Monday, May 29, 2017

The Black Panthers - A Documentary

In an era where grassroots protesters, including the Black Lives Matter, are subjected to government surveillance and mischaracterized by some as thugs, hooligans, and criminals, the 2015 documentary Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is worth watching. 

The homepage of the movie (also available on Netflix) describes it as follows:

"Change was coming to America and the fault lines could no longer be ignored—cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding, and disputes raged over equality and civil rights. A new revolutionary culture was emerging and it sought to drastically transform the system. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change.

THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. Featuring Kathleen Cleaver, Jamal Joseph, and many others, THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION is an essential history and a vibrant chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America."


May 29, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Interracial Marriage and Latino/a Racial Identity (Prof. Tanya Hernandez)

Yesterday the Pew Research Center released a report announcing the dramatic increase of intermarriage in the United States.  Looking at data since the United States Supreme Court struck down interracial marriage bans with its 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision, Pew discovered that since 1967 intermarriage amongst newlyweds has increased fivefold from 3% to 17%.   Examined in isolation the data point that one in six U.S. newlyweds are now married to someone of a different race, appears quite astounding.  However the role of Latino/a racial identity is a missing piece of the picture that serves to question the real rate of intermarriage.
The largest driving factor in the apparent increase in U.S. intermarriage rates is the pattern of intermarriage between Latinos/as and White Anglos.  Pew reports that the largest amount of intermarriage between opposite sex couples is that between what it terms “Whites and Hispanics.”  The  White/Hispanic combination represents 42% of intermarriage, while in comparison the White/Asian combination represents only 15%, the White/Black combination 11% , the Hispanic/Black combination 5%, and the Hispanic/Asian combination 3%.  Notably, the Pew report neglects to discuss the role of “Hispanic” racial appearance and identity.
For a number of Latinos/as, our African and indigenous ancestry is more prominent than it is for Latinos/as whose European ancestry is more pronounced.  In fact, Latin America and the Caribbean have long histories of subordinating those of African and indigenous ancestry (see “Racial Subordination in Latin America” by Tanya Katerí Hernández). Moreover, research shows that darker-skinned Latinos/as are perceived with less favor than their lighter-skinned group members in the United States.   
So data about White Anglos marrying non-racially identified “Hispanics” tells us very little about the real rate of intermarriage in the U.S.   Are these marriages with Latinos/as who identify or appear as Afro-Latino/a or of indigenous ancestry?  Or are they primarily with Latinos/as who identify or appear as White?  White Anglos marrying White identified Latinos/as is not quite as significant a racial crossing as the Pew Report suggests.  But because the report lumps together Latinos/as of all racial identities and appearances, we have no way of gauging what real racial progress has been made in this country.
Treating Latino/a ethnicity as if it did not also encompass distinct racial identities, as the Pew Report has done thus comes with the risk of extrapolating inaccurate conclusions about the status of race relations today.  Disturbingly, the U.S. Census Bureau’s recent proposal to discontinue collecting census data about Latino/a racial identity in lieu of treating the Hispanic category as a race in of itself, will only magnify the challenge of trying to monitor racial disparities.  Just as assessments about “race-less” Latinos/as can skew our picture of the racial significance of intermarriage, data about “Hispanic” access to opportunity will veil the extent to which darker-hued Latinos/as are treated differently than European-looking Latinos/as.  In short, being more attentive to the specifics of how Latinos/as are racialized in the United States is important not only to gathering an accurate understanding of racism against Latinos/as, but also our nation’s overall racial progress.
-- This commentary was originally published in the Huffington Post
Tanya Katerí Hernándezis a Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law and the author of the forthcoming book from NYU Press, “Multiracials and Civil Rights: Are Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination a New Kind of Multiracial Racism?”

May 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Saving Obamacare is a Racial Justice Issue

Emergency room


The House of Representatives’ vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, will be harmful to all Americans.  But it is literally a matter of life and death for people of color. 

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million Americans will lose their health care coverage if the ACA is repealed.   Many of these will be people of color.  Prior to the ACA, uninsured rates for people of color were exceptionally high.  In 2012, 41.8 percent of Latino adults and 22.4 percent of African American adults were uninsured.  (For comparison, only 14.3 percent of whites 18-65 lacked insurance.)  After Obamacare, the uninsured rates for African American and Latino adults fell by one-half and one-third, respectively.  The ACA clearly worked to reduce the racial disparities in health coverage.  


Aca uninsured rates

Source material here



Children of color also benefit from the ACA.  The ACA provided additional funding for government-funded insurance programs for children.  But the ACA’s expansion of private insurance did far more to reduce the number of uninsured children of color. 

