The New York Times recently published an article about a new trend emerging – predictive policing. In brief: a computer program has been developed and is being implemented in Santa Cruz to predict locations and blocks of time where certain crimes are most likely to occur. It sounds like the system is evidence based: that is to say, based on an input of data on crime events in the city in the past, it spits out a sort of extrapolation on what might happen in the future, and when. And evidently, they made an arrest utilizing that system already. Continue reading
Thank you to the inspiring Alice Paul for so succinctly summing up the importance of individual, distinct pieces in the formation of a social movement. A mosaic, indeed.
[Authors note 1: To fully understand the content of this post, I highly recommend that you read this article. This essay, too. If not, and you just want to read the excerpts I directly respond to, that’s cool.]
To Rebecca Traister: When I saw “Clumsy Young Feminists” web headline, I began reading your article with my own prejudices. And then you start with an “I wanted to, but…” statement? [Author’s note 2: Rebecca, I know you didn’t approve that web headline (you just keep digging yourselves deeper, NY Times), but goddammit, I am not a clumsy young feminist.]
I wanted to love SlutWalks…
But at a moment when questions of sex and power, blame and credibility, and gender and justice are so ubiquitous and so urgent, I have mostly felt irritation that stripping down to skivvies and calling ourselves sluts is passing for keen retort. Continue reading
It would be easy to file this under the category of “men behaving badly,” to dismiss it as a testosterone-induced, hard-wired connection between sex and power (powerful men attract women, powerful women repel men). And some might conclude that busy working women don’t have time to cheat. (“While I’m at home changing diapers, I just couldn’t conceive of it,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York Democrat, once said.)
But there may be something else at work: Research points to a substantial gender gap in the way women and men approach running for office. Women have different reasons for running, are more reluctant to do so and, because there are so few of them in politics, are acutely aware of the scrutiny they draw — all of which seems to lead to differences in the way they handle their jobs once elected.
New York Times’ columnist Stanley Fish writes an excellent piece about consciousness-raising and how our brains deal with opening up to be sympathetic to different groups, be they racial or socioeconomic or whatever. Here’s the part that really got us:
And I say this even though each movement on the intellectual left — feminism, postmodernism, critical race theory, critical legal studies — believes that the thesis generates a politics of liberation. It doesn’t; it doesn’t generate anything. Consciousness-raising has always been a false lure, although changes in consciousness are always possible. It is just that you can’t design them or will them into being; there is no method that will free us from the conceptual limitations within which we make invidious distinctions and perform acts of blindness. The best we can do is wait for a tree to talk to us.
BONUS: There’s a ton of Wizard of Oz references in this piece, so maybs you should read it just for those….
This post is brought to you by Rachel, who may be in love with Mr. Fish and/or liberalism.
If you haven’t seen it yet, the New York Times has published a follow-up article on the Texas gang-rape story. We posted shortly after the story broke and will be writing our own follow-up soon, after we’ve talked through our reactions—emotional, logical, practical. Until then, we’d like to share one of our writer’s initial thoughts…. Continue reading
Recent reports have shed light on a truly heartbreaking story: an 11-year-old Texas girl was gang-raped in November by eighteen men, ranging from middle-school students to a 27-year-old. There is absolutely no excuse for this heinous act committed against this young girl.
So why is the media putting forth information that insinuates blame falling on the victim and/or her mother? The New York Times published a story that included the following text:
Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.
“Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?” said Ms. Harrison, one of a handful of neighbors who would speak on the record. “How can you have an 11-year-old child missing down in the Quarters?”
This is absolutely fucking ridiculous. Regardless of age, wearing make-up or various fashion styles is NOT AN INVITATION FOR RAPE. Where was her mother? Really? How can the actions of 18 men have anything to do with what the girl was wearing or the location of her mother? The real thing I’m looking for is the lesson that rape and assault and heinous acts against others are wrong and unacceptable. Why do we continue to live in a culture that blames victims, forces them to feel that they cannot raise their voices to report their attackers, and leads survivors to feel shame for something over which they have no control? (Seriously, rape culture is real. Look it up.)
I’m sure (or at least I damn well hope) that the NY Times doesn’t believe that the victim’s clothing, makeup, or mother’s whereabouts should be viewed as excuses for the actions of these 18 men and boys, but perhaps some stronger writing would address the inherent problems of blaming a crime victim for the atrocities committed against them. Try that out, media. Social commentary is great and framing is important: how about indicating that victim-blaming is harmful to our society and the idea of justice?
There has been tremendous response to this huge media fail (see responses at Jezebel, Double X Factor, & Feministing), and I definitely encourage you all to tweet @NYTimes, @thepubliceditor and demand an apology. And please check out Shelby Knox’s change.org petition seeking a formal, written apology and an editorial from a victim’s rights perspective.
Don’t be afraid to stand up and speak out against rape culture. It’s real and it needs to be put to rest.
This post brought to you by Dawn.