Blog of Rights

English as a First Language

English as a First Language

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:40pm
Sigh. As if we don’t have enough divisiveness in this country, a familiar subset of Congressional Republicans are trotting out yet another discriminatory bill papered over with hollow rhetoric about “unity,” “commonality” and shared national vision, which will be the subject of a hearing in the House Constitution Subcommittee today. (Here’s the ACLU’s statement, which focuses mainly on the civil rights and immigration issues in the bill; I’m just covering the First Amendment in this post.)
Muslim Profiling and Behavioral Profiling

Muslim Profiling and Behavioral Profiling

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:24pm

Yesterday I posted about the debate over profiling Muslims at the airport, and how Bruce Schneier persuasively argued that the concept, which seems so intuitively sensible to so many Americans, is a terrible idea even just from a security point of…

The Potency of Affirmative Action

By Rachel Garver, Racial Justice Program at 4:25pm
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In an interview with the Associated Press on July 2, President Obama commented on affirmative action. He said, "I've always believed…

FTC Needs to Make Sure Companies Aren’t Using Big Data to Discriminate

FTC Needs to Make Sure Companies Aren’t Using Big Data to Discriminate

By Rachel Goodman, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 2:45pm

The ACLU filed comments today with the FTC urging it and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate whether big data is being used in online marketing in ways that are racially discriminatory. If companies are in fact engaging in this…

Boston Police Have a Racially Biased Policing Problem, and a Golden Opportunity to Reform

Boston Police Have a Racially Biased Policing Problem, and a Golden Opportunity to Reform

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:22pm

During the summer of 2011, then-19-year-old Ivan Richiez was robbed at gunpoint and pistol-whipped by two men in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. Bruised and bloodied, Ivan walked home passed the local Boston Police Department (BPD) precinct.…

Nelson Mandela’s Important Legacy for LGBT Movement

Nelson Mandela’s Important Legacy for LGBT Movement

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 12:09pm

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." -- Nelson Mandela

On Thursday, the world mourned the death of former South African President and anti-apartheid…

Death Penalty Maintains Racial Inequality

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:10am

The inauguration of Barack Obama, one day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, has prompted a healthy discussion in the nation about racial and socioeconomic inequality.

As part of that discussion it is important to point out that, just like the…

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin

Parents of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis Share Their Loss at the United Nations

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 12:43pm

Sitting in meetings in the United Nation's ornate Wilson Palace by the shores of Lake Geneva in the shadow of the Alps seems an odd place to discuss racial discrimination in the United States.

But the problems of racial discrimination quickly…

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…

Why Childhood Obesity is a Civil Rights Issue

Why Childhood Obesity is a Civil Rights Issue

By Jason Stern, Racial Justice Program, ACLU at 4:04pm

Last week, a New York State appeals court panel appeared to take all the fizzle out of New York City's ban on large sugary drinks, which had been overruled by a lower court judge in March. While the future of the ban remains unclear, one thing is certain:…