In 2014, less than one-half of one percent of the increase in insured children of color came from government insurance programs.  By contrast, nine times as many children were newly covered under private insurance.  This result is not surprising because when adults become insured, they usually insure their children under the same plan.  So, the ACA was the driving force behind the reduction.         

The reduction in uninsured rates for people of color is only one reason to fight to protect the ACA.  Frankly, people of color need healthcare more than whites.  While Americans of all races need and deserve quality healthcare, communities of color suffer from debilitating diseases at much higher rates than whites.  As such, the lack of adequate healthcare can have life-threatening consequences.

Per the CDC, only 7.6 percent of whites have diabetes.  By contrast, nine percent of Asian Americans, 12.8 percent of Latinos, 13.2 percent of African Americans, and 15.9 of Native Americans have the disease. 

While heart disease is equally present in all racial groups, the outcomes are not consistent among all racial groups.  The American Heart Association reports that African Americans are 33 percent more likely than other races to die from cardiovascular diseases.  Native Americans are twice as likely as other races to die from heart disease before age 65. 

The American Heart Association also found that rate of high blood pressure is about 1.5 times higher in African Americans than in whites.  In addition, African Americans are three times more likely than whites to die because of high blood pressure. 

Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease would all be deemed pre-existing conditions under the new health care bill. 

While Republican leaders have promised that insurers will still cover those with pre-existing conditions, they have also pledged that insurers will be allowed to charge more for covering those with these illnesses.  Will people of color, who make less money and suffer more illnesses than whites, be able to afford adequate care under the proposed system?  It seems unlikely.  Sadly, it seems far more likely that the planned changes will cause uninsured rates for people of color to rise to pre-Obamacare levels – or perhaps even higher. 

Obamacare is far from a perfect system.  Even with Obamacare, people of color are, for the most part, still underinsured compared to whites.  But the ACA was still a major step in the right direction.  Obamacare has given adults and children of color access to health care that they desperately need.  We must fight to keep the gains received under Obamacare.  We must oppose efforts by the Senate to pass any version of the health care bill. 

Repealing Obamacare is a bad prescription for all Americans.  But for people of color, losing access to health care will be a bitter pill to swallow indeed. 

May 12, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Book Announcement: Critical Race Spacial Analysis

Announcing: Critical Race Spatial Analysis: Mapping to Understand and Address Educational Inequality

Deb Morrison, Subini Ancy Annamma, and Darrell D. Jackson, eds.

From the book webpage:

How does space illuminate educational inequity?

Where and how can spatial analysis be used to disrupt educational inequity?

Which tools are most appropriate for the spatial analysis of educational equity?

This book addresses these questions and explores the use of critical spatial analysis to uncover the dimensions of entrenched and systemic racial inequities in educational settings and identify ways to redress them.

The contributors to this book – some of whom are pioneering scholars of critical race spatial analysis theory and methodology – demonstrate the application of the theory and tools applied to specific locales, and in doing so illustrate how this spatial and temporal lens enriches traditional approaches to research.

The opening macro-theoretical chapter lays the foundation for the book, rooting spatial analyses in critical commitments to studying injustice. Among the innovative methodological chapters included in this book is the re-conceptualization of mapping and space beyond the simple exploration of external spaces to considering internal geographies, highlighting how the privileged may differ in socio-spatial thinking from oppressed communities and what may be learned from both perspectives; data representations that allow the construction of varied narratives based on differences in positionality and historicity of perspectives; the application of redlining to the analysis of classroom interactions; the use of historical archives to uncover the process of marginalization; and the application of techniques such as the fotonovela and GIS to identify how spaces are defined and can be reimagined.

The book demonstrates the analytical and communicative power of mapping and its potential for identifying and dismantling racial injustice in education. The editors conclude by drawing connections across sections, and elucidating the tensions and possibilities for future research.

Read the TOC and more and order here.

May 2, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Call for Papers: LatCrit XXI Biennial Conference

LatCrit XXI Biennial Conference & Related Events

Orlando, Florida





2016:  What Next?

