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Know Your Rights

23 Nov

Tonight I attended a Know Your Rights workshop. Ups and downs:

1. Up – The panelists were varied and knowledgeable. There was our Dean of Students, head of Campus Safety and Security, a G Police Officer, the County Attorney, and a prominent G defense attorney. There were two women and three men, one of whom is African American.

2. Down – Attendance was really low. I think if one, especially as a college student, is offered the chance to talk to those in power, especially those with legal/judicial power, one should always take it. A major flaw with this student body is the arrogance with which many people approach the topic of the law and police. Students complain about police, but don’t make the effort to know the appropriate and legal ways to deal with them. That’s ineffective. I can’t stand it when people opt for ignorance. There are no excuses, in this situation, for not knowing your rights as a student and a resident in G.

3. Up – The people who attended asked interesting and intelligent questions pertaining to on-campus guests, public intoxication, G Police in the dorms, no-contact orders, and more. I valued the curiosity and forethought of my fellow students.

4. Down – The defense attorney exuded white male privilege. Emphasis on the white privilege. Opening the panel by saying “you won’t need to know this stuff if you’re not breaking the law” is ignorant and disregards the oppression which young people, women, and especially people of color have experienced at the hands of those who are supposed to protect us – the police. Everyone should always know their rights, because not every police officer, lawyer, or judge is fair and impartial.

Overall, I think the panel was valuable, and I hope that, in the future, more students will attend.

Note: For those who know me, “G” represents the name of the town I live in/school I attend. I’d like to keep as much personal information as possible off this blog.

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Race-related

8 Oct

Today’s links come from a couple of the race-focused blogs I check. Some are from Colorlines, while others were found on Racialicious. Enjoy.

Recently, LAUSD agreed to stop the “first hired, first fired” practices that make it difficult for lower-income schools to retain their teachers in the face of major, state-wide layoffs. This is because new teachers are usually those who get fired first, and are also more likely to be working in lower-income school districts. While this agreement is good for the kids who might otherwise lose their new teachers, while upper-class kids get to keep their seniority-protected teachers, it’s also harmful to those teachers who have been working long enough to deserve to keep their jobs. The situation has not been fully resolved, and many are saying that teachers’ unions need to find new ways to adapt to the education crisis in this country.

Lax Gun Control Laws Lead to More Crime, says Colorlines. Well, NO KIDDING. See my post about the book Lethal Logic which I read this summer. Anyway, it seems (not surprisingly) that stricter gun control laws, when not enforced correctly, disproportionately affect racial minorities. So basically, we need to get guns off the streets without being racists. That doesn’t sound that hard. Then again, this is the United States.

Hey bigots! Look what happens when you try to enforce your bigotry! It backfires.  Arizona Ethnic Studies Ban Makes Course MORE Popular.

Finally, former inmates are having more difficulty than ever finding work in this job market. That’s because having been imprisoned is a difficult reputation to escape, and makes employers less likely to hire someone. Black men are finding it especially difficult to get a job after being released from prison. This trend speaks to our country’s general inability to reincorporate people into society after they’ve been incarcerated, which is a really serious problem considering how many people end up in the prison system every year.

charts

14 Aug

look how awesome all of these COLORLINES charts are! omg!

There are more here.

Feministe

5 Aug

is rocking my world lately.

See here for a video (and accompanying transcript) about the stop-and-frisk policy in NYC.

See here for a discussion about the recent TIME cover of the Afghan girl; it touches on disability (and feminism), the Afghanistan war, similarities to the National Geographic cover in the 80s.

See here for an interesting analogy regarding the pervasiveness and silence of privilege.

See here for another post by Maia, one of my favorite Feministe bloggers, who wrote the post I linked to and blogged about (twice) last week. This post is a little shorter, but just as thoughtful, and challenging, and stream-of-consciousness-y.

Finally, see here for a post about friendship, sex, relationships, and the way those interact in this blogger’s relationship with an ex-boyfriend. Her(?) ideas mesh with mine in a good way.

24 Jul

Last night, I was at a 24 hour fast food place with some friends around 2:30 a.m. In the midst of talking, eating, and laughing, a pretty intense commotion ensued. Although I didn’t see it actually happen, two of my friends who were facing the couple saw a man start slapping a woman, and then begin to choke her, right in the middle of the restaurant.

The restaurant manager immediately stopped the abuse, and kicked the man out of the restaurant, while the woman stood up and started screaming at her attacker. No one else in the restaurant intervened on her behalf.

I’m not sure what I would have done if I had been facing the couple when the attack began, but I like to think I wouldn’t have let it continue. I think (though it’s easier to say this after the fact) that I would rather put myself in harm’s way than watch helplessly while a woman is choked right in front of me.

I was with one guy and three girls, and the guy later turned to us and apologized for not stepping up and saying something to the attacker immediately. He felt that he should have, and wanted us to know that he regretted not acting faster. I really appreciate his thoughtful consideration of his actions after the fact, and admire him for recognizing what he needed to do. But I can’t criticize those around me for not jumping in immediately. We don’t walk around expecting situations like that to pop up in the middle of our evenings. I think it’s important to decide, beforehand, what we will or would do when confronted with a situation like that. Coming to a conclusion when we can think calmly and carefully may help us act faster when actually witnessing some form of abuse.

This morning, when I was thinking about what more could have been done, my mind immediately went to “we should have called the police.” But I realized right away that I was asserting my white privilege in thinking the police would solve the issue. I haven’t delved far enough into the ideas of white privilege in feminism or the prison industrial complex that runs our country, but I’m starting to understand that for a lot of people, calling the police is not an option. Possibly this woman, who is black, would not have wanted that to happen, because police in this city have a tendency to be racist, sexist misogynists.

I’m going to keep thinking about this, and researching it, and in the mean time, I will try to monitor my white privilege very carefully.

I have more thoughts about last night, regarding things besides the attack, that will come soon. For now, I’m going to try to enjoy this beautiful, sunny day.