This Week: Discrimination and health, police brutality settlements, and the Radical Monarchs

March 13, 2016
Here’s our pick of news, writing, and research this week that investigates political questions at the intersections of gender, race, and region. 
1. Forum: Black Study, Black Struggle
In the Boston Review, Robin D.G. Kelley offers the following statement for discussion: “Universities are not engines of social transformation. That is the work of political education and activism.” Read his essay and responses from Derecka Purnell, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Barbara Ransby, Charlene Carruthers, Michael Eric Dyson, Bridget Todd, Randall L. Kennedy, Christopher Lebron, Shana L. Redmond, Aaron Bady, Amanda Boston, and Thabisile Griffin.

2. Discrimination Linked to Increased Stress, Poorer Health, American Psychological Association Survey Finds
“Nearly half of U.S. adults report they have experienced a major form of unfair treatment or discrimination, including being unfairly questioned or threatened by police, being fired or passed over for promotion or treated unfairly when receiving health care. These acts of discrimination are associated with higher reported stress levels and poorer reported health, according to the survey Stress in America™: The Impact of Discrimination… nearly seven in 10 adults in the U.S. report having experienced discrimination, and 61 percent said they experience day-to-day discrimination, such as being treated with less courtesy or respect, receiving poorer service than others, or being threatened or harassed… For many adults, even the anticipation of discrimination contributes to stress. Three in 10 Hispanic and black adults who report experiencing day-to-day discrimination at least once a week say that they feel they have to be very careful about their appearance to get good service or avoid harassment. This heightened state of vigilance among those experiencing discrimination also includes trying to prepare for insults from others before leaving home and taking care of what they say and how they say it. The results from this year’s Stress in America™ survey also suggest that there are significant disparities in the experience of stress itself, and that stress also may be associated with other health disparities.”

3. The Matter of Black Lives

Jelani Cobb in the New Yorker on Black Lives Matter, organizing, leadership, strategy, and movement-building: “When I asked Garza about the most common misperception of Black Lives Matter, she pointed to a frequent social-media dig that it is ‘a gay movement masquerading as a black one.’ But the organization’s fundamental point has been to challenge the assumption that those two things are mutually exclusive. In 1989, the race-theory and legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw introduced the principle of ‘intersectionality,’ by which multiple identities coexist and complicate the ways in which we typically think of class, race, gender, and sexuality as social problems. ‘Our work is heavily influenced by Crenshaw’s theory,’ Garza told me. ‘People think that we’re engaged with identity politics. The truth is that we’re doing what the labor movement has always done—organizing people who are at the bottom.’

4. Chicago Has Spent Half a Billion Dollars on Police Brutality Cases—And It’s Impoverishing the Victims’ Communities
“In 2014, Chicago issued almost $100 million in bonds to pay for legal costs from the previous year, mostly police misconduct cases. When bonds are used to cover legal costs, taxpayers are on the hook for both the victims’ payout, and the interest to bondholders. Interest payments on a 30-year bond can be as high as the principal on the bond itself. For example, Chicago will have to pay $25 million in interest and fees for just one $28 million police brutality settlement. The beneficiaries of these interest payments are the high-wealth individuals that typically invest in municipal bonds.”

5. Why Girls Should Join The Revolution, As Told By The Radical Monarchs
“A girl’s place is in the revolution, at least that’s what the Radical Monarchs, an Oakland-based club for young chicas of color, believe… ‘I joined the Radical Monarchs revolution because, as girls of color, we built a sisterhood, not just to sell cookies, but to fight for social justice so that our community will be a place where there will be fairness and equality for all,’ said Sabina. ‘I want other girls to join that way they can be aware of the social justice problems, and we can be more powerful fighting together!'”

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