In Zimbabwe, the Constitutional Court supports girls who say NO! to child marriage

On Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court banned child marriages, outlawing the marriage of children below the age of 18. In November 2014, Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi filed a suit in Zimbabwe in which they charged that the situation of “child brides” violated girls’ constitutional rights. They named Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community and the Attorney General’s Office as respondents responsible for implementation of the Customary Marriages Act, which allows for girls to be married at 16.

Age prohibitions are like speed limits. There’s the letter of the law and then there’s the car on the road. Ruvimbo Tsopodzi was married off at 15: “I’ve faced so many challenges. My husband beat me. I wanted to stay in school but he refused. It was very, very terrible. I want to take this action to make a difference. There are a lot of children getting married.” Tsopodzi is the mother of one child.

Loveness Mudzuru was married off at 16. By the time she was 18, she had given birth to two children: “Young girls who marry early and often in poor families are then forced to produce young children in a sea of poverty and the cycle begins again. My life is really tough. Raising a child when you are a child yourself is hard. I should be going to school.”

The Constitutional Court decision has been described as revolutionary. Tendai Biti, who represented Mudzuru and Tsopodzi, said, “It’s an amazing judgment. The court has passed a revolutionary judgment for women, girls and children. The court should be congratulated for that,” said Biti, who is also opposition PDP leader. I am very pleased to be part of this great history. Parliament should have done this 36 years ago. It has taken a bold decision by a bold court. Marriages before 18 years are no longer possible. This is a revolutionary ruling since the birth of the Constitutional Court in 2013.”

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, ZLRH, agreed and cautioned, “Although the ruling is a victory and the fact that the primitive practice of child marriages has been recognised and outlawed, ZLHR feels that a lot needs to be done in implementing it and educating Zimbabweans about the legal position so that everyone is aware of this position.”

Veritas, a local NGO who, along with Real Open Opportunities for Transformation Support, ROOTS, initiated the Child Marriage case, commented, “The Constitutional Court this morning delivered its long-awaited ruling on child marriage.  The application to outlaw child marriage succeeded.  This is a great day for gender equality, women’s rights and children’s rights and the fight against poverty … This progressive decision is a mark that the Zimbabwe Constitutional Court is building up a body of constitutional jurisprudence which will also be quoted in other jurisdictions and should assist the Africa-wide campaign against child marriage. Congratulations to the lawyer Tendai Biti who argued the case extremely well before the Bench of the Constitutional Court on January 14th 2015. Well done to the applicants Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi for having the courage to describe their experiences of child marriage in affidavits for the court.”

Well done, indeed! As Zimbabwean women’s organizations know, more than courage is needed. Action is needed. This court case is only one part of the campaign for women’s equality and emancipation, in Zimbabwe and beyond. In the same month that Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi filed their suit, the young women’s movement Katswe Sistahood began a parallel campaign, “Give us books, not husbands.” They’re still organizing; that struggle continues. Girls, not brides. Books, not husbands. They should be going to school. Another world is necessary.

 

(Photo Credit: ChannelsTV.com)

Why did Gynnya McMillen die under Kentucky’s supervision?

 

Last week, a sixteen-year-old girl named Gynnya McMillen died in her cell at a juvenile detention center in Elizabethtown, KY. Her family wants answers, and the State of Kentucky remains silent.

An initial autopsy shows no “outward signs” or bruising, and no conclusive cause of death. The State says more information will be available in a few weeks. Gynnya was there for only one day.

The State declares as a matter-of-fact: the autopsy results will take weeks. Do not ask anything else until then. Meanwhile, time drags on for Gynnya McMillen’s family, who struggle with the trauma of losing Gynnya and the lack of even the most basic information surrounding her death.

It is unclear exactly why Gynnya McMillen was in custody at the Lincoln Village Youth Development and Regional Juvenile Detention Center. A police department spokesperson said she was the “perpetrator” in a domestic dispute with her parents. It is unclear what circumstances led up to her death in that facility.

What is clear is that Gynnya McMillen spent time years before in a center for kids in crisis. Gynnya needed help then, and she needed help when the Kentucky Department of Corrections put her in its custody last week. Now, Gynnya McMillen is dead.

A spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Corrections wants you to know that Gynnya McMillen is the first juvenile death in a Kentucky juvenile center since 1999. Lincoln Village’s website boasts the opportunities it provides for its children inmates, including “continuous supervision.”

Under the “continuous supervision” of Kentucky and all its opportunities, Gynnya McMillen died in a day.

Her name was Gynnya McMillen. She joins the list of women and girls, many Black, who wind up dead under “care” of the State. Her family deserves answers. We all deserve answers.

For updates and to get involved, follow Justice for Gynnya McMillen.

 

(Photo Credit: Facebook / Justice for Gynnya McMillen)

In Zimbabwe and South Africa, girls say NO! to coercion and exploitation

In November last year, Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi filed a suit in Zimbabwe in which they charged that the situation of “child brides” violated girls’ constitutional rights. They named Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community and the Attorney General’s Office as respondents responsible for implementation of the Customary Marriages Act, which allows for girls to be married at 16.

Age prohibitions are like speed limits. There’s the letter of the law and then there’s the car on the road. Ruvimbo Tsopodzi, now 18, was married off at 15: “I’ve faced so many challenges. My husband beat me. I wanted to stay in school but he refused. It was very, very terrible. I want to take this action to make a difference. There are a lot of children getting married.” Tsopodzi is the mother of one child.

Loveness Mudzuru, now 19, was married off at 16. By the time she was 18, she had given birth to two children: “Young girls who marry early and often in poor families are then forced to produce young children in a sea of poverty and the cycle begins again. My life is really tough. Raising a child when you are a child yourself is hard. I should be going to school.”

Across the border, in South Africa, the Western Cape High Court this week upheld the conviction of a 32-year-old man on various charges related to the trafficking and rape of a 14-year-old Eastern Cape girl. He tried to argue that the girl was not kidnapped and that there was no rape, but rather they were husband and wife, by a customary practice known as ukuthwala.

The Court rejected the man’s appeal and, more broadly, the argument that customary or traditional law allows for violence against girls and women: “The practice of ukuthwala has in recent years received considerable public attention… inasmuch as its current practice is regarded as an abuse of traditional custom and a cloak for the commission of violent acts of assault, abduction and rape of not only women but children as young as eleven years old by older men.”

Speaking of so-called child marriages, African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, commented: “We cannot downplay or neglect the harmful practice of child marriage, as it has long-term and devastating effects on these girls whose health is at risk.”

While these stories describe girls living in poverty and struggling against physical and structural violence, they also speak of the courage and determination of precisely those girls, who speak for themselves. They say they deserve education, health, well being, safety, and peace. They say as well that individual and collective dignity and justice begin and end with informed consent. They say NO! to all forms of coercion and exploitation of girls, and boys, and they mean it.

 

(Photo Credit: http://kamerkongosa.com)

I miss the One in Nine Campaign

I miss the One in Nine Campaign that occupied the streets in 2006/7 to say violence against women and the silencing is not permissible and the powerful man can’t get away with no challenge.

I miss the One in Nine that disrupted the reduction of the struggle for autonomy to sexual and gender identity self-definition that birthed the Jhb People’s Pride.

I miss the One in Nine that would have been planning direct action against Zuma’s criminalisation of young women and girls tonight, and we’d be talking a different language tomorrow.

I miss I miss I miss I miss the Purple Courage… Long live One in Nine Campaign!

I hope out of this a movement of young women and girls will be born to say the criminals are not us! Criminal is a State, which presides over a corrosive, oppressive, exclusionary, elite oriented socio-economic and political order. That protects elites interests, institutionalises violence against women, fails young women and girls. Flouts and bends the constitution when that suits.

Criminal are sexist, unconstitutional statements like these from a Head of State, criminal is a society that scapegoats young women and girls for its own flaws, criminal are our parents who won’t stand up and defend us against this onslaught…!

 

(Photo Credit: Lee Woolf / The South African Civil Society Information Service)

#BringBack: Bring back the thousands, bring back the hundreds, bring back the one

 

January 14 will mark the ninth month since more than 300 schoolgirls were abducted from Chibok. At that time, women organized #BringBackOurGirls to break the national and global silence that covered the atrocity. Those women are still organizing, still mobilizing, still demanding action and accountability. Meanwhile, from the national as well as the global community, the silence has intensified. The Chibok women of #BringBackOurGirls warned, from the outset, that failing to act meant the violence, terror and horror would escalate and expand. This week, their prophecies came to horrible fruition.

