Category Archive 'Lawsuits'

22 Mar 2019

Race-Baiting Harvard

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Daguerrotype of Renty, 1850.

If you are on the Left, no story, however implausible, can be subject to skepticism if it serves the interests of the right people.

AP:

Harvard University has “shamelessly” turned a profit from photos of two 19th-century slaves while ignoring requests to turn the photos over to the slaves’ descendants, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Tamara Lanier, of Norwich, Connecticut, is suing the Ivy League school for “wrongful seizure, possession and expropriation” of images she says depict two of her ancestors. Her suit, filed in Massachusetts state court, demands that Harvard immediately turn over the photos, acknowledge her ancestry and pay an unspecified sum in damages.

Harvard spokesman Jonathan Swain said the university “has not yet been served, and with that is in no position to comment on this complaint.”

At the center of the case is a series of 1850 daguerreotypes, an early type of photo, taken of two South Carolina slaves identified as Renty and his daughter, Delia. Both were posed shirtless and photographed from several angles. The images are believed to be the earliest known photos of American slaves.

They were commissioned by Harvard biologist Louis Agassiz, whose theories on racial difference were used to support slavery in the U.S. The lawsuit says Agassiz came across Renty and Delia while touring plantations in search of racially “pure” slaves born in Africa.

“To Agassiz, Renty and Delia were nothing more than research specimens,” the suit says. “The violence of compelling them to participate in a degrading exercise designed to prove their own subhuman status would not have occurred to him, let alone mattered.”

The suit attacks Harvard for its “exploitation” of Renty’s image at a 2017 conference and in other uses. It says Harvard has capitalized on the photos by demanding a “hefty” licensing fee to reproduce the images. It also draws attention to a book Harvard sells for $40 with Renty’s portrait on the cover. The book, called “From Site to Sight: Anthropology, Photography, and the Power of Imagery,” explores the use of photography in anthropology.

Among other demands, the suit asks Harvard to acknowledge that it bears responsibility for the humiliation of Renty and Delia and that Harvard “was complicit in perpetuating and justifying the institution of slavery.”

A researcher at a Harvard museum rediscovered the photos in storage in 1976. But Lanier’s case argues Agassiz never legally owned the photos because he didn’t have his subjects’ consent and that he didn’t have the right to pass them to Harvard. Instead, the suit says, Lanier is the rightful owner as Renty’s next of kin.

The suit also argues that Harvard’s continued possession of the images violates the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.

“Renty is 169 years a slave by our calculation,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, one of Lanier’s lawyers, said in an interview. “How long will it be before Harvard finally frees Renty?”

Lanier says she grew up hearing stories about Renty passed down from her mother. While enslaved in Columbia, South Carolina, Renty taught himself to read and later held secret Bible readings on the plantation, the suit says. He is described as “small in stature but towering in the minds of those who knew him.”

The suit says Lanier has verified her genealogical ties to Renty, whom she calls “Papa Renty.” She says he is her great-great-great-grandfather.

If given the photos, Lanier said she would tell “the true story of who Renty was.” But she also hopes her case will spark a national discussion over race and history.

“This case is important because it will test the moral climate of this country, and force this country to reckon with its long history of racism,” Lanier said at a news conference outside the Harvard Club of New York City.

Crump, her attorney, added that the case could allow Harvard to “remove the stain from its legacy” and show it has the courage “to finally atone for slavery.”

RTWT

The genealogy of African Americans is notoriously difficult to document, since Antebellum census records failed to record the names of slaves at all. But Tamara Lanier, we are to believe, has successfully documented her connection with a 1850 photographic subject, known only as “Renty.”

Not only that, she knows all sorts of interesting things about her alleged ancestor. (Hyperallergic)

How ironic it is to know that the black African chosen by a scientist to be the symbol of ignorance and racial inferiority was truly an educated and self-taught man,” Lanier told The Day. According to her family’s verbal history, Renty taught himself to read, and taught other slaves using a book called the Blue Back Webster. “My goal is to correct history and to share with all that … Renty was an educated and exceptional person.”

“Papa Renty was a proud and kind man who, like so many enslaved men, women, and children endured years of unimaginable horrors,” Lanier told the Boston Globe. “Harvard’s refusal to honor our family’s history by acknowledging our lineage and its own shameful past is an insult to Papa Renty’s life and memory.”

But, her actual familial connection to Renty, we are then told, is, after all, not that important.

A number of experts expressed to the NYT that they believe Lanier’s case may not hold up in court. Intellectual property lawyer Rick Kurnit says he believes she will have a difficult time proving ownership over the images, referencing the infamous “V-J Day in Times Square,” which belonged to the photographer rather than the sailor or the nurse who are kissing in the image. However, the NYT notes, the “V-J” image was taken in a public space.

