Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, History, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Social Science, United States on 2016-04-28 02:22Z by Steven

Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence

University of Georgia Press
May 2016
336 pages
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-4956-5
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8203-4957-2

Edited by:

Chad Williams, Associate Professor of African & Afro-American Studies
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

Kidada E. Williams, Associate Professor of History
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michgan

Keisha N. Blain, Assistant Professor of History
University of Iowa

On June 17, 2015, a white supremacist entered Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and sat with some of its parishioners during a Wednesday night Bible study session. An hour later, he began expressing his hatred for African Americans, and soon after, he shot nine church members dead, the church’s pastor and South Carolina state senator, Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, among them. The ensuing manhunt for the shooter and investigation of his motives revealed his beliefs in white supremacy and reopened debates about racial conflict, southern identity, systemic racism, civil rights, and the African American church as an institution.

In the aftermath of the massacre, Professors Chad Williams, Kidada Williams, and Keisha N. Blain sought a way to put the murder—and the subsequent debates about it in the media—in the context of America’s tumultuous history of race relations and racial violence on a global scale. They created the Charleston Syllabus on June 19, starting it as a hashtag on Twitter linking to scholarly works on the myriad of issues related to the murder. The syllabus’s popularity exploded and is already being used as a key resource in discussions of the event.

Charleston Syllabus is a reader—a collection of new essays and columns published in the wake of the massacre, along with selected excerpts from key existing scholarly books and general-interest articles. The collection draws from a variety of disciplines—history, sociology, urban studies, law, critical race theory—and includes a selected and annotated bibliography for further reading, drawing from such texts as the Confederate constitution, South Carolina’s secession declaration, songs, poetry, slave narratives, and literacy texts. As timely as it is necessary, the book will be a valuable resource for understanding the roots of American systemic racism, white privilege, the uses and abuses of the Confederate flag and its ideals, the black church as a foundation for civil rights activity and state violence against such activity, and critical whiteness studies.

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Legal Codes and Talking Trees: Indigenous Women’s Sovereignty in the Sonoran and Puget Sound Borderlands, 1854-1946

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2016-04-26 20:36Z by Steven

Legal Codes and Talking Trees: Indigenous Women’s Sovereignty in the Sonoran and Puget Sound Borderlands, 1854-1946

Yale University Press
352 pages
23 b/w illus.
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Cloth ISBN: 9780300211689

Katrina Jagodinsky, Assistant Professor of History
University of Nebraska

Katrina Jagodinsky’s enlightening history is the first to focus on indigenous women of the Southwest and Pacific Northwest and the ways they dealt with the challenges posed by the existing legal regimes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In most western states, it was difficult if not impossible for Native women to inherit property, raise mixed-race children, or take legal action in the event of rape or abuse. Through the experiences of six indigenous women who fought for personal autonomy and the rights of their tribes, Jagodinsky explores a long yet generally unacknowledged tradition of active critique of the U.S. legal system by female Native Americans.

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Mixed-race indigenous people should get benefits extended to those with Indian status, Canadian court rules

Posted in Articles, Canada, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-04-18 00:15Z by Steven

Mixed-race indigenous people should get benefits extended to those with Indian status, Canadian court rules

The Los Angeles Times

Christopher Guly

For decades in Canada, people of mixed indigenous and European ancestry didn’t qualify for “Indian” status and were denied a host of benefits granted to other First Nations people, including government funding, free postsecondary education and health benefits, and hunting and fishing rights.

In a landmark ruling Thursday, that changed. The Canadian Supreme Court declared that hundreds of thousands of mixed-race indigenous people, known as Metis in Canada, along with non-status Indians living off reservations, should have access to the same government programs and services as those with Indian status.

“This is something that will impact about 600,000 people across the country who have been denied recognition or access to entitlements that they now have been declared by the court as having,” said Dwight Dorey, national chief of the Ottawa-based Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

Read the entire article here.

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Alumni Interview: Miranda Brawn Esq

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Law, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-04-12 01:58Z by Steven

Alumni Interview: Miranda Brawn Esq

The University of Law
Future Lawyers Network
Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom

Since qualifying as a Barrister, Miranda Brawn has not looked back. Currently, Director of Legal and Transaction Management at Daiwa Capital Markets and specialising in finance, she has worked with top investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Citigroup. Passionate about promoting diversity within the profession she is patron for Black British Academics and a Board member for various diversity organisations such as the Black Cultural Archives and the City Women Network.

Do you believe there are greater challenges for women and people from ethnic backgrounds to succeed in law?

I think there are challenges for everyone regardless of their gender and race to succeed in law as it is one of the most competitive fields to enter which includes investment banking. I have managed to succeed in both of these fields, which have in the past been considered to be a male dominated industry. That said, being a female and from an ethnic background, I have proven that it is possible to overcome challenges with the right amount of drive, intelligence and determination…

Finally, tell us something about yourself that people might not know

I have a family history of law and politics where I am related to Sir Thomas Bellot, 2nd Bt. 1 (1651-1709), who studied at Oxford University, was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1670, succeeded to the title of 2nd Baronet Bellot in 1674 and was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle-under-Lyme from 1679 until 1681…

Read the entire interview here.

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Revealing the Race-Based Realities of Workforce Exclusion

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-04-05 00:27Z by Steven

Revealing the Race-Based Realities of Workforce Exclusion

NACLA Report on the Americas
Volume 47, Number 4 (Winter 2014)
pages 26-29

Tanya Katerí Hernández, Professor of Law
Fordham University

Advocates in the fight against poverty in Latin America often center class above race as the factor that most determines Afro-descendants’ life-chances. But a growing movement is setting the record straight.

Believing that the black population will be able to reach basic equality independently from what happens with the rest of poor Colombians, within general social policy, or economic growth…is dreaming in a vacuum,” said sociologist Daniel Mera Villamizar in a 2009 El Tiempo column on the Colombian government’s workplace affirmative action measures. Mera continues: “To resolve the historic ambiguity between racism and classism…by saying that race is the determining factor, is to buy a ticket to a conflict we don’t even know.” As critics of the column noted at the time, Mera’s words were at odds with many of the demands of the growing movements for racial justice across Latin America that have proliferated over the past 15 years. These groups are engaged in the fight to raise awareness of the ways race-based discrimination in Latin America cannot be sufficiently explained by the analyses—touted by many advocates and organizations engaged in anti-poverty struggles—that class is the determining mechanism of social and economic marginalization.

There are approximately 150 million people of African descent in Latin America, representing just over 30% of the total population and more than 40% of the poor. Advocates for racial equality in Latin America testify statistically and anecdotally to the fact that Afro-descendants face the frequent perception that they are undesirable elements of society, and are marginalized in politics, media, public life, the job market, and education systems. Mera’s call to avoid conflict by holding up class above race as the most salient factor in determining the life-chances of Afro-descendants echoes the notion—still widely held in much of Latin America—of the “myth of racial democracy.”

Increasingly critiqued over the past 20 years, the myth holds that Latin America’s racial mixture (mestizaje/mestiçagem) creates racial harmony and inherently guards against racial discord and inequality. This denial of racism is often rooted in a belief system that contrasts itself to the history of Jim Crow legislation in the United States. There is no more important place to understand the persistence of race-based marginalization in Latin America than in the increasingly well documented practices of labor market discrimination…

Read the entire article here.

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Britain’s first black female High Court judge opens up about racism at the bar

Posted in Articles, Biography, Law, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos, Women on 2016-04-02 21:02Z by Steven

Britain’s first black female High Court judge opens up about racism at the bar

Legal Cheek
London, United Kingdom

Katie King, Reporter

Clerks would Tippex out her name on briefs and write in the name of male pupil they wanted to be the tenant

Dame Linda Dobbs has exposed shameful incidents of racism and sexism at the bar, particularly from her own clerks, in a revealing interview for the First 100 Years project — an ambitious video history which aims to highlight and celebrate the achievements of female lawyers in a profession long dominated by men. The extent of that domination is starkly revealed by the project’s timeline:…

…In the video the Sierra Leone born judge, and University of Surrey grad, recalls that attitudes to women in the profession were very different when she was called to the bar in 1981. One major hurdle for the now 65 year-old was the attitude of the many solicitors who did not want to instruct a woman, either because they, or, more likely, their client, considered them to be inferior…

Read the entire article here.

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AmbryShare Restores Genes to the Public Domain

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-04-01 21:24Z by Steven

AmbryShare Restores Genes to the Public Domain

The Huffington Post

Amal Cheema, Biochemistry and Political Science Student
Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts

“As a stage four cancer survivor, I find it shocking that public and private laboratories routinely lock away vital genomic information. That practice is delaying medical progress, causing real human suffering, and it needs to stop.” —Ambry Genetics CEO and founder Charles Dunlop

In its purest form, science seeks to determine how the world works and endeavors to improve the human condition. Yet, the current culture of research undermines this value-system, as institutions across the nation look for ways to capitalize on discoveries. The commodification of information, particularly of the genome, hinders innovation and prevents the discovery of novel drugs and cures., researchers can either seek revenue for their underfunded research or ensure the accessibility of scientific knowledge, but they can’t do both.

It’s not clear whether academic solidarity will prevail, universities increasingly rely upon licensing revenues and keep information proprietary. Although genes can no longer be patented in the U.S. due to the 2013 Supreme Court case, Association for Molecular Pathology et al. v. Myriad Genetics, most researchers perceive little benefit in sharing raw data. They silo their work and therefore, hamper innovation. The solution to this roadblock lies in the new, remediating, and open-access genomic libraries.

Ambry Genetics (Ambry), a leading genetics company, recently revealed its bypass to closed-door labs and patented information. It created a genomic library, AmbryShare, making the DNA data of 10,000 people available online to the public. And it’s the first private company to do so. While Ambry retains copyright, researchers now can easily download the data for free and investigate the genetic determinants of disease…

…Yet AmbryShare is not without its critics. Some fear that the database will lead to false positives and privacy breaches. Bioethicists like Dorothy Roberts of UPenn Law worry about false positives, such as race-specific gene differences. Roberts asserts that society has politically constructed race without a biological basis, and that researchers could support racism by misattributing differences in the genome as evidence of race. Scientists can address this concern by removing the race question from patient profiles…

Read the entire article here.

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What Is Critical Race Theory?

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-03-27 16:31Z by Steven

What Is Critical Race Theory?

Harvard Magazine

Marina Bolotnikova

Khiara Bridges Photograph courtesy of Khiara Bridges

RACIAL-JUSTICE ACTIVISTS at Harvard Law School (HLS) won one of the largest public battles over the school’s legacy this month, when the administration agreed to abandon the existing HLS shield. The shield was modeled after the crest of the slaveholding Royall family, whose fortune endowed Harvard’s first law professorship; the shield’s removal was the first of a list of demands issued in December by student group Reclaim Harvard Law School. But HLS has not, so far, acted on the group’s larger, more controversial demands—among them, creating a program in critical race theory, a legal-studies movement with origins at Harvard in the 1970s.

On Monday night, Reclaim HLS hosted a critical race theory teach-in by Khiara Bridges, an associate law professor at Boston University, modeled on how she teaches first-year criminal law. “We’re not pretending that we’re disconnected from the real world,” Bridges said as she opened her presentation, alluding to one of the motivating goals of critical race theory: to link activism with academics. The event took place in the student lounge of Wasserstein Hall, which members of Reclaim HLS have occupied for the last month to create opportunities for learning and discussion, and to bring visibility to their demands…

Read the entire article here.

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What an 1887 murder and dismemberment tells us about race relations today

Posted in Arts, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-03-24 00:24Z by Steven

What an 1887 murder and dismemberment tells us about race relations today

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Samantha Melamed, Staff Writer

On the freezing-cold morning of Feb. 17, 1887, a Bensalem carpenter walking by an ice pond noticed a parcel wrapped in brown paper and marked “handle with care.” Inside, he found a male torso of indeterminate race. The limbs and head were nowhere in sight.

So begins Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso, the new book by historian and African studies scholar Kali Nicole Gross.

It’s the type of tale you don’t often hear during Black History Month: the biography of an antiheroine who made her way in the world through violence, deception, and adultery. It’s also a true-crime story told nearly 130 years after the fact—culminating in the century-late exoneration of a man who, Gross argues, was framed for murder.

Most of all, the story of Tabbs, the Philadelphia woman who left the torso by the pond in the first place—and of Wakefield Gaines, her victim and much-younger lover, and George Wilson, the “weak-minded” 18-year-old she accused of the crime – is an encapsulation of issues that resonate today, of racial bias in policing, coerced confessions, and unreliable eyewitnesses.

“Tabbs’ story sheds this unprecedented light,” Gross said, “into just how long these issues around urban crime and police brutality have been around in our society.”

Gross, 43, a professor at the University of Texas-Austin, began the work eight years ago, while she was living in Philadelphia. (She attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and taught at Drexel University.)…

…In uncovering the story, she shed light on the tense race relations of the time: Tabbs’ vulnerable place under the law as a black woman, and Wilson’s still-more-tenuous status as a light-skinned interracial man.

“People were very concerned about black people infiltrating white society. Wilson is really the sum of all fears,” Gross said. “Police home in on him despite the fact he had no real motive.”

Wilson, known to be “dim” and impressionable, was beaten in custody—until, Gross concludes, he made a false confession. (He was sentenced to 12 years in solitary confinement.)…

Read the entire article here.

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Six-year-old taken from California foster family under Indian Child Welfare Act

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-03-23 22:37Z by Steven

Six-year-old taken from California foster family under Indian Child Welfare Act

The Guardian

The Associated Press in Santa Clarita, California

Lexi, who has lived with the foster family for years, was removed by a court order which says her Native American heritage requires her to live with Utah relatives

A six-year-old girl who spent most of her life with California foster parents was removed from the home under a court order that says her Native American blood requires her to live with relatives in Utah.

Lexi, who is 1/64th Choctaw on her birth-father’s side, cried and clutched a stuffed bear as her foster father Rusty Page carried her out of his home north of Los Angeles to a waiting car on Monday. Los Angeles County social workers whisked her away.

“How is it that a screaming child, saying, ‘I want to stay, I’m scared,’ how is it in her best interest to pull her from the girl she was before that doorbell rang?” he told KNX-AM radio…

…The Pages had fought efforts under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act to place Lexi with relatives of her father, who is a Native American. The Pages argued that Lexi had lived with them since the age of two and knew no other life…

Read the entire article here.

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