Law, Policy &amp; Society https://mag.uchicago.edu/topics/law-policy-society en Paper chase https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/paper-chase <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18Fall_Demanski_Feldman.jpg" width="2000" height="1000" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>(Illustration by John Jay Cabuay)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/laura-demanski-am94"> <a href="/author/laura-demanski-am94"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Laura Demanski, AM’94</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>When tariffs on Canadian newsprint threatened US papers, political scientist turned trade lawyer <strong>Elliot J. Feldman</strong>, AB’69, built a case and a coalition.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In August, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) blocked tariffs on imported Canadian newsprint imposed by the Trump administration in January. The decision was celebrated by paper companies, newspapers, and US congresspeople on both sides of the aisle. Newspapers large and small had suffered from the tariffs, laying off employees and, in at least one case, folding.</p> <p><strong>Elliot J. Feldman</strong>, AB’69, a partner at the law firm BakerHostetler, crafted the winning strategy in his role representing a Montreal-based paper company. Feldman, who taught political science at US and Canadian universities before earning his law degree from Harvard, spoke to the <em>Magazine</em> about the tariff case. This interview has been edited and condensed.</p> <hr /><h2>What was your argument that resulted in the tariffs’ lifting?</h2> <p>I wanted to make a First Amendment case. The newspapers operate at such small margins that imposing these tariffs starts putting them out of business. The Tampa Bay paper released 60 people in its newsroom to cut costs. Papers that had been dailies announced they were going weekly. Others reduced the size or number of pages.</p> <p>I argued that if Congress is not permitted to pass a law that abridges freedom of the press, then no agency is permitted to interpret a law of Congress such that it would abridge freedom of the press. Going back to <em>McCulloch v. Maryland</em> in the 19th century, the power to tax is the power to destroy, and a tariff is a tax. So if you impose a tariff, you’re exercising the power to destroy the press. This argument was a long shot because I thought the commissioners would rely on the doctrine of constitutional avoidance, but it helped frame the gravity of<br /> our case.</p> <h2>How did you rally support?</h2> <p>I encouraged my client to mount a public relations effort. We talked to the News Media Alliance, which represents about 10,000 newspapers and magazines in the United States, and their vice president took quickly to the case. We talked to members of Congress, emphasizing the First Amendment, and 19 representatives and senators came to testify on our side. No one in the trade bar here could remember any member of Congress testifying for a respondent to the ITC.</p> <p>The First Amendment argument was not the decisive one. The word “Constitution” doesn’t appear anywhere in the determination. They found for us on other grounds on which we also built a very strong case—around the elements of the law that define material injury and threat of material injury. But the testimony from members of Congress was very bipartisan, which could not have been lost on the commissioners.</p> <h2>Where does this leave newspapers?</h2> <p>The temporary tariff deposits that were collected from the newsprint companies will start to be returned. The price for newsprint is high now because there have been a lot of closures in that industry and there’s a shortage of newsprint, ironically. But the market will achieve equilibrium again, and this particular pressure is off the newspapers.</p> <h2>Why did you switch from academics to law?</h2> <p>In 1984 I was an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and I spent the year as an assistant to the assistant secretary of defense in the Pentagon. I worked on the viability of the all-volunteer Army. That year was intense and exciting. I was engaged in issues that were really important. I came away from that having been exposed to stakes that were much higher, which I found out I liked.</p> <p>When I wrote books as an academic, nobody ever read them. The proof is that my last royalty check from Duke University Press is on the wall of my office for $3.51. Now I write for a very small audience, for a judge or a five-person panel or an agency, but what I write is read very carefully.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/publishing" hreflang="en">Publishing</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/first-amendment" hreflang="en">First Amendment</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/interview" hreflang="en">Interview</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/paper-chase" data-a2a-title="Paper chase"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Flaw-policy-society%2Fpaper-chase&amp;title=Paper%20chase"></a></span> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:43:58 +0000 admin 7019 at https://mag.uchicago.edu The Constitution goes to school https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/constitution-goes-school <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18Fall_Gillespie_EducationLaw.jpg" width="2000" height="1000" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“No other arena of constitutional decision making ... comes close to matching the cultural import of the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence governing public schools,” <strong>Justin Driver </strong>writes in his new book, <em>The Schoolhouse Gate</em>. (Illustration by Sandra Dionisi/theisspot)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/becky-beaupre-gillespie"> <a href="/author/becky-beaupre-gillespie"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Becky Beaupre Gillespie</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Law School professor <strong>Justin Driver</strong> explores how education law became a cultural flashpoint.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>Justin Driver</strong>’s new book was either four years or three decades in the making, depending on how you count it.</p> <p>There are the recent years he spent researching and writing <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/547980/the-schoolhouse-gate-by-justin-driver/9781101871652/"><em>The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind </em></a>(Pantheon Books, 2018). And then there’s the lifetime of personal experiences—as a student, a high school teacher, a Supreme Court clerk, a scholar of constitutional law, and a father—that triggered his inquiry.</p> <p>Over the years, <a href="https://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/driver">Driver</a>, the Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law, realized that millions are shaped for better or worse by their educational experiences—making public schools the “most significant site of constitutional interpretation within the nation’s history,” he writes in <em>The Schoolhouse Gate</em>. Most Americans are required to attend school, and few have options beyond public education. Schools represent “the first sustained exposure that most citizens have to a governmental entity,” Driver says.</p> <p>Although Driver includes plenty of legal analysis, the book is, at its core, a story about the people at the center of precedent-setting cases—individuals including John and Mary Beth Tinker, who fought to express a political belief by wearing black armbands to school; or Gavin Grimm, who fought to use the bathroom that matched his gender identity (an issue that still has not been resolved); or Oliver Brown, who fought to send his daughter Linda to the all-white school just seven blocks from their house.</p> <p>Driver examines how education law mirrors America’s broader struggle with civil liberties. In the past century, the Supreme Court has considered public education cases dealing with religion, free speech, due process, racial segregation, and more. “The public school has become a major flashpoint for the larger cultural conflicts that pervade our society,” Driver says.</p> <p>At points, he questions cherished narratives—wondering, for instance, whether the mission to achieve unanimity in <em>Brown v. Board of Education</em> in 1954 hindered future efforts to address persistent racial isolation in urban schools. He also challenges the idea that the Supreme Court tends to follow the predominant views of the American public, pointing to the 1962 ban on teacher-led prayer in <em>Engel v. Vitale</em>, which drew widespread public rebuke, and <em>Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District</em>. That 1969 ruling affirmed students’ right to engage in symbolic antiwar speech.</p> <p>Although the Tinker decision was heralded in the media at the time, Driver believes Justice Hugo Black’s dissent offered the better barometer of public opinion. Black’s views reflected “a deep wellspring of cultural anxiety” that schools would lose control of their students, Driver says. Several subsequent cases limited Tinker’s reach by allowing schools to suppress sexually suggestive language and speech that promotes drug use. For some, those cases were an overdue restoration of schoolhouse order.</p> <p>Driver worries about the erosion of Tinker and other recent trends limiting student rights: the rise of police officers stationed in schools and rulings that have exempted schools from certain aspects of the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable search.</p> <p>His area of greatest concern is the continued practice of corporal punishment. In the 1977 ruling <em>Ingraham v. Wright</em>, the court made what Driver views as “a grave misstep,” arguing that the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment “has no meaning within the school at all,” Driver says.</p> <p>Reforms in these areas are possible regardless of the court’s makeup, he adds, pointing to state courts and legislative bodies as possible avenues. Whatever form it takes, however, change will probably require the courage of people like the Tinkers or the Browns.</p> <p>“Even if one disagrees with the underlying constitutional claims,” Driver writes, “it is often difficult not to admire the students and their families for being willing to stand up for their understandings of the Constitution.”</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/us-constitution" hreflang="en">US Constitution</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/education" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/law-school" hreflang="en">Law School</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/constitution-goes-school" data-a2a-title="The Constitution goes to school"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Flaw-policy-society%2Fconstitution-goes-school&amp;title=The%20Constitution%20goes%20to%20school"></a></span> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:43:58 +0000 admin 7013 at https://mag.uchicago.edu A change will come https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/change-will-come <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18Fall_Kelly_Change.jpg" width="2000" height="1062" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Timuel Black (right) and Martin Luther King Jr. (left), shown here with labor leaders in Chicago in the 1960s, got to know each other well during the civil rights movement. (Photo courtesy Vivian G. Harsh Society)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/jason-kelly"> <a href="/author/jason-kelly"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Jason Kelly</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>At 100, civil rights leader <strong>Timuel D. Black Jr.</strong>, AM’54, has seen change—and made it happen.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>Timuel D. Black Jr.</strong>, AM’54, stands at the front of the bus, telling stories. Most of them originate on these streets, in Bronzeville, just north of the University of Chicago campus, and today he’s dispensing the wisdom of his 100 years to about 20 first-year students on an Orientation Week tour.</p> <p>A microphone lifts Black’s voice above the rattle and hiss of the bus, and he rests one hand on a seat for support, swaying a little in the aisle with each stop and start. Those sitting closest to him seem to be on low-key alert, in case the momentum of the moving vehicle causes Black to lose his balance. <strong>Bart Schultz</strong>, PhD’87, director of the Civic Knowledge Project, organizer of the tour, and editor of Black’s forthcoming autobiography, also stands ready with names or facts that might escape him.</p> <p>None of the precautions are necessary. Evidence of Black’s age is minimal, a slight shuffle in his step and a circuitous storytelling style, like his beloved jazz, that wends its way to unexpected places only to circle back to a refrain. “A change is gonna come, young people,” he says again and again to punctuate his riffs.