I'm the Ashleigh you're searching for. Tech writer ⌨️ Queer demi-ace & trans (she) 🏳️‍🌈 Happily autistic ✨ Unabashed love of justice ⚖️ Tying to do my part 💞
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Police called on Atlanta man for 'babysitting while black'

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A black man in suburban Atlanta says police were called on him as he was "babysitting while black".
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Technicalleigh
5 days ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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I Was Reported to Police as an 'Agitated Black Male' — for Simply Walking to Work

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A Black employee at the University of Massachusetts Amherst opens up about the racial profiling incident that rocked the campus and upended his life.

Last month, I walked across the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst to get to work. It was an ordinary stroll. But to a bystander, the sight of an educated Black professional going about his day was apparently cause for alarm.

That bystander called the police. My workplace was shut down. I was, and remain, humiliated.

Racial profiling at predominantly white institutions is nothing new, and this wasn’t the first time that I had to grit my teeth through a degrading interaction with police at the university. But this time, it made the news.

The day had started off normally, with my morning exercise routine at the campus recreation center before work. I was still in a positive mood during my daily stroll from the campus recreation center to my office at the Whitmore Administration Building, where I work as a case manager for the university’s disability services office. Over the years, I’ve helped hundreds of UMass Amherst students with physical and intellectual disabilities get the resources they deserve. It’s a role I take pride in, and I give it my all every day.

But on September 14, campus police were waiting for me when I arrived at the reception desk at Whitmore. I had no idea why, but I knew it couldn’t be good. My heart started pounding.

Two university detectives sat me down me in an office and closed the door. Bewildered, I asked what was happening. They refused to answer as they peppered me with questions.

“What time did you wake up?” “What were you doing at the campus recreation center?” “Did you come into the building agitated?” I felt confused, powerless, and scared, but I made sure to maintain my composure. I remembered that even unarmed Black people disproportionately get killed during police encounters, and it was incumbent on me as an innocent Black man to show that I wasn’t a threat.

It wasn’t until the end of their interrogation that they revealed why I was being questioned. Someone had called the university’s anonymous tip line, reporting that they had seen an “agitated Black male” who was carrying “a heavy backpack that is almost hitting the ground” as he approached the Whitmore Administration Building. I — the “agitated Black male” — apparently posed such a threat that police put the entire building on lockdown for half an hour.

I have no idea how the caller come to the conclusion that I was “agitated,” considering they hadn’t interacted with me. I do know that Black people are often stereotyped as angry, armed, or dangerous.

I’ve had to answer to the police before for being a Black man at UMass Amherst.

I remember the time that someone reported me to the police for listening to an audiobook in an empty classroom when I was an undergraduate at the university.

And the time, just four years ago, when someone decided that the sight of me entering my own office to drop off work supplies on a Saturday was reason to call the cops.

The surveillance and policing of my behavior have taken a toll on my mental health. I feel paranoid and unsafe on a campus that claims to be inclusive. It feels like any move I make, no matter how ordinary, can trigger a stressful encounter with the cops.

It’s not just here in Amherst. It’s also down the road, where a Black Smith College student was reported to police for eating in a common room. And in New Haven, where a Black graduate student had the police called on her for taking a nap in her dorm building. Also at Colorado State University, where two Native American teenagers were reported to 911 for joining a campus tour.

And just think of all the stories that haven’t gone viral.

People who carry out their racial biases by calling the police have the luxury of staying anonymous. The targets of their calls don’t have that privilege. Before picking up the phone, people should ask themselves: Would I be making this call if the person were white? If no one is in danger, am I okay with the fact that this police call could follow the person for the rest of their life?

Universities must also do their part, especially at schools like UMass Amherst that manage their own police forces. Better training and policies can ensure that they’re not doing the racist bidding of vindictive 911 callers. Sweeping “see something, say something” directives must be amended to address the fact that dark skin is often the “something” prompts suspicion. I hope UMass Amherst will do the right thing — including cooperating with the public records request that the ACLU helped me file this week. It’s important for us to know what the anonymous caller said as well as the campus police department’s protocols for responding to 911 calls and anonymous tips that may be based on racial bias.

Following the incident, a white colleague suggested I should try smiling more. Putting on a happy face, he implied, could have prevented this from happening. But racial profiling is not the fault of its victims. Performing happiness won’t change the reality that my skin color will continue to make some people assume I’m an “agitated Black male.”

