Welcome to Issue 14.2 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
There’s been a lot of talk about protection these last few weeks.
I’ve mentioned here that my favorite chant is who do you serve, who do you protect? It really gets at the American (and other) police’s core problem: they are paid by all taxpayers, but really only serve white supremacist systems and protect property, the vast majority of which in this country is owned by white people.
In the last few days, the US, both the nation (the people) and the state (the government), have made some interesting choices about who is served and protected.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court determined that the Civil Rights Act, which has been on a lot of minds lately, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As a non-binary queer person, this is *very* *good* *news* for me, and all the trans and gay and indescribable folks who are fully human and thus deserving of the full protection of the law.
(CW: some references to sexual violence throughout)
“Both the rule of law and democratic accountability badly suffer when a court adopts a hidden or obscure interpretation of the law, and not its ordinary meaning.”
Ok, let’s go piece by piece.
I’m no lawyer, but what is the point of the rule of law if people do not use it and interpret it based on the time we’re living in? When I was in ninth grade history class, someone asked if we still use the Constitution. At the time, I laughed, but I realize that actually he has a point—that is an old old document, written by people who in no way resemble the American people. What use is a law if it is more or less written for a country that no longer exists in the form for which the law was written?
In his pre-Supreme Court seat, Kavanaugh dissented on a decision to allow an undocumented minor to get an abortion. When tens of thousands of people demonstrate in the streets against the inhumane detention and treatment of people fleeing violence and persecution in countries the US has decimated (Guatemala, Honduras, the list is long), how can someone who complains about a very young person, who likely did not become pregnant through a set of choices she willingly made, getting an abortion, be concerned with democratic accountability? Also, anyone who favors corporations over regulations is certainly not that concerned with democracy or accountability.
How, literally please someone tell me how, our systems of law and democratic accountability are not ALREADY badly suffering? I mean, look around.
This particular decision relies on the part of the Civil Rights Act that protects people on the basis of sex discrimination. Most discussions about sex discrimination rely on a male-female sex binary, which is false; 1-2 out of 100 people born in the US are intersex, which means that they do not fit into the male or female box. Also, the idea of preventing discrimination based on sex is rooted in the intent to prevent people from being discriminated based on the bodies they occupy, how they look, and how they are seen by society. Trans people, gender non-conforming people, queer people, gay and lesbian people, can all be discriminated against based on those characteristics. The Supreme Court got this really, really right—the majority of judges understand that this is not in fact hidden or obscure, but a very real reality for millions of Americans.
Ok Brett, sorry if you think that trans and queer people are not ordinary, that’s actually completely fine, because we’re not. Trans and queer people are perfect. Goodnight.
Thanks y’all for sitting through today’s edition of Lena Isn’t Actually A Lawyer.
If we go back to our theme of who is protected in this country, news broke yesterday that Oluwatoyin Salau, a 19-year old Black Lives Matter activist based in Tallahassee, Florida, was found dead after she spoke openly about her experiences with sexual assault. Toyin, as she was known, was let down by our systems of patriarchy and policing, which do not serve or protect victims of sexual assault, but rather the aggressors of these violent crimes.
Recently, I’ve been involved in a process with a community I’m a part of to remove someone who has sexually harassed and assaulted multiple people. It’s scary, but we are supported. As a white person, it’s just so much easier to ask to be protected by process.
The good news is that the revolution is happening. I’ll write more about this tomorrow, but in the meantime, head over to SixNineteen to find a revolution near you.
Also, here’s a baby cassowary. Like many things that grow up to be large (e.g. the revolution), it is cute and seems harmless when it is small.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
We’re back to a dip in ~*Hot Goss*~ after an explosive couple of weeks laced with plenty of racism, transphobia, and well-meaning white folks making more cringy videos and PSAs.
I’ve been up since 7:30 AM, scouring the Internet for something, anything to write about. There are bits and pieces of goss I could spend time on, but nothing really that interesting.
Singer Sia recently apologized for mistaking Nicki Minaj with Cardi B. This is bad enough as it is but considering the two are notorious rivals to each other? Absolutely unforgivable.
Actress Rebel Wilson is defending fellow comedian Matt Lucas from his blackface controversy after his sketch comedy show Little Britain was pulled from Netflix. According to Rebel, it has been difficult for comedians to “flirt with” the boundaries of what’s right and wrong when it comes to “social justice,” especially in the last few years.
Now, I did some research and learnt that blackface as a performance tradition began around 1830, lasting for around 100 years before starting to fall out of favor in the 1930s and 1940s. However, blackface was not solely an American form of entertainment – it also picked up popularity in Great Britain, where the tradition actually lasted longer than it did in the States. In fact, as recently as the early 1980s, blackface was used on prime time TV slots in the U.K.
So I suppose British sensibilities around blackface is just catching up to American attitudes towards this very obviously offensive and racist practice. I am being sarcastic, of course, in case you didn’t pick up on that. It’s the 21st century Matt! Put down the racism and pick up a book instead, eh?
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