</p> <p>From beneath the brim of his Tuskegee Airmen cap, Black shares insights into how he worked for change during America’s contentious 20th century. His narrative meanders across decades—from the boldfaced names he knew as a boy (Nat King Cole, the artist Charles White, the original Harlem Globetrotters) to his experiences in Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and Buchenwald in World War II; to the civil rights movement; to his association with black political pioneers Harold Washington; <strong>Carol Moseley Braun</strong>, JD’72; and Barack Obama.</p> <p>“He is one of the city’s great storytellers,” says <strong>Kenneth Warren</strong>, the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor in English. “He’s lived long enough to have known in person various players on the scene of the city of Chicago going back to the early part of the 20th century. He is a kind of walking history.”</p> <p>Black’s family migrated from his birthplace in Birmingham, Alabama, to Chicago in 1919. From when he was an infant, he experienced the racial degradations of restrictive covenants that kept families like his confined to South Side neighborhoods known as “the black belt.” By law and custom, he grew up restricted and disrespected.</p> <p>When Charles Lindbergh appeared in Chicago after his 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic, Black was among the students from Edmund Burke Elementary School who went to see the American hero. Lindbergh patted all the white children on the head, but not their black classmates. The sting of Lucky Lindy’s slight stayed with little Tim Black for years and, when the aviator became a Nazi sympathizer, “all those who had not been patted on the head were not surprised,” Black says.</p> <p>After US involvement in World War II became inevitable, Black at first felt no patriotic impulse to fight. On December 7, 1941, his 23rd birthday, he shrugged off shouts of “Pearl Harbor has been bombed!” and the subsequent American mobilization with wisecracks: “She shouldn’t have drank so much” and “I don’t have an Uncle Sam.” In 1943, though, he was drafted and Private Black went to Europe, where he would be exposed to humanity at its worst.</p> <p>Four days after D-Day, Black’s unit waded ashore at Utah Beach. Occasional German planes still strafed the Allied troops in Normandy. Land mines exploded across the French countryside and dead animals littered the ground. Meanwhile, local residents went about their daily chores, hanging their laundry to dry amid the detritus of battle.</p> <p>Black endured the Battle of the Bulge at the end of 1944 and advanced into Germany as the war wound down, bracing to see the liberated concentration camps, the subject of stories more horrific than anything he had witnessed in combat. The Jews and Roma still clinging to life at the Buchenwald camp etched themselves into Black’s memory even before he saw them. An odor and a wail carried beyond the walls.</p> <p>“It was barely recognizable as human,” he writes in his autobiography, <em>Sacred Ground: The Chicago Streets of Timuel Black </em>(Northwestern University Press, forthcoming 2019). “Nowhere had I encountered anything like that smell or that sound.”</p> <p>He associated the suffering of Nazi victims with that of American slaves, including his grandparents. Black returned from World War II, decorated with four battle stars, as an activist intent on insisting his country live up to its ideals, not only for the racially oppressed, but for stockyard laborers like his father, for women, and for religious minorities alike.</p> <p>Black went to college first, earning a sociology degree in 1952 from Roosevelt University, then on to the University of Chicago for his master’s and course work toward a PhD. The civil rights movement kept his dissertation in a drawer.</p> <p>In December 1955, Black saw Martin Luther King Jr. on television discussing the Montgomery bus boycott. Black felt so inspired that he was on a plane to Alabama within days. Months later, his efforts helped bring King to Rockefeller Chapel for his first major speech in Chicago.</p> <p>Immersing himself in the movement, Black got to know King so well that they sometimes called each other “TD” and “Doc.” Although Black supported nonviolent protest as a tactic, he writes that he “could not share it at the spiritual level of Dr. King,” not after facing police dogs and firehoses outside the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.</p> <p>For Black, “the links between jobs and justice,” the labor issues that A. Philip Randolph had championed since the 1910s as vital to African American freedom, represented the essence of the struggle. Randolph led the 1963 March on Washington, and Black served as an organizer of Chicago’s “freedom trains” that ferried thousands to the site of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.</p> <p>Despite his connections to icons like King and Randolph, and his influential political activism on behalf of city, state, and national politicians, Black retains a grassroots sensibility. The stories of students and strangers, and especially his neighbors on the “sacred” South Side streets where he has lived his whole life, still interest him most.</p> <p>Teaching high school for more than a decade, including in South Side public schools, he helped educate a generation coming of age as the country confronted its insufficient commitment to equality. Black influenced students like Hyde Park Academy’s Jesse Brown, who joined the Marines and, after being wounded in Vietnam, would go on to become the Disabled American Veterans executive director and US secretary of veterans affairs under President Bill Clinton.</p> <p>“You taught us to have self-respect,” Brown says in the second volume of Black’s oral history, <em>Bridges of Memory</em> (Northwestern University Press, 2007), “and helped us to learn that we as a people don’t have any reason to be ashamed of who we are or apologize to anyone for the way that we look.”</p> <p><em>Bridges of Memory</em> collects stories like Brown’s and those of Black’s family, chronicling the lives they built after fleeing the Jim Crow South for Chicago. Those works, Warren says, place Black in the tradition of Carl Sandburg and Studs Terkel, PhB’32, JD’34, as “individuals who are part of the political life of the city, but who are also able to synthesize a view of Chicago history, most importantly, from the standpoint of … everyday working Chicagoans who are trying to live through the transformations and conflicts” of their times.</p> <p>Black engaged the conflicts and shaped the transformations, valuing action over talk as a measure of impact. “It’s not what you say, it’s what you do that makes a difference,” Black tells the students on the bus tour, updating a mantra of his grandma’s, against which even the public figures he most admired were sometimes found wanting.</p> <p>As he relates in <em>Sacred Ground</em>, when his grandma caught him playing with matches or otherwise misbehaving she would wave away his denials with, “Baby, I cain’t hear whatcha sayin’ because whatcha doin’ talks so loud.”</p> <p>Politicians and boys with matches might not be able to withstand such scrutiny, but the measure of Black’s long life, in word and deed, holds up well.</p> <hr /><h2>Milestones</h2> <p><strong>1944–45</strong><br /> Landed on Utah Beach days after the invasion of Normandy, participated in the Battle of the Bulge, and visited Buchenwald concentration camp.</p> <p><strong>1955</strong><br /> Traveled to Alabama to join the Montgomery bus boycott.</p> <p><strong>1963</strong><br /> Lost campaign for Chicago alderman as part of an effort with other candidates to unseat the “Silent Six,” black officials loyal to Mayor Richard J. Daley.</p> <p><strong>1963–64</strong><br /> Mobilized over 200,000 people for two boycotts of Chicago Public Schools in an effort to end school segregation.</p> <p><strong>1982</strong><br /> Led a voter registration initiative in support of Chicago mayoral candidate Harold Washington, which added 250,000 people to the city’s rolls.</p> <p><strong>2012</strong><br /> Received the University of Chicago’s William Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service.</p> <p><strong>2015</strong><br /> Received the University’s Diversity Leadership Alumni Award.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/civil-rights-movement" hreflang="en">Civil Rights Movement</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/c-vitae" hreflang="en">C Vitae</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/change-will-come" data-a2a-title="A change will come"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Flaw-policy-society%2Fchange-will-come&amp;title=A%20change%20will%20come"></a></span> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:43:58 +0000 admin 7007 at https://mag.uchicago.edu The Ace https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/ace <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18_Fall_Allen_The-Ace.jpg" width="2000" height="1000" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In March, Kim Ng, AB’90, met fellow trailblazer Maybelle Blair, who pitched for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League’s Peoria Redwings in 1948. Ng has said “nothing should hold women back” from working in the professional sports world. (Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Getty Images<img alt="" src="GettyImages-97684027..jpg" />)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <a href="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Susie Allen, AB’09</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>Kim Ng</strong>, AB’90, has found her sweet spot as MLB’s senior vice president for baseball operations.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>When <strong>Kim Ng</strong>, AB’90, started working for the Chicago White Sox in 1990, entering statistical information about players into a computer was a labor-intensive process and “still a bit of a novelty,” she says. She knew analytics would be a part of baseball’s future, “but I didn’t quite understand how the smallest piece of data was going to factor into decisions at game time and on the talent-evaluation level.”</p> <p>Ng was both a witness to and participant in the game’s data revolution, using analytics to inform scouting and contract negotiations as she rose from White Sox intern to assistant general manager of the Yankees and the Dodgers.</p> <p>Her career has been quietly revolutionary in other ways too. As senior vice president for baseball operations, Ng is the highest-ranking woman in Major League Baseball. She’s been in contention for several general manager positions and would, if hired, be the first female GM in baseball history.</p> <p>Ng isn’t holding her breath. With only 30 available positions and scant openings each year, any one person has a low chance of becoming a GM. “Those odds are not real good, are they?” she says.</p> <p>Though she’s ambivalent about the first woman GM speculation that shadows her, Ng is open about discussing her experience as a woman in sports. A softball standout and public policy major at UChicago, she wrote her senior thesis on Title IX, the law protecting people from discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs. “I wanted to do it on a topic that I was passionate about,” she says. That piece of legislation, and the women’s movement in general, “explained why I had a lot of the opportunities that I did, and how much work we still had to do.”</p> <p>In comments edited and condensed below, Ng told the Magazine about the downsides of being a GM, her approach to scouting, and how watching baseball changes when you work in the industry.</p> <h2>What made you first fall in love with baseball?</h2> <p>My dad was a big sports nut, so I grew up playing and watching a lot of different sports. I lived in Queens until I was 12. The Mets were right there, but I was actually a big Yankees fan, because in the late ’70s, the Yankees were such a great team. I grew up with all the greats—Thurman Munson, Ron Guidry, Reggie Jackson. I think the pace of the game and the nuance of the game were the things that really drew me to it.</p> <h2>Are you able to relax and enjoy watching a game, or does it always feel like work?</h2> <p>Now that I’m with MLB, I can relax a bit. When you’re with a club, you are so focused on what your team needs to do, what your division rivals are doing, who’s on the trading block, and who’s going to be a free agent, that you’re locked in.</p> <p>It was fun when the team was winning. That’s always fun.</p> <h2>What happens to your childhood fandom when you work in the industry?</h2> <p>We all grew up with our favorite teams. I think it does dissipate. As I’ve been in this industry longer and longer, I tend to root for people—the friends, the colleagues. You root for great players or up-and-coming players, a player you saw something in or a player you might have scouted. Your love is not necessarily tied to your childhood team as much as it is to the people you grew up with in the industry.</p> <h2>You’ve worked in scouting and player development. How do you balance statistics and an intuitive sense of the player?</h2> <p>It’s an interesting time in our game. I think you’re seeing that decisions that have been made leaning way heavily toward numbers don’t always work out either.</p> <p>I really try to look at both. I think it depends on what area you’re looking at. Game decisions are very different than signing free agents. With game decisions, you have a lot more data that you can go on because of sample size. How many pitches does a player see over the course of a season? A ton.