#MeToo, I Dream Detroit, and BLM as Democracy in Action

October 26, 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. How Incarceration Impacts LGBTQ Youth’s Mental Health
Brittney McNamara for TeenVogue: “LGBT young people are twice as likely to be detained for truancy, warrants, probation violations, running away, and prostitution, according to a report published in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. According to the Williams Institute, about 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT, meaning they’re also disproportionately represented among that population, too. (Of those LGBT homeless youth, many are experiencing homelessness because of family rejection and abuse.) On the outside, LGBT people are more likely to experience sexual assault and violence, which research shows is also reflected while incarcerated. According to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, rates of youth-on-youth sexual assault in detention centers are higher for young people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. This is further compounded by the fact that 85% of LGBT youth incarcerated are people of color, meaning racial inequalities pile on top of inequalities presented by orientation. This, Wilber says, is likely why many young LGBT people’s mental health suffers while incarcerated.”

2. The Problem With Asking Women To Say ‘Me Too’
Angelina Chapin for Huff Post: “The social media campaign is, of course, intended as a wake-up call for men. If every woman you know has been harassed or assaulted, then every man you know has likely made a woman feel unsafe. But while posting “Me too” on Facebook maybe cathartic for women seeking solace in the wake of yet another news story involving a powerful predator, it will do little to change the male behavior that leads to these accusations.”

3. Black Lives Matter is Democracy in Action
Barbara Ransby for the New York Times: “Ms. Baker considered the top-down, male-centered, charismatic model of leadership a political dead end. It disempowered ordinary people, especially women and low-income and working-class people, because it told them that they need a savior. If that person is assassinated or co-opted, the movement founders…The lead organizers of the Movement for Black Lives have been influenced by 40 years of work by black feminist and L.G.B.T. scholars and activists. Their writings and practice emphasize collective models of leadership instead of hierarchical ones, center on society’s most marginalized people and focus o how multiple systems of oppression intersect and reinforce one another”

4. ‘I Dream Detroit’: Women of Color Lead the Charge for the City’s Future
Monique Judge for The Root: “Women of color make up 91 percent of all women in Detroit, and a substantial portion of them live below the poverty level. “I Dream Detroit” finds that even with those odds (and others) against them, the women of color in Detroit are resilient. Many of them are self-employed and employ others as business owners and nonprofit leaders. They provide critical services for those in need, hold public office, and even restart their lives after incarceration and other hardships.”

5. Black Women, Civil Rights and the Struggle for Bodily Integrity
Danielle L. McGuire for MLK50: “The stories of Black women who fought for bodily integrity and personal dignity hold profound truths about the sexualized violence that marked racial politics and African American lives during the modern civil rights movement. Understanding the role rape and sexual violence played in African Americans’ daily lives and within the larger freedom struggle, demands that we center Black women—their experiences, their testimonies, their resistance and their leadership—in the long history of the African American freedom movement and in ongoing struggles for justice and equality today.”