ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



February 2019



What I’m Reading – 17 February 2019

Written by , Posted in What I'm Reading

Content note: Racism, transphobia, sexual assault, Islamophobia


“Then, McLaurin said, that student replied, “I’m just trying to be honest with you on why we did not end up calling you.” Part of the reason, the student wrote in an email, was “because I found it easier to lead the discussion without black presence in the room, since I do feel somewhat uncomfortable with the (perceived) threat that it poses — something which I have been working on, but it will take more time than I would like it to be.” Mclaurin posted a screenshot of the email on Twitter. “You would think,” he tweeted, that “NYU was not like this, especially their SOCIAL WORK program. But I guess it is. I’m very tired. I’ve been dealing with this since I started.”” After Black Student Is Kept Out of Class Discussion, NYU School Acknowledges ‘Institutional Racism’ (by Emma Pettit for The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Trans Erasure

“As trans people and allies from all walks of life took issue with this interpretation, Levy flatly denied wrongdoing. “Write your own book,” she insisted repeatedly, rejecting what she calls ‘the trans take’ on Barry’s life. The utter absence of any comprehensive ‘trans take’ on history speaks volumes about Levy’s interest in her own protagonist. Recent research into James Barry’s relationship with his own gender has been a rare, precious find for trans communities. This isn’t just because his historical record shows evidence of a trans man living a full, rewarding, and exciting life. It’s because history — both the recording and doing of it — rarely offers up such a fascinating, complex, and well-documented case study of a transgender person.” “The Trans Take”: Towards a Transgender Public History (by Jack Doyle via Medium)


“Activision Blizzard made the layoffs official on Tuesday, the same day it reported record revenue and earnings per share for both the fourth quarter of 2018 and the year. Despite the record numbers, the company fell short of Wall Street’s expectations for revenue and gave disappointing guidance. As the news broke, many in the video game industry criticized Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick for boasting about the company’s record revenue as hundreds of people were laid off with no advance notice.” People in the video game industry are rallying around the 800 employees laid off by Activision Blizzard (by Kevin Webb for Business Insider)

“According to reports it was mainly support staff, QA, esports, IT, and publishing affected by the layoffs. While Activision Blizzard posted $1.98 billion profit for 2018, up from $1.3 billion the year prior, Kotick told investors that the publisher hasn’t “grown at the rates that reflect the opportunities our industry afford”. Game Workers Unite argued that Kotick’s $30 million salary is “built from the stolen wages of his workers”.” Game Workers Unite sparks campaign to fire Activision Blizzard CEO following mass layoffs (by Haydn Taylor for Games Industry)

Reproductive Health

“Listen to me when I am talking to you. I am a human being, and I am more than a vessel and I speak for my daughter whom I never heard cry. I speak for that 17-year-old girl bent across a kitchen counter. I speak for the strange woman I have become. And I speak to all of the women like me, the ones who came before, and after, who have been or will be in the same position ― or perhaps your story is completely different and powerful in its own right.” I Wish I’d Had A ‘Late-Term Abortion’ Instead Of Having My Daughter (by Dina Zirlott for Huffington Post)

“In late 2018, Devos issued her own Title IX guidance, to the immediate alarm of advocates for sexual assault survivors and women’s rights groups. Among other things, the Devos rules restricts the scope of what counts as sexual harassment, limits the types of school employees responsible for reporting sexual assault, and narrows the very definition of what, exactly, counts as a campus sexual assault.” Betsy DeVos is making campuses safer for rapists and their enablers (by Lindsay Gibbs for Think Progress)

“Arkansas and Tennessee lawmakers are planning for the fall of Roe v. Wade, Republicans in multiple states are still obsessed with bathrooms, and legislators in at least ten states have introduced measures this year to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected.” Legislative Lowlights: Lawmakers in Ten States Have Introduced ‘Heartbeat’ Bans This Year (by Brie Shea for Rewire)

Judges Being Assholes

“In an article that she wrote for the Yale Herald in 1994, Rao questioned whether some women who reported that they were sexually assaulted while intoxicated were really just making false accusations stemming from regret. In that same article, Rao said that “a good way to avoid a potential date rape is to stay reasonably sober.” In another piece published at the Yale Free Press in 1993, Rao suggested that women need to “understand and accept responsibility for their sexuality” in order to prevent the problems of date rape. She claimed that the term “date rape” “removes the burden of sexual ambiguity from the woman’s shoulders.” And she criticized feminists for claiming that “women should be free to wear short skirts or bright lipstick,” because, according to Rao,“[m]isunderstandings occur from subtle glances, ambiguous words.”” Getting ‘Kavanaughed’ Isn’t a Thing; Neomi Rao Just Isn’t Fit for the Federal Judiciary (by Shiwali Patel for Rewire)

“Hughes is known for delivering history lectures, issuing blunt critiques about improper courtroom attire and accusing the Justice Department of abusing government resources. Visitors to his court either perceive him as obnoxious and vindictive or witty and astute. He’s been called a loose cannon who lashes out at attorneys unaware of his expectations or revered as a no-nonsense defender of constitutionally-guaranteed rights. A 2017 Houston Bar Association poll found that lawyers felt he needed the most improvement in being impartial, following the law and being courteous to attorneys and witnesses.” Houston federal judge bars female prosecutor from trial, sparking standoff with U.S. attorney’s office (by Gabrielle Banks and Lise Olsen for Houston Chronicle)


“It’s an issue that is overlooked, not least of all because it’s a ‘hidden second layer’ for many Muslims seeking support for mental health difficulties, but also due to the lack of awareness surrounding the important issue. The Runneymede Trust’s report on Islamophobia highlights an increased risk between perceptions of discrimination and mental disorders, and this is echoed by mental health charities and campaigners. Jolel Miah, founder of Our Minds Matter, a charity promoting mental health awareness in Luton, a town with a significant Muslim population, says Islamophobia is a form of abuse, whether it manifests itself in physical attacks or the perception that Muslims are constantly ‘under the microscope’, which he has seen lead to ‘depression and low self-esteem’.” “A state of constant anxiety and hypervigilance” – Islamophobia and how it affects the mental health of Muslims (Media Diversified)

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