</p> <p>So am I just looking at numbers in a season? No. You need to dive deeper. You have advance scouts who sit and watch the teams that you’re going to face. They know exactly how these players respond in certain situations that you might not have cataloged into your system. There are things that [advance scouts] pick up that you might not have thought about.</p> <p>I’ve always taken the approach that numbers should guide you and hopefully they’ll prevent you from making big mistakes. They should always make you question the decision you arrived at or the decision that you’re close to arriving at. Same with scouts—scouts should always make you question the numbers.</p> <h2>Does the speculation about whether you will be the first female GM bother you?</h2> <p>Yeah. I’m not sure if anybody asks the guys that. The idea that this is all sitting on my shoulders—it’s a lot of pressure. It’s hard. But I think someone’s going to have to do it.</p> <p>At the end of the day, if this doesn’t happen, I’m not going to see it as, “My career was a failure.” That might be other peoples’ take, but that’s not mine. I know how hard it is. I know about all the guys who didn’t even get an interview who probably should have had an interview. I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve worked extraordinarily hard to get where I am. If I don’t end up becoming a general manager, that’s just the luck of the draw. I’ve had a great career regardless.</p> <h2>Leaving aside the question of gender, do you want to be a general manager? Does the job itself appeal to you?</h2> <p>It does. It does. In becoming a general manager, I think the one thing that you have to know, though, is that you’re never walking into a great situation. Either they finished last, or they made it to the playoffs and it just wasn’t far enough, or their payroll is through the roof and their farm system is depleted, or there are lots of difficulties surrounding their personnel. The issues go on and on. It is the ultimate challenge in this industry.</p> <p>Everything else in your life gets put on hold for the length of your contract. It’s all-consuming, especially now. The job has changed so much, with the internet and the information available to you. Social media has changed it quite a bit. Everyone has their opinions about the job you’re doing.</p> <p>I just gave a speech to some kids, and I was trying to explain to them the concept of a general manager. I said, “When your team loses the World Series, that’s the first person you’re going to blame.” But it would be a great honor and a tremendous challenge.</p> <h2>Major league fields are notorious for their lack of uniformity. Do you feel there should be greater uniformity in ballparks, or do you like the quirkiness we have now?</h2> <p>I do like the quirkiness. That’s my own personal opinion. It’s fun when you’re thinking about constructing a team, how to build a team around your park’s quirkiness—but knowing full well the market may dictate that you can’t build your team the way you want and you’re going to have to live with it.</p> <h2>Do you have any opinions about the eternal debate over pace of play?</h2> <p>[<em>laughs</em>] I do have opinions about that, but they’d have to be off the record.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/baseball" hreflang="en">Baseball</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/sports" hreflang="en">Sports</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/college-alumni" hreflang="en">College alumni</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/glimpses" hreflang="en">Glimpses</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/ace" data-a2a-title="The Ace"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Flaw-policy-society%2Face&amp;title=The%20Ace"></a></span> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:43:58 +0000 admin 7004 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Skipping and guessing our way down the ballot https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/skipping-and-guessing-our-way-down-ballot <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/18.10.17_Allen_Skipping-and-Guessing.jpg" width="2000" height="1074" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/rsmith" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">rsmith</span></span> <span>Wed, 10/17/2018 - 14:06</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Ever voted for candidates you didn’t know just because of their names? It’s not just you. (Photography by <a href="www.flickr.com/photos/theresasthompson/">Theresa Thompson</a>)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <a href="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Susie Allen, AB’09</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/web-exclusives" hreflang="en">Web exclusives</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">10.17.2018</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>You have no idea who most of the candidates on your ballot are (yes, you).</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In 2016 I wrote a <a href="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/vote-confidence">story</a> about <a href="https://www.ballotready.org/">BallotReady</a>, an alumni-founded start-up aimed at informing citizens about every candidate and issue on their ballots.</p> <p>That’s surprisingly hard to do. In the United States, we fill lots of government offices by vote rather than appointment. So we have lots of elections—national, state, and municipal. As <strong>John Mark Hansen</strong>, the Charles L. Hutchinson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Political Science and the College, told me, “You could spend all of your time voting in the US.”</p> <p>The upshot is that Americans frequently have no clue who the majority of the candidates on their ballots are or what the offices do. We skip and guess our merry way down the ballot.</p> <p>In fact, in reporting on BallotReady, I stumbled on a surprisingly robust corner of social science research devoted to understanding all the skipping and guessing strategies Americans use while voting.</p> <p>Here’s what I learned:</p> <h2><strong>Skipping and guessing is really common.</strong></h2> <p><a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1532673x00028002005">University of California, Irvine, study</a> found that only about half of voters in a 1994 California election completed their entire ballot, avoiding races where they did not feel informed. This phenomenon is sometimes called “rolling off.”</p> <p>BallotReady cofounder <strong>Alex Niemczewsk</strong>i, AB’09, heard the same thing anecdotally. “Literally everyone has admitted to guessing,” she told me. “We talked to political science professors here [and] at other universities who admit to guessing—and political reporters.”</p> <h2><strong>We use predictable guessing strategies.</strong></h2> <p>When we do take a stab at unfamiliar contests, research shows, we use heuristics to guide our decisions. A common one is political party. Even when you know little about a particular race, you’ll probably vote for your preferred party’s candidate.</p> <p>In a primary or a nonpartisan election, though, you might use other cues. In so-called low-information races, <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/106591299805100403">a 1998 University of California, Los Angeles, study found</a>, liberal voters favored female candidates, guided by the belief that women in politics tend to be left leaning. Younger voters were more likely to pick female candidates as well.</p> <h2><strong>Having a good “ballot name” helps your chances.</strong></h2> <p>Chicago lore has it that some candidates changed their last names to sound more Irish, believing that Irish ancestry conferred an advantage on Chicago candidates. <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/December-2012-1/Does-Having-an-Irish-Name-Help-You-Get-Elected-In-Chicago/">There’s some truth to that old chestnut.</a> In judicial retention races in Cook County from 1982 to 2002, Irish names offered a small but statistically significant boost of 1.5 percentage points, according to a 2005 study by legal research analyst<strong> Albert Klumpp</strong>, AB’85.</p> <p>Of course, what counts as a good ballot name depends on where you live and the office you’re seeking. Sam Houston, <a href="https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/2014/10/08/editorial-we-recommend-sam-houston-for-texas-attorney-general">aspiring attorney general of Texas in 2014</a>? That’s a good ballot name.</p> <h2><strong>The order of names matters a lot.</strong></h2> <p>Some candidates learn that lesson the hard way. I interviewed <strong>Todd Connor</strong>, MBA’07, who ran for the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago in the 2010 Democratic primary.</p> <p>He’d<a href="http://www.centerforpolitics.org/newslet_909cb.html"> heard ballot position mattered</a>, “but I sort of didn’t believe it,” Connor said. “And I thought, ‘Well, it’s going to be different for me.” It wasn’t.</p> <p>In November 2009, with his campaign going strong, Connor learned his lottery-assigned position on the ballot: second from the bottom. He knew this was bad news, though he didn’t understand quite how bad until he called his mentor Debra Shore, who promptly gave Connor her condolences.</p> <p>She told him to look back at previous election results for the water district commissioner race. While it’s not impossible to win from a bad ballot position, it’s also true the second-from-last spot hasn’t been kind to water reclamation board candidates. From 2006 to 2016, not a single Democratic contender won from that ballot position. It’s entirely possible the luck of the draw doomed him or prevented him from doing better.</p> <p>On the flipside, being listed first increases a candidate’s chance of winning by about five percentage points, <a href="https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/Faculty/salant/personal/Papers/meredith_salant.pdf">according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Marc Meredith and Northwestern’s Yuval Salant</a> (PDF). In some cases, the “first-position effect” was enough to change the outcome of a close race. “Our results imply that a nonnegligible portion of local governmental policies is likely being set by individuals elected because of their ballot position,” Meredith and Salant concluded.</p> <p>If this sounds like you, you aren’t alone. But there are ways to get informed: BallotReady and the <a href="https://www.vote411.org/">League of Women Voters</a> offer lots of information to help citizens understand the candidates and issues.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/elections" hreflang="en">Elections</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/voting" hreflang="en">Voting</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/skipping-and-guessing-our-way-down-ballot" data-a2a-title="Skipping and guessing our way down the ballot "><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Flaw-policy-society%2Fskipping-and-guessing-our-way-down-ballot&amp;title=Skipping%20and%20guessing%20our%20way%20down%20the%20ballot%20"></a></span> Wed, 17 Oct 2018 19:06:41 +0000 rsmith 6992 at https://mag.uchicago.edu An American in Dakar https://mag.uchicago.edu/osborn <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/08.13.2018_Golus_An-American-in-Dakar.jpg" width="1733" height="1300" alt="Emily Lynn Osborn, 1992-93 in Senegal" title="Emily Lynn Osborn, 1992-93 in Senegal" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/rsmith" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">rsmith</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/13/2018 - 15:16</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Emily Lynn Osborn enjoying a beach stroll on the island of Karabane, just off the coast of Senegal, during a trip to Casamance during the 1992–93 academic year. (All photos courtesy Emily Lynn Osborn)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/carrie-golus-ab91-am93"> <a href="/author/carrie-golus-ab91-am93"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Carrie Golus, AB’91, AM’93</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/core" hreflang="en">The Core</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">08.13.2018</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Before historian Emily Lynn Osborn led study abroad trips, she took one of her own.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In <a href="https://mag.uchicago.edu/university-news/nine-weeks-dakar">winter quarter 2018</a>, <strong>Emily Lynn Osborn</strong>, associate professor of African history, led the College’s first study abroad program in West Africa. Twenty UChicago undergrads in the African Civilizations program traveled to Dakar, Senegal, where they lived with host families, studied French or Wolof, and learned about Senegalese culture firsthand.</p> <p>Twenty-five years earlier, as a junior majoring in history at the University of California, Berkeley, Osborn had her own study abroad experience in Dakar.</p> <p>Osborn spent a year at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal’s flagship university, living in a communal home with other study abroad students. “The dormitories on campus were overcrowded, as they are to this day, and university officials rightfully wanted to guard that precious real estate for their permanent students,” she says. There were so many strikes at the university that year, it was nearly considered an <em>année </em><em>blanche</em>, a year off.