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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. “When Respectability Was No Longer Respectable, and Virtue Required Acting Out, Not Leaning In
In August of 1960, then-Spelman College professor Howard Zinn wrote an article for The Nation about his students engaging in activism. “…Respectability is no longer respectable among young Negro women attending college today,” he wrote.

In this essay, Paula J. Giddings writes about Zinn’s article and his role supporting student activism: “Feminists today might consider Zinn’s insight that his ‘nice, well-mannered and ladylike’ students did not so much abandon respectability as redefine it. They recognized a moment when virtue required acting out, not leaning in, and when the corrective for stifling mores were not displays of unfettered individual behavior that reinforced dangerous stereotypes.”

2. “Admit It: Your Fave Is Problematic
Ijeoma Oluo responds to commentary about new “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah with an essay arguing for the importance of identifying and discussing privilege and identity, particularly at the intersections: “Our feminism is racist, classist and transphobic. Our anti-racism is sexist. Our LGBT rights movement is racist and classist. They are all ableist. Acknowledging this isn’t divisive: ignoring it is.”

3. “Activists Stop Paying Their Student Loans
A group of more than 100 students who took out loans to attend schools in the for-profit Corinthian Colleges chain are refusing to pay back their loans. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is suing Corinthian for predatory lending practices, and has forgiven $480 million in private student loans, but students are still expected to pay back outstanding federal loans. The college chain closed in July; former students say the degrees that propelled them into debt have proven “worthless.”

4. “Women Civil Rights Leaders Discuss Their Work and Legacies with Melissa Harris-Perry
Watch the full video: Melissa Harris-Perry moderated a conversation at the National Archives on women in civil rights leadership with Joyce Ladner, Avis Jones De-Weever, Janai Nelson, and Charlene A. Carruthers.

5. “Why Mothers Are on Strike at Karnes Immigrant Detention Center
“Seventy eight mothers being held at Karnes County Residential Center have signed a letter demanding their release. The Spanish-language letter, which was obtained by Colorlines early Tuesday, suggests that the immigration detainees are staging a hunger and work strike. Located in Karnes County, Texas, and run by the private GEO Group, Karnes been the site of repeated allegations of sexual abuse.”

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