Voter suppression act two: closing driver's license offices in Alabama's Black Belt


A favored tactic of Tea Party governors this decade has been the imposition of a poll tax in the form of voter ID laws that required voters to present a state-issued ID (usually a driver's license) in order to exercise their franchise. Read the rest

Wisconsin is a paradise for white kids, but a hell for black kids


In Madison alone, 1,000 black children were arrested in 2013, but only 3,247 black children live in Madison. Read the rest

Ta-Nehisi Coates wins a 2015 MacArthur Genius award


The awards -- whose selection process is a closely guarded secret -- come with $500,000 over five years. Read the rest

Jamaica wants slavery reparations from the UK


Members of Jamaica's Parliament are threatening to turn their backs on David Cameron during an official visit unless he agrees to discuss reparations for slavery during the meeting. Read the rest

Black burners on race and Burning Man


Steven W Thrasher, a self-described "black burner" interviewed 20 burners of color on their experience at and motivations for attending Burning Man, where the population is 87% white and 1.3% black. Read the rest

Watch Ahmed Mohamed's awesome press conference about being a rogue clockmaker in America


Zomg, the kid is charming. He reveals that he's switching high-schools, thanks his supporters, discussing his inventing and tinkering, and talks about his delight at being invited to the White House. Read the rest

Ex-mayor of Bismark, ND trademarks alternatives to "Fighting Sioux" in bid to prevent UND team from switching to non-racist name


Marlan "Hawk" Haakenson used the state registry to claim Fighting Hawks, Nodaks, and North Stars in the mistaken belief that this would give him leverage to prevent the University of North Dakota from abandoning its racist "Fighting Sioux" team name. The NCAA has threated UND with sanctions if it doesn't change the team's name. Read the rest

America's mass incarceration of black people: the most important essay you'll read today


Ta-Nehisi Coates's longread in the Atlantic, "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration" is a stupendous piece of serious journalism, tracing the long history of system racism in America to the present day condition: America imprisons more people than any other country in the world; it imprisons more people than at any time in its history; and it imprisons black people, especially black men, at a rate that beggars belief. Read the rest

Making while brown: Texas schoolchild arrested for bringing homemade clock to school UPDATED


Ahmed Mohamed is a gifted, driven maker-kid who's in the ninth grade at MacArthur High in Irving, Texas. When he showed the homemade clock he soldered and pieced together to his engineering teacher, he was told to keep it in his bag. But when the alarm went off in English class, his teacher accused him of bringing a bomb to school.

He told the teacher, and then the principal, and then the police offers who'd been summoned, that it was a digital clock he'd made and brought to school to show as evidence of the kinds of things he was making. He'd loved robotics club in middle school and was hoping to connect to a similar peer group in his new high school.

He was arrested, handcuffed, and paraded through the school with an officer on each arm, wearing his NASA shirt.

When he was brought before the school police, the officer who arrested him looked at him and said, "Yup. That’s who I thought it was." Ahmed Mohamed and his family (and the Council on Islamic American Relations) believe that the officer was referring to the color of his skin and his name.

Police spokesman James McLellan admits that Mohamed always maintained that the device was a clock, not a bomb, "but there was no broader explanation." When the Dallas Morning News asked him what "broader explanation" he was looking for, McLellan said, “It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. Read the rest

Kickstarting an inclusive RPG based on HP Lovecraft's works

Becky writes, "My partner and I are launching our Kickstarter today for a role-playing game based on the works of HP Lovecraft." Read the rest

NYPD cop who beat up tennis star James Blake has a long, violent rapsheet

Officer James Frascatore's only been on the NYPD for 4 years, but has racked up a long history of complaints for unprovoked acts of brutality -- and for lying about them. Read the rest

Words about slavery that we should all stop using

"Plantation" = "labor camp"; "slave-owner" = "enslaver"; "Union troops" = "US troops." Read the rest

GOP "kingmaker" proposes enslavement as an answer to undocumented migrants

Jan Mickelson hosts one of Iowa's top talk-radio shows and has entertained many of the GOP's nomination hopefuls who want his endorsement for the all-important Iowa primary. Read the rest

Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies lose big at the Hugos UPDATED

Cixin Liu's "Three Body Problem" is the first-ever translation to win Best Novel; meanwhile, the uprecedented effort to put together an organized slate of science fiction that appealed to sexist (Sad Puppies) and misogynist/white supremacist (Rabid Puppies) and homophobic (both) orthodoxy to sweep the Hugos was a flop. Read the rest

America does a better job of tracking bee deaths than deaths in police custody

Michael from Muckrock writes, "The federal government has a pretty good picture of where bees are dying across America, with two federal agencies collaborating on a systematic, scientifically-rigorous, long-term look at the problem, particularly important given the danger that colony collapse disorder presented." Read the rest

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