</p> <p>Nonetheless Osborn became highly proficient in Wolof and learned about life in a West African city. “I did a fair bit of traveling,” she says, “visited the families and homes of Senegalese friends, and ate lots of Senegalese food, such as <a href="https://mag.uchicago.edu/education-social-service/riz-au-poisson">yassa</a><a href="https://mag.uchicago.edu/education-social-service/riz-au-poisson"> and </a><a href="https://mag.uchicago.edu/education-social-service/riz-au-poisson">cebb</a><a href="https://mag.uchicago.edu/education-social-service/riz-au-poisson"> u </a><a href="https://mag.uchicago.edu/education-social-service/riz-au-poisson">jenn</a>.” She got to know the owner of the local <em>boutique</em>, or corner store, and sometimes helped out behind the counter—another experience that “was great for my Wolof.”</p> <p><img alt="Emily Osborn in Dakar 1992-1993" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="24eeaf25-adaa-4420-a216-7689136d7494" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/08.13.2018_Golus_An-American-in-Dakar_SpotA.jpg" /></p> <p>Above, Osborn (right) is traveling in Casamance, in southern Senegal, with a fellow student. “We would stay one or two nights in a <em>campement</em>, very basic lodgings that offered simple beds, a bucket bath, and a kerosene lantern or candles.” On arrival, the first thing to do was order dinner, “since whoever was cooking would need to go out and buy the fresh fish or chicken we would eat that evening,” she says.</p> <p>“We stayed at places that could not be reached by vehicles but only by boat or foot. We traveled incredibly lightly. I had a small backpack, and we each developed various systems to ensure efficient use of space, clothing, and other necessities.”</p> <p><img alt="Emily Osborn in Dakar 1992-1993" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="102952c2-d992-4bd9-97bb-36590465bd67" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/08.13.2018_Golus_An-American-in-Dakar_SpotB.jpg" /></p> <p>On the same trip to Casamance, “we took a boat down to Ziguinchor, the capital of the region, but we got off early, to stay on an island off the coast,” Osborn says. “The boat we were on from Dakar anchored briefly near the island, and then fishing canoes like this one [above] approached. We joined other people who climbed down a rope ladder into these vessels.”</p> <p><img alt="Emily Osborn in Dakar 1992-1993" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="7451e60a-f9ef-4322-a3d8-49506e5a5912" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/08.13.2018_Golus_An-American-in-Dakar_SpotC.jpg" /></p> <p>Here, Osborn is on a trip to the Gambia, a tiny country almost completely surrounded by Senegal. “These are baobab trees, which are everywhere in this part of West Africa,” she says. “They are towering and regal, and can sometimes achieve enormous size. For those who have ever read <em>The Little Prince</em>, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, baobab trees figure into that story. Saint-Exupéry spent time as a pilot in Senegal working for the postal service.”</p> <p>Since these photos were taken, Osborn earned a PhD from Stanford University and published two books, <em>Intermediaries, Interpreters, and Clerks: African Employees in the Making of Colonial Africa </em>(University of Wisconsin Press, 2006) and <em>Our New Husbands Are Here: Households, Gender, and Politics in a West African State from the Slave Trade to Colonial Rule</em> (Ohio University Press, 2011). She won the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2016.</p> <p>Osborn was “so delighted” to have the chance to take UChicago students to Senegal: “Even if they do not embark on a future career that involves Africa, I think that studying abroad in West Africa imparts significant lifelong lessons.” Senegal is a country of “rich cultural traditions,” she says. It’s known for its music, food, and beautiful handmade clothing, as well as “a language, Wolof, whose usage and conversational forms serve to reinforce important social prerogatives.”</p> <p>Although the country faces difficult challenges, “to judge Senegal simply by its economic indicators would overlook the depth and richness of its culture and society, as well as its values and sources of pride,” she says. “Those are the dynamics that students learn by moving through the city and studying its history and culture <em>sur</em><em> place</em>.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/africa" hreflang="en">Africa</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/study-abroad" hreflang="en">Study Abroad</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/osborn" data-a2a-title="An American in Dakar"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Fosborn&amp;title=An%20American%20in%20Dakar"></a></span> Mon, 13 Aug 2018 20:16:51 +0000 rsmith 6979 at https://mag.uchicago.edu A good mayor is hard to find https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/good-mayor-hard-find <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/story/images/18Summer_Thornburg_Good-Mayer-is-hard-find.jpg" width="700" height="557" alt="A good mayor is hard to find" title="A good mayor is hard to find" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Thu, 08/09/2018 - 18:19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>(©2018 Neil Webb; theispot)</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/blair-thornburgh-ab12"> <a href="/author/blair-thornburgh-ab12"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Blair Thornburgh, AB’12</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Summer/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The primary preoccupations of an unlikely political wife.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>To look at me is to see the World’s Least Likely Political Wife. I have a <em>Rosemary’s Baby</em> haircut that I dye in the bathtub, and I regularly parade around in an oversized black T-shirt that reads FEMINIST in bold witchy letters. I own no tasteful wrap dresses or twinsets. I have a degree in medieval studies, and I write self-consciously smart-alecky young adult novels for a living.</p> <p>And yet—I fell in love with an elected official.</p> <p>It was an extraordinarily cute meet: writer is working on novel about young mayor, writer meets <em>actual </em>young mayor, young mayor has dimples and green eyes like a real-life YA love interest, writer solicits informational interview that morphs into a date. Fast forward 13 months, and writer has a ring on her finger and is kindly reminding the young mayor to please put his pizza crusts in the trash after the Sixers game is over.</p> <p>My fiancé, Josh, ran for mayor of his hometown of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, at the tender age of 26, because, as he so charmingly put it on our first date, “elected office is the best way to help as many people as possible.” (Me: “How many suits did you own then?” Him: “Less than one.”) Over the past eight years, he’s seen taxes stabilize, a new train station take shape, and a band of rogue chickens terrorize the south side of town. He’s even gotten into a Twitter spat with Donald Trump.</p> <p>And so here I am, betrothed and thrust into a curious extracurricular for the rest of my life. (Yes, I have heard all the <em>Parks and Recreation </em>jokes. If this makes me Leslie Knope, so much the better.) I had to learn fast: I trust everyone and speak much too freely, even to reporters and opponents; I am still in the broke-artist mind-set of “attending events for the snacks” and chomp down hors d’oeuvres instead of making polite conversation; I have a (now curtailed) habit of swearing at Pennsylvania senator Pat Toomey on Twitter.</p> <p>Some of it is fun: ribbon cuttings (yes, there are giant scissors), parades, 5K kickoffs, fire department chicken barbecues, Josh ducking out to “marry someone real quick” at the local brewery, holding the Bible in my best Michelle Obama dress (bought secondhand, worn frequently) for his swearing in. Some is exhausting: knocking on every door in town and foisting political literature on unsuspecting residents, trifolding fundraising letter after fundraising letter, wearing high heels at any time for any purpose. Some is oddly glamorous: being stopped on the street and congratulated (for my book coming out, for a landslide win, for our engagement), picking up my phone during election week and barking “talk to me,” holding a boom mic during an ad filming. Some is exhilarating: rallies, speeches, protests, debates. And some, the worst part, is emotionally taxing: being berated to the point of tears while canvassing, being lectured on the Main Street parking situation at a cocktail party, driving past a giant sign with my fiancé’s face on it declaring him a no-goodnik who’s taking the town to hell in a handbasket.</p> <p>And yet it’s not all <em>that</em> unfamiliar. My grandfather Dick Thornburgh was governor of Pennsylvania and then US attorney general. I grew up with formal family portraits every year, award ceremonies, names in the paper, names in the social register, and photos of my family members with presidents, popes, dignitaries, and Jimmy Stewart lining my grandparents’ condo walls. Grandpa was even on <em>Da Ali G Show</em>, which, trust me, got me a lot of mileage in middle school.</p> <p>So in the right context, with the right group of people, my last name will elicit a nod. Other times, people squint between me and Josh: How does the granddaughter of a Republican governor end up with a progressive Democratic upstart, and why is her hair that color? My mother and grandmother have lived through smear campaigns and public outrage and crushing defeats and even death threats (it’s fine, everybody’s fine!), and they can look back on it winsomely. But I never thought to ask how it made <em>them</em> feel about themselves: to have people set up lawn chairs to watch you leave your wedding ceremony because you’re marrying the First Son of Pennsylvania, or to be nine months pregnant and running into a burning campaign office to rescue index cards of precious voter data.</p> <p>Controlling for other variables, married politicians tend to outperform single ones. But research has yet to weigh in on how marriage benefits or hinders YA novelists. Aside from the standard patriarchal nonsense of dramatically lowered lifetime earnings, my heterosexual marriage will give me a role that is not only reductive but publicly so: political wife. I will morph from “somebody’s granddaughter” to “somebody’s wife” with barely a gasp in between. When we are both rich and famous, will the society pages refer to “Blair Thornburgh and her husband, the politician Josh Maxwell,” or “Mayor/Representative/Senator Maxwell and his wife, Blair,” no profession specified? What if the swearing/sex/teenage hijinks in my novels offend the electorate? What if we have a fight in Wegmans over whether or not to spring for the family size cheese and people whisper at our lack of literal family values behind their carts? What if he starts calling me “Mother” and I can’t make him stop? What if, God forbid, our eventual daughter takes a party drug in a fit of pique and ends up kidnapped with her security detail dead, like Zoe Bartlet on that one episode of <em>The West Wing</em>?</p> <p>I am being hyperbolic. That is what I do; wife or no, I’m a writer. And my intended husband knows and enjoys this. “You’re <em>writing</em> a book?” he said when we met. “I’m meeting with this writer tomorrow,” he told a friend before we got coffee the first time. “Blair,” he will announce at every steam-table chicken dinner and fish fry, “writes books about smart teenage girls.” When I told him, “Hey, I might write an essay about marrying the mayor, is that chill?” he said “Just don’t make <em>too</em> much fun of me.”</p> <p>If the personal is political, then our relationship has a feminist platform:</p> <p>I have (on good days) a career, or (on less productive ones) a hobby, but regardless, I am defined as someone who does stuff and doesn’t just exist at the side. Sure, I have my fair share of stand-still-look-pretty moments ahead of me, and I probably will have to stop going to Wawa in my pajamas and yesterday’s eyeliner (even if it does make me look like a Woman of the People). I will bear children as photogenic as possible for those soft-focus campaign ads. I will fasten his cuff links until the day I die. Because it is fun, and exhausting, and oddly glamorous, exhilarating, and emotionally taxing. But in the end, because it is my choice.</p> <p>So I won’t be ditching the FEMINIST T-shirt. But I might buy a new cardigan to wear over it.</p> <hr /><p><em><a href="http://www.blairthornburgh.com/">Blair Thornburgh,</a> AB’12, is the author of the young adult novels </em>Who’s That Girl<em> (HarperTeen, 2017) and </em>Ordinary Girls<em> (HarperTeen, forthcoming). By day she is a senior editor at Quirk Books in Philadelphia. She lives—where else?