Outsider Jurisprudence and Progressive Formations at a Crossroad


Given the moment and trends, it is time to ask hard questions and think of new answers.  LatCrit and other critical outsider formations in the legal academy face a new crossroad. After twenty-one years of critical scholarship and progressive community building, LatCrit, like many organizations that focus on liberation, anti-subordination, and social justice, faces ever-morphing challenges and hurdles. In recent years, the “crisis” in legal academia—in which private actors like law firms, nonprofits, and government agencies have divested their roles in training young lawyers while shifting these costs to law schools and students—has meant the increasing adoption of selective austerity measures, the vilification of the professoriate, and attacks on critical scholarship. Access to education, like access to justice, increasingly erodes. The values exemplified by social justice oriented movements in legal scholarship, movements which have as their objective the demystification of the status quo and the dismantling of power hierarchies, are the first targets of this crisis-driven rush to selective austerity. In their place, neoliberal values like rent-seeking and concentration of wealth, and the accompanying mythologies of meritocracy and U.S. exceptionalism, have filled the void. And in the law school environment, the historically most vulnerable continue to suffer the most. Increasingly, students, support staff, adjunct professors, clinical faculty, and writing faculty join the youngest without tenure (and many of the oldest)—all without clout, and pushed into a new class of disposable workers within legal academia. As all this happens, private financial actors and the federal government continue to profit from an all-loan based approach to financial aid, and those with the richest endowments and the most resources continue deploying them to re-inscribe inequality across the profession. Nonetheless, everyone hopes that things will improve . . . somehow, eventually.


And then November 8th changed all paradigms; seemingly suddenly, entrenched notions of slow-but-steady progress through true-and-patient struggle made little sense.


In the wake of the 2016 election, with its surreal outcome, our political process (finally) has confirmed beyond deniability how hyper-nationalism, white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, oligarchy, and hate are essential to contemporary “conservative” movements. The masking of these trends behind such double-speak as the “alt-right movement” has also emboldened those who seek to promote violent forms of intolerance to step out of the shadows and into the light. The poor and economically marginalized struggle with increasingly exploitative neoliberal forms of welfare, privatized for the profit and protection of the powerful financial class. The fight against these powerful forces, in the classroom, in the courtroom, and in our daily lives, has poured into the streets as we struggle to navigate the onslaught of executive orders, legislation, and appointments designed to divide and conquer democracy itself. If any doubt remained previously, the post-2016 world makes plain every day that unbridled power trumps even fundamental principles with growing impunity. This extreme zeitgeist demands correspondingly fresh critical thinking – and action.


Fortunately, critical and outsider communities in legal academia have been planning strategically for the long term. LatCrit, for example, developed a strategic plan to prioritize generational transition, acquire a physical campus, Campo Sano, to host programs and workshops, and develop a critical justice course book for the varied classrooms and uses. This approach enables veteran and rising generations to emphasize these strategic priorities while maintaining other cornerstones of our established Portfolio of community projects—such as the biennial South-North Exchange (Antigua, Guatemala 2018), the annual Junior Faculty Development Workshop, our periodic Study Space projects, and upcoming programs at Campo Sano. But inter-national events since November 8th have made increasingly plain that our ongoing efforts to remain nimble are no match for the intensified perfidies of the post-2016 world.


This year, then, we consider another strategic transition, from the anchor event we began in 1996 with the LatCrit I annual conference in La Jolla to the next generation and phase of our ongoing programmatic collective work. Responding directly to the moment, the LatCrit community will focus and decide, together, how we will respond programmatically to this moment.  Rather than flinch or crouch, we instead choose to re-group, re-think, and re-affirm our commitment to long-term work that transcends moments, persons, or events.  Determined to match the exigency of this moment, critical and outsider networks will gather at the Twenty-First Biennial LatCrit Conference in Orlando, Florida, to mobilize our resources and address innovatively the intensified challenges facing our diverse networks and communities.


At this historically urgent juncture, we invite papers, panels, roundtables, workshops and works in progress across disciplinary boundaries and from all constituencies that center the key, basic questions: What next? How do we reverse the forces that triumphed last November? What does critical solidarity require now of us in terms of organizing and mobilizing? How do lawyers, organizers, academics, students, and allies move forward communally, centering systematic patterns of group injustice, preserving hard-fought gains from our ancestors, and forging ahead into a freer future? How can each of us best use our respective training and talents for this common struggle? What is the role of identity and education moving forward? What part will critical outsider jurisprudence and pedagogy have to play in formal and public education in the future?  How do we make a difference now, and going forward, through personal and collective action?


If we do not answer these urgent questions now, the forces of regression will do so for us.  Join us in Orlando for this forward-looking, action-focused, cross-disciplinary exchange.  Join us in helping to envision and secure the future we aim to live.


Paper, Panel, Roundtable, Workshop proposals and Works In Progress (WIPS) on all topics related to systemic subordination and organizing resistance are welcome.


DEADLINE: Please submit an abstract and your contact information by May 15, 2017.

Please make your submission at

For general information and questions about the event please email Saru Matambanadzo at [email protected].

May 1, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)