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The Racism & Social Injustice Catch-All
Georgia Southern University decided it wanted to teach about race and privilege, so there was a lecture from a Cuban-American writer.  Some white students burned the book:

Quote:The call went out to gather at a grill near a cluster of brick dorms on the Georgia Southern University campus.

"Book burn party Eagle Village," a student posted on Snapchat.

The student didn’t say which book they would be burning. But to several freshmen who had just finished watching a talk by Cuban American author Jennine Capó Crucet, the answer was clear. The lecture had ended with a tense exchange between Crucet and a white student, who accused the writer of making unfair generalizations about white people.

“I don’t understand what the point of all this was,” she told Crucet.

The crowd at the author’s talk erupted in jeers — but by this point, it was unclear whom the students were targeting.

About a half-dozen students arrived at the grassy quad with their copies of Crucet’s novel, “Make Your Home Among Strangers,” a book about a Cuban American woman who becomes the first in her family to attend college. Some students ripped pages out of the thick book, piling them on the grill.

Then, they started a fire.

What unfolded at Georgia Southern in mid-October illustrates the difficulty of tackling the subject of race in the classroom and in grappling with latent racial tensions that pervade many majority-white college campuses.

The book-burning “was almost a slap in my face,” said Keyshawn Housey, a 21-year-old student government officer who is studying history. He was on the committee that pushed the school to add lessons on diversity to the curriculum. “It just shows that the work that we’ve begun needs to continue.”

The incident proved heartbreaking for faculty and students who had helped select the book and create a curriculum for first-year students intended to tackle themes of race and class more directly. They had hoped this year would mark a turning point for the university.

Last year, in an exchange that was posted to social media, a white student mistakenly texted a black classmate that her Instagram page was “not too n-----ish.” The student claimed she meant to say “triggerish,” but that defense was met with skepticism. The event, which resulted in no discipline for the student, made national headlines and brought embarrassment to the campus.

In response to protests, the university hired a diversity consultant to assess the campus climate, and tapped a team of faculty and students to recommend changes to “First Year Experience,” a required course for freshmen and others new to the campus. They picked Crucet’s book to spark conversations about race and class and privilege. Now, their response to one racist incident had spurred another.

Many educators believe that college provides the ideal forum to talk about race — and they view teaching students about racism as essential to fighting it.

Some history and background:

Quote:The university campus, a mix of classical and modern buildings built around a central promenade, sits in a community with a long history of racial strife. Statesboro, surrounded by cotton fields, made headlines for gruesome lynchings carried out by white residents in 1904, described in vivid detail in newspapers throughout the country.

Scores of black residents fled for their lives and resettled in the North. Black students did not arrive on Georgia Southern’s campus until 1965. Students who have attended the school recently said racism lingers, taking the form of slurs from racist classmates and insensitive remarks from faculty members.

Georgia Southern recently consolidated with two smaller state universities, but the bulk of the students — more than 18,000 — attend classes in Statesboro. The remaining 8,000 students are split between two smaller campuses and an online program. About a quarter of all the students are black, and 60 percent are white. Latino students make up about 7 percent of the student body and Asian students 3 percent.

The book-burning did not so much expose fault lines of race as deepen them. Segregation on campus is visible: Black and white students generally dine at separate tables in campus cafeterias. Fraternities and sororities remain largely segregated, no longer by rules but by social forces. Black and white students generally go to different parties and different bars. A bar that catered to white students had a dress code that seemed to target black patrons: no basketball shoes and no gold chains. Some black students report being harassed by white classmates hurling racist epithets, and some white students report hearing slurs passed around freely in all-white company.

The experiences of black and white students are so divergent that black students have come up with a name for their parallel universe: Black GSU.

“It’s a tale of two schools: Some people went to Georgia Southern, and some people went to Black GSU,” said Kierra Nixon, who graduated in 2017. Nixon recalls walking through campus her freshman year when a white man pulled up next to her in a truck. “The only good n----r,” he told her through the window, “is a dead one.”

McClain Baxley, editor of the George-Anne, the student newspaper that broke the story about the book-burning, said he frequently hears homophobic slurs: People using the word “gay” as a synonym for “bad,” for example.

A diversity report, commissioned last year after protests in response to the text-message controversy, showed that such events are not isolated. A consultant interviewed and surveyed more than 5,000 people, including faculty, staff and students. Fewer than 40 percent of black respondents said they felt “valued and belonging” on campus, compared with half of white respondents.

The consultant warned of potential backlash against efforts to make the campus more welcoming to students of color and LGBTQ students. Some respondents said white men were the real targets of discrimination, and dismissed the existence of transgender people.

