mfioretti: discrimination*

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  1. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the majority opinion, said the court now holds that same-sex couples may “exercise the fundamental right to marry.” He characterized this as a liberty that had been denied to them.

    Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito dissented and, in an unusual step, each wrote separate opinions.

    “The majority's decision is an act of will, not legal judgment,” Roberts said. “The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this court's precedent.”

    “Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law,” he said.

    Justice Antonin Scalia characterized the decision as a “threat to American democracy,” “hubris” and a “judicial putsch.”

    Justice Thomas said the decision means that conflict between the recognition of same-sex marriage and religious liberty appears “all but inevitable” as individuals and churches face demands to participate and endorse in these marriages. The use of the judicial process “short circuits” the political process that could consider religious freedom implications, “with potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.”

    Similarly, Justice Alito said the decision “will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.” He objected to the majority’s comparison of traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women, saying this analogy’s implications “will be fully exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”

    Parents in some school districts have faced difficulty in exempting their children from classes voicing approval of same-sex relationships, while small businesses with moral reservations about participating in same-sex ceremonies have faced discrimination lawsuits. Catholic-run adoption agencies have been forced to close because the law would require them to place children with same-sex couples against their religious beliefs.

    Those who supported efforts to defend marriage have also faced professional retaliation. In 2014 Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was forced to leave the company he co-founded after activist groups and media publicized that he had donated to support California’s Proposition 8.
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new...CNA+Daily+News%29&utm_term=daily+news
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  2. People have a mental model of shopping that is based on experiences from brick-and-mortar stores. We intuitively understand how this process works: all available products are displayed around the store and the prices are clearly marked. Many stores offer deals via coupons, membership cards, or to special classes of people such as students or AARP members. Typically, everyone is aware of these discounts and has an equal opportunity to use them.

    Many people assume this same mental model of shopping applies just as well to e-commerce websites. However, as we are discovering, this is not the case.

    In 2010, shoppers realized that Amazon was charging different users different prices for the same DVD, a practice known as price discrimination or price differentiation. In 2012, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Staples was charging users different prices based on their geographic location. The paper also reported that travel retailer Orbitz was showing more expensive hotels to users browsing from Mac computers, a practice known as price steering.

    By comparing the search results shown to these automated controls and to the real users, we identified several cases of personalization. We saw price steering from Sears, with the order of search results varying from user to user. We saw price discrimination from Home Depot, Sears, Cheaptickets, Orbitz, Priceline, Expedia, and Travelocity, with product prices varying from user to user.
    https://theconversation.com/buyer-bew...onversationedu+%28The+Conversation%29
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  3. A new ProPublica investigation1 uncovered a disturbing fact: Facebook allows advertisers to exclude Black, Hispanic and other so-called “ethnic affinity” groups from seeing ads.

    Let us say it again: Facebook is allowing advertisers to discriminate based on race.

    This is more than the normal yuckiness of targeted advertising. Facebook's system allowed ProPublica reporters to purchase a housing ad that excluded people of color in what prominent civil rights lawyers describe as a clear violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.
    http://act.freepress.net/sign/interne...5848.10606804.gXtK4u?source=fptwitter
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  4. You don’t see male heroes wearing these costumes or posing like this. Outside of statistical outliers like Namor, their costumes tend to have full coverage, and when they pose, it’s to inspire fear, not boners.
    http://rosalarian.tumblr.com/post/2325861377/dressed-to-kill
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2012-01-17)
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  5. The other aspect is the outrageous shark-jumping on the part of gay marriage advocates. They’ve strained credulity repeatedly by equating their wedding cakes and flowers with the massive and singular violation of human rights that we call segregation. This is a bogus argument. (A statement that I’m sure will engender endless rounds of circular debate.)

    It is also stupid because almost all gay people are down here the pits with the rest of us. Empowering corporations to attack the one voice capable of challenging their hegemony over our government and our way of life, which is the Church, is a little bit like arming the mob that wants to burn down your neighbor’s house because you don’t like your neighbor. How long before that same mob, armed with the weapons you gave them, will turn on you? When they do, your neighbor, who would have come to your aid, will be too weak to fight.

    The political exigency is that gay marriage advocates are endangering their still unsolidified victories in the sphere of gay marriage by seeking to conflate themselves with people who were slaves in this country for several hundred years, and who then were subjected to massive violations of their basic human rights by legal structures that clearly violated both the Constitution and the Gospels.

    Gay people have their just claims about mistreatment as well, but the public mistreatment of homosexuals has pretty much fallen by the wayside. As it should have.

    If they’re smart, they’ll take yes for an answer and let time resolve this debate about wedding cakes. If they’re stupid, they’ll keep on harassing and attacking hapless individuals and ruining their lives. They’ll pit themselves against basic freedoms that belong to everyone, including themselves.

    This is stupid politically, because it raises up an opposition they have not dealt with before. That is those people who actually treasure freedom of religion in this country, irregardless of gay marriage.

    It wasn’t a post attacking homosexual people. It was a post warning of the utter cold-bloodedness of politics. But the ire it wrought was entirely along the “how can you saaaayyyyy that about me?” line. The reason, I think, is that I accidentally hit a nerve. Neediness is at the bottom of a lot of this political sturm und drang. My advice to gay marriage advocates is to get your head out.

