A while back the Freedom Defense Initiative started taking out Islamophobic ads on buses around San Francisco (the original ads are not pictured; they are offensive enough I didn’t think it was worth it). Turns out, a vigilante (presumably, without super powers) has found a way to improve them — the ads are being defaced with new wording, and images of Kamala Khan, who is both the latest woman in the Marvel universe to take on the title of Ms. Marvel and Marvel’s first Muslim headlining character. Via Toybox at io9.
Northwestern suspends plans to mediate, and a statement November 24, 2014
And a statement from the student who is being sued:
“There has been so much in the news lately about the many and horrifying failings of university administrations’ dealing with Title IX issues. We are all familiar with these catastrophic miscarriages of justice, and frankly, we are all worn weary with worry and heartache. Today however, the Northwestern community has taken a real step in the direction of modeling what it’s like for a university to be an ally in the fight against sexual harassment and sexual assault. Today, in response to criticism from the student population, who were in turn vocalizing my objections as the graduate student named in Peter Ludlow’s lawsuit, Northwestern’s administration has agreed to halt all mediation proceedings with Ludlow’s attorneys. To be clear: I voiced my concerns, the broader Northwestern community mobilized on my behalf (in only 24 hours), and the administration heard our cry, in turn responding appropriately by suspending all mediation proceedings — this, while ordering hot chocolate for the student protestors, and helping them to put up their protest signs outside the president’s office. The administration and I are now engaged in further discussions about my wishes and needs throughout this process.
Putting the victim first should not be such an uncommonly outstanding occasion. Yet in this moment, I feel compelled to sing loudly the praises of Northwestern’s administration. Let this be a message to all universities: Stand by your students, stand by your victims. Protect their voices. Together, let’s make Northwestern a model.”
From the Organisers’ FB page.
It has come to our attention that Northwestern is looking to quickly mediate in their lawsuit with Peter Ludlow–a lawsuit in which they are not the only defendant (a graduate student who filed a Title IX complaint against him, and a professor who assisted her, are also named as well, and accused of defamation). NU is planning to mediate, regardless of the desires of their co-defendants.
While we admire Northwestern’s intention to mitigate the stressful nature of the legal situation for all involved, Northwestern should stand by their actions rather than agree to write a check now to avoid potential litigation costs later. Sexual violence is an epidemic on college campuses that persists, in part, because perpetrators are shielded by universities’ interests in avoiding public relations scandals and protecting their bottom line, and by the damage caused to victims’ credibility when universities do mistreat perpetrators.If Ludlow has engaged in a pattern of predatory behavior, he should not be rewarded just for the sake of avoiding the costs of litigation, nor should he be able to walk away with plausible deniability. If he has not, the university should be responsible for their mistreatment of him; not only for his sake, but for the sake of victims everywhere who have a vested interest in universities properly handling Title IX complaints. Negotiating in this way, before both sides can be heard, would also simultaneously send a chilling message to victims on campuses everywhere, that if they come forward, they will need to consider the legal and financial costs given this new precedent, and deny an alleged victim, and the faculty member who assisted in bringing her complaint forward, any chance of vindicating their credibility that they have.
Anger and its importance August 29, 2014
‘Angry blacks’, ‘angry muslims’, ‘angry feminists’! For many, such labels conjure up unpleasant or frightening images. They distract from causes of the anger and instead focus attention on the now problematic bearers of the labels. That phenomenon could cost us dearly, as Amia Srinivasan’s talk on the BBC Argues. Her talk is largely about the need for anger in protesting against injustice. Anger is a form of moral seeing, she maintains.
Yesterday I was thinking about similar thoughts as expressed by Jesse Prinz, mentioned here. Walking to a checkout counter in Whole Foods I saw that the Sept issue of Shambhala Sun had a section on ‘The Wisdom of Anger’, which the Bhuddas think is very important once transformed into wisdom and compassion. A convergence of thought.
Anger can both focus us on a problem and motivate us to take action. However, it is unlikely to lead misbehaving colleagues to rethink their actions. The latter is something to remember.
Some images of anger from Shambhala Sun:
Indian Rape Victim’s Death Stirs Grief, Outrage, and Resolve December 31, 2012
“The gang rape and death of a young Indian woman has sparked an outpouring of national grief and outrage, and a question: Will the tragedy prompt change, in laws and attitudes toward women, in the world’s largest democracy?”
“…Outrage and protest about the assault escalated violently last week when police used batons, water cannon and tear gas in clashes with hundreds of demonstrators; one policeman died in the protests. Indian authorities, fearing a new wave of demonstrations yesterday, deployed hundreds of policemen to seal off the President’s palace, the Prime Minister’s office and key ministries, which have been the scene of battles between police and civilians. They closed 10 metro stations and banned vehicles from some main roads in the centre of the capital.
Although more than 1,000 people gathered at two locations, the demonstrations were peaceful. In one spot, a wreath studded with white flowers was laid on the road, a candle lit and a silent tribute held for the young woman. Near by, members of a theatre group played small tambourines and sang songs urging society to wake up and end discrimination against women…”
Indian Rape Sparks Gender-Inequality Debate (WSJ video: 3 minutes, 14 seconds)
“The death of the victim of a gang rape in India has set off a fresh wave of national grief and outrage. The WSJ’s Nisha Gopalan [and Deborah Kan] conside[r] whether it could also lead to legal changes to protect women’s rights.”
For what it reveals, explicitly or implicitly, see here for India’s government on gender statistics and gender (in)equality
Femen: Ukraine’s Topless Warriors November 28, 2012
Founded in Kiev in 2008 to protest the country’s burgeoning sex industry (“Ukraine is not a brothel!” was the slogan of their first — and still clothed — demonstration, which aimed to dissuade foreigners from visiting prostitutes in the capital), Femen has since evolved into a vanguard of militant activists who have dubbed themselves the storozhevyye suki demokratii (the “watch-bitches of democracy”) and “modern-day Amazons,” some of whom demonstrate topless to, says their website “defend with their chests sexual and civic equality throughout the world.”
The article ends with this remark: ‘Just what de Beauvoir would have thought of topless demonstrations is anyone’s guess.’ Perhaps our erudite readership would care to weigh in? This seems unduly dismissive about the possibility of anticipating and reconstructing the views of a very important philosopher.
Pussy Riot’s fate October 22, 2012
Pussy Riot is a female Russian punk band who staged a protest against Putin’s close ties with the Orthodox Church earlier this year. As is well-known, the three-woman band burst into Moscow’s main cathedral and sang a protest song on the altar. They were arrested, and have been in prison ever since. They were originally sentenced to two years in jail. One member was freed on appeal, receiving only a suspended sentence, on the grounds that she had been pulled away from the altar before the song began. But the sentences of the two other members have been upheld. Rumour has it that they have been sent to two of the harshest, Soviet-era prison camps – far away from their friends, supporters, and family, including their young children – but I understand that this has not been officially confirmed. You can read more from Reuters.