Author: thecivilword

Chatroom: Sexual Assault and #RapedbyMorehouse

Michael: Ok, Cara — earlier today women at Spelman College held a protest over the egregious lack of accountability in instances of sexual assault with their brother institution of Morehouse College. You and I were talking about this a bit earlier. What about all of this really hit home for you?

Cara: My immediate thought is that this is happening all over the country. Almost every college seems to have a problem with rape and way too many fail to address it. Victims get punished or expelled and rapists never get charged. It’s pretty sad that I find myself feeling “lucky” to have made it through college without being a victim of sexual assault.

Michael: Right — the statistics on campus rape and assault are insane. And unfortunately (outrageously) many campuses are failing to do anything real or meaningful about it. Ironically, Vice President Joe Biden was at Morehouse campus not long ago decrying campus assault and yet, according to many victims, neither Morehouse nor Spelman has taken the appropriate steps needed to curb campus rape. Black women bear the brunt of not only being black in a society that devalues blackness but also being women in a society that devalues women. The African-American community is not immune to sexism and gendered violence — hearing the stories of rape and assault of black women just leaves me particularly deflated.   (more…)

A Tribute to Prince

By contributing writer David Tigabu

Like many, I was devastated upon hearing the news of Prince’s passing. In fact, it took hours to process the mere idea that the Purple One had transitioned. “Nope,” I thought, “not believing this…not today.” Once I had moved past denial, I scanned through social media in a last ditch effort to find some kind of retraction. But there was no retraction.

Prince’s music had an incredible impact on my life. I’m 28, so I wasn’t around for Purple Rain, 1999, Dirty Mind, Parade, or Sign o’ The Times, the pinnacle of Prince’s work. And like many people, the first pop icon I was exposed to was Michael Jackson. I was 7 years old the first time I had seen Prince on television, and I was instantly mesmerized. “Who was this purple-adorned tiny man in heels with so much personality and charm,” I thought. Michael Jackson might have been a smooth criminal, but Prince was really, really fascinating. (more…)

Friday News Round Up!

Thanks for checking out this week’s Friday News Round Up! Did we miss anything big? Let us know in the comments!

I really thought this new Pope was (relatively) progressive. Then he compared trans people to nuclear weapons.

Bestselling author Janet Mock  discusses the murders of six trans women this year that the media has largely been ignoring.

Oklahoma wants to ban AP history because it shows “what’s bad about America.”

Can’t we just pretend all that bad stuff never happened? Photo credit: PhotoQuest/Getty Images

A bunch of Republican states think it would be a great idea to increase taxes on the poor and cut them for the rich.

Walmart is raising its minimum wage to $10.

Writers over at Wonkblog lay out all of the benefits of helping parents work less.

Because we really care, Oscar voters explain why Selma got the snub at this year’s Academy Awards.

Jessica Williams says she isn’t ready for the Daily Show gig — so Ester Bloom tells her ‘lean in’. Williams fired back in the most brilliant of ways.

Friday News Round Up

Thanks for checking out the Friday News Round-Up! Here we go…

Catherine Rampell one-ups Scott Walker on his plan to drug-test poor welfare recipients.

Inimai Chettiar has an article in the Atlantic which details the findings of a new report that challenges the idea that mass incarceration has been the driving force behind declines in crime.

Over at Feministing, Veronica Flores tells all of those ‘whose bodies are dangerous’ that their lives matter, too.

A white guy in Minneapolis pulled a gun on a black guy because he thought he was a drug dealer. Luckily the victim caught it on tape.

Tom McKay at Mic uses historical facts to justify Obama’s comparison of the days when lynching innocent black people was common to modern day terrorism.

Ah, the NYPD. Now they want to make resisting arrest a felony.

Speaking of the prison industrial complex, Arizona’s new governor just cut education funding but plans to fund a big new private prison.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments.

The Civil Tube: Strange Fruit

In light of the many thousands of protesters across the country marching, demonstrating, chanting, and singing for justice, we here at the Civil Word thought it only right to take it way back to one of our nations most iconic songs about American oppression and the destruction of black lives.

Strange Fruit was written by Abel Meeropol – a Jewish ally of black rights and a school teacher in New York. Meeropol wrote the song after seeing a picture of a southern lynching. The image haunted him and pushed Meeropol to write Strange Fruit. The lyrics eventually fell into the hands of Billie Holiday who swirls them beautifully with a mesmerizing tone. The rest is history. Video below. The lyrics are below the fold.

To hear more about Meeropol check out this NPR article.