The Racist Roots of Denying Incarcerated People Their Right to Vote | American Civil Liberties Union

In the 15 years between 1865 and 1880, at least 13 states — more than a third of the country’s 38 states — enacted broad felony disenfranchisement laws. The theory was simple — convict them of crimes, strip away the right to vote, imprison them, and lease them out as convict labor and Blacks would be returned to a condition as close to slavery as possible.

No one tried to hide the intent of these laws.

In 1894, a white South Carolina newspaper argued that amendments to the voting laws were necessary to avoid whites being swept away at the polls by the Black vote. In 1901, Alabama amended its Constitution to expand disenfranchisement to all crimes involving “moral turpitude” — a vague term that was applied to felonies and misdemeanors. The president of that constitutional convention argued that manipulating the ballot to exclude Blacks was justified because of the need to avoid the “menace of Negro domination,” especially since Blacks were inferior to whites.

via The Racist Roots of Denying Incarcerated People Their Right to Vote | American Civil Liberties Union

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What Officer Noor’s Conviction Says About Racism in America | American Civil Liberties Union

The racial aspect of this case speaks volumes about criminal justice and criminal injustice in America today. Noor, who is Black, Muslim, and a Somali immigrant, is believed to be the only police officer in Minnesota ever to have been convicted for killing someone while on duty.

At a crucial moment in the trial, Noor testified that he reacted to Damond as “the threat.” Prosecutors responded by asking him, “The whole blonde hair, pink t-shirt is a threat to you?” This line of questioning was in part about the legal standard required to convict. Under Graham v. Connor, a police officer can use force – including lethal force — if a reasonable officer on the scene would consider the level of force to be “objectively reasonable,” not whether the use of force was actually necessary in light of the various tactics and alternatives available to the officer at the time. Because this standard is so elastic, it is often very difficult to show that an officer violated it.

via What Officer Noor’s Conviction Says About Racism in America | American Civil Liberties Union

Man Who Kept Teen Girl in Sexual Captivity Gets Time Served

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in 2017, now-33-year-old Duluth resident Michael Wysolovski was arrested after FBI agents and police raided his home and discovered a 17-year-old girl who had been missing for over a year. Wysolovski reportedly met the unnamed girl in an online anorexia forum, coerced her into meeting up with him, and then held her captive in residences in Decatur and Duluth.

via Man Who Kept Teen Girl in Sexual Captivity Gets Time Served

UK Police Want Rape Survivors to Hand Over Their Phones

According to the Associated Press, law enforcement will now ask victims of crimes, including rape survivors, to sign a consent form that asks for their permission to seize their electronic devices in order to access mobile data that might be relevant to the investigation.

“If you refuse permission for the police to investigate, or for the prosecution to disclose material which would enable the defendant to have a fair trial then it may not be possible for the investigation or prosecution to continue,” the form states, according to the AP.

via UK Police Want Rape Survivors to Hand Over Their Phones

Astra Taylor & Natasha Lennard on Anti-Fascism, Women's Protest

It makes a perverse kind of sense that the election of a gleeful, pussy-grabbing misogynist to the highest office in the land would cause a feminist backlash at the grassroots. Since the 2016 presidential election, women have been rising up: marching in the streets, mobilizing their communities, running for office, and winning a whole lot of them. And many have been explicit about their intention to pull this country’s political center to the left. The two democratic socialists to win congressional seats in the 2018 midterm election were not white guys shaped by the old-school mold of Bernie Sanders, but young women of color, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, who defy the alleged division between economics and identity politics with every breath. They, along with Ihlan Omar, point the way toward a forward-looking, appealing, and effective radicalism that we can only hope will continue to catch on.

via Astra Taylor & Natasha Lennard on Anti-Fascism, Women's Protest

Joe Biden on The View: I Don&’t Think I Treated Anita Hill Badly

If his Friday appearance on The View was any indication, Joe Biden is going to have a real hard time addressing his history with women when the issue inevitably comes up (and comes up and comes up) on the campaign trail. He was asked to talk about his treatment of Anita Hill and his tendency to invade women’s personal space and it was a mess.

After much prompting by the show’s co-hosts, Biden reluctantly apologized to the women who accused him of being overly touchy. “Here’s the deal, everybody has to be much more aware of the private space of men and women,” he said. “It’s not just women but it’s primarily women. I am much more cognizant of that.”

via Joe Biden on The View: I Don't Think I Treated Anita Hill Badly

Chloë Grace Moretz: ‘No age limit’ for learning acceptance – BBC News

US actress Chloë Grace Moretz knows a thing or two about LGBT education.
Growing up in the conservative Christian town of Rome, Georgia, two of her brothers felt they had to “pray the gay away” before coming out.
That led to her taking a role in last year’s Miseducation of Cameron Post, where she played a character who was sent to a gay conversion therapy centre.
Now, with stories about equality teaching hitting the headlines, Moretz tells the BBC that there should be “no age limit” for learning about these issues.
Speaking from Los Angeles ahead of the release of her new psychological thriller, Greta, the star says: “I think children know what you teach them.
“I had two gay brothers in my family, and our little cousins have known my brothers as gay from the time they were little bitty babies.

via Chloë Grace Moretz: ‘No age limit’ for learning acceptance – BBC News

‘Automated Racism’: Chinese Police Are Reportedly Using AI to Identify Minority Faces

According to a report from the New York Times published on Sunday, the Chinese government is using a facial recognition system to track Uighurs, the country’s Muslim minority. The technology reportedly targets this population based on their physical appearance.

According to government procurement documents obtained by the Times, beginning last year, nearly two dozen police departments in China wanted technology that could identify and track Uighur individuals. And the documents reportedly indicate that the interest in this type of tech has grown in the last two years. In Yongzhou, for instance, police wanted software that could “characterize and search whether or not someone is a Uighur.”

via ‘Automated Racism’: Chinese Police Are Reportedly Using AI to Identify Minority Faces

Shamima Begum: IS bride ‘given legal aid’ for citizenship fight – BBC News

Legal aid has been granted for Shamima Begum – who joined the Islamic State group aged 15 – to fight the decision to revoke her UK citizenship.
The 19-year-old, who left east London in 2015, was stripped of her citizenship in February, after she was found in a Syrian refugee camp.
Her family has previously said it planned to challenge the decision.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Legal Aid Agency’s decision to assist Ms Begum made him “very uncomfortable”.
He added, however, that the UK was “a country that believes that people with limited means should have access to the resources of the state if they want to challenge the decisions the state has made about them”.
Legal aid is financial assistance provided by the taxpayer to those unable to afford legal representation themselves, whether they are accused of a crime or a victim who seeks the help of a lawyer through the court process.

via Shamima Begum: IS bride ‘given legal aid’ for citizenship fight – BBC News

It’s not ‘snowflakery’ to expect basic civility on social media

Imagine you’re on a train at the end of a working day. You suddenly spot someone who pops up on various media platforms from time to time and whose political views are different to yours. How likely are you to allow yourself to walk over and shout abuse at them so aggressively that they fear for their safety?

Not very likely, I’ll wager, because I’ve been on the receiving end of such aggression only once in this country. It is obviously not because I have won over the hearts of every person who finds me offensive since that rather unpleasant night, but because in the main people are civilised and rarely allow their inhibitions to drop in order to behave like thugs.

But we lose this self-check…

via It’s not ‘snowflakery’ to expect basic civility on social media