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jhamill
3 days ago
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"Smile More" is *not* the appropriate response to "the cops were called because I was walking to work".
California
Technicalleigh
5 days ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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Soapbox: Nintendo's Maddening Stance On Retro Gaming Is Driving Me To Piracy

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Fighting 'ROM culture' needs more than 3 NES games a month.

Soapbox features enable our individual writers to voice their own opinions on hot topics, opinions that may not necessarily be the voice of the site. In this piece, Nintendo Life Editor Damien McFerran laments the fact that Nintendo still doesn't seem to know how to exploit its amazing retro library, despite blazing a trail with the Virtual Console over a decade ago...

Read the full article on nintendolife.com



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Technicalleigh
6 days ago
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Also, corporations have stolen the public domain from us. There's nothing unethical about "stealing" it back.
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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Today Is a Make or Break Day for Beto O’Rourke

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There are no unimportant days during campaign season, but some days are more significant than others. This year, Tuesday October 9 is one of them. When the dust settles on November 6, at least a few campaigns might look back in anguish or exhilaration at what happened today—the deadline to register to vote in 13 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.

That’s a lot of states, and they’re home to a lot of campaigns, many of which are expected to be close: 9 governors races; 10 Senate races; and several dozen competitive House races. The final margin in many of those contests could easily be smaller than the total number of new voters who sign up on Tuesday.

The voter registration deadline is a big deal everywhere, but it is a particularly big day for Democrats in places like Texas, where Rep. Beto O’Rourke is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. On Tuesday, like every other day over the last week, O’Rourke will be on college campuses—Texas Southern and Rice—while his wife, Amy O’Rourke, visits UTEP with Veronica Escobar, the Democrat running to succeed him in Congress.

O’Rourke, and basically every other high-profile Democrat in Texas, likes to describe Texas as a “non-voting state” rather than a red state, because of its chronically low rates of voter turnout and swaths of unregistered but eligible voters. That political engagement is lowest in the parts of Texas that are most solidly Democratic—especially in largely Hispanic parts of South Texas. In 2016, only two Democratic counties exceeded the statewide turnout rate of 59.4 percent; 126 Republican-leaning counties did.

The reasons for this are varied. One party rule isn’t great for civic engagement all-around, but Texas also goes to great lengths to make registering harder than it should be. Although Texas public schools are required to make registration available to students twice a year, many simply don’t. There’s no automatic voter registration when you apply for a driver’s license, as there is in 13 states. (In fact, this year Texas was found to be in violation of the Federal Motor Voter Law, which requires states to offer the option of registering to vote when you renew or update your license online.) If you want to register other people to vote—a bedrock activity of civic engagement and political organizing—you have to be deputized by the county to do that work, and you can only register voters in that particular county. So an organizer in Houston could not simply register voters in, say, nearby Sugar Land, without getting another credential.

To progressive organizers, Texas’s non-voters are both a promise and a curse. Implicit in any ambitious Democratic campaign in the Lone Star State is the promise that the Democratic candidate will necessarily expand the electorate to include lots of new voters. But after today, the electorate is baked in. There’s no more expanding the pool of voters, no more hypotheticals about a mass civic awakening. O’Rourke will go to war with the army he has.

Because the point of American elections is to make things as confusing as possible, voter registration deadlines vary dramatically from state to state. The deadline has already passed in two states—Alaska and Rhode Island were on Sunday. Fourteen jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia, allow voters to register on election day itself. If you live in one of these states, or anywhere else, you can learn everything you need about registering right here.

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Technicalleigh
6 days ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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We Have a Decade to Prevent a Total Climate Disaster

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By 2030, we as a collective 7 billion humans will know our fate, or at the very least, the fate of the most vulnerable among us. A landmark report released on Sunday sets the clock ticking for humanity and its quest to keep global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels.

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Technicalleigh
8 days ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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Lambda Legal Disappointed by Collins Decision to Ignore Constituents to Join GOP Party Line

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10/5/2018

"By relying on fantasy instead of fact, and by putting party ahead of people, Senator Collins is apparently willing to ignore the overwhelming majority of Mainers who have urged her to oppose this nomination in order to avoid the ire of Republican Party bosses and the White House."

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Technicalleigh
10 days ago
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"Senator Collins’ justifications range from naïve to disingenuous, and represent what can only be described as magical thinking about what kind of a jurist a Justice Kavanaugh would be."
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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