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Asian Americans and Affirmative Action, The Bachelorette, and A World Without Police

August 10, 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. The Thorny Relationship Between Asians and Affirmative Action
Alia Wong for The Atlantic: “Despite the complexity of the issues at stake, the debate over affirmative action in America is rarely as nuanced as it ought to be. Treating affirmative action as a practice that either hurts or helps an entire racial group, for instance, prevents productive conversations about its role in college admissions…There’s plenty of data to underscore concerns that Asian Americans are unduly affected by affirmative action. But quantifying the effects of such policies is notoriously thorny.”

2. Black Women Lead Families but still Lag behind in Jobs and Wealth
Kayla Patrick for National Women’s Law Center: “On the cusp of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, it is critical that we continue to examine the discrimination that keeps Black women earning lower wages despite their efforts to catch up. Research shows that at the current rate, it could take Black families 228 years to close the Black–white family wealth gap. In comparison, it will take Latino families 84 years to catch up to white families. In fact, the Black-white wage gap is the highest its been since 1979.”

3. Why Are So Many Transgender Women of Color Being Killed in America?
Tim Teeman for The Daily Beast: “AVP spokesperson Sue Yacka told The Daily Beast that of the 17 homicides of trans and gender-nonconforming people in 2017 that the project has counted so far, 16 had been people of color; 15 had been transgender women; and 13 had been black transgender women. ‘This is that we know of,’ said Yacka. ‘The figure may be much higher, due to misgendering and misnaming often by police and local media.’…’It only reinforces the truth of what transgender people are telling us about the heinous violence and feelings of un-safety they face on a daily basis.'”

4. EXCERPT: Andrea J. Ritchie on Why We Need a World Without Police
Andrea Ritchie for Colorlines: “In 1998, Davis wrote, ‘The relatively small number of African-American women drawn into the system should not relieve us of the responsibility of understanding the encounter of gender and race in arrest and incarceration practices.’ Since then the numbers have only grown, as have the numbers of Latinx and Native women in prison. Today, women of color represent the fastest-growing jail and prison populations. This reality only increases our responsibility to better understand the processes that contribute to it, because, as Davis wrote in 2013, when we look at the experiences of women, including trans women, in the prison-industrial complex, despite the relatively small numbers, ‘we learn so much more about the system as a whole than we would learn if we look exclusively at men…about the nature of punishment writ large.'”

5. The Heartbreaking First Black Bachelorette
Robin Boylorn for Slate: “Like me, and other professional black women I know, Rachel had pursued degrees and career success while waiting for love. Like us, Rachel had spent several years waiting for commitment from men who were incapable of offering it. And like us, Rachel was cynical about the possibility of love, in part because of deep-rooted insecurities stemming from how infrequently black women see ourselves portrayed as viable love interests in pop culture. Prominent, educated black women are often framed, in the public imagination, as undesirable (too independent), unattractive (too masculine), or unattainable (too stuck up). And so I was hopeful that a cast promoted as “the most diverse” in franchise history would yield a bevy of beautiful black men who would vie for the affection of a bona fide dark-skinned black girl.”
6. Study Finds Black Women In The U.S. Killed At Higher Rate Than That Of Other Races
Zahara Hill for Ebony: “A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that Black and indigenous women are murdered at a rate higher than that of any other race. The report by the Center For Disease Control and Prevention found that across 18 states Black women were murdered at drastically higher rates than women of other races. According to the CDC study,  which was conducted from 2003 to 2014, Black women are killed at a rate of 4.4 per 100,000 people and indigenous women at a rate of 4.3. Other races are killed at a rate of 1 or 2 per 100,000 people.”