Good conversation here on Bill Maher’s show…Michael Eric Dyson does an excellent job of laying out the case here.
Good conversation here on Bill Maher’s show…Michael Eric Dyson does an excellent job of laying out the case here.
I know from nieces and friends who have girls that American Girl Dolls are the Gold Standard of dolls. So the release of another doll of color is news. This one’s character is based on a girl growing up in the Civil Rights Era. When I had little folks around, as a dad – I had to keep track of these sorts of things!
American Girl is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Since 1986, the business has sold more than 29 million dolls and more than 153 million books.
This summer, it will release a new historical doll. CBS News went where no cameras have been allowed before — inside the design studio to get the first exclusive look at Melody, the company’s third African American doll in its BeForever historical line.
For the last 30 years, American Girl dolls have brought countless smiles to faces of little girls.
“I think it’s that we stayed true to our mission and purpose and while it’s easy to call us a doll company, we’ve always seen ourselves as storytellers,” said Julia Prohaska, vice president of marketing.
Prohaska said their dolls come with books that tap into imaginations, while providing a rich history lesson.
“We put at the center stories and advice for girls that really are intended to help them be their personal best,” Prohaska said.
Those stories include Kaya’s – a Native American doll who wants to become a leader for her people and Addy’s, a child slave who escaped to freedom.
“I think the doll industry has a very heavy responsibility in reflecting what is true about our society,” Prohaska said.
But in 2014, the company was criticized for discontinuing four characters. Two were minorities – African American Cecile Rey and Chinese-American Ivy Ling. In the last 30 years, American Girl has designed over 20 character dolls, but only three of them have been African American, reports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan.
“When we launched Addy, the universal feeling was that we needed to address the very difficult topic of slavery before we addressed any other experience in black history,” Prohaska explained.
This summer, American Girl is addressing another chapter of black history with the release of Melody Ellison. Melody is a nine-year-old growing up in Detroit during the 1960s civil rights era, a girl who loves to sing and uses her voice to make a difference.
Melody is representative of arguably one of the most important periods for African Americans in U.S. history. Responding to why the character is only being introduced now in 2016, Prohaska said, “We do approach every character very thoughtfully so this isn’t something we rush into. We’re not looking to address critical demand — we’re looking to tell stories in the most authentic and genuine way that we possibly can.”
Clinical psychologist Dr. Sharlene Jackson supports what American Girl is doing, but stresses the importance of seeing more modern stories for African American dolls.
“As we encourage our children to learn about their history, we want also to teach them and show them that who they are right now in 2016 is fabulous as well,” Jackson said.
Mark Speltz is the senior historian who helped develop Melody’s story.
“When we learn about the civil rights movement, we learn about a handful of really important people. But the movement was… driven by average, ordinary Americans, like Melody,” Speltz said.
To ensure her story was authentic, American Girl formed a six-panel advisory board made up of historians and educators, including the late civil rights activist Julian Bond.
Lead designer Heather Northrop and her team worked with the board to bring Melody’s story to life. When it came to choosing her hair, Northrop said she consulted the panel several times to get the texture right. Melody even has her own bed and recording studio that plays music from Motown.
To build and keep interest in a company that has seen annual sales drop over nine percent since 2013, American Girl launched a new campaign last year, encouraging girls to take a pledge to empower each other and American Girl, so it will be around for another 30 years. So far, over 50,000 have signed on.
Melody will be available in stores late this summer. Her price tag is $115, but if you also want the recording studio and all the rest of her accessories, that will set you back nearly $900.
Seems BTx3 isn’t the only one who sees Scalia’s death as one of the two best things that could have happened to the Supreme Court.
Sill waiting on the second…Any moment now would be fine.
Tahir Duckett, a student at Georgetown University Law Center, was 2 years old when Antonin Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986.
Naji Mujahid, who attends the University of the District of Columbia’s law school, was 4. Dominique Moore, a student at Temple University’s law school, and Stephanie Llanes, a law student at the University of California at Berkeley, had not yet been born.