Over the past week, Boko Haram is reported to have attacked and razed 16 villages. Baga has been emptied. Many were killed. Others fled to Chad. Many of those who fled drowned in their attempts to cross Lake Chad. Amnesty reports this as “Boko Haram’s deadliest act” thus far. According to survivors, women, children, elders and the disabled were the principal targets. They were hunted as they fled. Now, the landscape is littered with their dead bodies, burnt homes and abandoned villages. The bodies pile up, too many to bury.

Over the weekend, in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, a girl, some say she was ten years old, walked into a busy market. A bomb, strapped to her waist, exploded, killing many, wounding many more. The girl was torn into two halves.

Some say using a child so young is a new phase. It’s not. The schoolgirls of Chibok are the girl-child of Maiduguri. The line is direct. The women of #BringBackOurGirls said so, nine months ago, and no one listened. Will anyone listen now?

Bring back the hundreds; bring back the thousands; bring back the one. #BringBack #BringBackOurGirls #BringBackChibok #BringBackBaga #BringBackMaduguri #BringBackOurGirls #BringBackOurGirls #BringBack

 

(Photo Credit: Premium Times)

Youth has constitutional significance: Ending life without parole

Sharon Wiggins died last year. Wiggins was a 62-year-old Black woman living with serious health problems. But it wasn’t her health that did her in. What killed Sharon Wiggins was the criminal justice system in Pennsylvania. Sharon Wiggins died behind bars at SCI-Muncy, the maximum security and intake `facility’ for all women prisoners in Pennsylvania, as well as the site of its death row for women.

Wiggins entered Muncy at the age of 17, convicted initially to death and then to life without parole. She spent 45 years behind bars. When she died she was the oldest and the longest serving woman prisoner in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has more prisoners who began as juvenile lifers than any other state in the Union. This means Pennsylvania has more juvenile lifers than any place else in the world. It’s the Pennsylvania way.

South Carolina has a better way.

A couple weeks ago, the South Carolina Supreme Court took the United States another step towards ending life without parole, LWOP, for those convicted of having committed crimes while juveniles. The Court’s decision in Aiken et al v Byar has been described as “notable for its breadth” and “groundbreaking.” It could be.

Fifteen South Carolina prisoners, including Jennifer L. McSharry, petitioned the Court to reconsider the constitutionality of their having been sentenced to life without parole, to death-in-life, when they were children. The Court largely agreed with the fifteen, arguing, “Youth has constitutional significance. As such it must be afforded adequate weight in sentencing.”

The Court’s judgment is based on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Miller v Alabama, which decided that mandatory sentences of life without parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders. That decision built on, and expanded, a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Graham v Florida, which found that life without parole for juveniles who had not committed murder was unconstitutional. Each decision has expanded the space for decency, common sense, and humanity, and these from a Court not renowned for any of those qualities.

The South Carolina Supreme Court had to decide on whether Miller v Alabama was retroactive. That is, if it’s wrong today, does that mean it was wrong before we came to our senses? The Court answered decidedly Yes: “We conclude Miller creates a new, substantive rule and should therefore apply retroactively. The rule plainly excludes a certain class of defendants— juveniles—from specific punishment—life without parole absent individualized considerations of youth. Failing to apply the Miller rule retroactively risks subjecting defendants to a legally invalid punishment.”

Sentences have consequences, and they too must be subjected to at least a constitutional review. There’s more to the South Carolina decision, and it all expands the application of Miller v Alabama. Would that earlier courts had decided that perhaps the impact of punishment should be thrown into the equation, rather than rely on mandatory sentences. Would that earlier courts had decided, and long ago, against a system that cared more waging a war on this and a war on that than it cared about the actual individuals and whole populations thrown into increasingly overcrowded, underfunded, toxic environments. Would that all of this had never had to come to courts at all.