—in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/politics" hreflang="en">Politics</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/college-alumni" hreflang="en">College alumni</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/alumni-essay" hreflang="en">Alumni Essay</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/good-mayor-hard-find" data-a2a-title="A good mayor is hard to find"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Flaw-policy-society%2Fgood-mayor-hard-find&amp;title=A%20good%20mayor%20is%20hard%20to%20find"></a></span> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 23:19:48 +0000 admin 6972 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Food for thought https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/food-thought-0 <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/story/images/18Summer_Demanski_Food-for-Thought.jpg" width="2000" height="1000" alt="Food for thought" title="Food for thought" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Thu, 08/09/2018 - 18:19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“What the University really honed was a way to think,” Kass says. “It’s only with those tools that I could have gone from the kitchen to writing food policy.” (Photography by Aliza Eliazarov)</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/laura-demanski-am94"> <a href="/author/laura-demanski-am94"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Laura Demanski, AM’94</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Summer/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Former White House chef Sam Kass, LAB’98, AB’04, is serving up new recipes and improvements to food policy. Plus: Kass’s recipe for brussels sprouts Caesar salad.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The Secret Service hates it when you run in the White House.” So begins <strong>Sam Kass</strong>’s <em>Eat a Little Better </em>(Clarkson Potter, 2018)—not your typical cookbook opening.</p> <p>But Kass, LAB’98, AB’04, would know, having served at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue from 2009 to 2014. Following years of restaurant work, he became the Obama family’s personal chef while Barack Obama was campaigning for president. After the 2009 inauguration, Kass continued cooking for the first family while also taking on the jobs of senior policy advisor for nutrition and executive director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move public health campaign.</p> <p>The experience transformed Kass’s career, broadening his focus from the food on a plate to the food on our planet. On a global scale, he is a partner in Acre, a venture capital fund launched by Campbell Soup to invest in health-focused food start-ups, while his strategy firm Trove provides consulting to companies looking to lessen their negative impact on the environment and human health.</p> <p><em>Eat a Little Better</em>, published this spring, aims to do the same thing for what’s on your plate at home, creating a lower-pressure path to healthier eating, with recipes using everything from veggies to red meat and flexible cooking techniques. It also has tips on how to organize your kitchen, pantry, and refrigerator in ways that encourage better choices—for instance, getting your produce out of the crisper and putting it on an eye-level shelf where it will be the first thing you see when you open the door.</p> <p>The <em>Magazine</em> talked to Kass about his UChicago education, carving out a life in food, the book, and his own food loves. This interview has been edited and condensed.</p> <hr /><h2>What was it like growing up in the University neighborhood?</h2> <p>Hyde Park is one of the most diverse communities that I’ve ever known—diverse in all kinds of ways. It has the intellect, it’s the anchor of the University, it has different races and economic classes. And so it provides a pretty dynamic environment for kids to grow up in. I’ve maintained lifelong friends from the time I was a little kid, which I’ve come to find is actually quite rare. I remember playing baseball for Hyde Park- Kenwood, going to the Point. It’s just a great place to grow up.</p> <h2>You transferred to the College from a community college where you’d enrolled for baseball. What was it like coming back?</h2> <p>I went to the Laboratory Schools and my aunt and uncle [Amy Kass, AB’62, and <strong>Leon Kass</strong>, LAB’54, SB’58, MD’62] were on the UChicago faculty. So I had a pretty decent sense of what the University was like. But it was a bit of a shock when the coach told me that we don’t practice on Thursdays because that’s science lab day. I hadn’t really been used to that. And the caliber of the students took some getting used to. But I think it’s the single best decision I ever made, besides marrying my wife.</p> <p>What told me that [the College] had really done its job was that I felt like I was prepared to go to college when I graduated—I was sort of wishing that I could do it again, now that I’d been given the skills of thinking and writing in the way that I had.</p> <h2>Your culinary career traces back to a quarter studying abroad in Vienna. How did that happen?</h2> <p>I had one quarter left and enough credits because of my transfer. I applied to all three of the abroad programs, and I got waitlisted for all of them. I ended up marching into the office of the dean of the study abroad program and got into a heated discussion with him.</p> <p>I knew how badly I wanted to get out and see the world. I knew that I was going to make the most of the experience, maybe more than students who had better grades than me, and probably stronger applications.</p> <p>So, long story short, a few weeks later I got accepted into the Vienna program. And on my third day there I got connected to the sous chef of a Vienna restaurant, who ended up giving me all my training and teaching me everything I know.</p> <p>I had worked one summer in a restaurant in Chicago while I was in college, so I said to the head of the program, I’m interested in food, maybe I could get into a pastry shop once a week just to learn about it. She came back and said something like, “My husband’s uncle’s friend from college’s son rides bicycles with the sous chef of the best restaurant in Vienna. If you’re interested, he’d be willing to meet with you.”</p> <p>If it weren’t for that completely random and lucky moment, none of this stuff would have happened.</p> <h2>What was the best part about being the White House chef?</h2> <p>I don’t even know how to pick. It was great. I was cooking for the most important family in the world. I was also doing policy work, like the Let’s Move campaign. It was the greatest time I had in my life, and the best job in the world. Working with the First Lady, growing the garden—everything was spectacular.</p> <h2>If you could build US food policy from the ground up, what would you do first?</h2> <p>I would invest $10 billion in research. We are dramatically underinvested in this area. And I would work to align our policy toward human health and environmental health. Right now we have agricultural policy on one hand and health policy on the other. They’re not aligned, and we’re not growing food based on what’s best for people—and we’re definitely not taking into consideration the impact on the environment and the role of climate change when it comes to crafting our policy. Globally, food agriculture is the number two driver of greenhouse gas emissions and within the next few decades will be number one. So we’re going to have to take some much more aggressive steps.</p> <h2>Your book puts forth the idea of eating a <em>little</em> better, making small changes that add up. How does that work?</h2> <p>A lot of the voices on better eating espouse utopic ideals of how we’re supposed to eat and frame it as, there’s a right way and a wrong way. It just doesn’t fit with people’s daily lives. People try to reach these ideals, then they fail, then they get discouraged, then they stop trying. If we want people to actually make changes, it has to be done in a way that fits their reality. So the book tries to focus on and celebrate progress more than ideals.</p> <h2>What experts say is good for us and bad for us seems to change a lot. How should people navigate conflicting studies on eating and health?</h2> <p>My advice would be, don’t listen to it. Just try to focus on eating mostly plants, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, some nice lean protein. And on not eating too much. We can’t just react to the latest study because you’re going to go back and forth like a ping-pong ball. Keep it simple. Part of the trick is not to get too obsessed with food either. Take a deep breath and relax a little bit. It’s going to be OK. Let’s just make some progress and build from there. That’s the approach.</p> <h2>Can you share a few key tips from the book for starting to make that progress?</h2> <p>Make sure your house is set up with the things you’re trying to eat and not a bunch of the things you’re not. What you have in the house and where you position it has a big influence on what you end up consuming. And try to cook one more time a week than you already do.</p> <h2>What’s your typical breakfast?</h2> <p>I’ll quickly make myself an omelet. I know that sounds like a whole thing, but it really takes me like 30 seconds. Actually it’s a quick challenge because making a perfect omelet is not an easy thing. Sometimes I’ll have a little salmon with it and a cup of coffee with half-and-half.</p> <h2>You’re a realist about how people eat, so what’s your own favorite guilty food pleasure?</h2> <p>I can’t say no to a buffalo wing, and I’m pretty much down for ice cream no matter what.</p> <hr /><div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Brussels sprouts Caesar salad" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="cb55e10a-945d-4ae8-8702-201b11c55411" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18Summer_Demanski_Food-for-Thought_SpotA.jpg" /><figcaption>(Photograph copyright © 2017 by Aubrie Pick)</figcaption></figure></div> <h2><strong>Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad</strong></h2> <h4>From <em>Eat a Little Better</em></h4> <p><em>Serves 6 to 8 / Active time: 20 minutes / Start to finish: 20 minutes</em></p> <p>I wish I could say I came up with the idea of swapping out the romaine in the classic Caesar, because there’s a reason you now see kale and brussels sprouts coated in creamy, bright, anchovy-spiked dressing at restaurants from Brooklyn to Boise. These vegetables deliver flavor instead of just crunch, not to mention more nutrition. I particularly like to use brussels sprouts, thinly sliced so they grab on tight to that I-want-to-eat-this-forever dressing. Baby spinach leaves, very thinly sliced kale, or a crunchy combination of thinly sliced celery and radishes are also great to use here instead of the sprouts.</p> <h3>Ingredients</h3> <p>4 thick slices crusty bread<br /> ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil<br /> 1 or 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped<br /> 1 garlic clove, finely chopped<br /> Kosher salt<br /> 1 large egg yolk<br /> 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice<br /> 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard<br /> Freshly ground black pepper<br /> 2 pounds brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed, halved lengthwise, very thinly sliced<br /> Big handful finely grated Parmesan cheese<br /> 12 vinegared white anchovy fillets, often labeled “boquerones” (optional)</p> <ol><li>Drizzle both sides of the bread slices with about ¼ cup of the oil, then toast in a toaster oven or 400°F oven, flipping once, until golden on both sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Cut them into 1-inch pieces.</li> <li>Use a fork to mash the anchovy, garlic, and a pinch of salt to a paste. Scrape the paste into a large bowl. Add the egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard, and stir well. Then while whisking, add the remaining ¼ cup oil in a thin, steady stream and keep whisking until creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.</li> <li>Add the brussels sprouts to the bowl, toss with the dressing to coat well, and season with more salt to taste. Scatter the bread and cheese on top and, if you’ve got them, add the white anchovies.</li> </ol><hr /><p><em>Reprinted from</em> Eat a Little Better<em>. Copyright © 2018 by Sam Kass. Photograph copyright © 2017 by Aubrie Pick. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of </em><em>Renguin</em><em> Random House, </em><em>LLC</em><em>.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/food" hreflang="en">Food</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/diet" hreflang="en">Diet</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/glimpses" hreflang="en">Glimpses</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/food-thought-0" data-a2a-title="Food for thought"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Flaw-policy-society%2Ffood-thought-0&amp;title=Food%20for%20thought"></a></span> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 23:19:48 +0000 admin 6971 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Corrective measures https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/corrective-measures <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/story/images/18Summer_Mcgranahan_Corrective-Measures.jpg" width="2000" height="1000" alt="Corrective measures" title="Corrective measures" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Thu, 08/09/2018 - 18:19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>(©2018 Robert Neubecker c/o theispot)</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/lucas-mcgranahan"> <a href="/author/lucas-mcgranahan"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Lucas McGranahan</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Summer/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A UChicago professor spearheads an initiative to end mass incarceration.