Ida B. Wells, Anti-Lynching Crusader, Was the Godmother of the Social Justice Internet

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Originally posted on Flavorwire:

“Let me give thanks for your faithful paper on the lynch abomination,” Frederick Douglass wrote to Ida B. Wells, introducing her pamphlet on lynching, ‘A Red Record.’  “Brave woman! you have done your people and mine a service which can neither be weighed nor measured,” he went on.

Once one apprehends the extent of the prophetic journalism and anti-lynching activism of Ida B. Wells, it becomes difficult to see her as anything but one of the greatest Americans ever, at the pinnacle of the category of “unsung heroines.” Wells, who was born a slave and died in a new century as a lauded activist, editor, speaker, and journalist, is deserving of far more public memorializing than so many of the mediocre leaders whose busts decorate our marble halls.

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The Harry Potter Alliance’s #MyHungerGames Brings Awareness to Stories of Income Inequality | The Mary Sue

 

via The Harry Potter Alliance’s #MyHungerGames Brings Awareness to Stories of Income Inequality | The Mary Sue.

The Harry Potter Alliance grew out of a group of HP fans who wanted to take the good messages of their favorite book series and enact them in the world around them, and has become one of the awesomest examples of “fan activism.” But they aren’t entirely focused on HP-themed causes; they also often organize campaigns of awareness, fundraising, and community service to coincide with the release of new The Hunger Games films, and this week’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I release is no different.

The Hunger Games films have taken a meta-textually fascinating approach to their marketing; or, maybe, it’s the only approach they really could have taken. Outside of direct advertisements for the film itself, the movie’s campaigns have all framed the viewer of the ad as a Capitol citizen, deliberately exotifying and objectifying their subjects, simplifying what is a complex situation; and, of course, including plenty of tone deaf merchandise tie-ins like makeup and fast food products. It’s a campaign that I can appreciate intellectually if I think of it like an art project, and side-eye when I remember that it’s an ad campaign: it’s working a little too well, and the nuance and intent of a lot of it is likely lost on a lot of folks. Art shouldn’t bend over backwards to make sure everybody gets its real message, but ads for The Hunger Games aren’t art… they’re ads.

So this year, the HPA is encouraging its members, and everyone else, to contribute to the hashtag #MyHungerGames, intending the feed to become a repository of the real effects and complexity of extreme income inequality, one of the biggest allegorical themes of the Hunger Games books.

We want to hear your stories – the daily realities, the struggles, and the triumphs big and small. The ways race, gender, sexual orientation, bodily status, familial origin, and more intersect and inform how you’re treated. Economic inequality manifests itself in our daily lives and yet even alluding to it is frowned upon. Now is the time to shine a light on it.

Odds In Our Favor, as the project is known, is also collecting member selfies with The Hunger Games‘ distinctive three-fingered salute. But it’s not all social media. Odds In Our Favor.org offers resources to understand the sources and severity of income inequality in modern society and links to help contact your local representative and encourage them to raise minimum wages. So get going! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

Dear Prudence: I live in a rich neighbourhood, but most of the trick-or-treaters are poor. Do I have to give them candy?

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Jupiter:

There have been some who have speculated that this Dear Prudence letter is made up for effect but I have heard comments from people where I live about how “Those trailer park people just cart them into the village by the van fulls.” I know this attitude certainly exists.

Originally posted on National Post | Arts:

Dear Prudence, 

I live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, but on one of the more “modest” streets — mostly doctors and lawyers and family business owners. (A few blocks away are billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls, etc.) I have noticed that on Halloween, what seems like 75% of the trick-or-treaters are clearly not from this neighborhood. Kids arrive in overflowing cars from less fortunate areas. I feel this is inappropriate. Halloween isn’t a social service or a charity in which I have to buy candy for less fortunate children. Obviously this makes me feel like a terrible person, because what’s the big deal about making less fortunate kids happy on a holiday? But it just bugs me, because we already pay more than enough taxes toward actual social services. Should Halloween be a neighborhood activity, or is it legitimately a free-for-all in which…

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After Years Without a Grocery Store, Greensboro Neighbors Are Building One Themselves—And They’ll Own It by Dave Reed — YES! Magazine

Fed up with essentially begging for access to quality food, residents of this predominantly African-American and low-income neighborhood decided to open their own grocery store.

via After Years Without a Grocery Store, Greensboro Neighbors Are Building One Themselves—And They’ll Own It by Dave Reed — YES! Magazine.

