Tag Archives: California

Race, Rehabilitation, And The Private Prison Industry

Image by x1klima, via Flickr Creative Commons.

By Lisa Wade, PhD, cross-posted from Sociological Images

In 1984 the U.S. began its ongoing experiment with private prisons. Between 1990 and 2009, the inmate population of private prisons grew by 1,664%  (source). Today approximately 130,000 people are incarcerated by for-profit companies.  In 2010, annual revenues for two largest companies — Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group — were nearly $3 billion.

Companies that house prisoners for profit have a perverse incentive to increase the prison population by passing more laws, policing more heavily, sentencing more harshly, and denying parole.  Likewise, there’s no motivation to rehabilitate prisoners; doing so is expensive, cuts into their profits, and decreases the likelihood that any individual will be back in the prison system.  Accordingly, state prisons are much more likely than private prisons to offer programs that help prisoners: psychological interventions, drug and alcohol counseling, coursework towards high school or college diplomas, job training, etc.

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Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Isaiah Wooden

By Andrea Plaid

Isaiah Wooden (left) with Joe Morton. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.

I met Isaiah while I was staying at the home of a mutual friend who seems to gather all who are Black and brilliant into his orbit. Isaiah being a native Baltimorean, I was able to chat with him about the physical and socio-economic layout of what I could see of the city when I was there for the Facing Race conference in November. Considering that he’s this week’s Crush, you know I find Isaiah rather amazing, and I’m all about sharing the amazing in this column, right?

So, here’s Isaiah, in his own words…

Isaiah, my first question is: whatcha studying at Stanford that pulled you way away from the East Coast?

First, I have to say: it is such a pleasure to be in conversation with you again! I so deeply appreciate the work that you are doing at Racialicious and, indeed, in the world. To answer the question: I am currently a doctoral candidate in Theater and Performance Studies (T&PS) at Stanford, where I am in the throes of writing a dissertation entitled, The Afterwards of Blackness: Race, Time and Contemporary Performance. The project begins with the premise that one of the more urgent questions to emerge in what has been theorized as the “post-soul,” the “post-black,” and/or the “post-civil rights” era is: what is the time of blackness? Attending to examples of expressive art, I analyze the aesthetic strategies and practices that several contemporary black cultural producers deploy to dramatize the deeply intertwined relationship of blackness and time and, correspondingly, to critique concepts of normative or modern temporality. The project, in many ways, is reflective of my broader teaching and research interests in twentieth and twenty-first century dramatic literature, theory, and criticism; performance studies; African American studies; (black) queer studies; and popular culture. It also evidences my continued engagements with both theory and practice: I have been fortunate to direct a number of the plays that I take up in the dissertation.

Part of what drew me to Stanford in 2008, in fact, was the T&PS Department’s integrative approach to the study of theater and performance. Stanford has been tremendously supportive of what I call my “directing habit” and, indeed, has provided wonderful opportunities for me to flex both theoretically and creatively during my tenure. I was reminiscing just a few days ago with the brilliant playwright A-lan Holt, a recent Stanford alum, about the time we spent in Kampala, Uganda devising a new performance piece that I staged, along with a colleague, at the National Theatre there. As you might imagine, it was a transformative experience. Beautifully, I have had many similar experiences since venturing westward.

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Angry (At The) Asian(-American) Man: Racists Assail Congressional Candidate

By Arturo R. García

Lest you think the presidential election gets all the racism this year, the race for California’s 39th Congressional District seat has been marked by some truly virulent stuff, as you can see in the clip above.

As OC Weekly notes, Jay Chen is a Harvard-educated Asian-American, a former school board president and former U.S. Naval Reserve officer. But as you might imagine, that’s “not American enough” for at least some morons claiming to support his Republican opponent, incumbent Congressman Ed Royce.
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Meet The First Asian American Gold Medalist, 91-Year-Old Sammy Lee

by Guest Contributor Jen Wang, originally published at Disgrasian

The last time the Olympics were in London in 1948 was also the first time an Asian American won a gold medal in the Games. That distinction belongs to 91 year-old Dr. Samuel “Sammy” Lee, who was born in Fresno, CA, and is of Korean descent.


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The L.A. Riots, 20 Years Later [Voices]

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Courtesy: Los Angeles Times

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Beyond Trayvon Martin: Calls For Justice Surface For Other Senseless Deaths

By Arturo R. García

It’s been just over a month now since Trayvon Martin was shot and killed, and while his case has come to dominate national headlines, there have been other tragedies coming to light.
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Proposition 8 Struck Down–For Now

By Arturo R. García

The fight for marriage equality isn’t over yet. But Tuesday brought with it a huge win for opponents of California’s Proposition 8, as a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law was unconstitutional, possibly sending the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Prop 8, which had banned same-sex marriages, was approved by California voters in 2008, overturning a California State Supreme Court ruling. In 2010, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled it was unconstitutional, a decision the panel upheld in a 2-1 vote. The panel also ruled Walker, now retired from the bench, did not have to vacate his decision for not revealing his own same-sex relationship at the time of his ruling. Walker’s decision to keep his ruling under a court seal was also upheld.

Despite the panel’s ruling, however, LGBT couples still cannot get married; the law will remain in place during a two-week period the law’s supporters have to determine whether they will appeal to a larger 9th Circuit panel, or go directly to the Supreme Court. Some legal experts have suggested the higher court might leave the case alone.
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‘The Sikh Pioneers of North America’: The Punjabi-Mexican Americans of California

By Guest Contributor Ay-leen The Peacemaker, cross-posted from Beyond Victoriana

In California at the turn of the 20th century, a community grew in southern California with an interesting history: Punjabi-Mexican families of the Imperial Valley. This unique community stemmed from the effects of British colonialism, transnational labor immigration & American economic opportunity (and American anti-Asian discrimination laws). Many multi-generational families in the area today can trace their multicultural and multiethnic histories back over a hundred years, and refer to themselves as “Mexican Hindus”, “Hindu” or “East Indian” today.

During the 19th century, many Punjabi families sent their sons abroad to earn a living outside the British Raj; most of these sons had served as part of the British army and police force in China. Eventually, these men saved enough for passage to America to work in manufacturing, lumber, or agriculture, with a majority of this immigration happening between 1900 and 1917. These bands of travelling workers were known in America as “Hindu crews.” Others from the middle to upper-middle classes sough educational opportunities in American universities. These Punjabi immigrants typically entered America through Angel Island, the entry point for overseas immigration on the US West Coast. According to Professor Karen Leonard, “Some 85 percent of the men who came during those years were Sikhs, 13 percent were Muslims, and only 2 percent were really Hindus.”

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