POWERFUL WORDS REVERBERATING FROM THE JORDAN DAVIS SHOCK-VERDICT: “Spare us the invocations of "black-on-black crime." I will not respect the lie. I would rather be thought insane. The most mendacious phrase in the American language is "black-on-black crime," which is uttered as though the same hands that drew red lines around the ghettoes of Chicago are not the same hands that drew red lines around the life of Jordan Davis, as though black people authored North Lawndale and policy does not exist. That which mandates the murder of our Hadiya Pendletons necessarily mandates the murder of Jordan Davis. I will not respect any difference. I will not respect the lie. I would rather be thought crazy. I insist that the irrelevance of black life has been drilled into this country since its infancy, and shall not be extricated through the latest innovations in Negro Finishing School. I insist that racism is our heritage, that Thomas Jefferson's genius is no more important than his plundering of the body of Sally Hemmings, that George Washington's abdication is no more significant than his wild pursuit of Oney Judge. I insist that the G.I Bill's accolades are inseparable from its racist heritage. I will not respect the lie. I insist that racism must be properly understood as an Intelligence, as a sentience, as a default setting to which, likely until the end of our days, we unerringly return.” (via The Atlantic)
I’M AFRAID OF AMERICANS
WHEN A PUBLICLY OWNED BUILDING ISN’T A REPUBLICAN BUILDING: This is what happens when government views ensuring voter access not as a democratic obligation but as a political strategy. Almost since the inception of early voting, which tends to attract more Democratic voters, Republicans in Tallahassee have been trying to rig the system to make it less accessible. Case in point: When Florida first implemented early voting in the wake of the 2000 presidential election debacle, early voting sites were limited to city halls or permanent public libraries. And state elections officials under a different Republican governor ruled that university libraries — while clearly permanent public libraries — weren't publicly accessible and couldn't be used. Never mind, apparently, that all these facilities are accessible to tens of thousands of students, faculty and employees who visit each state university campus every day. This is less about making sure Gainesville follows state law in its March elections and more about making sure no undesirable precedent is set before voters cast ballots in the November election, which will happen to determine whether Scott and three Republican Cabinet members keep their jobs. Cynical, indeed. (via Tampa Bay Times)
THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM IS BROKEN; CHILDREN ARE DYING: “Foster care ranks up there with world peace among the toughest challenges on the planet. Kids are pulled from various levels of chaos. Foster parents step in as an indefinite buffer in most cases, allowing the biological parents to get their lives back in order. The "system" — a complicated matrix that involves the Florida Department of Children and Families, local foster agencies, attorneys and judges — makes all parties jump through a standardized set of hoops, all focused on the ultimate goal of reunification. The problem is that many of these children aren't making a joyous return to the loving home of Ward and June Cleaver. They are going back to the home of people like Rachel Fryer. She had issues with drugs, horrible coping skills — a single mom barely hanging on when Tariji and three siblings were reunited last November after two years in foster care. The implosion was inevitable. It ended with Fryer dumping Tariji's body in a shallow grave in Putnam County after Tariji stopped breathing. That's the graphic image that will stay in most people's minds. Not mine.” (via Orlando Sentinel)
LYING BY OMISSION. JUNO WHAT I MEAN?: Hurrah for Ellen Page, who came out publicly in Las Vegas on Friday. Speaking at the Human Rights Campaign's Time to Thrive conference for LGBT counsellors, the star of Juno and X-Men made a brave decision to be open in the hope that doing so would make a difference to those who are tired of "lying by omission", as she put it. The announcement caused a frenzy on news and social media sites around the world. By Saturday morning, the Human Rights Campaign site, which was hosting her eight-minute speech, had crashed its server and Ellen Page was trending on Twitter, a fair indication then that the young Canadian's decision to come out is newsworthy. It's news and yet it shouldn't be news. It's news because we live in a culture that produces and supports heterosexual dominance. Things like law, media and language, enduring organisational structures that most of us, whether gay, bi or straight, have absorbed into our collective consciousness and regurgitate whether we want to or not. Some people, such as Sir Patrick Stewart, think Page's coming out speech is newsworthy because a high-profile and surprisingly politically aware young actress has decided not to play by the rules that so many closeted Hollywood actors are advised to follow if they are to enjoy mainstream success. (via The Guardian)
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