Would that this had all happened long before Sharon Wiggins ever entered prison. Since 2008, the number of women sentenced to life without parole has risen precipitously, and who are they? “Among the females serving LWOP for offenses committed in their teenage years, the vast majority experienced sexual abuse in their childhood.” They are the abandoned, the sacrificed. But the end may be near. For Jennifer L. McSharry in South Carolina and thousands of women across the land, a change could be coming. They stand a chance, a bare chance, of not becoming another such sacrifice.

 

(Photo Credit: TakePart.com)

Cell extraction: Torture from sea to shining sea

From Tennessee and California, this week, people and groups are charging, in court and in the streets, that something called “cell extraction” is killing and torturing prisoners, children, loved ones: “In the insular world of correctional institutions, it is known as cell extraction, the forcible removal of a prisoner from a cell by a tactical team armed with less-lethal weapons like Tasers, pepper spray and stun shields.”

On one hand, standard “cell extraction” becomes particularly problematic when so much of the prison population is living with mental illness and so few, as in practically none, of the prison staff is trained to recognize, much address, a mental health episode. The story of Charles Jason Toll is a case in point.

Charles Jason Toll was 33, diabetic and living with mental illness. One hot August night, in Riverbend Maximum Security, in Tennesse, where Toll was in solitary confinement, guards rushed into his cell, pushed him to the floor, handcuffed and shackled him. When he repeatedly begged, “I can’t breathe”, he was told, “You wanted this.” A little while later, he died.

Charles Jason Toll was in prison for a parole violation. Why was he in solitary? Why did no one in charge know his medical history?

Part of Charles Jason Toll’s story is the vindictive system in which a slip can send you down a hole from which there is no escape, and that’s the plan.

Toll’s mother, Jane Luna, is suing Tennessee for having killed, and tortured, her son. Jane Luna didn’t even know her son was arrested until she received notice of his death.

Meanwhile, “Videos made public in California last fall showed corrections officers at state prisons dousing severely psychotic inmates with large amounts of pepper spray before forcibly removing them from their cells, images that a federal district judge, Lawrence K. Karlton, who ordered the release of the videos, termed `horrific.’”

Earlier this week, ten civil rights groups filed a complaint concerning the San Diego juvenile detention centers and their use, especially during cell extraction procedures, of pepper spray.

One story involves a girl who reported, to her attorney, that she had suicidal inclinations. “The girl sat on the bunk in her cell in one of San Diego County’s female juvenile-detention units as staff members explained that she was being placed on suicide watch. They told her she had to strip naked in front of them—including in front of a male staff member. She refused, twice. So, they sprayed her in the face with pepper spray, then shut the door to her cell. Two minutes later, they asked if she was going to cooperate. She refused, and they sprayed her a second time and again shut the door. Minutes later, they opened the door and sprayed her again. She vomited. They then sprayed her yet once more. After the fourth blast of pepper spray, the girl finally submitted. Probation staff ordered her to crawl out of the cell, where they handcuffed her, forcibly removed her clothing, cut off her shirt and bra, strip-searched her, put her in a gown and placed her in solitary confinement for 48 hours.”

There is a special punishment, a special hell, for girls and young women who refuse the advances of the State.

 

(Image Credit: San Diego City Beat)

Children in torture chambers in schools across the United States

Disturbing reports came out this week that show that children, overwhelmingly children living with disabilities, are kept in solitary confinement across the United States. In some places, the rooms are called “seclusion rooms” and, in other places, “scream rooms.” Call them what they are: solitary confinement, the hole, torture chambers.

Torture is not too grand or extreme a description. Children have committed suicide in these rooms, in schools like the ones around the corner from you. Children have come home with injuries which needed surgery. Often, staff caused these injuries. Across the country, children, and their parents, live with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. The list goes on.

This is part of a national war on children. The incarceration and torture of children in schools occurs at a time when girls are being sent to jail for status offenses while boys are not. Taken together, this is the national policy of protection for children, for children with special needs, and for girls. And if you’re a girl with special needs, you’re in trouble. We have traveled far, and quickly, from the days of “suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

At the national level, the only shock here are the numbers, which are assumed to be lower than the actual incidences, and the shock, the fact that, despite report after report after report after report, each report is `surprising’. Amnesia has always been the alibi for the citizens of the Torture State. It allows us to forget that our elected representatives killed legislation that would end the policy of school-based solitary confinement. It allows us to forget that some places in the country, like Montgomery County, Virginia, have done away seclusion rooms and replaced them with healthier, more reliable systems that actually work. It allows us to forget both evidence and hope.

