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Black women in Astronomy, #OITNB, and Millenials moving South

July 19, 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. Black Women‘s Voices Are Often Unheard—Here’s How Orange Is the New Black Is Trying to Change That
Sherri Williams for ELLE.com: “The erasure of black women, the distortion and repurposing of their image to make it palatable for the masses and profitable for the powerful, are as old as bantu knots and baby hair, but the sting is always precise and sharp. We see these memories of ‘white Effie’ after Janae (played as an adult by Vicky Jeudy) tries to persuade Taystee (Danielle Brooks) not to let Paula Deen-esque Southern celebrity chef Judy King (Blair Brown) publicly tell the story of the beloved Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley), whose death sparked an uprising by Litchfield’s diverse population against the prison guards. King presenting a sanitized version of prison life and a black woman‘s wrongful death was a kind of ventriloquism she would not allow to happen again.”

2. Freedom to Thrive: Reimagining Safety & Security in Our Communities
A new report from The Center for Popular Democracy, Law for Black Lives, and Black Youth Project 100: “Over the last 30 years, the US has dramatically increased its investment in policing and incarceration, while drastically cutting investments in basic infrastructure and slowing investment in social safety net programs. Elected officials have stripped funds from mental health services, housing subsidies, youth programs, and food benefits programs, while pouring money into police forces, military grade weapons, high-tech surveillance, jails, and prisons. These investment choices have devastated Black and brown low-income communities who are most affected by both criminalization and systemic social divestment.”

3. Racism Is Everywhere, So Why Not Move South?
Reniqua Allen for New York Times: “Black people have been moving to the South for years, of course, and it’s not a trend reserved for the young. But to me it’s beginning to seem that black millennial culture — the center of black life — and the idea of black hope and opportunity are now squarely located in the South. Over the last year, while doing research on black millennials, I have interviewed many blackpeople in their 20s and 30s — lawyers, hairstylists, writers, secretaries — who moved from the North to the South or were planning to do so. The reasons they gave me were variations on this theme: Black life is now the South. Racism is everywhere. And at least in Atlanta real estate is more affordable than in New York.”

4. There’s a lot of bias in astronomy — and women of color are hurt the most
Angela Chen for The Verge: “Participants took the 39-question survey from January to March 2015. They provided demographic information — gender, ethnicity, whether they were able-bodied — and career position, and answered questions about how often they felt unsafe, whether they experienced racist or sexist remarks, and whether they heard negative language or comments about not being masculine or feminine enough…Overall, 88 percent of everyone surveyed reported having a negative experience relating to gender, race, or physical ability at work. Across nearly every significant finding, women of color faced the most discrimination and harassment.”

5. #NRA2DOJ March Targets Gun Rights Group For ‘Incendiary and Racist Actions’
Kenrya Rankin for Colorlines: “‘As a Black woman, as a mother, as someone directly impacted by gun violence, as an American citizen, I am traumatized and alarmed, and so are my sisters and siblings who are part of the Women’s March,’ Mallory writes. ‘It is clear that your organization does not value the legal rights nor the human rights of any of us. Unless the NRA takes immediate action, the Women‘s March will exercise our First Amendment right by calling for a mass mobilization.'”