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Most people believe in a world of second chances,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) at the Smart Decarceration Initiative conference held on the UChicago campus in November 2017. Durbin’s voice is just one in an emerging chorus of public officials, researchers, and community activists seeking alternatives to a system of mass incarceration that has taken hold in the United States like nowhere else in the world. “Now it’s up to us,” Durbin said.</p> <p>The scale of the problem is difficult to overstate. In a now familiar story, the United States has emerged as the global leader in incarceration, driven by efforts such as the federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, mandatory minimum sentences (including a host of state-level “three-strikes” laws), and a decades-long war on drugs. Today the United States has under 5 percent of the world’s population but over 20 percent of its prisoners. Its total prison and jail census exceeds that of any other country, including the closest runners-up, China and Russia.</p> <p>But the high-water mark for incarceration in the United States may be behind us. In 2009, after 37 consecutive years of growth, the US incarceration rate finally leveled off and began to decline slightly. This shift may have been a response to short-term budget crunches in the Great Recession, but it has given lawmakers an opportunity to question what is still an over $50 billion annual expenditure on incarceration—difficult to justify in the face of research showing that time behind bars generally increases rather than decreases chances of recidivism.</p> <p>And no budget line captures the human costs of incarceration: permanently disrupted families, educations, housing, and careers, all borne disproportionately by people with mental illness and communities of color, further entrenching existing inequities.</p> <p>Remarkably, the intentional reduction of incarceration, or decarceration, now has potentially as much bipartisan appeal as “tough on crime” legislation once did, winning advocates from Black Lives Matter activists to former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The question is what to do with this historic opening.</p> <p><strong>Matthew Epperson</strong>, an associate professor in the School of Social Service Administration, has more than an academic understanding of the effects of incarceration. With 15 years of experience as a practicing social worker, including six as a crisis mental health counselor at a county jail in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he has seen firsthand how the criminal justice system fails to meet the needs of individuals and communities.</p> <p>For a significant proportion of the inmates Epperson worked with, jail was part of a recurring pattern generated by untreated mental illness or addiction. “There were some folks I knew on a first-name basis because they were in and out of the jail, sometimes weekly, sometimes multiple times in the same day.” For them, jail was neither a deterrent to future behavior nor a treatment for current problems. To Epperson, it felt like a waste. So he set up a program to divert individuals with serious mental illness away from jail and into treatment. Incarceration and mental illness remains a focus of his research at SSA today.</p> <p>When Epperson began as a social worker in the mid-1990s, the term “mass incarceration” was not on the tip of everyone’s tongue. We did not have Michelle Alexander’s book <em>The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness</em> (The New Press, 2010) or the documentary film <em>13th</em> (2016), each of which traces disparities in the criminal justice system to a troubled historical legacy rooted in slavery. Nor did we have the TV series <em>Orange Is the New Black</em> (2013–), with its humanizing portrayal of prisoners. Even a sympathetic insider might have been unaware of the full scope of the problem.</p> <p>A light-bulb moment for Epperson came at a conference after his first year at the jail, which outlined how the United States had become historically and globally unique in its reliance on incarceration. “It wasn’t just happening in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It wasn’t just happening to the person across from me. It was happening everywhere.”</p> <p>Epperson has also seen mental health services from an administrative perspective, leaving Michigan for a stint as a mental health administrator in North Carolina. There he felt unprepared by his experience as a clinician for such tasks as overseeing the center’s managed care and mental health service contracts. He says that his lack of research knowledge was typical of mental health administrators.</p> <p>Sensing how much more there was to learn, Epperson decided to get a PhD—“probably the best career decision I made,” he says. As a professor he could still work directly with the community while also conducting research and teaching a new generation of students to critically evaluate the criminal justice system.</p> <p>At SSA Epperson’s research focuses on risk factors for criminal involvement among individuals with mental illness, as well as the development of conceptual frameworks for effective and sustainable decarceration. He cofounded the Smart Decarceration Initiative in 2014 with collaborators at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. However, plans are underway for Epperson’s work in this area—now called simply “Smart Decarceration”—to be housed within a new criminal justice–focused center to be established at SSA. Epperson is also a leader of the Promote Smart Decarceration initiative of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, one of that organization’s 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work intended to address the nation’s toughest social problems.</p> <p>The goal of Smart Decarceration is to transform the criminal justice system by reducing the incarcerated population in a way that redresses social disparities and enhances public safety. Its strategy—demonstrated so far by a book and two national conferences—is to source perspectives and evidence from everyone researching, working in, or impacted by the criminal justice system.</p> <p>“Incarceration could look quite different in 10 or 20 years,” Epperson says. “We want to shape how it looks different.”</p> <p><strong>For Epperson, it’s critical that we scrutinize the function of incarceration.</strong> Despite the optimistic 18th-century conception of the penitentiary as a place for penitence, or the righting of one’s character through self-reflection, prisons and jails are actively hostile places for rehabilitation. Nor do harsh sentences seem to deter criminal behavior in the general population. Incarceration may inflict retribution, but this is an unquantifiable and, to Epperson’s mind, dubious goal. In the end, Epperson thinks that incarceration is only effective at incapacitating individuals who pose an imminent threat to the community—perhaps just a small fraction of those languishing in America’s jails and prisons today.</p> <p>Narrowing the role of incarceration in society requires outlining alternatives. A host of other criminal justice sanctions are available: jail-diversion programs provide community-based treatment to those with serious mental illness or substance abuse disorders; deferred prosecution allows charges to be dropped in exchange for making restitution to victims or completing rehabilitation programs; and community supervision (probation and parole) allows individuals to maintain family and work lives while serving a sentence. Some jurisdictions use these interventions regularly within specialized courts that seek to address the needs of particular communities: drug courts, mental health courts, and veterans courts.</p> <p>Epperson is currently coleading a study on deferred prosecution programs in Cook County, Milwaukee County, and St. Louis, with the aim of designing a future randomized trial experiment on the practice. In his view, calling such approaches “alternatives” already cedes too much ground, since it implicitly accepts that incarceration is the default remedy. To his mind, incarceration is just one tool in the tool kit—the heaviest and bluntest one. “How did we end up in a place where if somebody has a drug habit and they steal something from a store … our default response would be they should sit behind bars tonight and possibly for the next few months or years?”</p> <p>Borrowing from the field of medicine, Epperson suggests that different cases require different levels of care. Incarceration may be viewed as a particularly high level of care for protecting public safety. You don’t perform surgery on a scraped knee, increasing expense and risk for no reason. And time behind bars may be an inappropriate remedy for a drug offense. Whether in medicine or criminal justice, inpatient care is to be avoided where outpatient care will do.</p> <p>A medical lens on the issue also tends to make discussions more scientific and less narrowly moralistic. “In adopting a public health approach,” writes Ernest Drucker, a New York University professor of global public health, “decarceration efforts are less likely to blame and stigmatize individuals; instead, decarceration can focus on the adverse policies and pathogenic environments imposed on entire populations.” A participant in the Smart Decarceration Initiative’s 2015 inaugural confernce, Drucker has recently edited an anthology titled <em>Decarcerating America: From Mass Punishment to Public Health</em> (The New Press, 2018).</p> <p>A public health approach may require changes throughout the criminal justice system. For instance, Cook County sheriff Tom Dart opened a new Supportive Release Center in 2017 with grant funding from UChicago Urban Labs and in partnership with Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities and Heartland Alliance Health. After they’re released, some of the most in-need former inmates can now spend the night at a repurposed mobile home near the jail, where they may eat, sleep, wash clothes, and arrange for services such as housing assistance and mental health counseling. Dart sees it as obvious that this model should be scaled up and replicated widely.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Matthew Epperson" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="bfde12d5-d4a4-40f0-90d5-95d944362389" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18Summer_Mcgranahan_Corrective-Measures_SpotA.jpg" /><figcaption>Matthew Eppersonʼs course on decarceration draws students from across the Universityʼs schools and divisions. (Photography by Lloyd Degrane)</figcaption></figure></div> <p><strong>Effective decarceration would depend largely on the actions of prosecutors</strong>, Epperson says. This means that prosecutors should not be rewarded for processing large volumes of cases with high conviction rates, but for carefully applying sanctions that don’t unduly disrupt the lives of individuals or communities. “A prosecutor’s role is really to promote safety and justice,” he says. In that role, they “have to respond to the evidence that shows that just locking people up doesn’t achieve those things.”</p> <p>Some prosecutors across the country are getting on board. For instance, Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner, a former civil rights lawyer, made headlines with the controversial idea that prosecutors ought to discuss the price tag of incarceration with judges during sentencing. Funds saved by using less expensive sanctions—say, court-mandated addiction treatment—could be used to address unmet needs in the community, potentially making everyone safer. John Chisholm, district attorney of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, coauthored a chapter in the Smart Decarceration Initiative’s book, <em>Smart Decarceration: Achieving Criminal Justice Transformation in the 21st Century </em>(Oxford University Press, 2017), outlining principles for fair sentencing that address the seriousness of a crime while preserving the defendant’s basic means of citizenship.</p> <p>An emerging leader in prosecutorial reform is Kim Foxx, the state’s attorney for Cook County, Illinois. Foxx was elected in 2016 as the first African American woman to lead the county’s prosecutor’s office, which is the second largest in the United States. Foxx has recommended the increased use of personal recognizance bonds, which allow low-risk defendants to sign a written promise to appear in court without the need for cash bail. As Katie Hill, director of policy, research, and development in Foxx’s office, described at the 2017 Smart Decarceration conference, attorneys are now encouraged to seek cash bail only as a last resort.</p> <p>Many poor defendants nationwide sit in jail only because they are unable to afford bail. A September 2017 order by Cook County chief judge Timothy Evans required judges to set affordable cash bail for defendants not deemed to be dangerous. By December of that year, the population of Cook County Jail had reduced by 20 percent, dipping below 6,000 for the first time in decades.