Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Civil Rights Roundup: 07/08/08

Daily roundup of civil rights and related news

A new study confirms that having gay members in the military doesn't damage unit cohesion, or have any negative effects whatsoever.

Elie Wiesel testifies in case of assailant. He feared he was being kidnapped -- the perpetrator has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

A Turkish Studies Institute has been roiled by charges that its Turkish funders seek to suppress inquiry into the Armenian genocide.

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales raised eyebrows the other day with an editorial on what Latinos want this election cycle. Attorney Raul Reyes wrote a response today that bears notice.

I was prepared to laugh at this editorial complaining of "age discrimination" in retirement mega-communities, but the author actually raises some valid points.

Rosa Brooks has a message: the constitution "doesn't contain any footnotes that say, "Note to our descendants: This Constitution is intended for easy times only. At the first sign of trouble, feed this document to your dog."

Tolerance of minorities: it's not just more just, it'll also make you happier!

It's something crits have been urging for years, and social service workers in Orange County are finally getting: different communities require different tactics if you want your services to reach the people.

The LA Times says that between 271 and 433 illegal immigrants are enrolled at the University of California. I say, if you're good enough to make it into the UC system, you're welcome in my community -- legal or illegal.

A controversy is brewing in Texas about a Mexican comic book whose main character is eerily reminscent of the "sambo" image of Black people. The local Black community is outraged that these comics are being sold in Wal-Mart; while some leaders in the Mexican community have responded that the sambo image does not exist in Mexican culture. Even if that's true (and I'd be interested in asking the Black population in Mexican about it), I think one Mexican immigrant parent they interviewed had the right line: he read it as a kid in Mexico, but he wouldn't want his own kids reading it. Different things have different meanings in different places -- pluralism means adjusting our behaviors accordingly.

Also in Texas, a Catholic Church has had its statutes and religious icons knocked over several times. What was originally assumed to be vandalism is now being investigated as a hate crime after a message was left: "You have been warned: don't worship idols."

The military is reforming its response to sexual assault reports. Given some of its past behavior in this field, I'm glad to hear it.

Woman arrested at public McCain event for holding McCain = Bush sign. She was reportedly standing on city property when she was arrested for "trespassing."

Jeweler settles lawsuit for discriminating against a former employee who wears a headscarf.

A rural Maryland town is being sued after it blocked a Muslim organization from building a temple and retreat within its borders.

Advocates are fighting for illegal immigrant day-workers cheated out of their wages. Under federal law, they have the same right as any other worker to sue for unpaid back wages.


Stentor said...

I live in the heart of age-segregated-community land, but I still can't help interpreting "adult community" as the kind of thing you'd see in an "adult video."

Also, it's a little strange to see a post called "Civil Rights Roundup" using the term "illegal immigrant" -- the preferred term among immigration activists is "undocumented immigrant."

PG said...

"Illegal immigrant" is the best term to use. "Illegal" in isolation is both grammatically bad and undescriptive, but when it clearly is modifying the noun "immigrant," the adjective "illegal" is saying that this person's immigration status is not legal. And that is true; such people are breaking the current U.S. law and generally are quite aware of that fact.

Also, using "undocumented immigrant" unnecessarily pisses off people who aren't immigration activists and who think that the disrespect for the rule of law that is involved in immigration violations is an important issue. The WSJ editorial page, for example, is in favor of changing the law and having open borders for immigration, but it doesn't shy away from saying that under the current law, coming into the country without permission is illegal. Why lose potential allies for the sake of terminology?