“Expert disputes girls’ crime wave”
By Simon Collins, The New Zealand Herald
November 29, 2012
A world expert on women and crime says a “moral panic” about violent girls is seeing more of them arrested and jailed, even though evidence suggests they are actually becoming less violent.
Meda Chesney-Lind, a Hawaiian women’s studies professor who is in Auckland for a criminology conference, said the panic was fuelled by media firms appealing to chauvinist men by portraying women – especially black women – as violent.
Professor Media Chesney-Lind became director of the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on August 1, 2011.
The program, which was launched nearly 40 years ago, currently offers both undergraduate and graduate classes, an undergraduate major, and a graduate certificate.
The Women’s Studies Program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa (UHM) offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of women and gender issues. The program provides a rigorous and integrated academic experience for students interested in feminist research and analysis, giving them a coherent program of study in contemporary scholarship in a Pacific-Asian context. With faculty trained in a dozen fields of study, the program investigates gender, race, class, colonialism, sexuality and other vectors of power and identity in shaping history, psychology, anthropology, economics, sociology, political science, philosophy, literature language, art, drama, education, law, medicine, and biology.
Professor Chesney-Lind was quoted in an article by Julianne Hing from ColorLines.com, which was redistributed by Truthout.org (“Jezebels, Welfare Queens, and Now, Criminally Bad Black Moms”).
In the last 20 years, women of color have become the fastest growing segment of the prison population, driven in large part by new classes of crimes that have been created or relabeled, said University of Hawaii criminologist Meda Chesney-Lind. Where 20 years ago crimes like the sale and possession of tiny amounts of drugs, or drug use during pregnancy, were not even considered crimes, today they are fueling a massive uptick in incarceration rates. The addition of mandatory minimum prison sentencing over the years eliminated judges’ discretion and contributed to these racially disparate increases.
But What Was It Like for Women?
The Art of the Dumb Question
By Meda Chesney-Lind, Ph.D.
Professor, Women’s Studies
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Read the full text below
Thank you very much President Bridges.
Congratulations to the class of 2011. This is a great day and one you’ll likely remember for a very long time.
I can still vividly recall the day I was sitting where you are now. I actually remember a lot of details of that event, but I can’t for the life of me remember the commencement address at all. So, at least for me personally, the bar for this talk is set pretty low.
You may know that both my sister, Margaret Chesney and I graduated from Whitman. We have also both received honorary degrees from this esteemed institution. That may be one for the record books, and not just at Whitman. Talk about a sister act!
Thinking about the years when Margaret and I graduated made me realize how much the world has changed for the young women (and men) in this class.
Whitman, founded in 1882, is an independent, co-educational, non-sectarian residential liberal arts and sciences undergraduate college in Walla Walla, Washington. In 1919 Whitman became the second college or university in Washington, after the University of Washington, to be selected for a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.
Dr. Chesney-Lind graduated from Whitman summa cum laude in 1969, and went on to pursue her graduate education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Chesney-Lind will also receive an honorary doctorate from the college.
Recent Whitman commencement speakers have included journalist Juan Williams (2010), Ryan Crocker, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq (2009), and William Gate Sr., father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates (2008).
According to the Whitman press release:
As a Whitman student, Meda preceded her sister: Margaret Chesney ’71. As the Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient, she follows her sister on the Commencement stage; Margaret is a world leader in AIDS research and prevention and received an honorary doctor of humane letters from Whitman in 2008.
Reading about the latest series of deadline tornadoes to hit Oklahoma is an emotional experience for Dr. Chesney-Lind, who survived a hit by one of that state’s deadliest tornadoes when she was just a few months old.
What still ranks as the deadliest tornado to ever hit the State of Oklahoma swept up from Texas on the evening of April 9, 1947, striking the town of Woodward at 8:42 p.m. with the power of an F5 storm. At least 107 people were killed and nearly another 1,000 injured in Woodward alone. Over 100 city blocks, and more than 1,000 homes and businesses in the city were destroyed.
Meda and her mother were trapped when a wall of their home fell on top of them. They were rescued later by a neighbor digging through the rubble.