Now, Scalia is gone, dying unexpectedly during a vacation last week. And for the first time in the students’ lives — three of whom are African American and one a Latina — there is a possibility of having a Supreme Court that is no longer dominated by right-wing ideologues who are astoundingly naive about racism in America.
“We mourn the death of Justice Scalia, as a fellow attorney,” said Moore, 29, the Mid-Atlantic regional chair of the National Black Law Students Association. “But we are looking for someone to fill that seat who is not a foe of civil rights and wants to see the country make progress, not take it backward.”
Next month, the 3,600-member national organization convenes in Baltimore for its annual convention. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch is scheduled to deliver the keynote address.
“We support Loretta Lynch’s appointment as the next Supreme Court justice,” Moore said.
For his part, Georgetown’s Duckett, 32, has been chronicling the harms done by the Supreme Court’s 2001 ruling in Sandoval v. Alexander. The court held that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits only “intentional discrimination” and does not prohibit activities that have a “disparate impact on certain races, colors, or nationalities.” Scalia wrote the opinion for the conservative majority, which included Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.
“That ruling made it impossible to mount a legal challenge to structural racism and sent a message that it was okay to discriminate against blacks and Hispanics as long as you did it with a wink and a nod,” said Duckett, a member of the D.C. chapter of the legal and policy collective known as Law for Black Lives. “For more than a decade and a half, we’ve watched racial disparities widen in incarceration, in the use of the death penalty, in racial profiling, in the enforcement of drug laws, and it was legally okay just because nobody had come right out and said they were doing it intentionally.”
UDC’s Mujahid, 34, said he began studying Scalia’s thinking in 2009, while following the case of Troy Davis, a black man who had been convicted of murder in Georgia and sentenced to death. When seven of the nine witnesses recanted their testimony against him, Davis appealed to the Supreme Court for a new hearing and got it. But Scalia objected, writing in his dissent that “this court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.”
Scalia’s statement was said to be legally correct but widely regarded as morally weak. Davis was executed two years later.
“When you go into Scalia’s thinking as an ‘originalist,’ meaning someone who interprets the Constitution by divining the intent of the Framers at the time they wrote it, you can see Scalia virtually channeling 18th-century social and political sentiment on race,” said Mujahid, president of the UDC chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. “If you want to go back 200 years and commune with the spirit of slave owners and ask them, ‘What do you think of black people?’ Or, ‘How do you feel about affirmative action?’ what the hell do you think they’re going to say?”
In the wake of Scalia’s death, SCOTUS blog legal expert Lyle Denniston described the 79-year-old Reagan appointee “as path-breaking as Earl Warren” and “as controversial as Roger Taney,” among other things.
But his mentioning Chief Justices Warren and Taney cries out for comparison.
The Warren Court expanded civil rights, most famously in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case that banned racial segregation in public schools. The Taney Court, on the other hand, ruled infamously in the 1857 Dred Scott case that no black person, whether slave or free, would ever become a citizen.
And given Scalia’s originalist approach to the law, some legal scholars have suggested that he would probably have reached conclusions more like Taney’s than Warren’s.
They are going to need Elliot Ness, Melvin Purvis, and a large gang of G-Men to get anywhere close to the bottom of this one.
Seems like old times. Back in the 60’s threats of violence against black folks during the Civil Rights Movement, and even during the transition to integration were common. My parent’s house took gunfire at one point during a school desegregation effort. Driven by right wing press, political candidates,, and white supremacist authors popular in conservative media and publications – the white right is back into the threat business. No different than the KKK of old. What gets missed here sometimes is that when you look at a picture of these campu marches, there are a lot of white faces participating, marching, and supporting. What that says the the white right has far, far less power than the media gives them credit for, and like terrorists around the world have to depend on violence as a means to affect the body politic.
Most, but not all, students returned to a Washington state university Monday as police arrested a 19-year-old accused of making racial threats against black students and others on social media that shut down the campus last week.
Western Washington University police in Bellingham arrested the male student on campus and booked him into jail on suspicion of felony malicious harassment. The student has been suspended and banned from campus pending the outcome of legal proceedings and the university’s student conduct process, officials said in a news release.
