Black Women Caught in the Digital Crosshairs

Black women are often in the crosshairs of abusive discourse driven by social media. That recent targets are often public figures suggests that social media abusers find it profitable to attack high-profile Black women who have become symbolic avatars for the group as a whole.

(This article originally appears in the Spring 2024 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get issues delivered straight to your mailbox!)

How ‘Dobbs’ Threatens the Future of Feminist Education

Dobbs hasn’t just restricted reproductive rights; it’s impacted the classroom. In some ways, this impact has been very direct. In 2022, the University of Idaho released a memo warning all faculty and staff to avoid counseling or referring anyone to abortion services while on the job to comply with a broad, unclear law preventing any state resources going toward abortion access.

This lack of clarity impedes feminist theorizing in women’s studies classrooms, especially, since women’s studies departments often serve as a locus for discussions of gender-based oppression on campuses.

Education Is Under Attack. Here’s 13 Feminist Educators on How to Fight Back

Educators advance the spirit of teaching by encouraging inquiry, engagement, and investigation of diverse perspectives. Many carry the torch forward by addressing critical issues affecting our lives and communities. Education challenges entrenched thinking, not by telling students what to think, but by offering lessons on how to think critically. That is why education is under attack. 

Here’s an inspiring sample (in alphabetical order) of wise women cultural critics, philosophers, theorists, scholars and professors from among many who inspire social justice education.

Project 2025: The Right’s Dystopian Plan to Dismantle Civil Rights and What It Means for Women

Wealthy right-wing think tank The Heritage Foundation has published a detailed plan for the next Republican president to use the executive branch of the federal government to attack the rights of women, LGBTQ people and the BIPOC community, by eliminating the agencies and offices responsible for enforcing civil rights laws and placing trained right-wing ideologues in staff positions throughout the federal government. 

To develop this plan, the Heritage Foundation organized a broad coalition of over 90 conservative organizations—a who’s-who of groups that have led attacks on reproductive rights and bodily autonomy, gender studies, the Equal Rights Amendment and #MeToo initiatives.

The Politics of Defining Anti-Semitism

I am named after my great grandfather, Siegmund, who died in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1942—so understanding and fighting anti-Semitism is close to my heart.

But the Antisemitism Awareness Act recently introduced in Congress will silence discussions in institutions of higher education where academic freedom should guarantee the right to open debate and dissent. Along with anti-critical race theory and “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, bills targeting anti-Semitism are part of a larger agenda to control what is taught in K-12 schools and universities, therefore redefining social justice concepts.

Miseducation and the Project of Panic, Propaganda and Power

As a Black woman academic, it has been painful to witness the attacks on the character of Claudine Gay—Harvard University’s former president and its first Black leader—and their after-effects. However, as a scholar of education, race and the law, these attacks also ring familiar. The project of white supremacy is to instill panic, to distort history and facts, to erase the contributions of Black and other minoritized people.

White supremacy appeals to the basest parts of us by stoking our fears, stereotypes and biases. It relies on disregard for the truth. It relies on resistance to recognizing the humanity of Black and other minoritized people. It appeals to the worst in America. And I believe it will take the best of America to affirmatively defeat it. 

Parental Lessons About Race Should Be Taught at Home in Early Childhood

“The Talk” is the conversation Black parents have with their children about race for their safety in American society. Black parents know they must have this talk with their children about the dangers of being Black in America; however, this important lesson needs to start in the early childhood years.

Children are more than ready to absorb the information in early childhood about their identity and the unique racial history that permeates American society.

As Texas Bans DEI Offices at Public Colleges, Rice University’s Inclusion Efforts March On

Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts have become a lightning rod for debate in American higher education. At Rice University—a private university in Houston, Texas—officials admit impact is hard to measure, but they also see progress from their work.

(Ms. Classroom wants to hear from educators and students being impacted by legislation attacking public education, higher education, gender, race and sexuality studies, activism and social justice in education, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Submit pitches and/or op-eds and reflections to Ms. contributing editor Aviva Dove-Viebahn at adove-viebahn@msmagazine.com.)

Defending Diverse Voices: Four Best-Selling Authors Talk Banned Books

The issue of book banning has resurfaced with renewed vigor. We must resist attempts to suppress books written by Black authors and diverse voices. Ms. spoke with Tiffany D. Jackson, Kimberly L. Jones, Jason Mott and Nicola Yoon—national award-winning authors—about the impact of book banning on both authors and society.

“Banning books will not make racial complexities and the world’s complexities disappear; instead, it erodes compassion and understanding.”

“Books nurture empathy in kids who are reading about people who don’t look like them. They build understanding.”

‘Banned! Voices From the Classroom’: Reflections From a Small Liberal Arts College in New York

For those of us in so-called liberal states, what happens in our backyards is connected to the nationwide suppression of teaching about people of color, queer and trans folks, and women.

(To be featured in our “Banned! Voices From the Classroom” series, submit pitches and/or completed draft op-eds and reflections to Aviva Dove-Viebahn at adove-viebahn@msmagazine.com. Posts will be accepted on a rolling basis.)