Spoiler alert: Having intergenerational wealth helps a lot

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., hold a press conference in the Dirksen Senate Office Buidling to introduce the Student Loan Debt Relief Act to cancel student loan debt for millions of Americans on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

This week, President-elect Joe Biden affirmed his support during a press conference for erasing some student loan debt “immediately.” Biden repeated his support for the HEROES Act, which calls for the federal government to pay off up to $10,000 in private, nonfederal student loans for “economically distressed” borrowers as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. …


Seeing ourselves reflected is important, but there’s more work to be done

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wearing a face mask.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wearing a face mask.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) looks out towards a crowd during a food distribution event on October 27, 2020 in New York City. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks out against those who have insulted her or underestimated her, my heart flutters and I feel less alone in the world as a Latina woman. Her unwavering capability to call out what’s wrong and argue for what’s right — however unpopular her peers deem her ideas to be — is an inspiration to me. Her response to Rep. Ted Yoho calling her a “fucking bitch” gave me goosebumps because I am often insulted in a similar way, and rarely have the strength or the space to respond the way she did. …


Trump wants the vote counting to stop and our democracy is at stake

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Donald Trump speaks during election night in the White House early on November 4, 2020. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/Getty Images

President Donald Trump has declared victory on national television, claimed that his voters have been disenfranchised, and threatened to go to the Supreme Court to dispute the 2020 presidential election results. Regardless of the official ballot count, this declaration puts the president’s disdain for the electoral system in full display, and calls for a passionate, urgent, and coordinated defense of democracy.

“Millions of people voted for us tonight. A very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people,” the president said from the East Room of the White House to cheering supporters. “And we won’t stand for it. We were on our way to win the election. …


Allyship is not enough anymore. Here’s what you can do.

Pride flag at a demonstration in front of the Supreme Court.
Pride flag at a demonstration in front of the Supreme Court.
Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The Supreme Court confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett has put a number of LGBTQ organizations and advocates on high alert. According to a report by the Human Rights Campaign, the biggest LGBTQ organization in the United States, Judge Barrett’s record on LGBTQ issues indicates that her confirmation poses “a direct threat to the constitutional rights of LGBTQ community and all Americans.” And upcoming court rulings covering religious rights to discriminate against LGBTQ+ could mean that the overturning of civil rights could begin as early as next week.

C.P. Hoffman, legal director of FreeState Justice, a nonprofit organization in Baltimore, Maryland, that provides free legal aid to low-income LGBTQ populations, told ZORA that Barrett’s confirmation could leave the door open for rolling back anti-discrimination laws and health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act and potentially striking down marriage equality. …


The last presidential debate was proof of Trump’s failures — and his desperation to hold onto any credibility

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Trump and Biden in the final presidential debate on the campus of Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, TN. Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images

The most civil 2020 presidential debate to date was delivered by a Black and Indigenous woman moderator, Kristen Welker, and a newly-introduced mute button to prevent candidates from interrupting each other. Looking slightly subdued, President Donald Trump debated his Democratic opponent Joe Biden on the topics of fighting Covid-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security, and leadership, with Welker calmly and composedly asking difficult questions. One of only two Black women to ever moderate a presidential debate, Welker’s performance was so impressive that it gained her the title of “clear winner” of the debate on social media.

Despite Welker’s incisive performance, President Trump was determined to rewrite the last four years of his administration to his benefit. As usual, the lies are almost too many to keep up with: When asked about Covid-19, during a week where daily cases have peaked at 70,000 for the first time since July, Trump insisted that “we are rounding the turn,” saying a vaccine will be ready “within weeks.” Pressed by Welker on whether he could promise a new vaccine will be ready within weeks, Trump said he cannot; yet, he insists that, aside from Abraham Lincoln, “nobody has done more for the Black community” than him, meanwhile trying to wish away a pandemic where Black people are four times more likely to die than White people. …


His refusal to wear a mask and social distance comes at expense of his Black and Brown labor force

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President Donald Trump removes his mask upon his return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 5, 2020. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s return to the White House after being hospitalized for treatment for the coronavirus was marked by a video released on his Twitter account, where his arrival and slow walk across the lawn is accompanied by a Marvel-esque heroic track. The short video, shared without comment, ends with Trump saluting the helicopter that brought him back, without a mask.