At a public forum Monday about the racist remarks, one student said she had to force herself to come to the school to speak about the threats.
“Frankly, I’m exhausted. This isn’t an ‘if’ but ‘when they come after you’ situation. I’m upset that Western let it get to this point,” said Lulu Sapigao, adding that students have been saying for a long time that they don’t feel safe on campus. “I’m upset that we’re told to use the buddy system, and that’s the only way that we can maybe have safety.”
Administrators canceled classes last Tuesday, the day before the scheduled Thanksgiving break, after learning about the remarks that included threats of violence against the student body president, who is black.
The university is working with Yik Yak, an anonymous social media platform popular among college students, to turn over the names of the commenters, who posted pictures of the student body president, a gun and references to lynching and nooses. Officials said the student arrested Monday has been linked to a threat posted on the social media platform and that university police are continuing to investigate.
The long stream of posts mentioned almost every ethnic group, including blacks, Muslims, Jews and American Indians, blaming them for an effort on campus to debate changing the university’s mascot, a Viking. The threats came days after several student leaders suggested that the mascot is racist.
Most of the online comments contained racist language and profanity, making fun of the mascot debate and the students who proposed it. One post called black students crying babies and another complimented the school for having an “overtly Aryan” mascot.
At the campus forum, university President Bruce Shepard expressed concern for the student leader targeted specifically. He said he expects the people who posted the comments to likely say they were just trying to be funny and didn’t intend to hurt anybody.
“What we saw posted was merely a more public, and perhaps a bit more extreme, display of what our students of color experience daily,” Shepard said. “There is nothing funny here; these are forms of violence. It is why people understandably walk our campus in fear.”
This from right-wing hate site Brietbart. Notice that the speaker gets the entire situation wrong. Nobody “cancelled a speech” – they cancelled classes because of a death threat. The the wild accusations about being aligned with Muslims, marching with Muslims, and supporting Islamic terrorists. I assume in reaction to the Syrian Refugee situation – which has nothing to do with the current campus movement by students of all colors to remove racism from campus life. “All dem mi-norities look alike!”
Conservatism, which is now synonymous with racism…Makes you stupid.
One of my favorite, and person I consider one brightest media people is Sherrilyn Ifill. In this article she discusses the evolution of Civil Rights in terms of America, from the “First Founding”, the emergence of the country, the Second Founding, the 13h, 14th, and 15th Amendments promising freedom and equality under the law, and the Third Founding being the post WWII period mid-Century Civil Rights Movement eliminating post Reconstruction JIm Crow.
I disagree with her belief that the current Civil Rights movement, coalesced around organizations like Black Lives Matter and Color of Change is part of the Third Founding, and would say that is is part of a Fourth. Just as the murder of Emmett Till galvanized the post-war Civil Rights Movement by laying bare the videotaped murders of black people by the Police, and the murders in Charleston have stripped away the coating of yet another teflon coated racist belief system, laying bare systemic, if not always supported by legislative protection, racism in America.
Systemic racism in America has it’s own TV, it’s own publications, and indeed political party built upon the remnants and cultural vein of the Dixiecrats of the late 40’s, and George Wallace of 1968. The Fourth Foundation in my view, not only won’t be televised, it will will be fought across the Internet. Whether in the deconstruction of the New Jim Crow of the carceral state and Voting Suppression – or the denouement of white privilege. Why? Because unlike when King marched across that bridge in Selma, there is no specific geography of systemic racism. And the “black community” is now less descriptive of a location than a shared history, culture, and values.
A century and a half after Reconstruction, fights over voter suppression and police brutality reveal that it remains an unfinished project.
The Civil War and the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution that were ratified in its wake created a new America as imaginative and fraught with controversy as the country founded after the Revolutionary War. It is no exaggeration, therefore, to describe this period as America’s “Second Founding.” But neither the enduring power of the Second Founding nor its limitations can be fully understood without an examination of the Third Founding—the civil-rights movement of the mid-20th century.