Jimmy John’s Makes Low-Wage Workers Sign ‘Oppressive’ Noncompete Agreements

JIMMY JOHNS

 

Jimmy John’s Makes Low-Wage Workers Sign ‘Oppressive’ Noncompete Agreements.

A Jimmy John’s employment agreement provided to The Huffington Post includes a “non-competition” clause that’s surprising in its breadth. Noncompete agreements are typically reserved for managers or employees who could clearly exploit a business’s inside information by jumping to a competitor. But at Jimmy John’s, the agreement apparently applies to low-wage sandwich makers and delivery drivers, too.

By signing the covenant, the worker agrees not to work at one of the sandwich chain’s competitors for a period of two years following employment at Jimmy John’s. But the company’s definition of a “competitor” goes far beyond the Subways and Potbellys of the world. It encompasses any business that’s near a Jimmy John’s location and that derives a mere 10 percent of its revenue from sandwiches.

From the agreement:

Employee covenants and agrees that, during his or her employment with the Employer and for a period of two (2) years after … he or she will not have any direct or indirect interest in or perform services for … any business which derives more than ten percent (10%) of its revenue from selling submarine, hero-type, deli-style, pita and/or wrapped or rolled sandwiches and which is located with three (3) miles of either [the Jimmy John’s location in question] or any such other Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shop.

It isn’t clear what sort of trade secrets a low-wage sandwich artist might be privy to that would warrant such a contract. A Jimmy John’s spokeswoman said the company wouldn’t comment.

The noncompete agreement is now part of a proposed class-action lawsuit filed this summer against Jimmy John’s and one of its franchisees. As HuffPost reported in August, Jimmy John’s workers recently brought two lawsuits accusing the company of engaging in wage theft by forcing employees to work off the clock.

5 Recent Examples of How Bad Silicon Valley Class Warfare Is :: Tech :: Lists :: Paste

5 Recent Examples of How Bad Silicon Valley Class Warfare Is :: Tech :: Lists :: Paste.

5 Recent Examples of How Bad Silicon Valley Class Warfare Is

While its residents toil away finding brilliant ways of disrupting our lives through groundbreaking technological innovations, Silicon Valley has become a place so ridiculous and prone to self-parody that TV shows mocking it are basically documentaries. But while its culture of extreme hubris mixed with extreme nerdiness may be amusing on its own, combined with the massive amounts of money flowing into the region, a decidedly 21st century form of class tension has emerged in the San Francisco Bay Area.

While this is far from a full examination of the complex socioeconomic implications of this trend, here are five particularly egregious examples of recent class warfare in Silicon Valley.

1. “In Downtown San Francisco the Degenerates Gather Like Hyenas”

Greg Gopman runs AngelHack, a startup that offers helpful services to other startups like hackathon planning, recruiting, and community management. Unfortunately, he’s not nearly as charitable towards those whose problems can’t be solved with clever coding. Here’s a fun game to play while reading these quotesfrom his Facebook page: modern day actual human being or cartoon 19th century Charles Dickens villain?

“In other cosmopolitan cities, the lower parts of society keep to themselves. They sell small trinkets, beg coyly, stay quiet, and generally stay out of your way. They realize it’s a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests.”

“In downtown SF the degenerates gather like hyenas, spit, urinate, taunt you, sell drugs, get rowdy, they act like they own the center of the city, like it’s their place of leisure.”