This isn’t surprising for the president, who refused to wear a mask before he contracted the virus and has requested that a reporter take off his mask during a press event. As the White House outbreak continues to grow and Trump’s PR machine assures the public that the president has no more symptoms, concerns for the residence staffers’ health have been rebuffed with assurances that precautions are being taken. But by taking his mask off, Trump is signaling his strength, a demonstration of toxic masculinity to the Americans who still believe in their president — how can we trust that the workers in the White House are being protected privately when Trump privileges a performance of strength in public over the recommendations of thousands of experts? …


This period has exposed unequal domestic labor issues, but the centering is still on White, middle-class, heterosexual women

Black woman draping the cover over a bed.
Black woman draping the cover over a bed.
Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Since the start of the pandemic, an old dilemma has been revived: the unequal gendered division of housework in the home. For middle-class workers who have been working from home to avoid the coronavirus, the home now functions as an office, online school, gym, leisure space, and whatever else is necessary, which has doubled — if not tripled — the housework to be done. According to dozens of news reports and studies, this new dynamic has caused the gender gap inherent to household management to widen, overworking middle-class mothers and reducing the issue of housework to personal negotiations between couples.

Though these articles depict a relevant gender issue that shapes some women’s daily lives, they are also, frustratingly, often race- and class-blind, focusing on White, middle-class, heterosexual workers and their frustrations with work-from-home setups. There are many things missing from the picture painted by these articles that seem to be published every couple of months; housework seems to not exist or matter when it comes to working-class women, single mothers, women of color, and LGBTQ couples. But the most egregious erasure these articles perpetuate is the fact that most care and maintenance work — also known as housework — is done by underpaid and undervalued racialized women. …


Days after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, we must remember that a female replacement does not always mean progress

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Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has left an already uncertain political landscape even more unstable. The liberal wing of the court is now gone, and Ginsburg’s reliable record on reproductive health is being mourned as pro-choice activists fear rights will be rolled back by a conservative court. President Trump, perhaps preemptively shielding himself from criticism, has said he will appoint a woman to fill Ginsburg’s seat. “I think it should be a woman because I actually like women much more than men,” he said. …


Her writing has lost its magic

J.K. Rowling clapping at an event.
J.K. Rowling clapping at an event.
J.K. Rowling arrives at the 2019 RFK Ripple of Hope Awards at New York Hilton Midtown on December 12, 2019 in New York City. Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

J.K. Rowling was once known for her creation of the fantastical wizarding world of Harry Potter, but recently she’s been making headlines because of her transphobic views — and it seems like bigotry is the legacy she is invested in leaving behind.

J.K. Rowling’s obsession with trans people became obvious in June, when she posted a long explanation for why, as many queer and trans activists had been flagging up, she had been liking transphobic content on Twitter. Her justification for engaging with a tweet that referred to trans women as “men in dresses” was that she was doing research for her upcoming novel. Rowling also included many transphobic views in her 3,000-word post, expressing concern over the “misogyny” of trans activists silencing cis women who do not accept that trans women are women. Drawing on her experience of being a domestic abuse survivor, Rowling wrote: “I believe my government is playing fast and loose with womens and girls’ safety,” and that she “refuses to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it.” …


Escalating reveal parties show the dangers of the social media spectacle in a highly gendered culture

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Photo: oksana_nazarchuk/Getty Images

Recently, a gender reveal party caused a fire in Southern California’s San Bernardino County. Since Saturday, thousands of acres have been burning — during an already fraught period of wildfires in the state — because of a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” used in the celebration. While this might seem like a bizarre ending to a party gone wrong, this is not the first time increasingly unsafe gender reveal parties have ended in tragedy. In 2018, a soon-to-be grandmother was killed by a pipe bomb meant to reveal the gender of her grandchild, and in 2017, an expectant father shot a target to release baby blue smoke in Arizona, causing a fire so destructive he was charged $8 million in damages. …

About

Nicole Froio

Women’s Studies PhD student in UK. Writer, reporter, thinker, feminist. Views my own. #Latina. Culture Columnist for Zora. Tip jar: www.paypal.me/NicoleHFroio

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