“I think it is a shame that being a white male at GSU has been degraded to a point that we are talked down to, set up as examples and generally treated as the ‘Bad Guys,’ ” one respondent wrote. “We are quickly being relegated to a second class here and in the higher education system as a whole simply for being Caucasian.”

“Drop all the diversity horse manure and leftist politics, judge people based on the content of their character, not skin color, ethnicity or gender, sexuality or whatever,” wrote another.
Ralph Northam needs to step down.  

Also, he's endorsing this bill:

Quote:Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has endorsed a bill that would scrap Virginia's Lee-Jackson holiday celebrating two Confederate generals in favor of one on Election Day.

It's among a handful of legislative proposals Northam included in a set of endorsements he says would help increase access to voting.

“Voting is a fundamental right,” said Governor Northam. “But in a state that once put up tremendous barriers to voting, too many people are still unable to participate meaningfully in our democracy. By making it easier—not harder—to vote, these proposals will ensure we are building a government that is truly representative of the people we serve. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to pass these important measures into law.”

The governor is backing a bill patroned by Senator Mamie Locke and Delegate Charniele Herring to allow early voting in Virginia for 45 days before Election Day, rather than the current state standard, which allows absentee voting if voters provide the state with a reason from an approved list.
The Alabama county a person gets arrested can mean a $15 copayment for medical visits or getting billed the full cost.

Collection agencies can end up with the bills when people are still behind bars, which wrecks credit.

Quote:In Alabama, the county in which you’re arrested could be the deciding factor in who will be financially responsible for your medical bills behind bars.

In Baldwin County, known for its white-sand Gulf Coast beaches and waterfront communities, the sheriff’s office ensures that inmates in the county jail do not have to pay anything more than a $15 copayment for medical care.

“Inmates are not billed for the full cost of any medical care either inside or outside” the jail, Sheriff Hoss Mack said in an email. “Alabama Code Title 14 assigns financial responsibility of inmates’ medical treatment to the department where they are being held.”

Just across the bay in Mobile County, home to one of the busiest ports in the U.S. and the eponymous city of nearly 200,000 people built around it, Sheriff Sam Cochran takes a different tack: Some of his inmates are personally on the hook for the full cost of medically necessary care they receive from outside doctors while incarcerated, even if they are awaiting trial.

The difference between the two sheriffs’ approaches demonstrates the unique power Alabama sheriffs have to set their own rules and answer only to voters. Legal experts and civil rights advocates say sheriffs like Cochran are likely violating both state law and the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment and excessive fines.

It’s not just happening in Mobile County. In multiple instances confirmed by and ProPublica, inmates have had medical bills sent to collections while they were still behind bars, damaging their credit and putting pressure on their family members to pay up to ensure the care continued.
The kids of a small, Connecticut school didn't mind that a racist mascot was being changed to something else, but the adults were pissed and voted for a Republican school board to spite the change.

"Redmen" has returned.

Quote:In July, the school board in a small Connecticut town called Killingly took what local officials said was a long-overdue step: removing the name of the school mascot, Redmen, which some Native Americans have deemed racist.

Students did not seem to rebel against the change, even agreeing in the fall to adopt a new name, the Redhawks.

But then the adults had their say.

Residents, apparently angered by the removal of the Redmen mascot, flocked to the polls in November and gave Republicans control of the town council and school board.

The new school board quickly voted to rescind the Redhawks name. And this week, at a contentious five-hour meeting, the board voted 5-4 to reinstate Redmen, which first became the school mascot in 1939.

The board turned aside pleas from students, administrators and Native American residents. No constituents favored the Redmen name, people at the meeting said.

“The people of Killingly spoke on Election Day of what they wanted,” Jason Muscara, one of the new Republican board members who voted to reinstate Redmen, said in an interview.

“I recognize there have been many Native Americans who have voiced those concerns,” he said. “But I would say there is an equal amount of Native people who feel the opposite.”

Still, the decision stirred a backlash among some students and officials in Killingly, which is in the northeast of the state and has a population of about 17,000 people.

More than a partisan split, the Redmen debate also highlighted a generational disconnect. On one side stood old guard alumni, steeped in notions of history and legacy. On the other are Generation Z-era students, raised in a time of heightened cultural sensitivity and inclusivity.

“We look racist,” said Soudalath Souvanhnathan, a senior at Killingly High School. “This is not what I want our school to be known for. And all because people don’t want to let go of tradition. This has made Killingly a laughingstock.”
A black 17-year-old girl in a small Wisconsin town alleges that her former school district routinely ignored complaints of racist taunts; violence; and in-class sexual assault, causing her severe psychological trauma that forced her to change schools:

Quote:Dasia Banks’ 30-page complaint was filed in federal court on Wednesday and contends that teachers and school officials failed to stop violent and racist bullying and exhibited “deliberate indifference” to the problem when faced with complaints. The suit was previously reported by Wisconsin State Journal, and was sure to bring fresh scrutiny to a district previously embroiled in scandal over a viral photo of students giving a Nazi salute.