</p> <p>Some contend that Cook County’s criminal justice reform has not gone far enough. The electronic monitoring systems that are commonly replacing bail can limit movement in a way that’s similar to incarceration. There are also concerns about judges’ uneven adherence to new policies. On the other hand, Sheriff Dart claimed in February 2018 that the new rules go too far, letting potentially dangerous suspects walk the streets. He delayed some releases for a short time while conducting additional case reviews—a move that prompted backlash from both activists and fellow officials. Even those seeking a change of course are learning to steer the ship together as it moves.</p> <p><strong>Mass incarceration was a decidedly bipartisan creation</strong>, driven by a Republican-led war on drugs, a 1994 crime bill authored by Democratic senator Joe Biden and signed by President Bill Clinton, and a flurry of three-strikes laws that were nowhere more punitive than in heavily Democratic California. Today mass incarceration is once again an area of emerging bipartisan agreement, but in the opposite direction.</p> <p>One Democrat seeking to make amends is Senator Durbin. Speaking at the 2017 Smart Decarceration conference, he publicly regretted the criminalizing attitude adopted by the public and policy makers during the crack-cocaine epidemic of the 1980s. He also frankly indicated why he believes many Americans are readier for a more rehabilitative approach today: the opioid crisis is perceived as white and rural, whereas crack was understood as African American and urban.</p> <p>Even with two forms of the same drug, racial and socioeconomic disparities are in plain view. The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, authored by Durbin and signed by President Barack Obama, established an 18:1 sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and the powder form of the drug more popular among white and affluent users. The reason this law is considered a progressive reform is because it revises the ratio of 100:1 established under the Reagan administration in 1986.</p> <p>The Smart Decarceration conference also featured a leading conservative voice on criminal justice: Marc Levin, the vice president of criminal justice policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Crime initiative. Epperson draws on Levin’s perspective to supplement traditionally liberal or leftist arguments against mass incarceration with conservative ones.</p> <p>Levin argues that we should employ the least restrictive criminal justice sanctions that are consistent with justice, while creating incentives rather than barriers to education and work. For the Right on Crime initiative, decarceration goes hand-in-hand with a conservative vision of “constitutionally limited government, transparency, individual liberty, personal responsibility, free enterprise, and the centrality of the family and community.”</p> <p>For instance, of about 11.5 million Americans cycling in and out of jails each year, the majority are not convicted of a charge for which they are being held but are unable to afford cash bail, a system that arguably criminalizes poverty and vitiates the ideal of presumed innocence. Moreover, Levin points out, one-fifth of those in jail in many jurisdictions are there for unpaid fines for infractions that would not otherwise carry a jail sentence. “People end up in what basically is a debtors’ prison,” he says. One alternative, he suggests, is that courts be given the authority to assess the day fines—penalties limited to what an individual earns in a day—used in some European and Latin American countries.</p> <p>Levin invokes a further principle, one that resonates with American religious conservatism: redemption. Incarceration and the restrictions on housing, educational opportunities, and job prospects that come with a criminal charge hinder individuals’ ability to pull themselves up, often when they are at their lowest point. It does not seem to be a system designed to offer second chances. One example of the antirehabilitative bent of the criminal justice system in recent decades is the banning of federal Pell Grants for prisoners in the 1994 federal crime bill. Educational grants for prisoners were partially revived under President Obama but face an uncertain future.</p> <p>None of this is to mention cost savings, which are clearly appealing to fiscal conservatives. Why continue a $50 billion annual expenditure that at best yields highly mixed results and at worst is a massive waste of human and economic potential? Levin says that he leads with the fiscal argument: “The appetizer is saving money, and the main course is public safety, keeping families together, getting people in the workforce.”</p> <p>Durbin echoed this sentiment at the 2017 Smart Decarceration conference: “We’re talking about the primary breadwinners in many families spending their peak earning years behind bars, instead of contributing to their families and society. They end up costing society as prisoners.”</p> <p>Levin’s position is not a fringe view on the right. In fact, many are eager to brand prison reform as a conservative-led cause. Signatories to the Right on Crime initiative include the likes of Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich. Gingrich and conservative activist Pat Nolan went on record promoting Right on Crime in a 2011 <em>Washington Post </em>opinion piece, where they argued that a reduction in incarceration is a win-win that saves money while increasing public safety. “If our prison policies are failing half of the time, and we know that there are more humane, effective alternatives, it is time to fundamentally rethink how we treat and rehabilitate our prisoners,” they contended.</p> <p>“Everyone running on the Republican ticket for the 2016 election except for one candidate was pretty vocal about the need for criminal justice reform,” Epperson says. “That had never been the case in a presidential election in the last 30 years.”</p> <p>Opposition to mass incarceration has not entirely won the day among Republicans, however, as the GOP nomination, and ultimately the presidency, went to the sole tough-on-crime voice in the group.</p> <p><strong>This is not the first time the United States has looked to significantly downsize a major social institution.</strong> Epperson cites the lessons of the 20th-century deinstitutionalization movement in mental health care, in which long-stay state psychiatric hospitals—criticized as isolated and stigmatizing—were largely replaced by community-based care. (See <a href="#learning">“Learning from Deinstitutionalization”</a> below.)</p> <p>Epperson says that deinstitutionalization was successful in meeting its target of closing down facilities, which it did ahead of schedule. “But it wasn’t successful because lots of these folks ended up not getting adequate support.” The analogy is clear enough: deinstitutionalization, whether in mental health or the criminal justice system, requires an adequately funded successor system. The evacuation of the institution is not itself the goal.</p> <p>But it’s more than an analogy. Prisons and jails are not just like psychiatric institutions. They are in fact the largest psychiatric institutions in the United States, containing 10 times the number of individuals with serious mental illness—conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depression—as America’s remaining psychiatric hospitals, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center. Cook County Jail by itself holds more individuals with serious mental illness than any state psychiatric hospital in the United States.</p> <p>Most inmates do not receive any treatment for these disorders while behind bars, and sometimes receive worse than no treatment. In 2015 the State of Illinois settled a class-action lawsuit brought by 11,000 state prison inmates claiming cruel and unusual punishment for alleged abuses including the withholding of medications, the stripping and humiliation of suicidal prisoners, and the use of extensive solitary confinement as punishment for symptoms. The settlement calls for new residential treatment facilities, hundreds of new staff to provide treatment, and closer monitoring and additional out-of-cell time for mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement. (In October 2017 three legal organizations filed a motion against the Illinois Department of Corrections, claiming it hadn’t met its obligations under the terms of the settlement.)</p> <p>Some officials are taking more proactive measures. As the <em>New York Times </em>has reported, Sheriff Dart took the unusual step in 2015 of appointing a clinical psychologist, Nneka Jones Tapia, as warden of the county jail. Even before becoming warden, Jones Tapia had overseen the offering of new services in the jail: collecting mental health histories, arranging for diagnoses and medication, and forwarding pertinent mental health information to judges so that they could consider it in their rulings. In March 2018 she stepped down as warden after three years on the job, saying she hopes to be a resource to the jail in the future as a collaborator.</p> <p>As a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics in spring 2018, Jones Tapia led a series of seminars on the role of trauma in the criminal justice system—another important area of mental health crisis among the incarcerated.</p> <p>Studies indicate that over 90 percent of inmates have high lifetime rates of traumatic experiences such as abuse, neglect, and witnessing violence. Symptoms commonly include anxiety brought on by associations with a traumatic event, which can lead sufferers to turn to drugs or alcohol for relief. Incarceration amplifies these effects, as incarceration is itself a traumatic experience. The problem is intergenerational: children of incarcerated parents are six times likelier than average to be incarcerated themselves.</p> <p><strong>Not everyone agrees that mass incarceration is a problem.</strong> Tough-on-crime rhetoric such as President Donald J. Trump’s resonates with the belief that a bad deed deserves punishment, while stoking the fear that either we or our loved ones may fall prey to malevolent forces in a dangerous world. At its most unseemly, such rhetoric appeals to dehumanizing, frequently racialized images of exactly whom decent people must be defended from. A concern for the welfare of perpetrators appears misplaced, the very definition of a mawkish bleeding heart.</p> <p>Epperson says he recently got an email from a stranger in South Carolina that described a repeat offender who committed a violent crime while out on parole. To this correspondent, the case discredited Epperson’s entire approach. “So if you want to not incarcerate people I’d gladly put this person on a bus and send them to Chicago so you can deal with them.”</p> <p>This touches on a concern of Epperson’s: that a high-profile case of recidivism could be used to justify a return to tough-on-crime policies. “There’s also hundreds of thousands of stories of people who are locked up and whose lives are made worse and are basically victimized by the system,” he says. “And so both of those stories need to be considered here.”</p> <p>Violent crime in particular elicits a strong response, making it something of a taboo topic among politicians advocating for criminal justice reform. The safest way to critique the system is to conjure a sympathetic image of a nonviolent offender—perhaps one of the one-in-five incarcerated individuals in the United States serving time for a nonviolent drug offense. However, a case can be made that decarceration should include reduced sentences for violent crime as well. Todd Clear, a professor of criminal justice at Rutgers University who visited SSA in spring 2018, takes this position, arguing that the term “violent” names a misleadingly broad range of cases and that moderate sentence reductions for violent offenders are not linked to increased recidivism or significant public safety risks.</p> <p>Other criticisms come from another direction entirely. Prison abolitionists, such as prominent social activist and scholar Angela Davis, argue that prisons are fundamentally illegitimate institutions that should be rejected outright rather than reformed. The abolitionist critique, says Epperson, is that reformers are only “tinkering around the edges” of the system. If abolition, not reformism, was the correct response to slavery, then perhaps it is the correct response to another form of institutionalized unfreedom that entrenches racial inequality in the United States.</p> <p>Epperson acknowledges the abolitionists’ concern that we might settle for too little. How much incarceration is the right amount? Will minor successes lead to complacency? Nevertheless, he says, “I’m a pragmatist at heart.”</p> <p>Epperson ultimately sees himself as a mediator among different forces for change in the criminal justice system. This includes his teaching as well as his work with Smart Decarceration. For instance, he teaches a course on decarceration in which he has students debate different perspectives on the issue such as abolitionism or Right on Crime. “The students are developing their own policy ideas and interventions, which is really exciting because even if a handful of them go on to do those things there’s a much greater impact.”</p> <p><strong>Decarceration, of course, is not a matter of closing down some facilities</strong>, pocketing the savings, and calling it a day. Epperson cites the idea of “justice reinvestment.” Although this term traditionally refers to the diversion of funds from prisons and jails to other parts of the criminal justice system, he says, the concept is being broadened to include addressing the upstream social and economic conditions that lead to involvement in the criminal justice system in the first place.</p> <p>“Are we making the right investment? Are we making the right impacts?” asks <strong>Esther Franco-Payne</strong>, AM’99, who spoke at the 2017 conference. Justice reinvestment concerns Franco-Payne in her work as executive director of Cabrini Green Legal Aid, a Chicago nonprofit that provides holistic services to individuals affected by the criminal justice system. “You see multiple generations of people in the same family impacted by incarceration,” she says. “We need to really think about what is it that we need to do to break that cycle as we continue to spend billions and billions of dollars on this nationally.”</p> <p>Mental health services and substance abuse treatment are clear targets for justice reinvestment. So are public education and economic opportunities for low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. And yet no complete list of approaches can be offered in advance, nor are academic outsiders necessarily in the best place to prescribe what communities need. Part of Epperson’s philosophy is to be flexible and listen.</p> <p>To that end, the University of Chicago Women’s Board awarded Epperson a 2018–19 grant for a project to assess the strengths and needs of the high-incarceration Chicago neighborhoods of Austin and Washington Park. Epperson’s team is creating a community advisory board consisting of ordinary residents, officials, and formerly incarcerated individuals, allowing communities to define their own problems while using evidence to examine how to address them. Movements for civil rights, women’s rights, or gay rights would have been dead in the water if they had not been led by the people most affected, Epperson says, and there’s no reason to think that a movement for the formerly incarcerated and their communities should be different.</p> <hr /><h2><a name="learning" id="learning">Learning from deinstitutionalization</a></h2> <p><em>The late 20th-century shift in mental health care offers lessons for the decarceration movement.</em></p> <p>The deinstitutionalization movement in the United States was driven by the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Health Centers Construction Act of 1963, signed by President John F. Kennedy in the last weeks of his life, which shifted care to community mental health centers.</p> <p>Deinstitutionalization was enabled by psychotropic drugs that improved symptom management for certain disorders. The fact that psychiatric patients’ institutional care was not covered by Medicare or Medicaid upon these programs’ passage in 1965 accelerated the process. Leaving state hospitals became both possible and necessary for most psychiatric patients.</p> <p>Deinstitutionalization shifted the financial burden of mental health care to the federal government, which never provided complete or long-term funding for the new community mental health centers. Less than half of planned centers were ever built, while the overwhelming majority of state psychiatric hospital beds were eliminated.</p> <p>Under President Ronald Reagan, federal funding for mental health treatment was drastically reduced and block granted to states, essentially ending federal oversight of mental health care. Further billions of dollars were stripped from mental health programs by the states themselves during the Great Recession.</p> <p>The legacy of deinstitutionalization has included improved rights, respectability, and community integration for many Americans suffering mental illness and those with intellectual disabilities, especially those with engaged families and more easily managed conditions.</p> <p>However, it has also meant the abandonment of tens of thousands of seriously mentally ill individuals lacking sufficient social or financial supports, who face an exceptionally high risk of social isolation, homelessness, and incarceration. For these individuals, deinstitutionalization rang out like a cruel last call: you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/incarceration" hreflang="en">Incarceration</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/mass-incarceration" hreflang="en">Mass incarceration</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/school-social-service-administration" hreflang="en">School of Social Service Administration</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/corrective-measures" data-a2a-title="Corrective measures"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Flaw-policy-society%2Fcorrective-measures&amp;title=Corrective%20measures"></a></span> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 23:19:48 +0000 admin 6967 at https://mag.uchicago.edu White power is not new https://mag.uchicago.edu/belew <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/story/images/18Summer_Golus_White-power-is-not-new.jpg" width="2000" height="1000" alt="White power is not new" title="White power is not new" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Thu, 08/09/2018 - 18:19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Assistant professor of US history<strong> </strong>Kathleen Belew’s book<strong> </strong><em>Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America </em>was published by Harvard University Press in April. (Photography by Anne Ryan)</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/carrie-golus-ab91-am93"> <a href="/author/carrie-golus-ab91-am93"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Carrie Golus, AB’91, AM’93</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Summer/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Historian Kathleen Belew finds an unexpected origin for a resurgent movement.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The Vietnam War created the contemporary white power movement in the United States. That’s the provocative claim of <em>Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America </em>(Harvard University Press, 2018) by <strong>Kathleen Belew</strong>, assistant professor of US history.</p> <p>In the aftermath of Vietnam, white power activists drew a straight line from that war to the revolution they hoped to bring about in the United States. The story they told about Vietnam—soldiers betrayed by political leaders and the military, their sacrifice trivialized—helped unite disparate white supremacy groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.</p> <p>The title of Belew’s book comes from white power leader and Vietnam veteran Louis Beam, who urged his followers to bring the war home. In 1977 Beam created Camp Puller, a Vietnam War–style training facility in Texas, “to turn Klansmen into soldiers,” Belew writes. It was the beginning of the militarization of the white power movement.</p> <p>Belew’s work has been covered widely in the national media, including the <em>New York Times</em> and National Public Radio’s <em>Fresh Air</em>. This interview has been edited and condensed.</p> <h2>In your book, you draw a picture of a national coordinated white power movement. Has your work been met with any skepticism?</h2> <p>None of the events I write about are discovered in this book. Everything has been documented by journalists, watchdog groups, ethnographers, sociologists. But this is the first book that takes an archival perspective and a wide-angle view.</p> <p>There has been excellent work done by journalists looking at one event in one place. For example, the 1984 murder of Alan Berg [a Denver talk show host who criticized white power groups] was reported in great depth in the <em>Rocky Mountain News</em> and the <em>Denver Post</em>. But journalists wouldn’t necessarily connect that murder to what other white power activists were doing in other places.</p> <p>Similarly, ethnographers have done deep work, but they spend perhaps two years with one group. So again, you get fragmented views of the whole.</p> <h2>The book culminates in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Is this commonly understood as the work of the white power movement?</h2> <p>At the time, Timothy McVeigh’s actions were dismissed as those of a lone wolf by the FBI and the media.</p> <p>But the social geography of his life shows many connections, ideologically and materially, with the white power movement. He structured his actions based on manuals, such as <em>The Turner Diaries</em> [by William Luther Pierce as Andrew Macdonald, National Vanguard Books, 1978], that directed white power activists.</p> <p>If you see the Oklahoma City bombing—which killed 168 people—as part of the white power movement, it changes a lot about how we think about the supposedly race-neutral 1980s and 1990s.</p> <h2>You’re probably one of the few people who wasn’t surprised by the recent upsurge in public white nationalism.</h2> <p>It’s an odd thing to have your project shift in such a dramatic way. In an earlier version of my book, I explained why it’s important to study the fringe. My editor ended up striking that entire section. All of a sudden my topic of study was in the mainstream.</p> <p>It’s disheartening. I would rather have been wrong. But history can give us some tools about how to respond—what has and hasn’t worked in the past. This may seem astonishing and new, but it is not new.</p> <h2>What were the biggest surprises for you?</h2> <p>The level at which social relationships were managed by women staggered me. If you look at intermarriages, you can really see how white power functions as a social movement that connects different regions, social classes, urban and rural areas. There’s a web of people.</p> <p>Yet another surprise was that these white power activists were using technology very early. In 1984 they established Liberty Net, a protosocial network. They were early adopters who were very skilled in this arena. They had a decade of practice using this before the Oklahoma City bombing.</p> <p>Another jaw-dropper for me was to discover what really happened at this pivotal moment when the Order made a declaration of war against the federal government in 1983. The story has been told as the last siege of Robert Mathews, under pursuit by the FBI, writing this important movement document. I discovered he was in a vacation house full of women and noisy toddlers. This is not a lone wolf commando guy in a cabin.</p> <h2>Your book belies the stereotype of uneducated, rural white power activists.</h2> <p>The movement is not Southern, it’s not low class, it’s not uneducated, and it never has been. David Duke was wearing a suit, going on talk shows, and presenting a more genteel image for the Klan in the 1970s. White power is a bridge movement that has brought in a whole lot of people.</p> <h2>Is it emotionally difficult to work on these topics? </h2> <p>Yes. That’s something I think all historians in this area have to wrestle with.</p> <p>I do this work because I think it’s worthwhile. I believe knowing this history could lead to better media coverage, to better public understanding.</p> <h2>Your academic specialties include militarization and violence. Is that unusual for a woman? </h2> <p>There’s a really excellent new database called <a href="http://womenalsoknowhistory.com/">Women Also Know History</a>. So if you’re, say, organizing a conference panel on military history, you can’t claim to know only men. There are many, many women who do this kind of work. </p> <h2>Did you interview the people whom you write about?  </h2> <p>This is where I feel like a “capital H” historian. I considered doing oral histories. But there is a huge archive of interviews about how these activists saw their actions at the time, with the questions asked by undercover reporters and FBI agents. In subsequent interviews, the activists have changed their stories. I tend to like the contemporaneous accounts better.</p> <p>The actors in my book also self-published about their beliefs. There are huge ephemera collections. The archive is so rich, I didn’t need to do oral history.</p> <h2>What’s it like to write about such recent history?</h2> <p>My training is in American studies, which has a less rigid divide about what’s far enough back to study. In the discipline of history, there’s a harder line: 25 years or more.</p> <p>My work on white power could help navigate the crush of information in these very emotional current events. We can’t afford to wait 25 years to understand what’s happening now.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/racism" hreflang="en">Racism</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/american-history" hreflang="en">American history</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/vietnam-war" hreflang="en">Vietnam War</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/interview" hreflang="en">Interview</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/belew" data-a2a-title="White power is not new"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Fbelew&amp;title=White%20power%20is%20not%20new"></a></span> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 23:19:48 +0000 admin 6965 at https://mag.uchicago.edu