    Politics is an uncaring bosom on which to lay your emotional head. Gay people are the same as straight people. Nothing will fill the holes inside their hearts except the love of God in Christ Jesus. Take those sorrows, rejections and self-questions to the cross.

    Politics is a tool. Use it freely as any other American citizen should. But do not confuse it with your worth or your value as a child of God. There is only one affirmation any of us needs. Without it, no other affirmation will suffice. Go to the cross. And trust Him. Just, trust Him.

    Jesus loves gay people as much as He loves any one else. He wants to enfold you in His mercy. He wants to lift your pain off you and set you free from the chains that bind you. Go to Him and trust Him.

    As for politics, We the People need to get together against these overbearing corporatists while we still can. By that I mean all the people, both gay and straight.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publicca...e-activists-are-kinda-making-my-point
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  6. This is an excellent post to keep in mind when you see another recent post criticizing the current trend of dystopian sci-fi and going on about how sci-fi used to be about hope and wonder.

    No. It used to be about men. And now it’s not.

    Specifically white men. And I say this because a lot of the feminist sci fi centers white women & replicates the racism of classic sci fi. Not to mention the weird fetishization of POC on display in other spec fic like urban fantasy.
    http://bibulous.tumblr.com/post/12064...arnythia-becausedragonage-makingfists
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  7. If you're on the wrong side of the class divide, recent advances in retail tech will make for depressing reading. For example, some years ago Britain's class system was automated. Now, as you shop, machines can discriminate against you far more efficiently.

    When you phone a big retailer, a machine decides what level of service you get, depending on your status. The software that makes this social judgement switches all incoming phone calls. The system identifies your phone number and cross-references that with its customer database. It then discovers, having looked up your address, what class of person you are and will route your call according to the class of service it thinks you merit.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-sty...to-be-used-for-marketing-8413809.html
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  8. a typical white neighborhood would have twice more listings on the platform (four listings, at $120 per night, and 96 percent rating) compared with a non-white neighborhood (two listings, at $107 per night, and 94 percent rating). That is, not everybody has equal opportunities to participate as a host on Airbnb.

    A similar experimental study (i.e. fictitious Airbnb profiles) conducted in 2016-2017, showed that requests from guests with African-American names (vs. white names) were 19 percent less likely to be accepted. So despite Airbnb's efforts — community commitment, removing host pictures in the initial search — these studies document that racial discrimination has always been and is still a critical issue today. There's even a study specifically focused on Airbnb's change of layout last year, comparing daily bookings and price data before and after the implementation of the "anonymity" policy, but it only shows a negligible increase in bookings for black hosts, and only in New York City — not in Los Angeles, New Orleans, or Philadelphia.

    The issue applies to other sectors in the sharing economy. For instance, a study of Uber and Lyft ride-hailing companies indicated a similar pattern of discrimination: Drivers canceled the hailed rides twice more for passengers with African-American sounding names.
    https://www.shareable.net/blog/what-d...iscrimination-and-the-sharing-economy
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  9. They have created lists of victims of sexual assault, and lists of people with sexually transmitted diseases. Lists of people who have Alzheimer’s, dementia and AIDS. Lists of the impotent and the depressed.

    There are lists of “impulse buyers.” Lists of suckers: gullible consumers who have shown that they are susceptible to “vulnerability-based marketing.” And lists of those deemed commercially undesirable because they live in or near trailer parks or nursing homes. Not to mention lists of people who have been accused of wrongdoing, even if they were not charged or convicted.

    Typically sold at a few cents per name, the lists don’t have to be particularly reliable to attract eager buyers — mostly marketers, but also, increasingly, financial institutions vetting customers to guard against fraud, and employers screening potential hires.

    There are three problems with these lists.

    + First, they are often inaccurate.
    + Second, even when the information is accurate, many of the lists have no business being in the hands of retailers, bosses or banks. Having a medical condition, or having been a victim of a crime, is simply not relevant to most employment or credit decisions.

    Third, people aren’t told they are on these lists, so they have no opportunity to correct bad information.


    It’s unrealistic to expect individuals to inquire, broker by broker, about their files. Instead, we need to require brokers to make targeted disclosures to consumers. Uncovering problems in Big Data (or decision models based on that data) should not be a burden we expect individuals to solve on their own.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/17/opi...rk-market-for-personal-data.html?_r=0
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  10. Led by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Apple CEO Tim Cook, Silicon Valley is loudly complaining about homophobic laws passed in Indiana and Arkansas in recent days that allow businesses to refuse service to customers based on religious beliefs.

    A who’s who of leaders from companies such as Yelp, Square, Twitter, Lyft, Airbnb, eBay, PayPal and others signed their names to a petition today urging legislatures to forbid discrimination or denial of services to anyone, saying, “Discrimination is bad for business.” Petition leader Max Levchin, a PayPal co-founder and currently CEO of finance startup Affirm, told Re/code: “I am asking all CEOs to evaluate their relationships and investments in states that do not specifically protect LGBT people from discrimination.”

    That’s great and even admirable, except that here on the home front, Silicon Valley has its own very obvious discrimination problems. Gender is a big one. Race is another. The numbers are so incredibly skewed for the majority — the published diversity numbers in technology are something like 70 percent men, 90 percent white and Asian — that the situation is very often unhealthy for people who don’t or can’t fit in.

    While these are not twin causes, there are obvious parallels, and the inconsistencies between them became all the more evident this week.
    http://recode.net/2015/04/01/the-discrimination-double-standard
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