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Social Justice

Thoughts on GamerGate and Reactionaries

I’ve not written much about GamerGate on this blog. If you don’t know what that is, you’ll get a brief explanation here (and then some). Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll point toward RationalWiki’s mercifully brief synopsis: * Video game designer breaks up with her boyfriend. * Boyfriend posts bitter screed about her, hoping to use the Internet as his personal army. * Internet Hate Machine™ obliges. * Peoples' privacy destroyed, lives ruined, careers in gaming industry ended.

Part 5: May Be Habit Forming

All this week I have been writing about issues of health in the United States. Americans are less healthy than our counterparts in other wealthy countries, for a variety of reasons. But the two biggest reasons are poverty and culture. Poverty can be dealt with using the bluntest of methods: throw money at it. It works. Food stamps, welfare payments, and other programs have been effective at poverty reduction, despite the bad press they have received and constant harping by conservatives that such initiatives only create generations of government dependence.

Part 4: Health and Morality Politics

The series is not done yet! Today, I am writing about issues of American health and the ways in which they are bound up and influenced by morality politics. There’s no point mincing words: American attitudes, by and large, are more conservative than those of citizens in other wealthy countries. We are more religious, we take religion more seriously, and part of that is assigning moral components to almost every public policy decision.

Part 3: Mental Illness and Addiction

Continuing on the theme of issues in American health, this time I want to talk about two things that haven’t gotten much attention so far: mental health and addiction. The good news is that mental health in the United States isn’t as stigmatized as it used to be. Overall, we speak about it more openly, and are more willing to seek treatment than in the past. The stigma is eroding, albeit slowly.

Why Are Black Americans Sicker?

Given the title of yesterday’s article, it should be clear that this one is intended as a sequel, hitting on similar themes, but focusing more specifically on black Americans, who I believe didn’t get much focus in the study discussed yesterday. First things first: black Americans have lower life expectancy than white Americans. This is well borne out by statistics. The most straightforward way to put it is that black men and women today have the same life expectancy as their white counterparts did in 1970.

Why are Americans so Sick?

Recently, Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders released his healthcare reform plan. Suffice it to say, it’s a single-payer system. Others say this is unrealistic, impossible, etc. Many Americans are frustrated by the reality of the Affordable Care Act, when compared to what was promised. (This is ignoring, for the sake of argument, those who hated it all along.) If we could magically have a single-payer system tomorrow, would it work? Would it be cheaper?

Radical Policing

I recently came across an article discussing a TED Talk by a Baltimore police officer. The thesis: we (Americans) rely on police too much. I didn’t find that an unreasonable premise. It got me thinking about both policing as well as our criminal justice system. Do we depend on them too much? Consider all the ways in which we use police: * There are thousands of police officers assigned to schools all over the country.

Fishing for Ally Cookies

Blogger/vlogger Kat Blaque (whom you should follow if you don’t already) made an interesting post a few days ago regarding some of the submissions she is given by white readers. Before I get to that, though, I want to stress once more who my intended audience is. I’m not here to mansplain/whitesplain to people who already know all this. This is for folks who want to be good allies but don’t necessarily know how to go about it.

Bill Cosby: Unexpected Developments

I was surprised to hear today that Bill Cosby was arrested and charged in relation to a 2004 sexual assault allegation. The man had long seemed immune to legal consequences despite persistent outcries from victims going back at least 30 years. This past summer, New York Magazine ran a feature in which 35 women related stories of their own encounters with Cosby. That just one of those women–the same woman who has been pursuing her case tirelessly since 2004.

No Justice for Tamir Rice

It was announced today that the two police officers who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice to death will not be indicted. Not for a misdemeanor, not for a minor felony, not for a serious felony. Nothing. Per the Washington Post: In announcing the decision Monday, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said he did not recommend that the grand jury bring any charges and added that he believes both of the Cleveland police officers involved in the deadly encounter were reasonable in their belief that Rice had a real weapon.