Written by: Sara Kugler
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 Can’t We Stop Watching ‘Empire’?“
Wednesday was the season finale of the Fox television series “Empire”, which has seen its total audience rise every week since its premiere. In the New York Times, six writers, academics, and thinkers reflect on the show’s representations of race, gender, sexuality, and class.
2. “for colored boys who consider queer/ when gay ain’t enuf“
Jay Dodd writes about the importance of language to identity and community. From his essay: “I’m tired of being ‘gay’, it doesn’t fit on my body. Queerness gives me language for defending Blackness at all costs. It gives me access to solidarity and supporting Trans folks. It gives me language to make the personal political without falling into hegemonic narratives of what it means to be ‘not straight’.”
3. “9 HBCU Students Just Made the Voter-ID War Hot Again“
Nine students from Fisk University and Tennessee State University have filed a federal lawsuit against Tennessee’s voter ID law. The student plaintiffs tried to use their student IDs as identification at the polls in 2014 and were not allowed to vote. Their lawsuit argues that the voter ID law “intentionally discriminates against out-of-state college and university students, and has the purpose and effect of denying and abridging the right to vote on account of age.”
4. “Open Letter to Starbucks and USA Today“
Rinku Sen, President of Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation, writes to Starbucks about their new “Race Together” initiative. “A conversation that leads to something other than frustration requires preparation, a systems analysis, and potential solutions that reach beyond changing individual mindsets or behavior. We have to address the rules that govern our institutions and shape our lives — many of which appear to be race-neutral in their intention, but are far from neutral in their impact.”
5. “University student, Honor Committee member Martese Johnson arrested“
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has ordered an investigation into the use of force in the arrest of 20-year-old Martese Johnson. From the The Cavalier Daily: “In the course of the arrest, Johnson sustained a head injury requiring 10 stitches.”
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