The shocking parallels between Hassan v. New York and Korematsu v. U.S.

A sign posted in a New York Muslim Student Association office referring to an Associated Press story revealing NYPD's surveillance of Muslim communities.
A sign posted in a New York Muslim Student Association office referring to an Associated Press story about NYPD’s surveillance of Muslim communities.

This Thursday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals will hear an appeal concerning a case brought by Muslim-Americans in New Jersey who alleged the New York Police Department violated their rights by spying on them and their mosques on the basis of their religion alone, without any evidence of wrongdoing. Continue reading “The shocking parallels between Hassan v. New York and Korematsu v. U.S.” »

No, you can’t make it illegal for California professors to disagree with you

A plaque at the University of Wisconsin honors the idea of academic freedom.
A plaque at the University of Wisconsin honors the idea of academic freedom.

Two right-wing activists are calling on California Attorney General Kamala Harris and the Legislature to investigate California professors who have publicly advocated for the so-called academic boycott of Israeli educational institutions. They claim California tax dollars “are funding the promotion of the boycott of Israel” because these professors, by expressing their views, are using “their state university’s name and taxpayer-funded resources to promote a boycott of Israeli universities and scholars.” Continue reading “No, you can’t make it illegal for California professors to disagree with you” »

Racist jokes draw the color line

Segregated Water Fountains in the United StatesFor the most part, public and explicit expressions of extreme hate or animosity towards racialized groups of people are pretty easy to identify as wrong. Despite this, in certain spaces, the infamous ‘harmless racist joke’ persists because, as the defender says, it is not to be taken as a serious communication of ill-will.

Examples of these jokes can sound something like this (and I apologize for repeating them): [Edit 3/9/2015: I have removed the examples because nobody needs them, and I found them too grotesque to re-publish.]

Of course, the person delivering this joke loves to glamorize him/herself as a bold hero who is not afraid of “being offensive” and won’t let something silly like “political correctness” get in the way of his/her free speech. In this First Amendment martyr’s world, not only should it simply be legal to tell the racist joke, but it’s also a moral duty to do so. It’s only humor, after all. Continue reading “Racist jokes draw the color line” »