Brett Kavanaugh just got remarkably angry — and political — for a Supreme Court nominee

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Before delivering his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh assured us that only one other person had seen it. But it was as if it had been approved by President Trump himself.

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No, Kavanaugh didn’t go as far as Trump has by calling his female accusers “liars,” but he did take an unusually fiery, partisan posture against Democrats seeking to thwart his nomination. While judicial nominees almost always strive to appear above the political fray and not favor one party over another, Kavanaugh made clear he was furious — and he was furious at Democrats.

“Since my nomination in July, there’s been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation,” he said. He referred to Democrats calling him “evil.” Then he turned directly to Democratic senators on the committee. “You sowed the wind,” he said, and “the country will reap the whirlwind.”

But it was also more direct and more partisan than that. Kavanaugh wasn’t just decrying the process — which he called a “national disgrace.” He was pointing the finger directly at Democrats and saying they alone were responsible for it.

This was a particularly bold move from Kavanaugh, given his biography. One of the potential knocks against him was that, before he was a judge, he was a Republican political operative — a high-ranking official in the George W. Bush White House, in fact. That always cut against the idea that he would be your average fair-minded judge, just reviewing the facts and applying the law. Everything Kavanaugh said Thursday will only confirm such doubts.

More from Aaron Blake at The Washington Post

Related: Kavanaugh Gave a Messy, Angry Performance That Would Never Be Allowed From a Woman

Posted by Libergirl

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D.L. Hughley Speaks on Hypocrisy of How Some Wealthy Men Accused of Sexual Assault Are Treated

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Comedian and radio host D.L. Hughley highlights the difference between two powerful celebrity men who’ve both been accused of sexual misconduct.

Bill Cosby, who starred in one of the most popular Black sitcoms in the 80’s was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault on Thursday (Apr.26). However, many are wondering why others such as Harvey Weinstein and President Trump, who face a boatload of similar allegations of sexual assault, remain free men.
— Read on atlantablackstar.com/2018/04/28/d-l-hughley-speaks-hypocrisy-wealthy-men-accused-sexual-assault-treated/

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Racial Divide Snapshot: Single Black Women Wealth, $200 – White Women, $15,640

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While women of all races and ethnicities have higher educational levels and suffer lower pay than men overall, their socio-economic status is much closer to men within their racial or ethnic group than with women across racial or ethnic groups.”

As Women’s History Month ends, we at the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative think it is important to reflect upon how racial economic inequality intersects with gender economic inequality. Overall, women earn lower wages and experience higher levels of poverty than men. This holds for Black and Latina women, who also earn lower wages and experience higher poverty rates than White and Asian women. Most women of color face a double disparity: having lower socio-economic outcomes than men, compounded by affiliation with a racial or ethnic group that—whether male or female—has much lower socio-economic indicators than their White counterparts.

Education is one area where women in all major racial and ethnic groups outperform men . Whether Latina, Black, White or Asian American, women’s college graduation rates are between five to 10 percentage points higher than men’s. However, superior education outcomes for women do not lead to superior incomes. Even with a higher likelihood of college education, the median income of all women is only 83% of that earned by men .

This gendered income inequality varies within different racial groups. Asian American and White women, who are more likely to come from higher income backgrounds, earn at about 80% of Asian American and White men’s income. Latina and African American women, who are more likely to come from lower income communities, make about 90% of what Latino and Black men make.

“Superior education outcomes for women do not lead to superior incomes.”

Similarly, a 2015 study from the Assets Funders Network reveals the wealth inequality between single men and women varies between races . While single Black women own only $100 less in wealth than single Black men, disappointingly, the median wealth for single Black women is a mere $200 while the median wealth of single Black men is only $300. Single Latina women hold only $100 in median wealth, $850 lower than single Latino men. Whites have a gender wealth disparity of over $13,000 with a low median wealth of $15,640 for single women and $28,900 for single men. There was no gender wealth data for single Asian Americans in the cited study.

