"Race doesn’t matter!" , "Isn’t science just science?! why bring race into it!!", "It is not about the colour of skin!" meanwhile in the real world:

Is There a Bias Against Black Scientists? Funding Sparse for Minority Researchers

Black researchers and other minorities face nearly insurmountable barriers against career success, according to new research.

A February 2014 article in the Journal of Career Development details the work experiences of minority researchers in the social sciences.

Rebecca R. Kameny of the 3-C Institute for Social Development in North Carolina, directed the study, which collected data from people of color who attended a workshop on the topic of career barriers.

An astounding 72 percent of participants reported encountering workplace barriers due to their race or ethnicity.

Racism: A Sad History

Bias against minority researchers is not a new subject. In 2011, Donna K. Ginthner and her associates published a study about the NIH and grants to minority researchers. (The NIH, or National Institute of Health, is a government agency that serves as one of the prime supporters of scientific research.)

The Ginther study examined the rates at which grants were given to 83,000 researchers. Unfortunately, they found that the funding agency is biased against African Americans who submitted grant applications. According to the study, blacks are 13% less likely than equally-qualified white candidates to receive funding that is initiated by an NIH investigator.

The study’s writers explained that the researchers’ race is not always written on the application, but the applications’ reviewers could infer race from the applicants’ names and places of study. Without receiving federal funding, a researcher is less likely to receive a teaching position, less likely to be given tenure, and has more difficulty procuring funding to produce research and publish in scholarly journals. Ultimately, the repercussions of grant refusal are reflected in the face of academia.

When the study was published, the director of the NIH noted that the data is troubling and the situation is unacceptable. The NIH launched a $500 million, 10-year program to support young minorities in science. It is also considering changing its review process to review grant proposals anonymously to prevent this issue in the future.

Bias Against Blacks: Misinterpreted Data?

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Informetrics, however, contradicts the premise of bias against black researchers. The study, led by Jiansheng Yang of Virginia Tech, paints a different picture, concluding that the NIH review process contains no inherent racial bias.

Yang and his associates reviewed the work of 40 black faculty members and 80 white faculty members at U.S. medical schools. They assessed the scientists’ productivity, based on the number of publications they wrote, their role on each paper, and the prominence of the journals in which they published. Overall, Wang’s team found that the black faculty members were less productive than their white colleagues.

The researchers then reviewed the work of 11 of those black researchers and 11 of those white researchers who had received NIH funding. When they compared blacks and whites who had the same level of productivity, they found that people of both races received the same level of NIH funding. Wang concluded that funding is determined by level of success, and not by race.

Not Apples to Apples

Ginther, who found ample evidence of the NIH’s racial bias, argued in Science that Wang did not study the same aspects of the process that she did, so he cannot refute her claim. She noted that Wang’s study examined only a small number of researchers, and also looked only at how much funding they received, instead of whether they had a chance of receiving funding in the first place.

Ginther also noted that the black scientists’ lower level of productivity pointed to their difficulty in receiving positive mentoring, which is a further function of bias.

Discrimination is Not Dead

It seems that a majority of African Americans would agree with Ginther’s point about bias. A 2013 Pew Research study about discrimination in America found that a full 88% of blacks reported that there is discrimination against blacks. 46 % believe that there is a lot of discrimination, and the rest report feeling some discrimination.

Interestingly, white Americans agree that blacks are discriminated against, but to a lesser degree. Only 16% of whites feel that there is a lot of discrimination, but 41% sense some discrimination.

Regardless of percentages and perceptions, race-based barriers to success have no place in academia or the workplace.

This is just insane. This needs to stop and we should all be doing whatever we can to stop it.

Glenn Ford is living proof of just how flawed our justice system truly is. We are moved that Mr. Ford, an African-American man convicted by an all-white jury, will be able to leave death row a survivor.

That’s Amnesty International USA’s Thenjiwe Tameika McHarris, in a statement on the release of Glenn Ford yesterday after nearly 30 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Apart from the obvious problem of innocence highlighted by this case, the death penalty more generally is racist, arbitrary, unfair, immoral, and a violation of human rights. It is bad public policy and ought to be abolished in the states that have, to this point, stubbornly maintained it on the misguided belief that vengeance and justice are the same thing.

(via obi-wankenblowme)

(Source: CNN)

Fact Sheet: Protecting Voting Rights and Prosecuting Voter Fraud


WASHINGTON - Among the Department of Justice’s highest priorities are protecting voting rights and combating voter fraud.   The Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces specific federal laws that help to ensure all qualified voters have an opportunity to cast their ballots and have them counted, while the Department’s Criminal Division oversees the nationwide enforcement of federal laws that criminalize voter fraud and other assaults on the integrity of the federal election process.

The Department’s Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative:

            In 2002, the Department of Justice established the Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative to spearhead the Department’s efforts to protect voting rights and to deter and prosecute election fraud.   The ongoing initiative is supervised by the Assistant Attorneys General of the Civil Rights and Criminal Divisions, and has two overarching goals: to ensure voting access to all who qualify, and to protect the integrity of the election process and the value of every vote.   

