What it's like to watch someone you love fall down the Fox News rabbit-hole

Luke O'Neil put a call out for his readers' stories of their loved ones' capture by Fox News, being overtake by its paranoid, racist conspiracy mindset: he got back a heartbreaking collection of tales of "funny, compassionate" older relatives turning into someone who was "increasingly angry, bigoted, and paranoid" -- some people even found their older relatives dead in front of a TV playing Fox. Read the rest

Courts and cops don't know what to do with "sovereign citizens," the delusional far-rightists who claim the law doesn't apply to them

The "sovereign citizen" movement is a grifty, anti-Semitic/white-nationalist-adjacent cult whose conspiratorial beliefs include a bunch of reasons that neither law enforcement nor courts have jurisdiction over them, and also that the federal government is not allowed to own land (this being the rubric for the Cliven Bundy terrorists' seizure of the Malheur Oregon Wildlife Refuge. Read the rest

Chicago is demanding that children on bail wear private-sector ankle-cuffs with mics that can record them without their consent

Children who end up caught in Chicago's policing and justice system are being outfitted with ReliAlert XC3 GPS ankle-cuffs supplied by the Track Group, who use them to log children's movements and to bark orders at them, as well as listening in on them. The children have to wear them 24/7 while on bail awaiting trial. Read the rest

A new edition of Octavia Butler's classic postapocalyptic Afrofuturist novel "Parable of the Sower," with an introduction by Hugo winner NK Jemisin

Macarthur "genius prize" recipient Octavia Butler (previously) is one of science fiction's most important figures, an author who wrote cracking, crackling, accessible and fast-moving adventure stories shot through with trenchant and smart allegories about race, gender and power (I like to think of her as "woke Heinlein"). Read the rest

Most Americans believe Trump has made race relations worse in America: Pew Research

Americans have a mostly negative view of the state of racial progress under Trump.

Owner of civil war reenactment business sues school district that canceled field trips after his far-right social media came to light

Riley's Farm is a staple of Los Angeles overnight school trips (my daughter visited last year with her elementary school); it's an apple farm with a pick-your-own apples sideline that branched out into civil war re-enactments, with some students staying overnight in tents. Read the rest

Tracking down Dick Davy, a mysterious "lost" comedian who once championed civil rights and antiracism

Jason from the Comedy on Vinyl podcast writes, "I've spent the last eight years interviewing people from Rachel Bloom to Harry Shearer about their favorite vinyl comedy albums on my podcast, 'Comedy on Vinyl.' A few weeks ago, inspired by the brilliant podcast 'Mystery Show,' I decided to do something new, as I attempted to uncover the true identity and life story of long-lost comedian Dick Davy. A character comic, a white guy who won over The Apollo, and a civil rights activist who later settled into obscurity, Dick Davy's story temporarily took over my life and renewed my faith in comedy as a potential agent for change." (MP3) Read the rest

Police lobbyist: cops will not be motivated to stop crime unless they are allowed to steal people's stuff

South Carolina cops love the state's civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow the police to seize any property they believe represents the proceeds of a crime and keep it, unless the property's former owner hires a lawyer to prove the innocence of their goods: more than $17m was seized last year, and in a fifth of these cases, no one was convicted of a crime (71% of the people whose stuff gets stolen by South Carolina cops are Black). Read the rest

Black Batman: an origin story for an alternate superhero

Jamelle Bouie (previously), has proposed an alternate Black Batman, with an accompanying background story that goes beyond race-switching Bruce Wayne and instead looks at the cultural and racial politics of America and finds exactly the right niche where a Black vigilante in a mask would fit. Read the rest

Afrofuturist artist creates gorgeous portraits with Deep Dreaming

Wagner James Au sez, "AI algorithms, as AOC recently pointed out, often have a racial bias inherited by their creators, to the point where some can't even 'see' people of color. Afrofuturist Nettrice Gaskins teaches Deep Dream's AI to be aware of great black faces on a deep level." Read the rest

An archive of Freedom, Paul Robeson and Louis Burnham's radical Harlem newspaper

Freedom, published in Harlem during the Cold War and McCarthy years, was Paul Robeson and Louis Burnham's radical black paper that "ppenly challenged racism, imperialism, colonialism, and political repression and advocated for civil rights, labor rights and world peace"; NYU's Freedom archive holds browsable (but not searchable, alas!) scans of issues with contributions from "W.E.B. Du Bois, Alice Childress and Lorraine Hansberry" and many others. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

An interactive timeline of race categories in the US Census

Every ten years, the US government is constitutionally mandated to carry out a census: the first census, in 1790, only counted "the head of household and the number of free white males, other free persons and slaves in each household." Read the rest

Google donated $5k to GOP Senator who "joked" about attending a lynching with her Black opponent

Cindy Hyde-Smith is a Mississipi GOP Senator is going into a runoff election against her Democratic opponent, Black man named Mike Espy who might end up the first Black Mississipi Senator since 1883; she made headlines last week with a joke about attending a "public hanging." Read the rest

Thunder Bay: podcast about Canada's hate crime and murder capital is a cross between Serial and Crimetown

The remote north Ontario city of Thunder Bay leads Canada in murders and hate crimes and features a local government mired in scandal, from a mayor who was charged with extortion to a police chief who went on trial for obstruction of justice. Read the rest

3D print this Harriet Tubman stamp and fix all those twenties that Mnuchin forgot to take Andrew Jackson off of

As of 2020, Harriet Tubman -- revolutionary anti-racist hero -- was supposed to replace Andrew Jackson (authoritarian, genocidal stain on the American project) on the $20 bill, with Jackson moving to the other side of the bill as a sop to racist idiots. Read the rest

Edward Snowden on Malkia Cyril, a multigenerational black rights activist on the front lines of the surveillance wars

For its 25th anniversary, Wired Magazine asked numerous luminaries to pick a figure from the digital world to celebrate; Edward Snowden chose EFF Pioneer Award Winner Malkia Cyril, executive director of the Center for Media Justice and cofounder of the Media Action Grassroots Network, who is one of the leaders in teaching grassroots activists to resist government surveillance. Read the rest

School apologizes for promo photo manipulated to darken students' skin for "diversity"

Art school Émile Cohl in Lyon, France formally apologized after students noticed that a group photo on the school's United States promotional web site had been manipulated to make several of the people appear to have dark skin. The manipulated photo is at the very top of this post. Below it is another image, without the alterations, from the same series of snapshots. From The Guardian:

Antoine Rivière, the college director, told L’Express he was only made aware of the altered photo when he was contacted by some fifth-year students who appeared in it.

“We had sent a certain number of documents to an American communications agency in order to highlight our college,” he said. One of the photographs had been doctored without the school’s knowledge...

The school is planning to open a branch in the US in the near future.

Read the rest

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