—Hélène Barthélemy focuses on the criminal justice system, activism and culture.
“Netanyahu government knew teens were dead as it whipped up racist frenzy,” by Max Blumenthal. Electronic Intifada, July 8, 2014.
After the three Israeli teenagers disappeared, the Shin Bet and Netanyahu soon learned that they were dead and who was responsible. Yet, they lied to the teenagers' parents and withheld that information from the public, imposing a gag order on the national press to legitimize a crackdown on Palestinians and a new, deadly attack on Gaza. This scandalous withholding of information meant to legitimize further ransacking of Palestinian societies (with lynch mobs, propaganda and frightening calls to shed blood) should even render indignant people who are habitually less critical of the Israeli government.
—Summer Concepcion focuses on race, gender and criminal justice.
"Women, Blacks Most Likely to Leave STEM Careers, New Research by AIR Finds.” American Institutes for Research, July 9, 2014.
As Verizon Wireless's recent commercial points out, young girls aren't encouraged enough to pursue careers in the STEM fields. But for the young girls who grow up and end up in STEM careers, is there discouragement from staying in those fields? A new study by the American Institutes for Research finds that women and Black grads in STEM careers are more likely to leave and pursue careers outside of those fields. Although the exact reasons leading to this trend have yet to be studied, gender and race seem to be major factors as to why women and Blacks struggle to have a stronger presence in STEM.
—Erin Corbett focuses on national security and reproductive rights.
“‘There’s just too much money in it’: the war on drugs’ profitable attacks on communities of color,” by sosadmin. Privacy SOS , July 7, 2014.
After a weekend of violence on Chicago’s South Side this 4th of July—82 shot, and 14 killed—Roland S. Martin at The Daily Beast published an article called “Send the National Guard to ‘Chiraq.’” “Chicago needs a troop surge like what we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Martin writes, calling on state police and the National Guard to join the city’s local law enforcement in fighting violence and the “war on drugs.” Martin notes that, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, most of the individuals killed from gun violence in the city are “black and Hispanic men under 35.” What Martin doesn’t mention, however, is how “drug war-driven SWAT raids are disproportionately carried out against black and Latino people… [an] ongoing assault against black and brown communities.” (Privacy SOS) The solution to violence and drugs in the city of Chicago is not a militarization of its police forces or the National Guard, who would not benefit the communities affected the most. It’s also not mass incarceration or surveillance. Privacy SOS asks an important question: rather than treating drugs as a criminal justice problem, if the discourse emphasized public health, would there still be the same kind of violence in cities like Chicago?
—Victoria Ford focuses on African-American identity, feminism/womanism and the arts.
"The Term 'Classic Rapist' Shows That People Still Really Don't Understand What Rape Is," by Mychal Denzel Smith. Feministing, July 9, 2014
At the very heart of this piece by Mychal Denzel Smith—whom I have to raise my fist toward in complete solidarity and thanks—is that we are not taught "what rape is." Beneath that, men (and women) do not know that violence does not have one face, but dresses in a myriad of costumes. This is critical for men and women to learn and it's something our culture (especially on college campuses) ignores. When rape is not called rape and when violence is not called violence, we inevitably promote that which we claim is illegal and morally wrong. The words we use cancel or heighten our realities of these situations. If acts as "small" as catcalling or grabbing a woman on the street are refused to be seen as violent, then neither will the continuation of them (which is defined as assault, battery, molestation, rape). Women have been saving our brothers for as long as America could claim itself a stolen, dirty land. Time has come, gone, and come again for our men to rescue each other. Finally along with us.
—Douglas Grant focuses on labor and income inequality, gender politics and American politics.
“How I lost my middle-class life,” by Jayme Reid. Salon, April 12, 2010
Jayme Reid warns her readers that hers won't be a story that meets an easy resolution, in which she learns the value of doing more with less (in the often overused dictum of the times) or how her encounter with hard times taught her about what “really” matters. It’s a story that’s four years old but continues to have plenty of resonance in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Reid’s story is one of a series of cascading circumstances—health problems, layoffs, moving—that led her to rapidly fall out of the middle class comfort she had known before and land with a thud. It’s a grim story about just how tenuous of a grasp that millions of Americans have on their secure status. We can’t say she didn’t warn us.
