Transgender Visibility and Political Inclusion

By Zein Murib

photo by Armando Trull

photo by Armando Trull

The invitation to write for this blog arrived the night before two major news stories pertaining to transgender people broke. First, Caitlyn Jenner’s long-awaited acceptance of the Arthur Ash Award at the ESPYs, and the issuance of an 18-page memorandum from Immigration Custody and Enforcement (ICE) to guide the care of transgender detainees. While the sudden explosion of media attention for transgender people hardly makes the publication of these news stories unique, I highlight two specific articles covering these transgender events below in order to foreground some of the contentions I make about transgender political identity in my forthcoming Politics, Groups, and Identities piece (available online here). I do so with two goals in mind. The first is to offer a primer for political scientists interested in learning about transgender as an identity category. The second is to briefly call attention to the marginalization that occurs within the transgender category, especially in light of the significant gains made by some transgender people in the public spotlight.

Continue reading

Politics, Groups, and Identities: Virtual Special Issue

By Meredith Conroy

The WPSA journal, Politics, Groups, and Identities (PGI) has published a virtual special edition accessible to everyone, for free, for an entire year. The articles are all focused in one way or another on gender and politics.

Myself, along with my co-authors Sarah Oliver, Ian Breckenridge-Jackson, and Caroline Heldman, are pleased to be apart of this virtual edition with our article, “From Ferraro to Palin: Sexism in coverage of vice presidential candidates in old and new media.” This article contributes to the scholarship on the topic of media bias in election coverage where women are in the race. While there is some scholarship that suggests women who run for congressional seats are seeing fewer differences in their coverage from their male opponents, this improvement may not follow for women who run for executive office. In our article, we direct our attention to women who have been nominated to the vice presidency. While there are only two instances in our country’s modern history, Ferraro in 1984, and Palin in 2008, we find that we can draw important conclusions from their experiences. Furthermore, our analysis advances the field in that we look not only at print media coverage of the candidates, but also at the political news blogs, for Palin in 2008. We expect these findings to be especially relevant as coverage of political contests continues to move online, and the number of political blogs that attract considerable readership continues to grow.

Continue reading

The Black Church and Political Inclusion

By Eric McDaniel

Horrific events of the past few weeks have thrust the Black church back into the public limelight, as it has once again become a prime target for White Supremacists. As the reports of these incidences have noted, the Black church is central to Black life. It is not just a place for spiritual concerns, but also a place for one to seek physical freedom. Because of its significance, the Black church is praised by Blacks, while vilified by White Supremacists. Especially prominent in the coverage of the incidents is the historical significance of Black churches as a symbol of political freedom. For instance, last week, a Washington Post article “Why racists target black churches” described the history of the Black church in cultivating civic leaders, like Martin Luther King Jr. Without the church as a haven for organization, the civil rights movement would have been very different. Yet the significance of the Black church as a place for civic development and political incorporation continues today. The Black church remains central to Black political advancement, which is why it is a target of animus for those who wish to impede Black political progress.

Continue reading