Just about any woman or person of color who has expressed an opinion on the internet knows the wrath of online trolls. It’s frightening and real, yet the response is lagging far behind the technology. As John Oliver points out in another brilliant segment for Last Week Tonight, law enforcement often doesn’t even know what Twitter is, leaving women without recourse when they are getting very specific rape and death threats. More people need to understand the gravity of the situation, and the show does a great job of making the case for why we all need to take this more seriously (featuring a fabulous parody of an old AOL ad featuring Rob Huebel and Colin Hanks).
There is some progress being made, with some states taking action to punish purveyors of “revenge porn,” but there needs to be more action. As Oliver points out, “If you’re thinking, come on, [online harassment] doesn’t seem like that big a problem, well, congratulations on your white penis.”
If you pay even the smallest amount of attention to American politics, you know that gun rights are seemingly inviolable. Even when unspeakable tragedies are committed with guns, even when the majority of people support common-sense gun control measures, it’s nearly impossible to put any barriers between wannabe gun owners and their weapons of choice.
On the other hand, abortion rights are constantly under attack, despite that fact that a strong majority of Americans believe abortion access should be legal. Abortion is a safe, common medical procedure, but the government just can’t resist getting between women and their doctors. (more…)
This week, Kalief Browder’s all too brief life came to an end when he committed suicide. If I had greater faith in this country’s position as a moral bastion, I wouldn’t be able to believe his tragic story. Kalief, just 22 when he died, was held in jail for three years without trial starting at the age of 16 for stealing a backpack, a charge he vigorously denied. He suffered in jail all that time partly because his family could not afford bail, and after all that his case was dismissed. He spent about two of those years in solitary confinement, a practice that most reasonable people recognize as torture. The conditions he faced were reprehensible: (more…)
I’ve heard more times than I’d care to that the US is a center-right country, and that’s why progressives aren’t winning as much as we would like. This analysis has infected the political class, and a self-reinforcing cycle ensues in which politicians are afraid to take any kind of risk because they expect blowback. Kevin Drum at Mother Jones highlighted an interesting study that calls these assumptions into question [emphasis mine]: (more…)
Although we’re well into the 21st century, many workplaces are still grappling with how to adjust to the increasing presence and power of women in the workplace. Some of those workplaces are failing epically. (more…)