The extraordinary courage, vision, and commitment of civil-rights lawyers and activists in the period between 1954 and 1968 rooted an America as new and bold as the one forged from the battles of the 18th-century Revolutionary War and 19th-century Civil War. But that the battles of the civil-rights movement continued nearly 100 years after the passage of the Civil War amendments demonstrates the limitations of the rights articulated in the Reconstruction amendments, which proved to be the least self-executing of all of the Constitution’s rights-expanding amendments.
This was not lost on the framers of the Reconstruction amendments. They understood from the outset that the rights of suffrage, equal protection, due process, and freedom from slavery would need to be protected from the actions of the state and enforced by the federal government. This is, in no small measure, the essence of the Second Founding—a fundamental reordering of the relationship between the states and federal government. “States’ rights” were to be tempered and cabined where they undermined black citizenship. The powerful enforcement clauses and unequivocal “no state shall” language of the Reconstruction Amendments is the textual evidence of the framers and the clear intention to recalibrate state power in relationship to blacks.
To protect black citizenship, the Reconstruction Amendments opened a new front in the unfinished battles of the Civil War. The federal courts would do the hard work of securing the victory for newly freed slaves. As the historian Eric Foner notes in his seminal treatment of the Reconstruction period, the protections of the Civil War amendments “placed an unprecedented—and unrealistic—burden of enforcement on the federal courts.” Certainly until the Warren Court in the mid-20th century, the Supreme Court showed itself to be both unprepared and unwilling to take up the full measure of that responsibility. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s devastating 1876 decision in U.S. v. Cruikshank (in which the Court vacated the conviction of three white men who participated in the massacre of 300 blacks protecting the federal courthouse in Louisiana), the widespread white-supremacist violence in the South, and the removal of federal troops from Louisiana and Mississippi are among the leading factors that ended Reconstruction.
A decade later, when in the Civil Rights Cases the Supreme Court exhibited what the scholar Darren Hutchinson calls “racial exhaustion,” it was clear that it was simply not up to the exercise of robust enforcement power contemplated by the architecture of the Reconstruction Amendments.* Just 20 years after the end of slavery and during a period of intense white-supremacist violence, the court declared in the Civil Rights Cases that there must be a time when former slaves “cease to be the special favorite of the laws” and instead “take the rank of mere citizens.”
Ironically, the centerpiece of the Third Founding was also a Supreme Court decision—Brown v. Board of Education. The Court’s decision to strike down racial segregation in public education (and soon in all aspects of public life) began the deconstruction of Jim Crow—the system of legal apartheid that had become the principal means of enforcing 20th-century white supremacy. Brown and the civil-rights movement that followed it, ushered in the promise of a new America—one that included unprecedented opportunities for many African Americans and other racial minorities, a lexicon of equality and racial justice that endured, and black political power not seen since the early days of Reconstruction.
Yet Brown, like the Civil War amendments, faced its own opposition—a concerted movement named “Massive Resistance” by integration opponents. The resistance to Brown from Congress to towns and hamlets in the South was so rabid that counties were willing to close public schools rather than have black children attend school with white children. Black children were spat upon, cursed, and assaulted on the way to school by white teenagers and housewives. The homes of civil-rights lawyers and activists were fire-bombed. Resistance toBrown became yet another front in the battle over black citizenship. In the courts, the battle became a war of attrition, with the Supreme Court at first robust and then increasingly cautious and timid, and ultimately hostile to the project of integration. By the time the Court decided in Milliken v. Bradley that desegregation plans could not cross city lines into suburban counties to stem the effects of white flight on integration, the project of integrated schools in urban centers was dealt a crushing blow. For good measure, the Supreme Court scuttled even voluntary integration efforts in 2006 in Parents Involved In Community Schools v. Seattle School District, with Chief Justice Roberts’ tautological and tone-deaf instruction that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
The decades-long resistance by whites to school integration doomed the full promise of the civil-rights movement. Massive resistance spawned even more deeply entrenched housing segregation, the abandonment of support for public institutions, white flight from U.S. cities, and a renewed hostility to the federal government. The hope held by the most visionary civil-rights leaders and activists for a unified country of racial equality has been put off for future generations, even as the vision articulated by those men and women has become central to America’s public self-narrative….Read the Rest Here…