“Between 1901 and 1904, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a series of cases, collectively known as the Insular Cases, which asked whether the Constitution should fully apply to the residents of Puerto Rico and other territories recently acquired by the U.S. after its victory in the Spanish-American War. The Court held that the Constitution did not fully apply in those U.S.-held territories.
The Insular Cases have been severely criticized—then and now—for being the product of racist and imperialist thinking. The legal scholar Walter F. Pratt Jr., author of The Insular Cases: The Role of the Judiciary in American Expansionism, described the legal arguments involved as “largely racially motivated,” since the Court effectively held that “the people of the new territories were unfit to become citizens.”
A similar criticism of the Insular Cases was recently voiced by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who argued that “the Insular Cases have no foundation in the Constitution and rest instead on racial stereotypes. They deserve no place in our law.””
“Gorsuch also added his voice to those calling for the Insular Cases to be wiped off the books. “The time has come to recognize that the Insular Cases rest on a rotten foundation,” Gorsuch wrote. “And I hope the day comes soon when the Court squarely overrules them.”
Alas, the Department of Justice under President Joe Biden apparently sees things differently. As The Washington Post’s Robert Barnes recently reported, “the Biden administration told the Supreme Court Monday that it should not take up a case [Fitisemanu v. United States] about citizenship rights for American Samoa even though advocates say it would give justices a chance to upend a series of century-old precedents that have been roundly denounced as racist.””
“The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is a government agency that coordinates medical care and social well-being in the Beaver State. During the pandemic, OHA was responsible for coordinating Oregon’s vaccination drive and disseminating information about COVID-19—both vital tasks.
The agency’s office for equity and inclusion, however, prefers not to rush the business of government. In fact, the office’s program manager delayed a meeting with partner organizations on the stated grounds that “urgency is a white supremacy value.”
Government employees who are unprepared for meetings should not cite white supremacy as their excuse.”
“The Supreme Court handed down a brief order Tuesday evening that effectively reinstates racially gerrymandered congressional maps in the state of Louisiana, at least for the 2022 election.
Under these maps, Black voters will control just one of Louisiana’s six congressional seats, despite the fact that African Americans make up nearly a third of the state’s population. Thus, the Court’s decision in Ardoin v. Robinson means that Black people will have half as much congressional representation as they would enjoy under maps where Black voters have as much opportunity to elect their own preferred candidate as white people in Louisiana.
A federal trial court, applying longstanding Supreme Court precedents holding that the Voting Rights Act does not permit such racial gerrymanders, issued a preliminary injunction temporarily striking down the Louisiana maps and ordering the state legislature to draw new ones that include two Black-majority districts. Notably, a very conservative panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied the state’s request to stay the trial court’s decision — a sign that Louisiana’s maps were such a clear violation of the Voting Rights Act that even one of the most conservative appeals courts in the country could not find a good reason to disturb the trial court’s decision.
As the Fifth Circuit explained, current law typically forbids maps that dilute a particular racial group’s voting power, at least when that group is “sufficiently large and compact to form a majority” in additional congressional districts, when it “votes cohesively” and when “whites tend to vote as a bloc” to defeat the minority group’s preferred candidates.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 along party lines to stay the trial court’s injunction, effectively reinstating the gerrymandered maps. The Court’s order is only one page, and it provides no substantive explanation of why the Court’s Republican appointees voted to effectively strip Black Louisianans of half of their representation in the US House of Representatives.”
“Taken together, the Court’s orders in Merrill, Ardoin, and the Wisconsin case suggest that the justices are skeptical of current rules, which provide fairly robust protections against racial gerrymandering, and plan to replace those rules with a new regime that is likely less friendly to Black voters — and most likely to minority voters generally. None of these three orders was particularly well explained, but the pattern is that, in each case, the Court ruled against efforts to draw maps that expand Black political power.”
“Black women are more likely to live in areas where it’s harder to access contraception. They get abortions at the highest rates compared to women of other races, due to high rates of unintended pregnancy.
The factors that lead some Black women to seek abortions are present from the day they are born, passed down from mothers who faced similar plights. Those born into poverty are less likely to have access to health care, let alone reproductive or maternal health care; when some Black women are able to seek care, they face medical racism. For centuries, Black women have fought for autonomy over their bodies, against government-sanctioned abuse and abuse from intimate partners. The end of a constitutional right to legal abortion makes the fight harder.
State-level abortion restrictions have already taken effect in at least eight states, and in total, 22 states have laws that impose very strict restrictions on abortions. Those states are home to 39 percent of the total US population, but 45 percent of Black women and girls under age 55.
The consequences will be dire. The end of legal abortion will trap Black women in cycles of poverty. The consequences will also be deadly. Black women have the highest rates of maternal mortality and pregnancy complications, and those risks will only increase if more Black women have to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. Here are the numbers that show how alarming the situation is.”
“First and foremost, Nelsen found that, compared to students who read the more traditional history text, students of all racial backgrounds benefitted from reading the more critical text. Latino and Black youth, for instance, reported a greater willingness to participate in acts of political engagement and were also more willing to express their views on a variety of issues. In another work, Nelsen also found that white students reported a greater appreciation for the contributions that Black, Latino and Asian Americans have made to American society.
