Written by:

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 Girls Matter: For Too Long, the Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline has Gone Unchecked
Teresa Younger, President & CEO of Ms. Foundation for Women, on the new report released by the Ms. Foundation, Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality, and the Human Rights Project for Girls: The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story. “The report tells the story of how sexual abuse–which begins for many girls in the juvenile justice system between ages five to seven–directly leads to their imprisonment. Up to 80 percent of girls in the juvenile justice system have been sexually abused. Black girls who have been sexually abused and their Native American and Latina sisters–no matter how young–are not seen as victims. …Too often the initial choice to punish and incarcerate an abused girl sets in motion a vicious cycle of abuse and imprisonment that continues throughout her life. In fact, a girl with a history of sexual abuse is five times more likely to be re-arrested once released.”

2. “What’s Next for the Domestic Workers Movement?
National Domestic Workers Alliance co-founders Ai-jen Poo and Andrea Cristina Mercado discuss the NDWA’s state legislative strategy to pass domestic workers bill of rights and the importance of organizing and movement-building. “Legislative campaigns that are designed to centralize and elevate the leadership of workers are learning laboratories, offering up indispensable lessons that cannot be learned while removed from the places in which power operates… bill of rights campaigns demonstrate that women of color are powerful leaders, and workers thought to be ‘unorganizable’ may only be lacking the leadership and framework needed to unleash their potential.”

3. “NYT slammed for Serena ‘body image’ story
Melissa Harris-Perry: “The impulse to publicly dissect black women and to offer commentary on our bodies as somehow bizarre, unfeminine, grotesque, and worthy only of shock, never emulation, is a sickening holdover of 19th century scientific racism that ripped Sarah Baartman from her home and put her on display semi-naked throughout Europe as the so-called Hottentot Venus until her death in 1815. To frame this extraordinary woman and unmatched athlete as an object of physical revulsion activates public disgust that has real, far-reaching, and material consequences for women – especially women of color.”

4.”Members of Congress say release of detained mothers and children not enough
“Federal officials have begun releasing hundreds of detained mothers and children from the nation’s family detention centers as part of a promise to end long-term detention of migrant families. … U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say the move is part of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s plan to end controversial long-term detention of migrant mothers and children who have demonstrated they have reason to fear persecution if returned to their home countries. … Nearly 200 detained parents and children were released over the weekend, according to ICE officials.”

5. “Ta-Nehisi Coates and a Generation Waking Up
Brit Bennett in The New Yorker: “Black female bodies are vulnerable, too, in the presence of police, in our communities, and even in our own homes. Black women are disproportionately likely to be victims of violent crimes, intimate-partner violence, and sexual assault. But while we are rightly outraged by the vulnerability of black male bodies, we rarely register the ways in which black women are vulnerable. Whose vulnerability is horrifying and haunting, worthy of marching and protest? Whose is natural and inevitable? Even as a woman, I notice this contradiction in myself. I noticed it the night Trayvon Martin’s killer walked free, when I felt the overwhelming urge to comfort my friend because he should not feel vulnerable. He should be the one to walk through deserted parks late at night, even if I never could because I’m aware of all the things that men—black or white, police or civilian—might do to my body. How easily I accepted this as the natural order of things. How easily I learned all the ways my body could never be free.”

Want to get “This Week” in your inbox on Friday mornings? Sign up here:

Related Posts: