I think we all can agree that the 2018 midterm elections are critical. This means that our votes matter more now than ever. But what happens when you’ve registered and are ready to participate in this good ol’ democracy but can’t?
Let’s talk about voter suppression.
Voter suppression is simple—it’s a set of tactics used to block voters from exercising their right to vote. And there’s a long, long history of voter suppression in the United States.
Black men were allowed to vote after the Civil War thanks to the 15th Amendment, which was ratified in 1870. Because of Jim Crow laws, black folks were forced to take literacy tests and pay poll taxes, among other barriers to voting.
A famous act of political violence is often used to illustrate the utter collapse of civic norms in the run-up to the Civil War: the caning of Charles Sumner by his fellow congressman, Preston Brooks of South Carolina, on the floor of the Senate.
It turns out, though, that this was just one of dozens of incidents of violence in Congress in the period between 1930 and the first shots fired at Fort Sumter, ranging from physical menacing to threats to brawls to duels—including one that killed an elected representative. This phenomenon, which has been little-understood thanks in no small part to the euphemism-laden legislative records of the era, has been rediscovered in The Field of Blood, a fascinating and upsettingly timely new book by Joanne B. Freeman. A professor of history at Yale, one of the world’s leading experts on Alexander Hamilton, and co-host of the podcast Backstory, she’s studied political violence for decades.
Federal inspectors conducted an unannounced visit of an immigration detention center in southern California and found “serious violations” throughout the facility, where guards improperly placed adult inmates in disciplinary segregation and ignored more than a dozen “nooses” fashioned out of bedsheets.
The report, conducted by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, also showed that medical staff at the Adelanto, Calif., facility disregarded federal regulations governing the treatment of inmates by doing only cursory checks of inmates and making them wait months, sometimes years, to receive basic dental care, leading to tooth loss and “unnecessary extractions.”
An “alarmingly high” number of girls and young women feel unsafe outside their home, according to annual research for Girlguiding UK.
The survey of 1,903 13 to 21-year-olds in the UK found nearly two-thirds either felt unsafe, or knew someone who was fearful walking home alone.
More than half had suffered harassment, or knew someone who had, it said.
But girls are responding more robustly than before and were also more likely to call themselves feminists, it said.
The research, the tenth over as many years, found more girls claim to understand what feminism means, with almost half saying they are feminists – up from a third in 2013.
One young woman, from the 11 to 16-year-old age group, told researchers a feminist was “a person who strongly believes in gender equality and that everyone no matter their background should be treated equally.”
Jeff Sessions, a racist bloodhound, is considering indefinite detention of people who cross the U.S. border seeking asylum.
Over the past several months, Sessions has instructed judges to deny victims of domestic and gang-violence asylum, and now he is reportedly considering to deny bond hearings to asylum seekers, even if they have passed the credible fear interview. This means that anyone seeking safe haven in the U.S. could be detained indefinitely.
A decision set by a case called Matter of X-K, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) allows asylum seekers to be released on bond if they pass a “credible fear” interview, in which officials assess whether the asylum seeker is at risk of persecution in their home country. Sessions is reportedly trying to find a way to overturn the BIA’s decision.
It’s often the architects of our nation’s monstrous immigration policies (cough Stephen Miller cough) who are the subject of dramatic news headlines and the target of our much-deserved vitriol. But, as a new Politico profile of Lee Francis Cissna, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, reminds us, the bureaucrats who willingly and happily follow the dictates that come from above are equally as appalling (if not more so in their unthinking devotion to carrying out orders).
Politico describes how Cissna, the son of an immigrant from Peru and husband to the daughter of a Palestinian refugee who has steadily worked his way up the ranks of different federal agencies, has been dramatically—and quietly—reshaping immigration policy:
The piece is fantastic; communicating the everyday inhumanities experienced by fat people. The list is long and depressing: bullying in childhood and beyond (cruelty as young as three, the article reveals), partnering with a person you’re not attracted to just to feel desired, being fired or unable to progress in a career or company, having a doctor celebrate your eating disorder as a means to lose weight, the internal struggle to separate self-worth from size, hiding eating behaviors from co-workers and loved ones, and so on.
We’ve known for years that bias against the overweight prevents us from seeking necessary medical attention, as well as misdiagnoses. It ultimately, unfortunately, leads to a near total distrust in doctors—unless, of course, you are equipped to find a fat-positive provider, one that recognizes the failure of the BMI-based system (which is a luxury afforded to the wealthy). The latter point brings about a question of intersectional fat-positivity: both in socioeconomic privilege and in racial discrimination.
Some immigrants known as the Windrush generation, who have been living in the UK for decades, are now being denied citizenship because they lack the proper documentation proving they lived in the UK before 1973.
Seventy years ago, when the UK was recovering from World War II, Britain put out ads in Caribbean countries under its control, hoping to attract people to help rebuild the country. In 1948, 492 West Indians—as British subjects—boarded the vessel Empire Windrush, attracted by a promise of more stable work. They ushered in the Windrush generation—a generation of black and brown people from British Commonwealth nations that were invited to come work in the UK until 1971, only to face harassment, bullying, and racism when they arrived. According to Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, there are an estimated 500,000 people in the Windrush generation.
A California professor and President Donald Trump’s pick to become the next Supreme Court justice will appear before senators to tell conflicting stories about a high school party 36 years ago.
The accuser and the accused, in the glare of the spotlight, with a lifetime seat to the most powerful court in the US at stake.
While the drama will be intensely personal, as she alleges he assaulted her and he strongly rejects the accusation, this is more than a clash of two individuals and their recollection of past events.
It also represents the confluence of two movements – one decades in the making, the other a recent, powerful groundswell.
Yesterday, a chain letter made its way through the Facebook DM’s in a coordinated effort to draw attention to domestic abuse. It reads:
Tomorrow [note: today, Sunday, September 30th] female blackout from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Its a movement to show what the world might be like without women. Your profile photo should just be a black square so that men wonder where the women are. Pass it only to women … It’s for a project against domestic abuse. It is no joke. Share it.
The same effort has been made at least once before, but this blackout happens to dovetail with a conversation about the link between blackout drinking and violence toward women, prompted by allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Unsurprisingly, alcohol is also intrinsic to domestic violence; while estimates fluctuate widely, the general consensus is that perpetrators are believed to be intoxicated in well over half of domestic abusive cases in the US. In general, researchers estimate that about half of all sexual assaults in the US are committed by men who have been drinking.