Monthly Archives: February 2015

Street Harassment Exhaustion

I was harassed three times in a four block walk to get coffee this morning. For those who think street harassment is no big deal, here’s a transcript of the second-most offensive incident:

“Hey beautiful. Slow down. How about a smile? No smile? Why so unfriendly? Okay, you stuck up bitch. [now yelling at my back] STUCK UP CUNT.”

A few things. First, I don’t actually have the heart to memorialize the most offensive incident on my blog. I will say that it was disturbing enough that I took a different (longer) route on the return trip. Second, notice how quickly the perpetrator of the second most offensive incident went from “beautiful” to “stuck up cunt.” So the remarks aren’t really about me and my personal characteristics, per se, they’re about a guy feeling entitled to attention from a woman he’s never met and getting angry when that attention isn’t given.

And finally, of course this is distracting. I have a massive amount of work to do this morning and when I sat down to do it I could not concentrate right away. I would not make the claim that men are never harassed on the street — of course some are, particularly those who are gender-non-conforming or who have a visible disability or some other distinguishing characteristic. But empirical evidence shows that women get harassed a lot more often. Dealing with street harassment is frustrating and exhausting. It’s a tax on women’s participation in the workforce and in society more broadly.

If we actually read the First Amendment through theĀ  lens of the Fourteenth Amendment in any kind of meaningful way (which, actually, we should, because of pretty basic canons of interpretation like “last in time” and tricky math concepts like 14 > 1) we’d recognize that inequality-reinforcing speech deserves regulation and punishment. Of course, we don’t do that in America. We prioritize the speech of some misogynist loser yelling at a woman on her way to the office over whatever that woman might say once she gets there. Or, perhaps more accurately, what she might say if she wasn’t distracted and exhausted from the daily grind of street harassment. There are speech interests on both sides of the street harassment debate, but First Amendment absolutists are hellbent on only seeing one of them.

The RightsCast, Episode 4: Khaled Beydoun, Legal Construction of Arab American Identity

I really learned a lot from recording and editing this week’s episode of The RightsCast. I interview Professor Khaled Beydoun (Barry) about the way the legal system — both historically and today — constructs Arab American identity. In particular, we talk about the conflation of “Arab American” and “Muslim American” — a highly misleading conflation given that about two thirds of Arab Americans are Christian. Continue reading

The RightsCast

The RightsCast is a weekly video podcast featuring legal experts discussing current civil rights issues. Each week, I speak with a different guest and discuss how their recent research relates to ongoing debates about civil rights in America. Many, though not all, guests are law professors. You can learn more about the RightsCast and view previous episodes here.

A new episode of the RightsCast is released every Wednesday or Thursday.

I’ve previously written about the RightsCast here.

Episode archive:

April 30, 2015


April 23, 2015


April 17, 2015


March 26, 2015


March 18, 2015


March 12, 2015


March 5, 2015


February 18, 2015


February 11, 2015


February 4, 2015


January 28, 2015

Denver Law Review Symposium: CrImmigration

I’m spending most of today and tomorrow (2/6 and 2/7) at the Denver Law Review annual symposium. This year’s topic is the timely one of “crImmigration,” or the intersection between criminal and immigration law. The official announcement is available here, and my colleague Cesar Garcia Hernandez also has a nice write up here. You can follow the symposium in real time on Twitter under the hashtag #DULRcrimmigration, or check out the livestream.

The RightsCast Episode 2 Preview: Joanna Schwartz, Police Indemnification

This week’s episode of The RightsCast features Joanna Schwartz (UCLA) talking about her wonderful empirical research on police indemnification. This is a must-watch for everyone who has been following the proceedings following the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Darien Hunt, and many others. Her work reveals a near-100% level of indemnification of police officers.

In other words: police don’t pay, taxpayers do.

Preview the episode here.

My Thoughts on the PrawfsBlawg Angsting Thread

I noticed that PrawfsBlawg has already opened its semi-annual “angsting thread.” I have two quick thoughts about this.

The first is a purely pragmatic one. Based on actual conversations with actual editors at the three schools where I have taught in the past five years and the several journals where I’ve had an article in some stage of the editing process in the past year or so, I think it is still much too early to submit an article. For the most part, the editorial boards at the schools in question haven’t even rolled over yet, and at most schools the spring submission cycle doesn’t start until the board rolls over. Most boards roll over around March 1, give or take a week or so in each direction. Continue reading