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Primary Care, Pushout, and Pads in Prison

April 24, 2017

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Here’s our pick of news, writing, and research this week that investigates political questions at the intersections of gender, race, and region.

1. Stopping School Pushout for: Girls of Color
A series of new reports from the National Women’s Law Center: “The National Women’s Law Center 2017 Let Her Learn Survey found that 55 percent of Latina girls, 38 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander girls, and 30 percent of Black girls worry about a friend or family member being deported. This survey also showed that being called a racial slur is a common experience shared by all girls of color, with one third to one half of them saying they have had this experience (Asian and Pacific Islander girls reported the highest rate), compared to just more than one-eighth of white girls. And national data shows that Black girls are 5.5 times more likely and Native American girls are 3 times more likely to be suspended from school than white girls. In addition to these barriers, girls of color are more likely to attend under-resourced schools that are not culturally competent or personalized to their needs or interests, which negatively affects their educational opportunities and future earnings. Yet despite these obstacles, the Let Her Learn Survey also revealed that girls of color, as well as girls overall, are motivated to graduate and continue their education, and want help doing so.”

2. The Departure of Bill O’Reilly Is Only a Limited Victory
Brittney Cooper in Cosmopolitan: “There is another lesson in this O’Reilly dustup that matters as women move forward in this new period of feminist organizing: You can’t undo sexism if you are unwilling to confront racism. Like Donald Trump, O’Reilly attracted a massive audience with racist commentary, including his recent inappropriate remark that he couldn’t focus on the words of U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters because he was too focused on her ‘James Brown wig.’ But also as in the case of Trump, that audience was willing to overlook the accusations of inappropriate sexist behavior because they were deeply invested in the racist myths and narratives that these same men used their platforms to amplify. O’Reilly’s company was clearly willing to overlook these accusations as well — their deep investment in his popular racially incendiary commentary caused them to turn a blind eye on a range of sexist and harmful behaviors he may have perpetrated against Fox’s female employees.”

3. In Jail, Pads and Tampons as Bargaining Chips
Zoe Greenberg in The New York Times: “Each level of incarceration in New York has a different policy (or no policy) related to menstruation. Ms. Oldfield-Parker’s cell had no supplies. But in the state’s prisons and jails, these women and advocates say, inconsistent access to tampons and pads has less to do with stock and more to do with power. The facilities have enough supplies, but they are not available equally to all the women who need them. […] Others agreed that it isn’t an issue of supply. Chandra Bozelko, a writer and advocate who was incarcerated at a state prison in Connecticut, said menstrual supplies were indeed used as tools of control. Officers sometimes tried to teach women a lesson by limiting access, affecting self-esteem as well as basic hygiene.”

4. Kara Walker’s Next Act
Doreen St. Félix interviews Kara Walker for Vulture: “Curiosity guides Walker, even in the difficult milieu where stereotype and humanity collude, where the mammies, tar babies, demonic masters and their apathetic wives live. As she tells me about Georgia back at her house, she places ginkgo and black teas at a pale wood kitchen table. Her cat, the plump and ornery Pearl, has taken up residence someplace unseen outside the kitchen’s screen door. Next to notebooks and stray pencils is a laptop that holds video Walker filmed, unsteady shots documenting the circuit of civil-rights landmarks and stone Confederate erections that surrounded her as a teenager. Two years ago, Walker realized the rock’s intrusion into her daily horizon made it an icon of technique and of subject, to say nothing of the allure of uncut ideological brass. ‘I make work that’s historical, that’s profiled, that’s cut out. There was a moment, looking up at it, where I knew that this’ — she pauses before finding the word, which is right but not appropriate — ‘this monument was the biggest influence on my work,’ Walker says.”

5. Making Primary Care Trans-Friendly
Keren Landman in The Atlantic: “Many physicians are poorly prepared to care for transgender patients. Eighty percent of gynecologists and 81 percent of endocrinologists—both among the specialists most frequently consulted on sex hormone prescription and monitoring—have not received training on the care of transgender patients. […] And sometimes, providers focus on someone’s trans identity way too much. In 2015, writer Naith Payton wrote about the ‘trans broken arm’: ‘In the five minutes it takes … to grill me on gender stuff and write it all down, the orthopod has squandered a quarter of the time they’ve got to fix my broken arm,’ a transgender patient told Payton. […] In state-specific data from the NCTE survey, 33 percent of transgender Georgians reported having a transgender-related negative experience with a health-care provider, and 26 percent said they didn’t see a doctor when they needed to due to fear of mistreatment—numbers similar to national averages. And those numbers likely understate the issue, says James Parker Sheffield of the Health Initiative, a non-profit LGBTQ health care access organization in Georgia. People in rural areas, he says, are often not reached by the focus groups, data collectors, and internet surveys that count sexual minorities—even if they are openly transgender, which many are not. The true experience of rural transgender people is hard to find in statistics.”