Blog of Rights

Crop of image by Arlo Bates via Flickr

When Big Data Becomes a Civil Rights Problem

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:06am
My colleague Jay Stanley just wrote about an invasive new police tactic employed by the Chicago Police Department. Using software created by an engineer at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the city developed a “’heat list’ — an index of the roughly 400 people in the city of Chicago supposedly most likely to be involved in violent crime.” The criteria for placement on the list are secret but reportedly go beyond indicators like criminal conviction, and raise real questions about racial bias in the selection process.
50 Years after the Dream: Why Are We Filling our Jails with Kids of Color?

50 Years after the Dream: Why Are We Filling our Jails with Kids of Color?

By Mishi Faruqee, Juvenile Justice Policy Strategist, ACLU at 2:22pm

This week, fifty years after the March on Washington, President Obama stood on the National Mall and listed out some of the unfinished business of the civil rights movement. High up on the list: not letting our criminal justice system become "simply…

This Bill Is Mandating Perfect Border Security, Using Your Tax Dollars, Without a Plan.

This Bill Is Mandating Perfect Border Security, Using Your Tax Dollars, Without a Plan.

By Chris Rickerd, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 9:55am

Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, last year proposed a logical approach to border security: In rejecting measures to put the "cart" of border spending before the "horse" of measuring what resources are needed, he introduced…

A Dangerous Precedent: Why Allow Racial Profiling at or Near the Border?

A Dangerous Precedent: Why Allow Racial Profiling at or Near the Border?

By Chris Rickerd, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:11pm

At a moment when the federal government is taking racial profiling seriously, it was gratifying to read that Attorney General Eric Holder "told colleagues that he believed that border agents did not need to consider race or ethnicity." Racial profiling…

#DearMrPresident: Stop Profiling Us

The Perversity of Profiling

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project at 2:19pm

The Justice Department is considering revised racial profiling guidance that, if issued, could set back race relations and basic fairness in this country. We hope that it does not make that mistake.

The New York Times on Thursday reported that…

Why Mass Incarceration Really is the New Jim Crow

Why Mass Incarceration Really is the New Jim Crow

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU at 3:41pm

Black Americans are twice as likely to be arrested during a traffic stop and nearly four times as likely to experience the threat or use of force.

Hello! Students Have a Right to Keep Cell Information Private

By Courtney Bowie, Racial Justice Program at 1:13pm

It's back to school this week, and students across the country will not only be catching up with friends and doing homework, but suffering the humiliation of having their cell phones illegally confiscated and searched.

That's right: it's an…

Mandela Faced the "Goliath" of Racial Discrimination

Mandela Faced the "Goliath" of Racial Discrimination

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 3:21pm

Nelson Mandela's life is a rebuke to oppression and to those who would respond with frustrated resignation or hatred. It is difficult to imagine a more unlikely success story against seemingly impossible odds. South Africa's system of apartheid seemed…

Three Faces of Racial Profiling: Immigrants are the Latest Victims

Three Faces of Racial Profiling: Immigrants are the Latest Victims

By Georgeanne M. Usova, Washington Legislative Office & Joanne Lin, Washington Legislative Office at 3:31pm

The Obama administration's federal immigration enforcement system includes two programs that are fraught with civil rights problems.

Diversity and Dissent in Lee Daniels' The Butler

Diversity and Dissent in Lee Daniels' The Butler

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:16pm

2013 was considered by some to be a "banner year" for films featuring African-American actors and stories, due in part to the release of Lee Daniels' The Butler. Despite notable performances by Forest Whittaker and Oprah Winfrey, the film failed to…