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(Ep 4) The Anatomy of an Apology: How Himpathy & Hubris Undermine Accountability

June 6th, 2019

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You’ve probably heard the phrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”--the misguided notion that love eliminates the need for apology. In politics, the love that mutes apologies is often same-party affinity--as in, “we know we’re on the same side” so accountability is unnecessary. Yet it’s more likely that the contrary is true: love as well as coalition demand an openness to saying “I’m sorry,” for without it, justice is impotent.

But what are the consequences when apologies don’t materialize? Is letting it go really the only way to think about healing, both emotionally and politically?

In this episode of Intersectionality Matters, host Kimberlé Crenshaw talks to Tony award-winning playwright and activist Eve Ensler about her groundbreaking new book The Apology and how the withholding that is the touchstone of the inviolable code of silence among men can be broken. Ensler discusses the journey she traveled to conjure the apology she needed from her late father for sexual and physical abuse.

We also hear from philosopher Kate Manne on himpathy, the term she coined to describe the disproportionate and inappropriate sympathy powerful men often receive in cases of sexual assault and other forms of gendered violence. Himpathy, she explains, may help us understand how some women who stood by Anita Hill are now embracing Joe Biden’s candidacy despite his failure to fully come to terms with his role in in her heinous treatment during Clarence Thomas’s senate confirmation hearings in 1991.

Both Manne’s and Ensler’s interviews illustrate the grim reality that men are often socialized to deny their commission of gender-based harm, and that many of us are socialized to condone that very inability to accept blame— sometimes to the degree that we position men who have victimized others as victims themselves. Tune in for a thought-provoking exploration of what it could mean for perpetrators and bystanders to genuinely confront and atone for violence they’ve either committed or enabled.

 
 

(Ep 3) Black Women & #MeToo: From Hollywood to Hip Hop

May 10th, 2019

After hip hop icon Dr. Dre brutally assaulted trailblazing emcee and television personality Dee Barnes in 1991, his career continued to skyrocket while she was effectively blacklisted from the entertainment industry. Nearly three decades later, Dre, who has allegedly assaulted several other women in addition, continues to enjoy a decorated career in which his heinous misdeeds have become mere footnotes. The combination of racism and patriarchy is the condition of possibility that allows Beats by Dre to be well-known commodities while beatings by Dre remain largely overlooked.

As part of their fifth annual event series, Her Dream Deferred: A Week on the Status of Black Women, the African American Policy Forum convened a panel called “Black Women and #MeToo”. Along with Dee, the panel included such leading lights as actor and Times Up WOC activist Rashida Jones, supermodel and Bill Cosby accuser Beverly Johnson, cultural critic Jamilah Lemieux, historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, #MuteRKelly co-founder Kenyette Tisha Barnes in conversation with AAPF Executive Director and Intersectionality Matters host Kimberlé Crenshaw.

The panel uplifted the unsung genealogy of the Me Too movement by acknowledging forerunners like Tarana Burke, who coined the hashtag Me Too to raise awareness around the question of Black women’s vulnerability, and Anita Hill, who told the world her story about what a Supreme Court nominee had done to her as a young lawyer. Black feminists like bell hooks and Alice Walker were recognized also for laying bare the realities of gender-based violence that impacts Black women. Tune into this profound and pathbreaking episode of Intersectionality Matters for a thorough post-mortem on the powerful insights shared on the panel, as well as a look into what the movement’s path forward might look like.



(Ep 2) I Believe I Can Lie: R. Kelly (Still) In Denial

March 8th, 2019

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R. Kelly’s serial abuse of Black women and girls has been one of the entertainment industry’s worst-kept secrets for the entirety of the 21st century. In the mid 90s, Kelly was romantically linked with and even briefly married to 15-year-old singer Aaliyah, for whom he wrote and produced the incriminatory hit “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.” An explicit bootleg tape which appeared to feature Kelly abusing yet another teenage girl circulated on street corners as early as 2001. In 2017, a Buzzfeed exposé alleged that the man who famously crooned “I’m a bad man/And I’m not ashamed of it” held several women captive in his home in a cult-like harem. Yet it took the convergence of the #MuteRKelly movement, the January 2019 release of documentary Surviving R. Kelly and popular culture’s broader reckoning with the pattern of sexual violence perpetrated by powerful men for the self-proclaimed Pied Piper of R&B to face consequences for orchestrating his salacious symphony. At long last, Kelly has now been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four women, three of whom were minors at the time.

On this timely and trenchant episode of Intersectionality Matters, host Kimberle Crenshaw goes beyond the sheet music with #MuteRKelly co-founder Kenyette Barnes to rupture the rhythm Kelly has used to give Black women and girls the blues for decades.
Learn more: www.muterkelly.org

 
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On August 1, 2016, Baltimore County police arrived at the Randallstown, Maryland apartment of 23-year-old Korryn Gaines to serve a warrant alleging that she had failed to appear in court. Gaines, who had miscarried twins as a consequence of improper treatment while being held in connection with a traffic stop, had received paperwork for the stop that did not provide the date on which she was expected to appear. A month prior to the day officers descended on her home, Gaines had visited the police station seeking clarification about her court date, only to be told that the officer who had issued the paperwork was unavailable.  When Gaines noticed police attempting to force entry that day in August, she sat down in her living room with a legally owned firearm, and a 6-hour standoff ensued. Gaines had amassed a sizable online following via her activism and poetry, and narrated the sequence in real time on Facebook Live until the social media portal shut her page down per police request. During the 6-hour standoff, Gaines relocated to her kitchen, at which point Officer Royce Ruby, Jr. fired at Gaines from outside her apartment. Officer Ruby then entered the apartment and shot Gaines three more times. One of the bullets passed through Gaines and wounded her young son, who survived but sustained lifelong disabling injuries. County prosecutors concluded that the killing of Gaines was justified, and Officer Ruby was not criminally charged. Read more here.

 

(Preview) Midterms Countdown: Will Vote Suppression
Win or Will An Intersectional Clapback Against 45 Prevail?

November 5th, 2018

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Donald Trump’s path to power was littered with attacks on Muslims, women, immigrants, people of color, people with disabilities, people who are undocumented, and people who are queer. And these communities have suffered under his administration. The November 6th election presents an opportunity to put significant checks on Trumpism. There is no lack of clarity about what is at stake, but the ability to fight back effectively turns on the ability of all of these constituencies to see common cause and to overcome concerted efforts to keep them from voting. On this special preview of Intersectionality Matters!, we talk to two African American women leading the fight for our democracy: Barbara Arnwine, Founder of both the Transformative Justice Coalition and Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition; and Kristen Clarke, Executive Director of the Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights Under Law. Clarke is leading the court challenge against Georgia’s vote suppression tactics in the face of the historic campaign being waged by Stacey Abrams, a candidate who may make history by becoming the first African American woman to be elected governor. These eye-opening interviews by Kimberlé Crenshaw address critical issues presented in this election, and explore what more we must do after November 6th to ensure intersectional justice for all.