“I’ve traveled around the world and I gotta say there is nothing more grotesque than walking down Market Street in San Francisco. Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash I have no clue. Each time I pass it my love affair with SF dies a little.”

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He would later go on to apologize in the Facebook post above, but his Facebook friends didn’t seem to have a problem with the distasteful things he said.

2. The Great Google Bus Hoax

With housing near Silicon Valley itself become ever scarcer, many of its employees live in towns up to 40 miles away. So companies like Google began deploying private shuttles to ferry their workers to and from their offices. However, these buses soon became the automobile embodiment of Silicon Valley’s poisonous influence on nearby communities whether it’s obnoxious private use of public services like bus stops, gentrification like skyrocketing rent costs in areas near the stops, or the idea that Google could make the whole thing just go away by throwing some money towards transit for low-income children.

But the whole episode reached a new level of insanity late last year when protesters actually hired an actor to pretend to be a Google employee saying things so horrible they were literally unbelievable, “This is a city for the right people who can afford it. You can’t afford it? You can leave. I’m sorry, get a better job.” And even though protesters later clarified that this was merely an act of “political theater,” the surprisingly large number of people actually fooled by the hoax demonstrates how the fact of Silicon Valley class warfare is now stranger than any fiction.

3. Six Californias

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As the continued struggles of Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have shown us, adding just one more star to the United States flag is pretty tough. But if tech investor Tim Draper had his way we’d be adding five with his “Six Californias” plan. The logic goes like this: California is a huge, densely populated state with lots of disparate groups of people that can’t be effectively served by a single state government. So let’s split it up into six smaller states that can better handle more local issues and concerns.

Sounds reasonable enough, but then start looking at the specifics of the plan. These six new hypothetical Californias would include Jefferson, North California, Central California, West California, South California, and of course, Silicon Valley. Setting aside just how dystopian the idea of Silicon Valley as an actual state with its own license plates and technocratic government would be, the separation would also siphon wealth, political power, and precious resources like water away from poorer areas. Fortunately, the initiative failed to qualify as a 2016 ballot measure, so would-be residents of the great state of Silicon Valley will have to wait to realize their dream of finally freeing themselves from the burden that is the rest of the country.

4. SketchFactor

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One of the great successes of modern society, at least here in America, is that we’ve made outright racism mostly unacceptable. If someone were to say something as blatantly awful as “I don’t want to walk through that neighborhood. There are too many black people,” most would agree that’s pretty uncool.

Unfortunately, nowadays it’s as easy as switching to a simple code word to share one’s fear and distaste for “the others.” And there’s even an app for it. SketchFactor uses crowdsourced user data to rank how “sketchy” certain neighborhoods are and determine whether or not to avoid them. However, many worry that by depending on information as reliable as the gut feelings of anonymous Silicon Valley dwellers predominantly minority and lower-income communities will be disproportionately, negatively affected by digital white flight. But don’t take our word for it, download the app yourself and try to spot the institutional racism in action.

5. Tinder Minus Poor People

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And finally, continuing the theme of removing inherently inferior people out of one’s life from the comfort of a smartphone screen comes LUXY, self-described as “Tinder minus the poor people.” It’s understandable that people are drawn to those similar to them, and a person’s wealth can definitely make them more or less attractive. But nothing better sums up Silicon Valley’s current mantra of “technology as a tool for class stratification” than an app that strategically plucks out less affluent users looking for love so rich people can get together and have lots of rich babies that dominate the world.

From the LUXY press release: “Who doesn’t want to date somebody both attractive and wealthy? Privately, we all know we prefer to have both of these things. One user said: ‘Tinder was pretty awesome when it came out, but there’s a lot of riff raff on there. I would rather know the guy has a couple bucks in his pocket.’ With the rise of high-speed digital dating, it’s about time somebody introduced a filter to weed out low-income prospects by neighborhood.”

Riff raff.