Tyra’s Christmas

Governor Kasich should end Tyra Patterson’s 22-year wrongful incarceration.

For the twenty-second consecutive year, Tyra Patterson will spend Christmas in prison for crimes she didn’t commit.  It’s time for Governor Kasich to grant this woman clemency.

northeast-ohio-pre-release-center-cc30078da0b50e9aIn 1994, when she was 19, Tyra was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  In the wee hours of a September morning, Tyra and her friend took a walk and wound up embroiled in a robbery that ended in the murder of 15-year-old Michelle Lai.  Tyra left before any gunfire; but police arrested and subjected her to abusive questioning.  By the end, they had a confession.  A false one.  Tyra wasn’t the only young woman who succumbed to the state’s will.  Holly Lai Holbrook, the victim’s sister, says police and prosecutors were intimidating and urged her to say what was necessary to put Tyra behind bars.

But the truth that Holly shared at the scene was that Tyra was a bystander.  That Tyra played no part in harassing, stealing, or shooting that took her sister.

Now, after living with the contradiction between what she said in court and what she told the police that night, Holly has come forward to recant her testimony, even going so far as writing a letter to Governor Kasich. Continue reading “Tyra’s Christmas”

Second Look – A month in review.

White Parents: Teaching Our Kids To Be Colorblind Is Not The Answer – Kristi Pahr delves into the problematic parenting concept of colorblind ideology. Her short piece reviews the failures of the colorblind narrative and the importance of celebrating differences.

Continue reading “Second Look – A month in review.”

Tyranny of the Minority

Our Constitutional Democracy Requires the Electoral College to Vote for Clinton.

Guest Contributors:  

Nancy Chi Cantalupo and Judith E. Koons, Barry University School of Law

 

No matter how one interprets the proper purposes and history of the Electoral College, if the electors who make up the 2016 Electoral College want to vote based on either Constitutional or democratic principles—and not just political expediency or blind obedience—they must vote for Hillary Clinton to be President of the United States. If the Electoral College instead proceeds as it has in the modern era, it will elect Donald Trump, who represents, at best, a minority of voters.

Trump lost the popular vote to Clinton by over 2.8 million as of early December, but because of the way the Electoral College now works, 80,000 votes in three states were decisive.  All three of these states have faced demands for a recount, an effort funded by nearly 140,000 donors skeptical about the integrity of the original vote count at least in part due to significant, credible evidence that a hostile foreign government engaged in cyberattacks to sway the election in favor of Trump.

A portion of this minority has already proven itself tyrannical in a very real way.  In the few weeks since the election was “called” on November 9th, nearly 900 hate crimes have been directed at immigrants, members of the LGBT community, people of color, Muslims, and women. Over 180 of these crimes have taken place in K-12 schools.

But the hateful threats and violence perpetrated by this minority of the minority are not the only way an Electoral College vote for Trump would enable a “tyranny of the minority.”   Continue reading “Tyranny of the Minority”

Rise Up!

Talking back to post-election hate speech.

I walked into my office one recent Monday, coffee mug in hand and noticed the red light signaling that a voicemail awaited me.

Has it started already? 

That morning, my op-ed about post-election acts of hate on college campuses appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer.  The piece discussed incidents at universities in Illinois, California, and Pennsylvania, complete with hypertext links,  and explained why, contrary to conservative pundits, student fears were based on reality and not a temper tantrum about Trump’s victory.  I praised institutions for taking action and argued that Mr. Trump’s campaign rhetoric gave license to  misconduct targeting people of color, Muslims, and frankly all the groups the candidate insulted and denigrated on his way to the White House.

Based on prior experiences, I was braced for negative responses from conservative readers in the comments section.  In truth, I had planned to avoid those like a Ted Nugent concert.  But, a voicemail?  Readers usually never called to complain. Maybe I was overreacting.  I decided to listen.

It started off innocuously enough.   Continue reading “Rise Up!”

We’ve Been Here Before!

What Academics Can Learn from Black Sociology’s Response to Jim Crow America.

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Guest Contributor: Earl Morris II, UC Africana Studies Professor

On November 8, 2016 Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States of America. Many Americans greeted this fact with trepidation Trump’s presidential campaign garnered the favor of groups including, but not limited to, the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis and other White supremacists. Trump became their candidate of choice because of his divisive rhetoric on such groups as Muslims, Mexican Americans, and African Americans. In the aftermath of an election where he won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote by nearly three million, this nation has witnessed a surge in hate crimes.

Trump’s shocking win dismayed not only by the groups mentioned above, but also by many academics experiencing unease and anxiety from campus environments altered in new, troubling ways since the election.  Conservative groups have launched an aggressive aggressive campaign that encourages college students to “out” liberal/progressive faculty. Essentially, encouraging and promoting a “hit list” of “unpatriotic” faculty, which places the lives of many faculty engaged in social justice work, whether in the class or via research, in jeopardy.

While events surrounding the 2016 presidential election are causing some to literally fear for the lives and livelihood of themselves and their family and friends, I would be remiss if I did not remind you that, “we’ve been here before!” What I suggest in this brief essay is that contemporary academics can learn from Black Sociology, or Jim Crow sociology, how to navigate this current era of “Trumperica.” Continue reading “We’ve Been Here Before!”

Calling it Like it is

“Alt-right” is a euphemism for white supremacist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, anti-Muslim, xenophobic, sexist ideology. Period.

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Corrine Yu

Guest Contributor: Corrine Yu, Managing Policy Director, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Let’s take a quiz. The “alt-right” is:

  1. A new Spotify playlist.
  2. A keystroke shortcut (like Control-Alt-Delete).
  3. A movement that includes and is heavily shaped by white supremacists, anti-Semites, anti-Muslims, nativist, and other extremists.

The correct answer, of course, is “c”. Since the election, a number of news organizations, including the Associated Press and The Washington Post, have sought to clarify the use of “alt-right” or “alternative right.” NonProfit Quarterly wrote a piece on this, as did The New York Times.

As the NonProfit Quarterly piece notes, following the publication of its profile of Richard Spencer, The Washington Post received thousands of comments protesting the description of the white nationalist, white supremacist movement that Spencer says he leads as “alt-right.”

The New York Times had its own case study, which involved its article on the man whom President-elect Trump wants as his chief strategist in the White House—Stephen Bannon. As the executive chairman of Breitbart LLC, Bannon turned the website Breitbart.com into bb-logo-highreswhat he described as “the platform for the alt-right.” Times readers tweeted their complaints, as well as emailed the newspaper’s public editor, about the article’s use of the term “populist” to describe Bannon, which seemed to normalize his views.

Nothing is “normal” about the “alt-right” or what it stands for. Continue reading “Calling it Like it is”

More Questions than Answers

Questions for the University of Cincinnati community in the wake of the Tensing trial.

Guest Contributor: Robin Martin, UC Associate Professor

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Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters has decided to retry Ray Tensing for the murder Samuel DuBose after a mistrial.  As this process unfolds, it is time for UC employees, the city of Cincinnati and universities across this country to revisit the core principles of inquiry and questioning and start blazing a different trail toward justice. Continue reading “More Questions than Answers”