Looking at this income and wealth data together, there are three important takeaways:

* While women of all races and ethnicities have higher educational levels and suffer lower pay than men overall, their socio-economic status is much closer to men within their racial or ethnic group than with women across racial or ethnic groups.

* Ironically, single women from the most economically secure communities face the greatest gender disparities compared to single men in their same demographic group. Not only do they earn a lower share of single men’s income, but the magnitude of wealth inequality is higher as well.

* Although the magnitude of income and wealth inequality between single Black and Latino men and women is relatively small, they sadly earn low income and hold almost zero wealth regardless of gender.

The share of women of color in America’s female population and the workforce is growing. It is increasingly evident that to tackle gender inequality, we also have to tackle the racial economic divide that is so deeply ingrained in this country.

To learn more about this issue, dive into following Racial Wealth Snapshot that focuses on women and the racial wealth divide, part of our series of snapshots highlighting disparities in racial wealth. Our last snapshot looked at racial wealth indicators within the Black community .

Racial Wealth Snapshot: Women and the Racial Wealth Divide

The historical legacy of the racial wealth divide when combined with gender inequality makes women of color uniquely economically insecure. The greatest socio-economic disparities for most women of color are rooted in racial inequality, which is then worsened by smaller but significant gendered disparities. It follows that, within the most economically disenfranchised racial and ethnic groups, such as Blacks and Latinos, gendered disparities are usually much smaller than among Whites. African American women and Latinas experience greater gender economic equality within their racial and ethnic groups. However, this parity is more an equality in economic disenfranchisement than an equality in economic wellbeing.

Workforce and Income

According to the 2013 Current Population Survey , more African American and Latina women work in the service and production industries than White women, who tend to work in management. Service and production jobs generally offer lower wages and lack favorable tax codes or valuable government benefits that make it difficult for working women’s income to turn into wealth.

According to a 2014 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics , the weekly median income of women was $719, while men earned a median income of $871. As such, women’s median income was 83% of what men earned.

An even bigger disparity occurs when both race and gender are considered. Using weekly earnings, White women earned $734, Black women earned $611 and Latina women earned $548, meaning Black and Latina women earned 83% and 75%, respectively, of White women’s weekly earnings. Similarly, White men earned $897, Black men earned $680 and Latino men earned $616 on a weekly basis, showing that Black men made 76% of the weekly median income of White men and Latinos only made 69%. Latina and Black women only made 61% and 68% of White men’s earnings, respectively. Conversely, Asian American women’s median weekly income was $841 a week , 115% of the pay of White women. Asian American men earned $1,080 weekly, 120% of the pay of White men.

Wealth

According to a 2015 brief from Asset Funders Network Center , the “2013 Survey of Consumer Finances data” showed that the median wealth for single women was $3,210 while the median wealth for single men was $10,150. Single women held only 32 cents of wealth for every dollar of wealth owned by a single man.

There is a greater gender wealth inequality when looking across individual racial lines. Per the 2015 Asset Funders Network report, the median wealth of single White women was $15,640. Yet, the median wealth for single Black women and Latina women was $200 and $100, respectively—about one cent for every dollar of White women’s wealth. On the other hand, while White men’s median wealth was $28,900; Latino men’s wealth was $950 and Black men’s wealth was $300, about three cents and one cent on every dollar of White men’s wealth, respectively.

Poverty Rates

According to the 2015 Current Population Survey , 16.9 million women and 11.7 million men lived in poverty. That is wholly 13.4% of women and 9.9% of men in the US. Disparities grow when race is factored in: 9.6% of White women live in poverty while 20.9% of Latina women, 11.7% of Asian women and 23.1% of Black women do. For comparison, 7.1% of White men, 14.7% of Latino men, 10.6% of Asian men and 18.2% of Black men lived in poverty.

Unemployment

Per the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics , for the last quarter of 2017, the unemployment rate was four percent for men and 3.8% for women. White men’s unemployment rate was 3.5% and White women’s rate an even lower 3.3%. During the last quarter of 2017, Asian American men and women had remarkably low unemployment rates of 2.8% and 2.7%, respectively. African Americans, on the other hand, had the highest unemployment levels: a total of seven percent, with African American men at 7.8% and African American women at 6.3%. Finally, Latinos are the only demographic group in which unemployment for men is lower than women, with the Latino unemployment rate at 4.3% and Latinas at 5.2%.

Educational Achievement

Despite generally having lower socio-economic indicators, women in all our demographic groups had substantially higher college graduation rates than men. According to the Fact Sheet from Center for Global Policy Solutions , in 2013, 62% of Asian American women and 53% of Asian American men had college degrees. Forty-four percent of White women and 37% of White men had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2013. Women’s stronger academic achievement continues within the African American and Latino communities with 23.2% of Black women and 17.4% of Black men having earned degrees, and 19% of Latinas and 13% of Latinos holding college degrees.

By Dedrick Asante-Muhammad/BAR

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Women’s Empowerment Was a Big Deal In African Societies, Before Christianity and Islam

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ancient egyptian women gender parity

Oftentimes when people learn of the status of women in ancient Egyptian society they are perplexed by the amount of human rights women enjoyed in a civilization that existed so far back in history.

On a reported visit to Egypt, fifth century BCE Greek historian Herodotus, surprised by the women’s position in the society, recorded. “Women attend market and are employed in trade, while men stay at home and do the weaving.” The Egyptians, he concluded, “in their manners and customs seem to have reversed the ordinary practices of mankind.”

In a recent CNN article, Egyptologist Valentina Santini said, “The women of ancient Egypt — the mighty and the modest — were considered equal to men” Santini added, “They could divorce. They could own property. They had many rights that women in subsequent civilizations didn’t have.”

The subsequent civilizations Santini is likely referring to are ancient Western civilizations such as Greece and Rome, where women were relegated to second-class status. Greek and Roman women were prohibited from owning or inheriting property. European women in the Middle Ages lived under similar restrictions. Although Santini did not address other ancient African civilizations, there’s a plethora of scholarly work that has tied ancient Egypt culturally to sub-Saharan Africa. Numerous historians have highlighted some of the ancient Egyptian customs that are seen in other pre-colonial/pre-Islamic cultures throughout the African continent.  The empowerment of women in domestic and in public domains is one such tradition.

In his book “The Cultural Unity of Black Africa” Senegalese scholar Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop argued that there exists a cultural continuity throughout sub-Saharan African cultures. He specifically points out the status of women, stating, “The African woman, even after marriage, retains all her individuality and her legal rights; she continues to bear the name of her family, in contrast to the Indo-European woman who loses hers to take on that of her husband.”

Aside from being empowered in marriage, precolonial African society had several avenues for women to exercise power. Throughout African history we have numerous examples of woman as queens who ruled, warriors who shed blood, and traders and merchants who built immense fortunes.

Vanderbilt professor Dr. Sandra Barnes, posits that “women in Africa were “one of history’s most politically viable female populations.” Queens such as Egypt’s Hatshepsut and Ethiopia’s Makeda (thought to be the biblical queen of Sheba) were known for using their leadership and wisdom to protect, expand, and enhance their nations.

ghanian queen mothers Queen mothers were once very important political figures who commanded respect prior to the colonial era. In some instances, they were even considered to be autonomous rulers. In the Akan tradition, according to an article out of the journal Institute of African Studies: Research Review, queen mothers ruled alongside the chief or the king. They held veto power of the king or chief, appointed their own ministers, and presided over courts that dealt with cases brought by women. The authors of the book “The Swazi, a South African Kingdom,” describes the queen mother’s position in the kingdom of Swaziland as “essentially a diarchy.” In the book “Women in African Colonial Histories,” Holly Hanson writes, In precolonial Buganda, “the queen mother participated in a system of gendered political power in which the mother of the king had autonomous authority, which she used to check his excesses and protect the nation.”

Some African women were soldiers or held leadership roles in the military. Warrior queens such as Queen Yaa Asantewa of the Ashanti people, Queen Nzinga of the Matamba, and Queen Amina of the Hausa demonstrated military skills that rivaled their male contemporaries. These women led military campaigns that embarrassed empires.  Interestingly, the fictional Dora Milaje warriors who protect King T’Challa — The Black Panther — in comic books and on screen are based on the so-called

Dahomey Amazons,” properly known as the Ahosi (king’s wives) or Mino (our mothers) in the Fon language. The Fon were the people of the Kingdom of Dahomy (1600 until 1894), which was located in what is now the present-day Republic of Benin.

Certainly, not all African women were queens, chiefs, or warriors. Dr. Tarikhu Farrar, anthropology professor at Holy Names University in Oakland, California, says in his article The Queenmother, Matriarchy, and the Question of Female Political Authority in Precolonial West African Monarchy that “using the status of royal and aristocratic women as an indicator of the status of women in general could result in a relatively inaccurate portrayal of the overall status of women and of prevailing gender relations.” However, there is evidence that even common women had rights above any known in the Western world at the time.

In the book “African Women: A Modern History,” French author Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch explains that in West Africa, women were artisans who travelled far and wide to sell their goods. She notes that though East African women were not thought to be as active in trade, they were also involved in the trade of livestock and foodstuffs. In some parts of the region, the food could not be touched nor the livestock sold without a woman’s permission.

All this does not mean that Africa was an utopia of gender equality. Dr. Farrar noted that men and women did have different spheres of influence in African societies and that most leadership positions were held by older men, But it does suggest that African women were valued in ways not seen in most places outside of Africa.

Many modern-day African women are not enjoying the same level of freedom as their ancestors. This begs the question if ancient African societies valued women so much, what happened? Why did some communities in the diaspora reverse course and decided to subjugate women in a way that seems foreign to African traditions?

Many aspects of colonialism resulted in reduced public roles for African women. Dr. Ambe Njoh, professor of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of South Florida, wrote in his book “Tradition, Culture, and Development in Africa,” “Most of the socio-economic and political problems which African women face have their roots in European colonial development policies, which were designed to discriminate against women.” He notes that beginning in the colonial era, women were barred from trading, attending school, holding jobs, or participating in the economy in any way.

“Colonial rulers erased the balance that women provided in the political structures of African Societies by systematically preventing them from any participation in the new political order,” wrote Dr. Toyin Falola in the book “Women’s Roles in Sub-Sharan Africa.” European colonizers would avoid discussions of political matters with African women, even the queen mothers, who they often referred to in historical documents as “sisters” of the men in power. Post-colonial governments continued with policies that suppressed women’s traditional authority.

Furthermore, as Europeans took control of African land and agriculture, the perceived value of women’s contribution society was greatly reduced. In an article titled Women and Development in Africa: From Marginalization to Gender Inequality, the authors argue that the “establishment of commercialized agriculture also contributed to the loss of women’s economic power. In Africa, commercialization begun under colonialism, often led to the granting of government titles to the land. Consequently the effect was to transfer farmland that had been controlled by women to [white] male ownership.”

Adoption of foreign cultural and religious values may have also helped changed the way African women were valued. In a paper about the impact of religion on women in African society, Wenpanga Eric Segueda, a writer from Burkina Faso, wrote that in contrast to traditional African religions, Christianity and Islam demanded a lower status for women. He notes that “Islamic and Christian teachings led Africans to deny their own perceptions of things, viewing them as primitive, backwards, and worthless,” a perception that was encouraged by those touting the new religions.

“Arabs, hence Islam, found a lot wrong with indigenous African norms, traditional practices and beliefs,” write the authors of a 2001 paper “The Impact of Religion on Women Empowerment as a Millennium Development Goal in Africa,” published by Springer Science+Media B.V. The researchers specified that “this was especially true with respect to gender relations in both the domestic and public spheres. Consequently, disciples of Islam wasted no time in altering these relations in the areas of the continent they successfully penetrated.”

Christianity had a similar impact on the status of women in African cultures. University of South Africa theology professor Matsobane J Manala says in his paper “The Impact of Christianity on sub-Saharan Africa,” that the religion “led to the demise of African customs, which it viewed as pagan and evil; the religion also led to the implementation of apartheid (to which it gave its theological support), and undermined the leadership role of women.”

As stated before, Africa was not free from gender tensions, and gender equity had not been totally achieved. But as the world moves towards the direction of  gender equity, it’s important to know that the Western world was never a better example — despite how much it avows women’s equality and attempt to impose its conceptualization of it onto others. Though there may be specific Western concepts Africans can use to improve the status of women in relationship to men, traditional African cultures provide some great solutions for the world as well.

By Nareissa Smith/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

 

This Is How White Liberals Can Be Allies in Fighting Racism and Oppression of Minorities Someone has to start doing some giving.

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In November, the Washington Post reported on an unexpected outcome of the Kevin Spacey sexual harassment scandal: a textbook example of a man being paid more than a woman for doing the same job. Following Stacey’s firing from the movie All the Money in the World, lead actress Michelle Williams received roughly $1,000 to reshoot scenes, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the $1.5 million paid to supporting actor Mark Wahlberg. Williams and Wahlberg are both represented by the William Morris Endeavor agency, though they have different agents, and director Ridley Scott had previously told USA Today that “everyone did [the reshoots] for nothing,” informational bits that seem to add to the situation’s overall shadiness. For all the exculpatory arguments being floated around the internet (Wahlberg’s agent is the real-life Ari Gold; Williams had a bum contract), a pay difference of 1,500 times remains laughably difficult to justify. Wahlberg donated his reshoot fee to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, along with a statement expressing the kind of sudden interest in gender pay parity frequently sparked by bad press.

The story stands in contrast to Tuesday’s news that actress Jessica Chastain, who is white, used her privilege to help ensure that actress Octavia Spencer, who is black, would receive the pay she deserves but is consistently denied due to racism and sexism. During a panel titled Women Breaking Barriers at the Sundance Film Festival, Spencer described how a conversation about the gender pay gap led to an exchange about the salary advantages white actresses have compared to actresses of color.

“We were dropping F-bombs and getting it all out there,” Spencer joked. “And then I said, but here’s the thing, women of color on that spectrum, we make far less than white women. So if we’re gonna have that conversation about pay equity, we gotta bring the women of color to the table. And I told her my story, and we talked numbers, and she was quiet, and she had no idea that’s what it was like for women of color.”

Chastain suggested they take a “favored nations” approach to salary negotiations on an upcoming comedy project the two will be starring in together. By tying their pay together, the actresses would take home the same paycheck. “Fast-forward to last week,” Spencer said. “We’re making five times what we asked for.”

This is a story that could be horribly misconstrued as a “love see no color” moment in the media, and if it is ever made into a film, Hollywood will surely insist that Sandra Bullock play Chastain. But get beyond whiteness’s reflexive tendency to applaud itself for every millimeter of power willingly given, and there are reasons it’s genuinely noteworthy. Chastain deserves recognition for doing the right thing, and for being the exception that proves the sad rule, unwittingly showing how rarely that happens. As Spencer noted, “People say a lot of things,” but doing is a lot harder. “She’s walking the walk and she’s actually talking the talk,” Spencer said of Chastain. “When it came down to it, she was right there and shoulder to shoulder.”

Performative allyship is always more abundant than action. Whenever a longstanding issue of inequality rises to the level of widespread visibility—meaning the groundswell of horrific stories forces the powerful to recognize what the disempowered have long told them existed—the country enters a period of “national conversation” that rarely goes much beyond words. The trickle-down effect, in terms of substantive corrective actions, can be hard to locate, because all too frequently there’s no there there. What passes for activism is often just virtue theatrics that play well in a society obsessed with optics, but aren’t necessarily aimed at leveling unbalanced playing fields.

It’s been noted again and again that the MeToo movement has overwhelmingly focused on the sexual bullying of white women who have fame and money, while ignoring the daily struggles of the most vulnerable women and non-binary folks. If the women who are calling men out keep failing to call themselves out—or asking men to push for equality while refusing to cede some of their influence—nothing changes. White women’s feminism and advocacy should look like what Chastain did, but it rarely does. We’re left with meaningless hot takes, pussy hats, and Facebook filters. The questions for people who say they want real equity are: what power do you wield and what are you giving up to make that happen? Solidarity is often a top-down matter. Folks on the lower rungs are often overlooked until their fates are linked to those whose presence is given greater value.

In her 2016 memoir, Taraji P. Henson wrote about how she was paid the “equivalent of sofa change” for her Oscar-nominated supporting role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, while Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt received millions. Henson didn’t have the name recognition of her costars at the time, nor the fame she has now, but even with those factors taken into account, the pay disparity seems outlandish given she was a “solid up-and-coming actress with a decent amount of critical acclaim for her work.” She got a low-six-figure deal, the smallest of fractions of her co-stars’ salaries, and was told she’d have to pay for her own hotel accommodations for the three-month shoot.

Henson spells out in her book why the onus is on those with power to speak up:

The math really is pretty simple: there are way more talented black actresses than there are intelligent, meaningful roles for them, and we’re consistently charged with diving for the crumbs of the scraps, lest we starve. I knew the stakes: no matter how talented, no matter how many accolades my prior work had received, if I pushed for more money, I’d be replaced and no one would so much as blink.

Last year, during an interview with Variety, Chastain said she was done “getting paid a quarter of what the male co-star is being paid. I’m not allowing that in my life.” Clearly, she realized it was a declaration that required a concurrent commitment to all the other women in the field to make sure they aren’t subject to starvation economy survival methods. Spencer—who for the record, beat out Chastain in the Oscar’s Best Actress Category—will hopefully receive a pay bump on every film from here on out, though Hollywood’s commitment to sexism and racism make that unlikely. On Twitter, Chastain suggested truly supportive male stars put their money where their mouths are to achieve gender pay fairness. “[Octavia] had been underpaid for so long,” she wrote in the message. “When I discovered that, I realized that I could tie her deal to mine to bring up her quote. Men should start doing this with their female costars.”

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith, speaking at another Sundance talk, drove the point further home. “It’s nice to go out and march. We can do that. It’s nice to wear black at the Golden Globes—it’s nice to do that. But what are we doing behind closed doors? And I’ve got to give our sister Jessica Chastain her props because she stood up for Octavia and put it down. And that’s how we all need to do it for each other.”

By Kali Holloway/AlterNet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Gun Ownership Among Black People Is Growing Rapidly and It’s Women Who’re Leading the Charge

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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Sitting in a classroom above a gun range, a woman hesitantly says she isn’t sure she could ever shoot and kill someone, even to protect herself. Couldn’t she just aim for their leg and try to maim them?

Her instructor says self-defense is not about killing someone but is instead about eliminating a threat.

If the gun gets taken away by a bad guy, the instructor says, “I promise you, they’re not going to be having any sympathy or going through the thought process you are.”

Gently, she adds that if the student isn’t comfortable with the lethal potential of the gun, buying one might not be for her.

Marchelle Tigner, known to her students and others as “Tig,” is on a mission: to train at least 1 million women how to shoot a firearm. She had spent no time around guns before joining the National Guard. Now, as a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, she wants to give other nonwhite women the training she hadn’t had.

“It’s important, especially for Black women, to learn how to shoot,” Tigner said, noting that Black women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence. “We need to learn how to defend ourselves.”

It’s hard to find definitive statistics on gun ownership, but a study by the Pew Research Center released this month indicated that just 16 percent of “non-white women” identified themselves as gun owners, compared with about 25 percent of white women. Other Pew surveys in recent years have shown a growing acceptance of firearms among African-Americans: In 2012, one found that less than a third of Black households viewed gun ownership as positive; three years later, that number had jumped. By then, 59 percent of Black families saw owning guns as a necessity.

Few states track gun permits by race or gender. But a recent study by gun-rights advocate and researcher John Lott showed that Black women outpaced other races and genders in securing concealed carry permits between 2000 and 2016 in Texas, one of the few states that keep detailed demographic information.

Philip Smith founded the National African American Gun Association in 2012 during Black History Month to spread the word that gun ownership was not something reserved for whites. He figured it would ultimately attract about 300 members, a number achieved in its first month. It now boasts 20,000 members in 30 chapters across the country.

“I thought it would be the brothers joining,” Smith said. But instead, he found something surprising — more Black women joining, most of them expressing concerns about living either alone or as single parents and wanting to protect themselves and their homes.

In recent months, he said politics also have emerged as a reason why he finds more Blacks interested in becoming gun owners.

“Regardless of what side you’re on, in the fabric of society right now, there’s an undertone, a tension that you see that groups you saw on the fringes 20 years ago are now in the open,” he said. “It seems to me it’s very cool to be a racist right now. It’s in fashion, it’s a trend.”

On top of that, the shootings of Black men and boys around the country have left Smith and others concerned that racism can make a Black person a perceived threat, even when carrying a firearm legally. He and his organization take pains to coach members on what to do when stopped by police, but not everyone is comforted.

“It’s disheartening to think that you have everything in order: Your license to carry. You comply. You’re not breaking the law. You’re not doing anything wrong. And there’s a possibility you could be shot and killed,” said Laura Manning, a 50-year-old payroll specialist for ADP from Atlanta. “I’m not going to lie. I’m just afraid of being stopped whether I have my gun or not.”

At the training session in Lawrenceville, a town just outside Atlanta, about 20 students gathered on a recent Saturday morning to go over basic safety lessons and instructions. They started with orange plastic replica guns as Tigner demonstrated proper stance and grip. They are taught not to put a finger on the trigger until it’s time to shoot and to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Tigner plays to their protective instincts by telling them always to know what is beyond their target so they don’t accidentally shoot a young child or another innocent bystander.

After about an hour in the classroom, the women walked downstairs and into the Bull’s Eye Indoor Gun Range. Some flinched as the crack of gunfire blasted from a series of bays. They were each shown how to load a magazine and given the chance to do it themselves — several of them struggling to get the bullets into the spring-loaded magazine with their long fingernails. Then, they took turns firing a Glock 19 semi-automatic 9mm at targets about 5 yards down range.

“The bad guy’s dead. He’s not getting back up,” Tigner tells one student who beams with pride as they look over a target riddled with bullet holes.

Jonava Johnson, another student, says it took her a long time to decide to get a gun. For years, she was afraid of them after an ex-boyfriend from high school threatened her and shot and killed her new boyfriend in front of her. She was just 17.

Flash forward about 30 years and her daughter was sexually assaulted in their home. At the time, she thought about getting a gun for protection but decided to get a guard dog instead. But she has since changed her mind.

“I think that’s the way it’s always been in the Black community: It was never OK for us” to own a gun, said Johnson, 50. But now? “I hope I never have to kill anybody, but if it comes down to me or my children, they’re out.”

By Associated Press

Posted by The NON-Conformist

‘NC is the only state where no doesn’t mean no’: Court case ruled women can’t back out of sex

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On the evening of May 16, 1977, Beverly Hester was assaulted.

But the North Carolina Supreme Court declared that under the law, it wasn’t rape if Hester told the man to stop after – not before – sex began.

Hester testified in court that the man who assaulted her, Donnie Leon Way, threatened to beat her if she didn’t have sex with him. According to a summary included in the N.C. Supreme Court Decision, State v. Way, Hester said Way asked her out on a date. They went with another couple to a friend’s apartment, and Way asked Hester to go upstairs “because he had something to show her.”

She went with him to a bedroom upstairs. He shut the door. Then he tried to take off her pants. She said no. But Way wouldn’t stop.

He told her that he would beat her if she didn’t take off her clothes and have sex with him, she said. When she tried to leave, he allegedly hit her in the face. She said she took off her clothes because she was scared of him.