            The initiative requires that each of the Department’s U.S. Attorneys’ Offices coordinate with state law enforcement and election officials before the federal general elections regarding the handling of election-related matters in their respective districts.   In addition, the initiative provides annual training for the Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Department’s 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices serving as District Election Officers (DEOs) in their respective districts. DEOs are election experts in the federal laws addressing election crimes and voting rights.   


Civil Rights Division:

            The Civil Rights Division enforces the civil provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; the Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (UOCAVA); the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (Motor Voter or NVRA); and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA).   Among other things, these civil statutes prohibit discrimination in voting on the basis of race or membership in a language minority as well as intimidation, coercion or threats against persons for exercising their right to vote.   The Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section also enforces federal criminal statutes that prohibit voter intimidation based on race, color, national origin or religion.   On Election Day, Nov. 4, 2008, the Civil Rights Division will implement a comprehensive program to help ensure ballot access that will include the following:

·          The Civil Rights Division will send more than 800 federal personnel, including Department employees, as election monitors and observers at polling places in 23 states across the nation.

·          In identifying locations where federal monitors may be needed, the Civil Rights Division has already sought out the views of many organizations, including non-governmental organizations as well as state and local officials.  

·          The Civil Rights Division has been engaged in a major outreach effort to non-governmental organizations and election officials to inform jurisdictions of their obligations under the language minority provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The Division will continue to enforce the law that requires jurisdictions meeting certain criteria to provide bilingual access to elections.

·          Civil Rights Division attorneys in both the Voting and Criminal Sections in Washington, D.C., will be ready to receive complaints and concerns of voter intimidation or coercion, or complaints of potential violations relating to any of the statutes the Civil Rights Division enforces.   Attorneys in the division will take appropriate action and will consult and coordinate with local U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and with other entities within the Department of Justice concerning these complaints on and after Election Day.   

·          Civil Rights Division staff will be available at special toll-free numbers to receive complaints related to free and fair ballot access (1-800-253-3931), (TTY line 1-888-305-3228), including allegations of voter intimidation or coercion targeted at voters because of their race, color, national origin or religion.   In addition, individuals can also report complaints, problems or concerns related to voting via the Internet.   Forms may be submitted through a link on the Department’s Web page: .  

Criminal Division and the Department’s 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices:

The Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and the Department’s 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices are responsible for enforcing the federal criminal laws that prohibit various forms of election fraud, such as vote buying, multiple voting, voting by ineligible individuals, submission of fraudulent ballots or registrations, destruction of ballots or registrations, voter intimidation, alteration of votes and malfeasance by election officials.   On Nov. 4, 2008, these offices will work together and with the FBI to ensure that complaints from the public involving possible voter fraud are handled appropriately and expeditiously.   Specifically:   

·          Senior federal prosecutors within the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section in Washington, D.C., will be on duty while polls are open to receive complaints and take appropriate action, and to provide consultation and coordination with the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and FBI regarding the handling of election crime allegations.

·          Federal prosecutors serving as DEOs will be available in each of the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to receive and handle complaints from the public involving possible election fraud.

·          FBI officials will be available at FBI headquarters in Washington to receive complaints and to coordinate their handling with FBI field offices and the Criminal Division.

·          FBI special agents serving as Election Crime Coordinators in the FBI’s 56 field offices will be available to receive complaints from the public and to handle these matters in consultation with FBI headquarters.   

·          Voter fraud complaints may be directed to any of the local U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the local FBI offices or the Public Integrity Section (202-514-1412.)   

The Department remains committed to vigorous enforcement of the federal laws passed by Congress that protect the right to vote, the worth of votes honestly cast, and the integrity of this country’s elections.  


This is from 2008 - but is the most recent I could find.


‘The Worst Thing That Has Happened to Our Democratic Election System’

Andrew Cohen has been doing a formidable job of covering what is otherwise a substantially under-covered theme in this election year: the efforts to disenfranchise large numbers of voters, especially in swing states.

Here are four sample installments in recent months: last week, earlier this month, in late August, and another just before that. Plus, this interview with voting-rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis.

Our Garrett Epps has also been on the case, recently and notably here and here.


Voting While Trans


Transgender people, the majority of whom have never had problems voting in the past, may now lose their right to vote due to dozens of new voter suppression laws. Over 25,000 transgender people could have their voting rights taken away. In response to these dubious new laws, we have released two resources to help transgender people reclaim their voting rights.

Definitely take a look at this website if you’re eligible to vote this upcoming election! It’s extremely important, considering that Romney will literally try to take away our basic human and legal rights. Spread this around as well so your trans* followers can see it.

[O]n Saturday the New York Times reported that there had been a drop of 34% in the number of times that police had used stop-and-frisks. It said that from April to June New York police had conducted 133,934 stops, compared to 203,500 in the preceding three months of January to February. The drop coincided with a period of media debate over the role of stop-and-frisks in fighting New York crime, which civil rights groups have repeatedly protested.

The above is an example of why activism works. People do less wrong when they know we are watching.

NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisks witnesses marked drop (via theamericanbear)

Freedom is not enough. You do not wipe away the scars of centuries. You do not take a man who for years has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race saying, ‘You are free to compete with all the others’, and still justly believe you have been completely fair. Thus it is not enough to open the gates of opportunity.

Lyndon B. Johnson (via wretchedoftheearth)

Reblogging for relevance

(via wretchedoftheearth)

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