—Hannah Harris Green focuses on South Asian Culture and Politics, and Sexual Assault.
“Breaking Up With China?” by Rafia Zakaria. Dawn, July 4, 2014.
Pakistan is in an awkward position, since China, one of its closest allies, issued a ban on Ramadan fasting in the province of Xinjiang this week. "As a Muslim country, Pakistan has been eager to stand up to the injustices committed against Muslims anywhere in the world," writes Rafia Zakaria, a columnist for the Pakistani daily Dawn. "In most cases, these denunciations, whether they are of veil bans in France or pogroms in Gujarat, oft have not posed much of a challenge to the country’s strategic and economic interests." China is different, because it supplies Pakistan with significant aid each year. Although Zakaria thinks Pakistan should protest this breach of religious freedom in China, she expects that it will turn a blind eye.
—Alana de Hinojosa focuses on immigration, race and racism, Latin@ identity and feminism.
“Finally, a Politician Admits to Having an Abortion Simply Because She Wasn’t Ready for a Baby,” by Amanda Marcotte. Slate, July 7, 2014.
Lucy Flores, a Latina Democratic member of the Nevada State Assembly, is one hell of a woman. Not only did the girl bounce back from a poor and broken family (including the deaths of her two brothers by gang-related violence), dropping out of high school (only to go on to study on scholarship at University of Southern California) and prison time related to gang activity, but now she's making her way to possibly becoming governor. And things look good for the Latina politician—especially after her recent MSNBC interview where she openly spoke about having an abortion at the age of 16. “I don’t regret it,” she said in the interview. “I don’t regret it because I am here making a difference, at least in my mind, for many other young ladies and letting them know that there are options and they can do things to not be in the situation I was in, but to prevent.” Polling data shows that 59 percent of people like Flores more after hearing her story, where as only 17 percent like her less. Finally, America has a real Latina role model that wants to make a difference by telling the truth—and in doing so breaking down the stigma of Latinas, working class backgrounds, troubled youth and pro-choice women.
What's even better is Flores has accomplished all this (with so much more to come) with a regrettable rose ankle tattoo.
—Crystal Kayiza focuses on the African diaspora,immigration, Black Feminist thought, and police brutality.
“There Are Only 16 Cities in America Where Women Earn More Money Than Men,” by Macie Bianco. Mic, July 9, 2014.
In 2014, many Americans find the fight for gender equality to be unnecessary. All the glass ceiling breaking super-moms out there don't need Washington advocating on their behalf—just controlling their reproductive rights. But as Marcie Bianco’s Mic article outlines, the economic disparity between males and females in the country is appalling. More than ever women are leading the home in more ways than one—by bringing home the bacon and cooking it too, while still earning only seventy-seven cents to every man's dollar. So, as Bianco asserts…really, is equality too much to ask?
—Agnes Radomski focuses on labor, mass incarceration, the war on drugs and the military industrial complex.
“Why Kids Are Crossing The Desert Alone to Get to America,” by Esther Yu-Hsi Lee. ThinkProgress, July 2, 2014.
As we continue to hear about the thousands of children who are being apprehended at the border, it's vital we understand what is driving them to make the treacherous journey alone. It seems that politics could be put aside and empathy would come easily for this young and vulnerable group, but hostility continues to be directed toward them for trying to escape their desperate conditions back home. Yu-Hsi Lee allows us to better understand the reasons why children are taking such great risks by writing about the violence, poverty, corruption and drug trafficking in their home countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
After a 2009 coup in Honduras, Colombian drug trafficking gangs diverted their illegal weapons and drug trade routes through Honduras, writes Yu-Hsi Lee. It has become a drug transit route for South American countries that produce the drugs consumed in the United States. It is known as the murder capital of the world. El Salvador faces higher homicide rates today than during their civil war. In 2008, more than 6,000 people were killed in Guatemala, mostly due to the drug war. Children are exposed to this violence each day and face constant recruitment efforts by gangs. We truly are facing what president Obama labeled an "urgent humanitarian situation." Hopefully we'll continue to see stories like this that show our connection to the creation of some of the most appalling conditions that anyone would want to flee.