What’s wrong with ‘stand your ground’ laws? February 28, 2014
For one, “White-on-black homicides are 354 percent more likely to be ruled justified than white-on-white.”
ThinkProgress has some other disturbing facts, here.
Comics, Film, and Race February 25, 2014
There’s a been a bit of a dust-up on the interwebz over the announcement that Michael B. Jordan will be playing Johnny Storm (aka Human Torch) in the Fantastic Four reboot film. There’s a really nice article at IGN responding to the controversy. Here’s just a snippet summary:
The complaints about the Jordan casting seem to boil down to these core arguments:
- Johnny Storm has always been portrayed as a white character.
- Hollywood shouldn’t try to change a character’s race just for the sake of political correctness or money.
- Audiences will be confused if the race of this iconic superhero character is suddenly changed.
- Having a black Johnny and a white Sue means the characters aren’t brother and sister anymore.
To which I offer these rebuttals:
- Yes, and so were Kingpin, Heimdall, Perry White, and Nick Fury at one point.
- Unless you’ve read the script and sat in on the production meetings, it’s a little presumptuous to claim you understand the motivations behind this decision.
- Just like that time everyone’s brain melted when WB replaced Billy Dee Williams’ Harvey Dent with Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face?
- A mixed-race family? That’s unpossible!
The United Kingdom’s (UK) capital, London, is a city of stark contrasts, where wealthy expatriates and a few home grown billionaires, rub shoulders with the numerous poor, who flock from across the country to make their fortune in the metropolis. However, despite the riots that regularly tear across this sprawling city, there is little sign of ethnic unrest, deep in the heartlands of the English peoples.
The same cannot be said hundreds of miles to the north, where a growing political movement is demanding independence for the Scottish tribe. This would be the first time that borders have changed in Western Europe for half a century, and would represent a severe blow to the southern tribes, who depend on the mineral wealth of the Scottish homeland.
Read the rest of the article at Think Africa.
Sally Haslanger on Philosop-her January 31, 2014
UPDATE: This has been reposted due to the request of commenters to have a record of the discussion. In addition, comments have now been reopened to allow the posting of an apology. I ask commenters to be especially careful to respect the “Be Nice” rule. Comments will be closed again if the discussion turns nasty.
Recently I’ve been arguing that there has been insufficient attention in the analytic philosophical literature to the domain of social practices. On the one hand, mainstream analytic political philosophers spend a lot of time thinking about the State and institutions that form the “basic structure” of society, but (perhaps due to the influence of political liberalism) do not consider the micro-politics embedded in the practices of everyday life. Ethicists, on the other hand, tend to focus on individual action (character, will) and often don’t even consider that an agent, in acting, is engaged in a social practice.
What Martin Luther King Actually Did January 20, 2014
Here, in honour of Martin Luther King Day, is a really wonderful blog post from 2011 that’s doing the rounds again today.
…this is what the great Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished. Not that he marched, nor that he gave speeches.
He ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south.
The post is brilliant and important. Today is a good day to read it. And then to read it again.
(Make sure you read right to the end. The author’s postscript regarding the experiences of black women is important.)
Why Isn’t My Professor Black? January 16, 2014
There are just 85 black professors out of 18,510 in the UK and the number has barely changed in eight years. The percent of black professors (0.4%) shows a striking disparity with the proportion of black students, which has increased steadily each year and now stands at 6%.
What does it mean when the generation that produces knowledge is so unrepresentative of the generation that consumes it? This panel debate will be chaired by Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President and Provost. It will aim to ask difficult questions and explore even more challenging solutions.
Networking reception to follow.
Professor Michael Arthur, Chair, UCL President and Provost
Dr William Ackah, Panel Member, Birkbeck, University of London
Dr Lisa Amanda Palmer, Panel Member, Newman University
Dr Shirley Tate, Panel Member, University of Leeds
Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman, Panel Member, UCL
For more, go here.
Apologies for the commercials; the video is worth the VERY SHORT wait, I think.
UK Jury endorses police killing of unarmed black man January 9, 2014
The family of Mark Duggan, whose death in Tottenham sparked the 2011 riots across England, were left devastated as an inquest jury decided he was not holding a gun when shot by police, but nevertheless found the marksman’s decision to open fire was lawful…
The lawful killing verdict was a surprise to some even on the police side, and more so as before announcing the decision, the jury had announced by an eight-to-two majority that they were sure Duggan did not have a gun in his hand when shot.
That had seemed to be the issue at the heart of the inquest.
The jury delivered a narrative verdict, answering a series of questions. It had appeared that the six days of deliberations were going to produce a disaster for the Metropolitan police when the jury found law enforcement had not done enough to gather and react to intelligence Duggan may be seeking to acquire a gun.
Instead the jury announced that by an eight-to-two majority they believed the firearms officer had acted lawfully in gunning Duggan down.