Gregg Hecimovich, chairman of the English department at Furman University, believes Lanier’s claim to ancestral history is shaky, but Molly Rogers, the author of a book called Delia’s Tears, posits, “It’s not necessarily by blood. It could be people who take responsibility for each other. Terms, names, family relationships are very much complicated by the fact of slavery.”

Appropriately enough, she is being represented by Benjamin Crump, an African-American attorney specializing in representing racially-based claims.

Algonquin J. Calhoun was clearly unavailable.

Benjamin Crump, one of Lanier’s lawyers, calls the case “unprecedented in terms of legal theory and reclaiming property that was wrongfully taken. Renty’s descendants may be the first descendants of slave ancestors to be able to get their property rights.” In 2012, Crump represented the family of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager murdered by George Zimmerman while walking home.

05 Feb 2018

The Google Gulag

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J. Christian Adams read the complaint filed by the engineer Google fired last year and is absolutely appalled at the totalitarian regime in full operation at the dominant search engine company. They really are evil.

Congratulations on finding this article if you used Google. A civil rights lawsuit filed this week revealed its search engine blacklists authors and ideas distasteful to the company.

Google engineer James Damore’s class action complaint describes a creepy cult-like orthodoxy at Google, where dissent is smashed, and the color of your skin is far more important than the content of your character. Reading the complaint is a deep dive into wicked, racial groupthink, and a frightening reminder that it really can happen here. At Google, it does. …

This article cannot possibly capture all of the rancid, racialist, thuggish things going on at Google, so I’d urge you to take time to read the whole complaint. It’s like reading Solzhenitsyn’s travel log from Ekibastuze. It reveals nothing short of the psychologies of totalitarianism in their timeless forms. The purges. The moral relativism. The threats. The lists of enemies. The upside-down world of the wicked justifying their wickedness.

To be sure, Google doesn’t have the Google Gulag, but the thinking that is normal inside a powerful institution like Google should alarm all actual, normal Americans.

Damore’s worst sin at Google was to be white and male and to presume that shouldn’t matter. In this, Damore was up against the roaring prevailing winds from the Left, where “whiteness” is wickedness, where “maleness” is a construct, and where the bright young things at the tech giant are remaking the world in their own image.


This is an example of the viewpoint of Google SJWs.

RTWT

24 Jan 2018

Yale Let Accusers Text Each Other to Coordinate Testimony Against Male During Title IX Hearing

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When, back in 2011, Obama Justice Department Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali sent her infamous “Dear Colleagues” letter to essentially every college and university in the land advising them of her department’s intent to expand Title IX to require what amounts to permanent sexual harassment witch-hunting in order to protect women from any potential “hostile environment,” and requiring them to apply the preponderance of the evidence standard to adjudicating complaints instead of the beyond a reasonable doubt standard normally used in criminal cases.

Yale’s leftist Salovey regime eagerly embraced Russlynn Ali’s radical agenda and the chickens are now inevitably coming home to roost, as one lawsuit after another from male students victimized by the new kangaroo court processes start piling up.

The College Fix posted some gory details from one current suit that Yale obviously deserves to lose.

The suit describes how Doe learned that Jane and Sally (the “complainants”) appeared to have coordinated their testimony:

    As the hearing progressed, John Doe’s advisor heard one of the complainants make a statement identical to the complainant who had just been before the panel, even referencing what her friend had just said. John Doe’s advisor sent a text to the UWC Coordinator to ask if the two complainants had been allowed to listen to each other’s testimony throughout the hearing.

The secretary of the UWC later confirmed that both Sally and Jane could hear the entire proceeding live, and the UWC’s counsel said the committee didn’t have to follow “proper protocol with regard to sequestering witnesses” because Doe asked for a single hearing panel to hear both complaints, according to the suit:

    Allowing the complainants to reference each other’s statements to the hearing panel to influence and further support her own individual complaint was prejudicial, denying the panel and later the decision maker the opportunity to adjudicate the charges against John Doe in a fair and impartial manner.

When Doe asked the hearing panel to query Sally about whether she had “exchanged any text messages” with Jane during the hearing, after a “long hesitation” she admitted to it. The suit claims that Sally’s texts revealed that her statements to the panel were “untrue” about the nature of their texts.

Yet the texts that the hearing panel asked Sally and Jane to turn over might not have been their full conversation, because those texts also alluded to Snapchat messages that morning “that could not be retrieved.”

Yale refused to declare a “mistrial” based on this coordination between Sally and Jane, requiring Doe to give the panel “evidence from the text messages to support his assertion of collusion by the complainants,” the suit says.

RTWT

12 Feb 2011

America, Land of Lawsuits

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Walter Olson, who blogs at Overlawyered, linked this video demonstrating that even anime characters have learned to fear the American penchant for resorting to litigation.


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