Melissa Harris-Perry: Say Their Names


We less frequently discuss historical violence against black girls and don’t adequately connect these stories to movements for social justice. As a result we think our daughters are safer than our sons. We forget Elizabeth Eckford walking a racist gauntlet toward Central High School in 1957; or tiny Ruby Bridges requiring federal marshals to attend elementary school in 1960, New Orleans; or four little girls murdered in their Sunday school in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.  Girlhood has never been a shield against the brutality of white supremacy. We cannot forget the vulnerabilities of black girls. Yes, we must keep our brothers, but what about our daughters? We must also say their names: Rekia Boyd, Renisha McBride, Mya Hall, Natasha McKenna, Sandra Bland.

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You Know Who You Are


The internet is still broken.
I blame Paula Deen. NSA. FISA Courts.
The Military-Industrial Complex.
The Prison-Industrial Complex.

But not in that order.

(It is working but it is like dial-up, what gives, who at the NSA do I have to do tawdry favors for to get them to stop slowing this mother down!) Continue reading

Bentham’s Panopticon


“…Foucault’s “critical philosophy” undermines such claims by exhibiting how they are just the outcome of contingent historical forces, and are not scientifically grounded truths.

Bentham’s Panopticon is, for Foucault, an ideal architectural model of modern disciplinary power. It is a design for a prison, built so that each inmate is separated from and invisible to all the others (in separate “cells”) and each inmate is always visible to a monitor situated in a central tower. Monitors will not in fact always see each inmate; the point is that they could at any time. Since inmates never know whether they are being observed, they must act as if they are always objects of observation. As a result, control is achieved more by the internal monitoring of those controlled than by heavy physical constraints.

Panopticon-prayers

Description: Jeremy Bentham’s panoptic prison design showing prisoner in cell kneeling towards central watch tower with altar on top Source: Prison design, not actually built (Foucault, 1975, p. 21) Date: 1840

The principle of the Panopticon can be applied not only to prisons but to any system of disciplinary power (a factory, a hospital, a school). And, in fact, although Bentham himself was never able to build it, its principle has come to pervade every aspect of modern society. It is the instrument through which modern discipline has replaced pre-modern sovereignty (kings, judges) as the fundamental power relation.”


via Excerpt from Foucault entry at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy