Justice links from around the web

From Professor Rick Wilson:
The Dale Prize is two-day event that links a scholar and a practitioner for dialogues on a focused planning topic, organized by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Cal Poly Pomona.
Last month’s Dale Prize Colloquium on planning for community self determination and racial justice generated a lively and stimulating discussion. Scholar Dr. Lisa Bates (Portland State) and Practitioner Mr. Hector Verdugo (Homeboy Industries) discussed practical ways of advancing racial justice. (YouTube Video)

Brilliant Price Student Felix Huang writes How We Talk About Asian American Aggrievement.

Right to the City: From Policing to Planning: Putting the People in Charge

To Work and Pray in Remembrance by Elise M. Edwards on Feminism and Religion

Why Seal Hunting May Come Back and Bite Humans by Charlie Camosy

Stay Unfair, Stay Beautiful a social media campaign (#unfairandlovely) that started with dark-skinned Indian women in response to skin-bleaching products marketed to both women and men

Feminist geographer Doreen Massey died this week. Here’s one of her pieces I admire: Neoliberalism has hijacked our vocabulary.

Justice links from around the web

Campus protests and whiteness as property We have some Cheryl Harris fans in the class, and some campus organizers–this one is for y’all.

Why Losing a Home Means Losing Everything

This Women’s History Month, I Refuse to Celebrate Your Feminism

Inside Higher Ed and the #NotAllMen defense

Obama bans solitary confinement in federal prisons

Tech bro bro-sprains how his city is infested with homeless people

Visceral Geographies of Whiteness (open access, scholarly journal article)

Yuri Kochiyama’s obituary from the SF Gate

Students shouldn’t have to choose between books and food.

I’ll be so proud when my daughter is president and runs a corrupt oligarchy by Kiese Laymon (You should just always read Kiese Laymon whenever you can).

Bodies on the Line–The LA Review of Books

Decolonizing my Brown Body

Aristotle and the worst of animals

ARISTOTLE Politics Loeb Classical Library

Therefore the impulse to form a partnership of and the source of man’s chief good. this kind is present in all men by nature; but the man who first united people in such a partnership was the greatest of benefactors. For as man is the best of the animals when perfected, so he is the worst of all when sundered from law and justice. For unrighteousness is most pernicious when possessed of weapons, and man is born possessing weapons for the use of wisdom and virtue, which it is possible to employ entirely for the opposite ends. Hence when devoid of virtue man is the most unscrupulous and savage of animals, and the worst in regard to sexual indulgence and gluttony. Justice on the other hand is an element of the state; for judicial procedure, which means the decision of what is just, is the regulation of the political partnership.

I’m so irritated this morning by the Oregon militia dudes. It’s not that I am unsympathetic to the Hammonds–these mandatory minimums always strike me as utter bullshite, but everybody but me seems to hate judicial discretion, and this is what you get when you have mandatory sentencing. But the Bundys don’t want to talk about that. They just want to talk about how they have to pay to graze and GUMMINT and MY GUNZ! etc etc.

I’m not sending them any snacks.

Sandra Bland: Where is the Mayoral Leadership?

I doubt we are ever really going to get an accurate read on Ms. Bland’s death, but the video is enough for me: this is not how American police should act. At worst, it’s murder and a cover up. At best, if she was, indeed, mentally ill enough to take her own life, then the last thing she needed was the despicable treatment she received from that officer. I don’t care if she wasn’t polite: police should expect to see people when they are not at their best.

The police are part of the public face of a community–they are street-level bureaucrats , to use Michael Lipsky’s terminology, and the gross abuse of power that we witnessed on that video should bother us all, black and white.
These recurrent videos of police violence, the testimony of former police officers, and ridiculously juvenile pouty fit/blue flu episode of the NYPD following Bill Blasio’s legitimate condemnation of police conduct during and after the arrest/harassment of Eric Garner testifies to the nationwide need for cities, mayors, and city managers to confront policing. When cops cheat, and act as a law unto themselves, the Constitution becomes meaningless, and our cities become killing grounds. What happened with Blasio and the NYPD shows we need mayors and district attorneys to commit to outside prosectors and external review processes as single-mindedly as they do stadium deals and light rail money. We need leadership, and it’s not materializing.

Or is already too late?

No, it’s NOT true that people did “nothing” about Donald Sterling’s prior racism

Well, there was the outrage about Donald Sterling’s comments, all of which is well-deserved. Some folks, including my eternal beloved Kareem Abdul Jabbar, attempted to turn the outrage into a learning moment by noting that there’s a lot of finger wagging at Sterling over his racist speech but “gave him a buy” or “never cared about” his prior racist actions, and how that emphasis on speech rather than actions makes us rather complicit and complacent when it comes to social injustice from racist actions, and a bit over-preachy when it comes to racist words.

Now, I am all for confronting people on structural racism and racist actions, I need it as much as anybody, but there is a lot of casual, assumed, default, anti-government stuff going on the “y’all did nothing to discipline Sterling when he did this and this” talk, and it needs to be confronted in the interests of fairness.

Sterling’s long, horrid-guy behavior appears here in the New York Times.

There’s a story there of a guy who does lousy mean stuff.

There is also a story there of a Justice Department who prosecuted the guy and made him cough up nearly $3 million in fines for his prior discriminatory behavior towards people of color because we–we–have rules about that sort of thing.

That is NOT nothing:

In 2009, Sterling paid a $2.725 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department accusing him of systematically driving African-Americans, Latinos and families with children out of apartment buildings he owned.

It was an important LA story, so I knew it. And I’m a professor in a public policy school. But there are a lot of stories out there for people to be outraged over. The fact that people in, say, Dallas or Des Moines, weren’t up in arms over the housing discrimination is that they didn’t see that item in the paper, or it didn’t get covered in their news outlets. A shame, that. But understandable.

However, and this is a BIG however, people in Dallas and Des Moines and everywhere in the US live in a country where his housing discrimination practices are illegal. And those laws were enforced. Illegal. Enforced. At the federal level. People DID do something. Residents fought. Lawyers on behalf of the clients fought. And they won. And he couldn’t just send his private rich-guy army/mafia out to gun down those lawyers or those residents. For the residents, standing up to landlords like Sterling and his corporate henchpeople is both frightening and exhausting, and it takes courage to do it. And yet they did it.

Democratic institution passed civil rights laws and expanded them to include housing discimination; citizens–impoverished, marginalized citizens, but citizens nonetheless, appealed to those laws; and bureaucratic institutions enforced those laws.

That is most definitely not nothing. The fact that Joe Smith in Random Locale didn’t know the particulars about Donald Sterling’s attitudes and past conduct? Much less important than what the civil society Joe Smith belongs to can do when it crafts just laws and institutions and then uses them for what they are for.

I’m just saying. It may not be enough; I think it’s not. But it’s not *nothing*, and treating it as such is wrong. We should be scandalized by his words and his behavior towards tenants. But we did something about the latter.

I forgive you, Kareem, not for not acknowledging that fair housing rules do what they are supposed to (sometimes, at least, partially), and I still want to be your BFF. Call me.

F.M. Cornford on Plato’s vision of justice

F.M. Cornford passed away in 1943, but he is such a marvelous writer that he’s well worth reading yet. I just finished off his Before and After Socrates, which are a series of lectures he read at Oxford. There isn’t much there for a specialist in early philosophy, but it’s an awfully friendly introduction to the important innovations in thought that in occurred in Greece in the 6th and 5th century, and the quality of the prose should put many of us moderns to shame:

“When we speak of Justice as an ‘ideal’, we also mean that it may never yet have been completely embodied in many man or in any system of institutions. It is not a mere ‘idea’ in the sense of a thought or notion in our minds; for the notions in our minds are confused and conflicting. They are only dim and inadequate apprehensions of what Justice is in itself. Justice itself is not a thought, but an eternal object of thought.”

(p. 61).

Onora O’neill’s breathtaking talent

I am often suspicious of academ-o-stars, but I had one of those moments where I was skimming through a collection writings looking for things for my planning theory and ethics class in a book called A Companion to Ethics, when my eye stopped on the section on ‘Kantian ethics.’ Oh-ho, thinks I, McFly. These entries are about 2500 to 3,000 words. How is anybody going to distill Kant into that many words?

I start reading. My breath is taken away. Kant is by far the most difficult thinker I teach other than Habermas and Rawls, and I feel such a natural affinity for Rawls that he doesn’t count.

I look to see who wrote this tiny little masterpiece: Onora O’Neill. Hoo Boy. How wonderful.