links for 2010-06-03

  • "I'd been asked why I haven't commented on it yet, and one of the reasons was that I wanted more information on the issue before I do so. There are times I'd rather get it right than posting it 'right now'. My intuition was also telling me there was more to this story than the first sensational headlines warranted.

    "Well, thanks to South Africa's Gender DynamiX and Pinay TG, I have another interesting piece to tell you about. 

    "Tiwonge Chimbalanga, one of the people involved, identifies as trans."

  • "A man has been arrested in what federal and South Carolina authorities believe may be a hate crime. The suspect is accused of murdering a black man and dragging the victim's body behind a pickup truck."
  • "After 59 years in an unmarked grave, Henrietta Lacks was honored with a headstone for her resting place, reports the Virginia Pilot. Friends and family gathered for a small ceremony in Clover, Virginia where Lacks has been buried on a family plot since 1951.

    "Since her death from cervical cancer Lacks' cells — the infamous "HeLa" line — have been cultivated by scientists and used for everything from polio vaccines, to studies of cancer, HIV and Parkinson's disease. Thanks to the book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot, the world found out that the cells of a poor Black woman have helped changed modern medicine."

  • "Hollywood actor Q’orianka Kilcher chained herself to a fence, her body covered in black paint to represent oil. She was forcibly removed and the police had to use a saw to cut through her chains."
  • "A real estate ad in the New Bedford Standard-Times in New Bedford, Mass., shocked a reader when she saw that the ad apparently endorsed racial discrimination. 

    "Buried in the ad for a piece of property in Fairhaven, Mass., was the passage, 'The said land shall not be sold, leased or rented to any person other than of the Caucasian race or to any entity of which any person other than that of said race shall be a member, stockholder, officer or director.'"

  • "The problem is you cannot celebrate the antebellum South without celebrating slavery. A celebration of slavery is not just the celebration of the oppression of Black Americans, but of a pain wrought on all Americans. Every part of antebellum life was made possible by the enslavement of millions of people."
  • As anyone will tell you, even a minor transaction on Craigslist is not just a negotiation between two parties, but a negotiation between the human instincts for bargain-hunting and self-preservation. Is the deal good enough to risk meeting a total stranger with a pocket full of money? Two researchers at Stanford have taken this conundrum a step further by explicitly introducing race into the mix. Jennifer Doleac and Luke Stein recently published the results of their study investigating whether including photos of white, black or tattooed hands holding new iPod Nanos in online classified ads has an effect on the offers that prospective buyers make. The short answer: yes. For a year, Doleac and Stein planted ads for iPods in several hundred sites across the country and then tracked the responses. On the whole, black sellers received 13 percent fewer responses and 17 percent fewer offers. Those who did receive an offer got 2 to 4 percent less than their white counterparts.
  • “From where I come from, you holler at a girl,” one student tells the group…“If she’s wearing short shorts, booty shorts, short skirt, with the thong showing, she wants it,” another guy says. “Can’t blame it on the boy. She knows what she’s doing.” “But what if it’s hot out?” This is Kedrick Griffin. He’s here to play the 37-year-old devil’s advocate on a subject that’s generally considered normal behavior for a teenage boy in the District of Columbia…Along with the targeted line of questioning, Griffin has also brought three boxes of Pizza Boli’s and an 18-pack of Sierra Mist…This exercise has come almost at the end of a year-long District program called the “Men of Strength” club—MOST Club, for short. The same pattern is repeated with groups of boys in public middle and high schools across the District: Come for the pizza, stay for the deconstructions of masculinity.
  • …the scene yesterday morning outside a popular synagogue in Second Life [:] protesters waving the Turkish flag, in response to th killings by Israeli commandos of passengers on a pro-Palestinian relief flotilla bound for Gaza. (Most of the flotilla ships were Turkish in origin, as were most of the dead.)…In Mariner's eyes, this makes the Sunday protest a form of intolerance violating Second Life's Community Standards against behavior which demeans a Resident for their ethnicity or religion. "When one protests a synagogue, Holocaust museum, Jewish community center, delicatessen, or other strictly apolitical Jewish building or gathering-place," Mariner argues, "you are not protesting the nation of Israel." This is not the first time a Jewish site in Second Life has been impacted by real world current events; last year, for instance, after Israel attacked Hamas in Gaza, SL Israel was besieged by protesters.