Random musings on whatever subject strikes my fancy, published every other day.

Tag: privilege Page 1 of 2

Law of the Land?

A Supreme Court decision is the Law of the Land, unless Christian bigots dislike what the court says.

The Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, probably doesn’t really give a damn who marries whom.  But he’s no stranger to what works in Texas politics, and what works there is playing to the persecution myths of the white Christian heterosexual cis-gender males, the most grotesquely over-privileged group ever to walk the face of the earth.  In a press release he called Friday’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges “a judge-made edict that is not based in the law or the Constitution” and said it “diminishes faith in our system of government and the rule of law.”

Inevitably, this emboldened petty officials around Texas to disobey the law, and sure enough we have Hood County clerk Katie Lang saying she won’t issue any same-sex marriage licenses because “It’s my religious liberty, my belief in traditional marriage”.

Here’s what they don’t get.  And I see I am going to have to make this simple enough so that even stupid people like Paxton and Lang can understand it.  So I will take a cue from Randall Munroe of xkcd when he explained the Saturn V launcher that took us to the moon.  (I hope Paxton and Lang aren’t in denial about that, also.)  Munroe decided to use only the thousand – sorry: ten hundred – most common words to explain one of humanity’s most amazing technological accomplishments, and created a panel called Up Goer Five.   Along those lines:

When two people love each other they might want to share a home, they might want to share it for all of their lives. They might want a baby, or a few.  The state where they live likes this, because having families in the places where people live makes those places nicer.  So the state gives people who share this way some good stuff.  They are allowed to visit each other in the hospital, without being bothered.  They are allowed to pay less money to the state, and to have easier ways to make the papers for doing that. The state accepts less money because the people making a family help make the state a better place in ways money doesn’t help with.  Families, love and sharing are just good for the state and all the people who live there. 

Now, the people who say what’s allowed in all the states have said that no state can stop two people who want to love, share and make a family from doing that.  Even if the two people don’t fit the old idea of “one of them has to be a man and the other one has to be a woman.”  

Some people think a god will be angry about this.  But any people who care about what the god thinks are free to stick to the old idea when they make a family.

thanks to http://splasho.com/upgoer5/ for making that a lot easier than it might have been

At least Cleburne County (AR) Clerk Dana Guffey had the integrity to resign over this issue, rather than remain in office, refuse to do her job, and impose her religious bigotry on others.  Kudos to her for that.

What if all consent worked like this?

The everydayfeminism blog imagines, what if all consent worked the way rape culture assumes sexual consent works?

Here’s an example:

But go — read the whole darn thing.

Men (and yes, it’s primarily, almost exclusively men) who take the liberties described in this series of illustrations need to become aware of the privilege that they assume entitles them to behave this way.

And it’s not going to go away just because symbols are removed.  cf. how expunging the Confederate Flag from respectable public display will end racism in the US.  


Community Policing

John Perry Barlow recently tweeted this picture.

When I was a kid, I was taught that if I was in any kind of trouble out there, the best sight I could hope to see would be a policeman.  But the experience of black kids my age was not so positive even then (remember, I am older than dirt).  And it’s not improving.

People say that “it’s no worse, it’s just on the news more.”   Well, good!  If it’s on the news more, that is probably the main thing that will create the pressure to fix it.

I am working on confirming that the process that Rochester NY has in place is fair.  I started down this road as detailed here, and my work continues now with a contact made with the office of one of our at-large City Council reps to understand some of the possible gaps in the process and what can be done to shore them up if they are real.

Keep an eye on this – more to come.

What You Can Do Right Now About Police Brutality [UPDATED]

This article in Ravishly by Ijeoma Oluo caught my eye, because really, just feeling bad about racist policing is not doing anything about it.  Even writing distressed-sounding social media posts about it isn’t quite up to the bar.  So what, what can we do?  I read the article and…

Step 1: Educate yourself on your city’s police conduct review process.  OK!  That’s something I can do now!  It wasn’t even that hard to find for the Rochester Police Department (RPD).  Luckily there was a Wikipedia page with a link to a page that had a link to the process as published.  Sounds convoluted but not compared to what some cities have… or don’t have… online.

Reading the process online, I was looking for the gaps that Oluo said I might find, and I am not sure if I found one.  A bit of an inconsistency perhaps?  It certainly could be completely innocent.  Here is the passage I tripped on:


  • The Police Chief reviews every complaint after the investigation is completed and a report is written. 
  • If your complaint includes excessive force or charges an officer with a crime, it will also be reviewed by a Civilian Review Board (CRB). The Board includes three citizens who are not members of the Police Department.
  • The CRB will review your complaint, statements from all witnesses and reports from the investigation. The CRB may ask for additional information before making its recommendations to the Police Chief. The CRB may also choose to interview witnesses.
  • The results of investigations where there are no charges that the police officer used excessive force or committed a crime are also reviewed by the Police Chief.
  • The Police Chief reviews investigations and makes the final decision on all complaints.
I felt that the fourth bullet implied some other path if an officer was charged with excessive force or any crime, while the fifth bullet dispelled that idea with the one that the Chief has the final say on everything.
I have emailed the RPD for clarification, I will share what response they make and then my progress to Step 2 (if necessary).


On the Memorial Day holiday, no less, I got this response from Lieutenant Mark Simmons, the RPD Commanding Officer of the Professional Standards Section:

Thank you for taking the time to reach out to the Professional Standards Section regarding your inquiry about the complaint review process. In sum and substance, the Chief of Police reviews every complaint after the investigation is completed and a report is written, as indicated in the first bullet point (The Police Chief reviews every complaint after the investigation is completed and a report is written).
The last bullet point further explains that the Chief of Police makes the final decision on the investigative findings for all complaints (The Police Chief reviews investigations and makes the final decision on all complaints).
The second to last bullet point was placed there to further solidify the point that despite the complaint’s eligibility to be reviewed by CRB, the Chief of Police will still review the case (The results of investigations where there are no charges that the police officer used excessive force or committed a crime are also reviewed by the Police Chief). Although I agree that this line may be perceived as redundant in nature, it was placed there to ensure citizens understood that their complaints will always be reviewed by this department’s highest ranking member.
I apologize if the line was confusing to interpret and am grateful to you for seeking clarity. If there is any further assistance that I can provide you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.

So the CRB can add investigative horsepower to a given case, but it seems that their result is purely advisory — ultimately a finding will be the decision of the Chief.

What Caused the Baltimore Riots? Depends Who You Are

Your idea of what caused the Baltimore riots seems to depend pretty heavily on who you are.

This Pew Research survey includes a fairly stark breakdown of the causes asserted by black and white respondents.  Note the White-Black difference column.

More Blacks than Whites Say Poverty Contributed a ‘Great Deal’ to Unrest
Totals more than 100% because multiple causes could be cited

And here is the same question again, but this time the difference column reflects the Republican-Democratic divide:
Partisan Differences in Views of Factors Behind Unrest in Baltimore

On four of the five factors, the differences are markedly larger.  I’ll admit to not knowing what to make of the “initial response by city officials.” differences.  I suppose there are two ways to interpret that – one being, “City officials should have seen the injustice and taken decisive action sooner!” and the other might be something like, “If city officials had smoothed this over more quickly with those people, it would never have gotten so out-of-hand.”  But either interpretation is just speculation.

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