Political scientists are not the only ones finding results like this. Nelsen’s findings are consistent with a larger body of research conducted by a team of psychologists from Northwestern University, the University of Georgia and the University of Vermont. In their recent review of the literature on this topic, psychologist Sylvia Perry and her colleagues noted that teaching children about racism can actually increase the empathy they have for members of other groups, as well as their concerns about systemic racism. They point to studies showing, for example, that when white children learn about racism they are more likely to value racial fairness and show more positive attitudes and empathy toward Black people.”
“This spring, a high school English teacher in Missouri lost her job following parents’ complaints that one of her assignments taught critical race theory.
The teacher had assigned a worksheet titled “How Racially Privileged Are You?” as prep material for reading the school-approved book “Dear Martin,” a novel about a Black high school student who is physically assaulted by a white police officer. But despite the teacher’s insistence that she wasn’t teaching her students critical race theory, an academic legal framework that asserts that racism is systemic and embedded in many American institutions, the local school board disagreed and determined that the material was objectionable.
The Missouri incident wasn’t an anomaly. In Tennessee, a teacher was reprimanded — and later fired — after telling his class that white privilege is a “fact” and assigning a Ta-Nehisi Coates essay that argued that white racial resentment was responsible for the rise of former President Donald Trump. Meanwhile in Texas, a principal was suspended after parents accused him of promoting critical race theory based on a letter he had written more than a year earlier, calling for the community to come together and defeat systemic racism in the days following the murder of George Floyd. His contract was subsequently not renewed.
In none of these schools was critical race theory actually being taught, but that is largely beside the point. Rather, these fights make up the latest chapter in the GOP-initiated culture war and are more broadly about how teachers should — and shouldn’t — talk about race and racism in America.
Since January 2021, Republican state legislators have introduced nearly 200 anti-critical race theory bills in 40 states “
“The Office of the New York City Comptroller was created in 1801 to be the chief auditor of local government and all its various financial activities. The comptroller’s top responsibilities, as bullet-pointed on the office’s website, are “conducting performance and financial audits of all City agencies,” “serving as a fiduciary to the City’s five public pension funds,” “providing comprehensive oversight of the City’s budget and fiscal condition,” “reviewing City contracts for integrity, accountability and fiscal compliance,” and “resolving claims both on behalf of and against the City.”
Or, you know, pressuring private companies to do race and gender checks.
On Thursday, New York Comptroller Brad Lander proudly announced that the city’s pension funds, with their estimated $263 billion under management, had successfully pressured four huge Wall Street firms (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, and BlackRock), plus Ford Motor Company, to publicly disclose a “Board Matrix” containing the “self-identified gender, race and/or ethnicity of individual directors.””
“What Lander and the pension funds are explicitly saying is that not knowing the racial and gender self-identification of a company’s board candidate hinders the decision-making process on how to vote. All things else being equal, if Terry Smith self-identifies as a white male instead of a Latinx female, the diversity-valuing city of New York is assumed to be more likely to vote “no” on his candidacy. (One can only imagine where voters’ preferences would lie if the nominee refused to self-identify with either a gender or a race.)
There is something both farcical and creepy about this obsession with tracking other people’s (mostly) immutable characteristics and using the power of government to compel disclosure thereof. “Race and/or ethnicity” is a tautologically unscientific classification, not improved upon by the city’s suggested “best practices” categories of African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, white/Caucasian, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American. What box should Tiger Woods check? Why are we asking individuals to join a group? What on earth does any of this have to do with providing an auditing function on a city government with a $100 billion budget and the highest taxes in the country?
Gotham is hardly alone in conducting race/gender checks on big business. Illinois since last year has required publicly traded companies based in the state to not only provide a board diversity report, but also a “description of the corporation’s policies and practices for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion among its board of directors and executive officers,” and “whether and how demographic diversity is considered” in senior hiring. A newer law imposes further diversity reporting requirements on any private company with more than 100 employees.
Maryland in 2019 passed a Gender Diversity in the Board Room law requiring publicly traded companies with sales higher than $5 million and nonprofits with budgets higher than $5 million to submit the gender information of their boards.
And just last month, a Superior Court judge struck down as unconstitutional a 2020 California law requiring publicly traded companies in the state to have on their boards at least one member who self-identifies as “Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native, or…as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.”
The Nasdaq, meanwhile, has imposed board-composition requirements of its own (approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission) that could get noncompliant companies delisted as soon as 2023.”
“Over 1 million Americans have now died from Covid-19. It isn’t a random group of people: one preprint paper found that working-class Americans were five times more likely to die from Covid-19 than college-educated Americans. Working-class Hispanic men had a mortality rate 27 times higher than white college-educated women. Another study analyzed Covid-19 mortality rates in over 219 million American adults and found that if racial and ethnic minorities between 25 to 64 years old had faced the same mortality rate as college-educated white Americans, there would have been 89 percent fewer deaths.”