apr. 22 2014
The Supreme Court dealt another blow to affirmative action programs Tuesday, upholding the right of states to ban racial preferences in university admissions.
The 6-2 decision came in a case brought by Michigan, where a voter-approved initiative banning affirmative action had been tied up in court for a decade.
Seven other states — California, Florida, Washington, Arizona, Nebraska, Oklahoma and New Hampshire – have similar bans. Now, others may follow suit.
But the ruling, which was expected after the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Michigan law, did not jeopardize the wide use of racial preferences in many of the 42 states without bans. Such affirmative action programs were upheld, though subjected to increased scrutiny, in the high court’s June ruling involving the University of Texas.
"This case is not about how the debate (over racial preferences) should be resolved," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in announcing the ruling. But to stop Michigan voters from making their own decision on affirmative action would be "an unprecedented restriction on a fundamental right held by all in common."
Justice Sonia Sotomayor read a summary of her lengthy, 58-page dissent from the bench, in which Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined. She said the decision creates “a two-tiered system of political change” by requiring only race-based proposals to surmount the state Constitution, while all other proposals can go to school boards.
As a result of the ruling, said Sotomayor, a product of affirmative action policies, minority enrollment will decline at Michigan’s public universities, just as it has in California and elsewhere. “The numbers do not lie,” she said.
The decision was splintered, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joining Kennedy’s opinion; Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas concurring in a separate opinion; and Justice Stephen Breyer, more often aligned with the court’s liberal wing, concurring in yet another opinion.
Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case, presumably because of a conflict of interest from her time as U.S. solicitor general.
The decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action comes 10 years after two seminal Supreme Court rulings out of the University of Michigan. One struck down the undergraduate school’s use of a point system that included race to guide admissions. The other upheld the law school’s consideration of race among many other factors.
Immediately after the law school ruling, opponents of racial preferences set to work on a state constitutional amendment that said Michigan “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or natural origin.” Voters approved it by a 58%-42% margin in November 2006.
A federal district court upheld the initiative, but a sharply divided appeals court ruled that it violated minorities’ equal protection rights under the Constitution.
The writing appeared to be on the wall at the Supreme Court, based on the influence of Roberts, an opponent of racial preferences who famously wrote in another case several years ago that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
But in this case, Kennedy was the man to watch. He wrote the court’s 1996 Romer v. Evans opinion striking down a Colorado referendum that banned local governments from enacting gay rights laws. Yet he had been less enthusiastic about the use of racial preferences in several recent cases.
Opponents of the Michigan law called it a form of “political restructuring” that stops minorities from seeking admission to a university the same way an athlete or legacy applicant can. Instead, they said in an argument that Sotomayor and Ginsburg endorsed, minorities had to change the state Constitution.
In striking down the ban, the 6th Circuit cited the Supreme Court’s 1969 and 1982 rulings in cases from Akron and Seattle. In those cases, the high court struck down voter-approved initiatives that had blocked the cities’ pro-minority housing and school busing policies.
But Kennedy said the appeals court misread those earlier rulings. In the new Michigan case, he said, the paramount concern is the right of citizens to deliberate, debate and act — in this case, through a constitutional amendment.
The debate has practical as well as legal implications. In Michigan and California particularly, the bans have reduced black and Hispanic enrollments at elite universities and at law, medical and professional schools. The percentages of African Americans among entering freshmen at the University of California-Berkeley, UCLA and the University of Michigan were the lowest among the nation’s top universities in 2011.
During oral arguments in October, Michigan solicitor general John Bursch disputed the validity of those statistics. He said changes in 2010 that allowed students to check more than one racial box skewed the figures.
While Michigan’s argument focused on equal rights for white and minority students, some conservative scholars go further. They say doing away with affirmative action gives minority students a better chance of succeeding at less competitive schools.
EVERY SINGLE CIVIL RIGHTS LEGISLATION IS BEING GUTTED!!!!!!!!!!
An average day’s worth of straight men in Amiyah Scott’s mentions. It’s one thing to dislike someone and to talk about them, but to go into their mentions?
This is so terrifying
This isn’t about disliking someone, this is transmisogyny, transmisogynoir, transophobia. This is hatred, in the strongest form. All these folks in her mentions can burn in a fire, get hit by a bus, whatever they aren’t deemed worth living to me. This is how unsafe Black Transwomen are, they can’t even exist in the comfort of their own space at home, on the internet without threats of violence, this horrific, and disgusting.
and what makes me so mad, and what’s an attitude that really needs to be fucking addressed in our community, is that so many of these men are threatening violence against her because they believe she’s trying to trick them. like this is how the media fucks with our perceptions because trans women have always been set up as a ‘trap’ to threaten the sexuality of the hetero-hypermale. they are operating within the myth that a) black women’s bodies automatically belong to black men for the pursuit of their pleasure and b) trans women’s bodies are ‘false’ and ‘deceitful’ female bodies, and by merely existing they are a threat to male heterosexuality.
trans women’s bodies are women’s bodies. women’s bodies belong to themselves. the world does not revolve around your shriveled ego and the satisfaction of your tragic libido.
People being angry about ~dem gays~ on Target’s Facebook.
I just want to give my two cents on this and tell you a story.
A couple weeks ago, I was hired at Target. I have a job at Target. Not a big deal right?
It is a big deal because i’m a transman.
It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that it’s hard for me, my brothers, and sisters to get a job. There are legal restraints regarding the job and if you don’t pass, it’s hard to be taken seriously at a job interview.
Right on the application, it asks what your preferred name is. It also asks if there is anything that target should know. I put the fact that I am a transman, expecting not to get a call because usually when you put that down, people will throw out the application. I got TWO interviews.
At the interview, they asked me about it. I told them I am on hormones and they told me that they didn’t care. Not in the sense that they don’t emotionally care, but that it didn’t matter. I was male and that’s all that mattered. They also told me that they give sex same couples benefits in states that do not recognize them as a married couple.
At my job orientation, I was not misgendered once. Even my supervisors who weren’t sure of my gender avoided pronoun use, which I found only happens when you’ve had pronoun training. They gave me a name tag with my preferred name and didn’t ask questions. I felt safe and respected, which is huge for a trans* person.
TLDR: Target is amazing not just for the LGB, but also the T. Shop there for the rest of your life.
Oh my glob that is amazing.