So as not to forget, here’s a story, taken from a US Senate staff report issued this past February. The report finds such cases occur across the country. Minnesota is an instance, not an exception:

Minnesota: In January 2004, an eight-year-old girl began attending Jefferson Elementary School in the Willmar Public School District. Her mother described her as a `little girl who loved to go to school, even though the child had been diagnosed with a communication disorder and designated as developmentally delayed with speech and language impairment at age three.

“Since kindergarten, the girl’s IEP had included a behavioral intervention plan that authorized the use of restraints and seclusions when she exhibited certain behaviors. Eventually, the school district and her mother had the child assessed by an outside evaluator, who did not recommend the use of restraints or seclusions. However, the techniques remained in the girl’s behavioral intervention plan during the 2005 to 2006 school year. The mother said she had agreed to the use of seclusion, in an area the school called a `quiet room,’ only if necessary. However, some reports indicate the girl’s teacher secluded her forty-four times in one school year.102 The girl’s mother also said the teacher made the child sit at a `thinking desk’ perfectly still for thirty minutes straight and demeaned and belittled the child when she could not hold this posture. If the girl fidgeted or made any noise, her teacher would yell at her and sometimes put her into restraints, including a prone hold.103 During one incident in April 2006, the teacher forced the girl into the seclusion room while she was on her way to the bathroom, causing the child to urinate on herself.

“Aides reported that the teacher’s classroom, which was somewhat hidden in the basement of Jefferson, was `more a punishment/torture area than a classroom,’ and `run very much like a secret room that you are not supposed to talk about.’”

Suffer the children for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

 

(Image Credit: Ward Zwart / New York Times)

Barbie VIP Packages Fuel Fantasies of Excess and Inequality

Last week the luxury resort Forte Village experienced a great deal of backlash for promoting its “Barbie VIP packages” aimed specifically at young girls. Forte Village advertises the experiences as an opportunity for girls to explore beauty, fashion, and glamor and—with the help of stylists—prepare themselves and their Barbie dolls to walk the runway. Those critical of the extremely expensive (£364, or nearly $600) weeklong getaway include feminist writers, Twitter users, bloggers, and moms. Most critiques seem to focus on the extent to which these Barbie VIP packages are unnecessarily gendered, and rightly so. The idea that only girls can participate in the pink world of Barbie both excludes and ostracizes kids of other gender identities who enjoy fashion, makeup, and dolls.

The issue of exclusivity extends beyond gender: at first glance, exclusive marketing seems to be directly at odds with Mattel’s history of universal Barbie consumption. Mattel has (at times quite unsuccessfully) attempted to push Barbie sales all over the world both with “standard” blonde Barbies as well as through its appropriative “Dolls of the World” series comprised of different incarnations of culturally stereotyped Barbies. Thus, it would seem that Mattel would want Barbie established as a global as well as a household name. But this can only be a reality for some households. Even from her inception, Barbie was a decidedly upper-middle class reflection of Ruth Handler, the mother-turned-entrepreneur who “created” her. Indeed, scholars, critics, and consumers refer to Barbie as though she were a real person, a fantasy encouraged by the services Forte Village provides such as doll-and-girl manicures.

As omnipresent as Barbie may be, she has always been a status symbol as well. Girls who could dress their dolls in a plethora of individually sold outfits, provide ever-expanding “dream houses” for Barbie to live in, and supplement their first Barbie with companion dolls and accessories stood apart from those whose working class parents may not have had the time or finances to furnish complete Barbie worlds. Even today, Mattel continues its tiered marketing by boasting several lines of collector dolls that can cost hundreds of dollars. Thus, Mattel seems to contradict itself: the company that lauds Barbie as an accessible means of imaginative play is actually more focused on tailoring its products to those who can experience Barbie in excess, from lunchboxes to school supplies to clothing to these elite vacation packages.

