Spelman’s Transgender Student Policy, Cyntoia Brown, and #NativeLivesMatter

December 1, 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. Why Cyntoia Brown Has Returned To The News, And Why Her Case Matters
Dan Seitz for Uproxx: “The case made barely a ripple outside local news in 2004, but it’s back in the spotlight as Brown’s case becomes a focal point of justice, race, gender, and where society defines the line between acting to survive and pre-meditated murder…One can argue that the only difference between Brown’s case and many others is who died: Murder and violence against sex workers is worryingly high and too often seen as an ‘on-the-job’ risk. Some have argued that in this light, Brown’s actions are a straightforward case of self-defense; she was forced to be there, she was given reason to fear for her life, and she acted the way anyone would.”

2. Sisters’ Keepers: Spelman Alum Show Support for New Transgender Student Policy

Team Cassius for Cassius: “‘Over 100 Spelman College alumnae signed a pledge in support of the college’s recent decision to admit transwomen students. This pledge serves as an affirmation for the college’s new forward thinking admissions policy and as a commitment to queer and trans students at the institution. The new admissions and enrollment policy at Spelman College states the College ‘will consider for admission women students including students who consistently live and self-identify as women, regardless of their gender assignment at birth.” In response, the open letter of support states, ‘We understand that admitting ALL women is not an abandonment of our mission, but rather reflects its fulfillment.’”

3. The forgotten minority in police shootings
Elise Hansen for CNN: “Allegations of excessive police use of force against African-Americans have captured the nation’s attention in recent years. But there’s another group whose stories you’re less likely to hear about. Native Americans are killed in police encounters at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet rarely do these deaths gain the national spotlight…For every 1 million Native Americans, an average of 2.9 of them died annually from 1999 to 2015 as a result of a “legal intervention,” according to a CNN review of CDC data broken down by race. The vast majority of these deaths were police shootings. But a few were attributed to other causes, including manhandling. That mortality rate is 12% higher than for African-Americans and three times the rate of whites.”

4. Simmons College to name school for late journalist Gwen Ifill
Associated Press for The Boston Globe: “A college in Boston will name one of its schools after the late Gwen Ifill, a co-host of PBS’ ‘NewsHour’ and veteran journalist who moderated two vice presidential debates…A former reporter for The New York Times and The Washington Post, Ifill switched to television in the 1990s and covered politics and Congress for NBC News. She moved to PBS in 1999 as host of ‘Washington Week’ and also worked for the nightly ‘NewsHour’ program. She and Judy Woodruff were named co-hosts in 2013.”

5. Motherhood, Poverty and Privacy in Trump’s America
Miriam Zoila Pérez for Colorlines: “[Bridges] argues that state programs governing poor mothers strip them of their right to privacy. In [her book, The Poverty of Privacy Rights], Bridges describes the extensive assessments required for women seeking Medicaid, regarding everything from their intimate relationships to housing to mental health…These kind of invasions of privacy aren’t limited to Medicaid, they also occur with programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and when agencies such as Child Protective Services (CPS) are engaged. Bridges puts the situation plainly: ‘To be poor is to be subject to invasions of privacy that the economically self-sufficient would perceive as gross demonstrations of the danger of governmental power without limits.’”

6. The National Discussion About Sexual Assault Has To Include Women Of Color
Mehreen Kasana for Bustle: “The intersection of racism and sexual assault is a subject Americans need to understand in order to make real progress toward ending sexual abuse in all industries and communities. These two forms of social abuse fuse to create a suffocating dynamic for women of color. For scores of black, Latinx, Asian, and Native women, there is no talking about sexual abuse without the mention of racial inequality. If we don’t internalize that, our national conversation on sexual misconduct will be incomplete and, ultimately, ineffective.”