Dasia and her mother, Megan Ray, cite a laundry list of alleged incidents over several years, including students wearing Confederate flags and using the n-word, shoving Dasia in the hallway, throwing things at her, leaving threatening notes in her locker, and repeated sexual abuse in class.

“I voiced my opinion and stood up for myself, but it got to the point where it just felt like there was no point in me saying anything,” Dasia told The Daily Beast on Thursday. 

At least until now.

“I want to be the one controlling my story,” Dasia said. (The Daily Beast does not identify victims of sexual assault without their express consent.) 

Baraboo School Board member Tim Heilman told the State Journal that the board has “very, very little information” on the allegations, and administrator Lori Mueller told The Daily Beast on Thursday: “At this time, the School District of Baraboo has not been served a lawsuit. If the district receives one, we would not comment without reviewing and seeking advice from legal counsel.”

About an hour northwest of Madison, the school made headlines in 2018 after a group of boys were photographed giving a Nazi salute. (When that incident became public, Mueller said the photo was “not reflective of the educational values and beliefs of the School District of Baraboo,” and that it planned to “pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address” the incident.”)

But Dasia’s story of abuse and harassment starts years earlier. 

In her federal civil-rights complaint, she says she felt discrimination even as a first-grader at Baraboo, where classmates allegedly teased her about her hair and the color of her skin.

During her elementary, middle, and high school years, she was repeatedly called the n-word, which was “ubiquitous” at the school district, the lawsuit alleges. Both Dasia and her mother heard the word used “on a daily basis,” they said. 

When someone stuffed a note in Dasia’s locker, calling her a “n-----” and a “slut,” an administrator said “there was nothing that could be done because there were no cameras in the locker room, and he was not going to look through hours of video to narrow down the suspects,” according to the complaint.

The lawsuit further claims that a “Gangsta Night” at a volleyball game involved white students at the high school dressed up as racist stereotypes. An administrator told Dasia’s mother, who according to the suit worked at the district and endured racial slurs herself, “there was nothing the school could do about it because it came from the students,” the lawsuit claims.

When she was a sophomore, Dasia overheard one conversation in the hallway, where a student allegedly asked his friend: “Is it a hate crime if you slap a black girl?” 

“Everyone in the group laughed, and [she] was terrified,” the lawsuit claims. “The following week, Banks did not go to school at all.”

Another student allegedly called her a “cotton picker.” Yet another white student purportedly called her a “n-----” on Snapchat, and still another allegedly wrote in a separate post: “I find it stupid how black people get all offended when people call them ‘n------’ but then when black people cal [sic] white people ‘white trash’ it’s all okay like duh.”

That same year, the complaint alleges, Dasia was repeatedly sexually assaulted in class by a white student, also a minor, who her lawyers told The Daily Beast was later convicted of sexual assault in that case and sentenced to one year of probation and a required assignment of writing an eight-page essay on sexual assault and consent.

That student allegedly slapped or rubbed Dasia’s butt during class, exposed himself, cupped her breast, and tried to grind on her with an erection, and—while laughing—ignored her pleas for him to stop.

Dasia and her mother “have done their best to document the racial incidents,” they said, but suggested the sheer volume made it difficult to know if they had left any out. According to the suit, the mother, Ray, resigned from a job at the district in February 2018 because she became “exhausted by [the district’s] failure to either address or end its racially hostile educational environment.”  

“This is the worst feeling a parent can go through,” Ray told The Daily Beast. “I watched her go from this amazing, compassionate young lady, and she just kind of turned hard. Her heart has been hardened. She doesn’t believe in anybody anymore. Now, she’s got her voice back. And she’s ready to use it for good.”

The alleged assaults, harassment, and bullying “were so severe and objectively offensive” that they deprived Dasia of access to her right to an education and caused her permanent psychological and emotional harm, the lawsuit says. The family has asked for a jury trial and is seeking unspecified monetary compensation “for all economic and emotional losses” they’ve allegedly suffered over the years.

“I’ve been screaming this at the top of my lungs since she was in first grade,” said Ray. “I’m very proud of Dasia. We don’t want this to happen to other families.”
Maybe - just maybe - the FBI should stay out of this one:

Quote:Today, the FBI honors the life and work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A quote from Dr. King is etched in stone at the FBI Academy's reflection garden in Quantico as a reminder to all students and FBI employees: "The time is always right to do what is right." #MLKDay

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