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Access to Justice for All: Raising the Voices of the Men and Women Who Have Been Victims of Police Killings

There are more African American men in prison today than there were slaves in 1850.

Shock and frustration at the state of racial discrimination in the United States—particularly at the hands of police officers and mass incarceration—characterized Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights’ final hearing of the 113th Congress on the state of civil and human rights in the United States. Given recent affairs, it makes sense that the six panelists’ remarks focused on police abuse and racial discrimination, sentencing, and incarceration rates. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey presented a passionate appeal to the Committee to tackle the racial discrimination problems that pervade the prison system, while Representative Keith Ellison from Minneapolis urged the Senators that in addition to better training for state and local police forces, racial justice requires that we deal with the structural economic abandonment of cities like Ferguson, Missouri. Read more »

Quick Hit: bell hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry at the New School

Two weeks ago, the fabulous Drs. bell hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry met for a public conversation at the New School in New York. Their conversation ranged from Renisha McBride, to stereotypes facing single mothers of color, to why it is that they write.

Parts of their conversation also reflected themes we have been exploring in our work on the experiences of girls of color, particularly Black girls, in schools. hooks pointed out that she is often characterized as being “difficult,” when she herself would say that she is precise. Harris-Perry explained that she is also often characterized as “mad,” and clarifies that she often is mad – but that she is mad about something, not as “an inherent aspect of [her] Blackness.” Read more »

Seth McFarlane’s Oscar Trifecta: Sexism, Racism, and Tastelessness, Oh My!

NWLC’s water-cooler talk this morning was completely dominated by one thing: the Oscars. Program Assistants Amy Tannenbaum and Becka Wall were particularly fired up by a few things – namely, the sexism, racism, and general objectification of women that was prevalent throughout and decided to hash it out via blog post, below:

Amy: Watching the Oscars last night was such a roller coaster. There were some great moments – but overall I felt like women lost, in more ways than one.

Becka: Agreed. First of all, with the exception of Best Supporting and Best Actress, there was a serious dearth of women nominated – a notable snub was that of Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty, an intense movie that captured not only the 12-year manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, but also the depth of human emotion that came with it.

Amy: Can we talk about the boob song, with Seth MacFarlane highlighting the times that actresses have appeared topless in film? It was like sexual harassment in front of an audience of millions. Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts looked disgusted and uncomfortable. Women in Hollywood are already judged too heavily on their looks. This song further moved emphasis away from what the Oscars is supposed to be about – celebrating talent and film – and turned it into a kind of sexual harassment. Plus, it wasn’t even funny! Read more »