Hester told the court she tried to call for help, but the music was too loud. She said that Way told her her “head would be through the wall” before her friend could get to her. And then he threatened to hit her again, she said. He told her he would kill her. She said she begged him to stop.

Way was convicted of second-degree rape, because the judge told the jury that a woman could revoke her consent. But the N.C. Supreme Court disagreed, upholding a state law that it wasn’t rape if a woman consented at any time, even if she said no after intercourse began. Way’s rape conviction was thrown out, and he was given a new trial.

Ever since that 1979 case, North Carolina has said that once a woman says yes to sex, she can’t change her mind once it’s started. The State v. Way case set a precedent – ruling that a woman cannot revoke consent after intercourse begins, meaning that even if a woman said “no,” the intercourse would not be ruled rape.

The Supreme Court ruled that “if actual penetration is accomplished with the woman’s consent, the accused is not guilty of rape, although he may be guilty of another crime because of his subsequent actions.”

Because of the 38-year-old ruling, women in North Carolina who allegedly agree to sex but change their minds or say “no” during intercourse aren’t protected by laws against rape.

State Sen. Jeff Jackson of Mecklenburg County thinks that’s absurd.

“Legislators are hearing more and more about women who have been raped and are being denied justice because of this crazy loophole,” Jackson told The Fayetteville Observer. “North Carolina is the only state in U.S. where no doesn’t mean no.”

And Hester’s case in 1977 is far from the only example. Women across North Carolina have been left with little recourse after rape or assault, including Aaliyah Palmer, 19, who allegedly agreed to sex with a man at a party, but changed her mind when he turned violent.

“If I tell you no and you kept going, that’s rape,” Palmer told The Fayetteville Observer.

Amy Guy, of Wake County, told WRAL that her estranged husband showed up drunk to her apartment in December, demanding sex.

“Since he was getting angry, I figured it would be better to go ahead and agree to the sex because I figured that was the safer thing for me to do,” she said.

But he turned violent, and wouldn’t stop even though she begged him to.

Her estranged husband, Jonathan Wayne Guy, initially was charged with second-degree rape, but because of the Supreme Court decision in State v. Way, the charges were lowered to misdemeanor assault on a female. Guy pleaded guilty and is serving a 10-month sentence.

“I was devastated,” Amy Guy told WRAL. “I didn’t understand how that could be because I knew I had been raped. I don’t understand how the law can say that I wasn’t.”

State law does not define consent or require either party to procure it prior to sexual activity. In North Carolina, first-degree rape must be vaginal intercourse by force with the threat or reality of violence, indicating that an encounter must be violent in some way before it would be considered first-degree rape in North Carolina. The law does not account for rape of men or boys.

Jackson is sponsoring Senate Bill 553, which would make it a crime to continue intercourse after a woman revokes consent.

The “Revoke Consent for Intercourse” bill would amend current law so that “a person who continues to engage in intercourse after consent is withdrawn is deemed to have committed the act of intercourse by force and against the will of the other person.”

The law specifically mentions the withdrawal of consent for vaginal intercourse. It would make it a crime to have sex with a woman after she has revoked consent, though it makes no mention of protections for men who revoke consent.

The bill now rests in the Senate’s Rules Committee, where Jackson said it likely will be dead for the remainder of the two-year legislative session.

Jackson filed a similar bill with two Republican co-sponsors in 2015.

“There’s no reason for this to be partisan,” Jackson told The Fayetteville Observer. “It’s about doing what’s obviously right.”

While North Carolina may be the only state where women explicitly can’t withdraw consent after sexual intercourse has begun, most other states see this as a gray area, according to a Broadly report. Only South Dakota, Connecticut, California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Kansas and Minnesota affirmatively recognize that consent can be withdrawn at any time during sex; Illinois is the only state that’s made it law.

For information on North Carolina rape crisis centers or to find one in your area, go to www.nccasa.org/need-help/nc-rape-crisis-centers.

BY ABBIE BENNETT/NewsandObserver
Posted by The NON-Conformist

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