In defense of the Ferguson rioters

Published: Daily Dot (November 28, 2014)

In Ferguson, the streets are on fire, and so are the media as they follow rioters through clouds of tear gas and across lines of National Guard troops. Months after the death of Michael Brown at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson, the people of Ferguson have yet to see justice;

But the unrest is bigger than either Wilson or Brown. Here are the nationwide issues underlying the Ferguson riots.

1) We need to fight the overgrowth of our prison system.

We can start with the excessive use of force displayed against the Ferguson protesters. From liberal media outlets like the Huffington Post to conservative pundits like Rand Paul discussing the militarization of our police to Governor Jay Nixon’s decision to use the National Guard instead of ordinary police, the message is the same: Citizens who protest their government’s actions are too often viewed as enemies. read more

3 Reasons Obama’s Immigration Order Will Prove The Haters Wrong

Published: Daily Dot (November 26, 2014)

Last week, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley boldly claimed that Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration would cause him to be remembered as “a folk hero to Latino Americans.” While I can’t speak for the collective cultural memory of another ethnic group, Brinkley is right about one thing—President Obama has put himself on the right side of history. While Americans are more divided on the controversial move, a wide majority of Latinos (90 percent) and young voters (73 percent) supported the executive order, according to poll data released Monday. read more

Stop comparing the Ferguson riots to the O. J. case

Published: Daily Dot (November 26, 2014)

The Internet has the potential to communicate empathy unlike any other form of media in history. Unfortunately, as much of the online response to the Michael Brown shooting and Ferguson riots makes clear, it can also push us in the opposite direction.

In a recent article on the role of online activism in mobilizing African-Americans against racial oppression, Sarah Seltzer of Flavorwire compared the approach of the Social Justice Internet with the grassroots anti-lynching campaigns of Ida B. Wells. Just as Wells became the “patron saint of muckraking journalism and anti-racist activism” by “[not] trying to maintain a face of ‘objectivity’ or bogus neutrality” but instead “using statistics, facts, and research to aid argumentative activism,” so too are social media users and bloggers using the Internet to challenge “the usual patriarchal and white-supremacist narratives that both the state and the mainstream media adopt unthinkingly.” read more

Why can’t America control its gun violence epidemic?

Published: Daily Dot (November 25, 2014)

co-author: Liskula Cohen

 

 

 

 

There were at least 12 school shootings since December 2012, from Newtown, Conn., to Marysville, Wash. Last week’s attack on Florida State University has made that number even larger. The American fear of guns is real and justifiable.

Although I’m best known as a former model, I’m writing about this issue as a Canadian living in the United States, and as a mother witnessing the influence of the Internet on gun culture. The fact that it’s 2014 and parents still have to worry about the kind of violence that we saw in Florida is ridiculous (the Canadian parliament shooting earlier this year, though terrible, wasn’t a school shooting). Perhaps because I wasn’t raised in America, I have a hard time understanding why more isn’t being done to prevent these acts. It’s sickening to even think about having to talk about these things in front of my child. I don’t want her to know about them, but if she continues to live in the United States, I know she’ll have no choice. read more

Why the Bill Clinton Rape Allegations Still Matter

Published: Daily Dot (November 24, 2014)

As the number of rape allegations against Bill Cosby continues to rise, many conservative pundits are criticizing progressives for ignoring the sketchy sexual history of one of the Democratic Party’s greatest living icons: former President Bill Clinton.

“When it comes to these kinds of allegations some powerful men like Bill Cosby are taunted and hunted, while other powerful men with the first name Bill, who have faced similar allegations, are protected,” writes John Nolte of Breitbart, citing partisanship and race as among the main factors protecting Clinton. “[Clinton] still dominates Democratic politics, commanding an average $195,000 per speech imparting his wisdom and insights,” observes Ethel C. Fenig of The American Thinker. “Past allegations of rape and groping and using his power and charm to seduce women are ignored—or secretly admired.” read more

3 Reasons I’m Not #ReadyForHillary Just Yet

Published: Daily Dot (November 20, 2014)

As a progressive millennial who actively volunteered for and supported Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, I am ready to make public an opinion I’ve only expressed in private until now:

In retrospect, I wish we’d nominated Hillary Clinton.

This statement isn’t intended as a slight against Obama (who I actually ranked pretty highly in the presidential pantheon just last week), and it must seem like a bizarre way to open an article about Clinton’s shortcomings as a potential presidential candidate. That said, even if one thinks she’d be a strong presidential candidate in 2016, the three main concerns that caused me to vote for Obama instead of her—namely, that she represents the political and economic establishment, supports hawkish foreign policies, and would risk creating a dynastic trend in the American presidency—are still relevant today. read more

Why no one noticed when a male TV host where the same suit every day for a year

Published: Daily Dot (November 19, 2014)

If you’ve been following the news over the past few days, you’ve probably heard about recent social experiment from Karl Stefanovic. After witnessing the constant nitpicking and harassment experienced by his female co-host, Lisa Wilkinson, the Australian TV personality decided to test how both the network and ordinary viewers would react if he wore the same suit every day (with a handful of necessary exceptions) for a full year.

There was no reaction.

The Internet is largely praising Stefanovic’s experiment—and rightly so. “It’s obviously no secret that there is a huge gender gap (in general but also) in how we respond to what celebrities wear,” wrote Isha Aran in Jezebel. “Women’s appearances are always subject to critique while men’s wardrobes are hardly judged in comparison.” Michael Lallo of the Sydney Morning Herald elaborated on this by reflecting on the genesis of Stefanovic’s idea. “Earlier this year, News Corp tabloid the Daily Telegraph dredged up old photographs of [Samantha] Armytage [Stefanovic’s friend and a fellow Australian TV personality] running errands in comfortable clothes.” They chose to publish them “because… well, the purpose of the story was never entirely clear.” read more

3 Things I Want You To Know Asperger’s Syndrome

Published: Good Men Project (November 19, 2014)

Matthew Rozsa shares his experience and perspective to help ‘neurotypicals’ understand high-functioning autism.

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More than a decade ago, when I was still a teenager and almost no one I knew had even heard of it, I was officially diagnosed with high-functioning autism. Over the years, as awareness has spread, I’ve periodically taken stabs at writing articles about what it’s like to experience life as a person with Asperger’s Syndrome (known as high-functioning autism ever since the “Asperger” term was excised from official medical terminology in 2012), including pieces that have been published in Mic, Salon, and The Daily Dot. Even months after I’ve published them, they usually net me an email or two every few weeks. The worst are just annoying, usually people trying to indoctrinate me with the anti-vaccination pseudoscience (which prompted me to write this article with social pundit Liskula Cohen) or attempting to diagnose themselves with autism (which only a qualified medical professional can actually do—even though it’s considered a medical condition). Quite a few are interesting and helpful, though, particularly those from NTs (short for neurotypicals, a tongue-in-cheek term for people who aren’t on the autistic spectrum) who want to better understand Asperger’s Syndrome and other autistics curious about how their experiences compare to my own. read more