However, a more inclusive marketing scheme wouldn’t make the Forte Village situation much less troubling. For the families who choose this vacation package, Barbie is not a mode of exploratory self-expression; she becomes a restrictive guideline that forces girls to perform an artificially constructed form of femininity that refuses to recognize Barbie’s impacts on our understanding of class and gender. Barbie has always been aspirational in nature, and this VIP package is no different: in choosing between the “Pink” level or “Glamour” level experiences, girls are taught as early as two years old that they should expect and aspire to a world where femininity means exclusive VIP treatment; where the reward for properly performing girliness is pampering and attention.

Moreover, this class exclusivity will likely inform girls’ perceptions of which types of people can perform these services for them. Is there a racial, ethnic, gender, or class difference between the stylists, the makeup artists, and the manicurists? And how does one reconcile life at the resort with life in the Barbie World, or life in the real world? Barbie’s mottos have always encouraged girls to do anything; to be who they want to be. But from what I can discern about this resort, girls are confronted with an extremely limited array of gender possibilities and socially appropriate hobbies. What good are Barbie’s 150 careers then? Disappointingly but perhaps not surprisingly, Forte Village strips Barbie of any redeeming qualities or exploratory possibilities, and turns her into a tool for teaching a monolithic vision of gender, capitalism, and consumerism.

 

(Photo credit: The Guardian / Alamy)

But hey! How about boys bragging less?

19-year-old Tal Fortgang’s defensive response to those who reminded him to check his (male, white) privilege stirred quite the ‘dialogue’ this past week. Some chose to unpack Tal’s right-wing wunderkind syndrome, while others seized the opportunity to explain how privilege spawns the type of blindness that produces such letters. Proudly. Unapologetic. Defensive. Hurt.

But Tal’s letter also speaks to another critical social justice issue: the problem of gendered inequalities in adolescent self-esteem. This topic is on the minds of many who work for global youth development and gender equality in D.C and New York based headquarters. It has generated a huge discourse of its own these past years, but for some reason failed to make it into the discussion this past week. Despite the fact that Tal could be a poster child for how gendered inequalities in adolescent self-esteem play out in the U.S. context.

Sadly, this silence is typical. Perhaps it’s due to the breadth of the self-esteem and adolescence discourse that has grown exponentially in the last decade. This is due partly to the idea that adolescence is a crucial phase in which young people develop their identities and partly thanks to Nike’s girls-are-powerhouses-let’s-treat-them-as-data-to-validate-our-theory take on adolescence. Most of those involved with this issue, and eager to equalize the distribution of positive self-concepts, know very well that self-esteem goes hand in hand with gender, class and race. The fact that boys tend to have so much more self-esteem represents, in fact, the essence of the problem.

The silence is probably best explained by the fact that privilege is discussed at one table and global adolescent self-esteem at another. The latter is increasingly driven by Nike and the World Bank’s post-feminist neoliberal discourse that essentializes girls into development machines and reinforces harmful stereotypes.

More crucial to this disconnect is that adolescent self-esteem discourse treats the problem as a girls’ issue. It’s her problem to solve rather than a systemic issue or a problem of patriarchy. The underlying logic is that this form of inequality is best addressed by urging girls to spend time and energy on changing their behavior through ‘empowerment’ programs. Meanwhile, the engine of entitlement keeps spitting out boys like Tal left, right and center.

Boys’ higher levels of self-esteem are thus seen as the norm, from which girls deviate. And rather than the boys or the norm itself, it’s the girls who must be corrected for their difference. For example, a few days back, NBC posted a video about a program that professes that teaching girls to brag builds self-esteem. You can see where they’re coming from, but hey! How about boys bragging less? What about no longer condoning and rewarding entitlement and instilling the individualistic meritocratic illusion of ‘I deserved my place’ into kids who are at a clear advantage and who, from that position, are likely to develop wrong ideas about the merit of those who are not at their ‘level’?

Adolescence seems like a great stage in which to tackle the different dimensions of the self-esteem problem and burst the meritocratic myth that lies at the heart of privilege and was the ink to Tal’s epistle. Since schools are central spaces in which the myth of merit is cultivated, this is where change has to come from.

To begin to understand better how elite boys make sense of themselves and their privilege at one elite school in America, check out Shamus Khan’s book, Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School.

 

(Photo Credit: sunkingfencing.com)