New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Archive for the ‘Laura L. Finley’

Is There Another Way?

March 04, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Education, Laura L. Finley

Sexual Assault, Justice, and Just-ness

by Laura L. Finley

I, like many sexual assault advocates, have struggled with two competing feelings about the harshness of the criminal justice system versus the treatment of rapists. On one hand, I believe in second chances, am critical of the prison industrial complex, and disavow mass incarceration as an alleged “solution” to crime. I am especially troubled by the racism of our criminal justice system, which has resulted in the incarceration of far too many black men. On the other hand, the gentle treatment given to sexual assailants brings tears to my eyes.

Given that it is incredibly difficult for a victim to not only report sexual assault but also to undergo the terrifying and humiliating physical examination, then to endure the victim-blaming that inevitably occurs in the courtroom, I find myself disturbed by the ridiculously light sentences handed down to individuals who are guilty. Of course, even worse are those who never face any punishment, which is some 97 percent of rapists. Below are just a few instances to illustrate how the courts minimize sexual assault. What is notable is that the perpetrators are privileged white males. Yet advocating harsh sentences inevitably has a more significant impact on people of color than on these white males. Hence the dilemma—but, perhaps these binary options are not the only ones before us. (more…)

Creative Agitation

January 26, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Family, Laura L. Finley, Politics

A Call to Action on Gender-Based Violence

by Laura L. Finley

Although I know many felt differently, I was not interested in protesting the inauguration of our new President. I support those who felt inclined to do so, but personally have felt that other creative and strategic organizing would serve us better as we transition to a new administration that is
concerning, at best. As such, I debated whether to attend the Women’s March in Miami on January 21, and grappled even further when I was selected to speak at the event. I ultimately decided to do so, not to protest our new leader but instead to issue an important call to action for us and for President Tr$mp.  This piece is an adaption of the speech I gave, and, given his first few days in office, I remain even more concerned and committed to this issue. (more…)

Too Many Deaths

January 04, 2017 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Laura L. Finley, Politics

Jurors Should Say No to Executing Dylann Roof

by Laura L. Finley

It is clear that 2016 was a challenging year, as is not-so-subtly displayed by John Oliver’s “F*ck 2016” and the subsequent meme of the same name. As I reflect on the many things I would like to see improved in 2017, I am thinking about both immediate and long-term goals. One of my dreams in the long-term is an end to the death penalty in the US. In the short term, however, my hope for January is that the jury that sentences Dylann Roof chooses life over another death.

Roof was found guilty of the June 17, 2015 murder of nine African-Americans parishioners engaged in a Bible study group at Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. After sitting through their prayer service, Roof gunned down Reverend Clementa Pinckney and the other members with his .45 caliber Glock pistol loaded with hollow-point bullets. His murder spree was considered a hate crime based on his frequent visits to the websites of racial hate groups and publications on his own website, where he was pictured posing with symbols of white supremacy and neo-Nazism and which featured a manifesto declaring his hatred of black people. Roof also had a list of potential targets, predominantly black churches. If he is sentenced to death, Roof would join only three others who have received federal death sentences in the past half century, and would be the only person to have been so sentenced since 2003. More recently, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received a federal death sentence for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. (more…)

Disagreement Without Hate

November 27, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Laura L. Finley

Can We All Get Along — and Learn From One Another?

by Laura L. Finley

Disagreement is an essential component of a healthy relationship, a healthy workplace, and a healthy democracy. Much research documents the dangers of surrounding ourselves with so-called “yes men” who always concur. Workplace echo chambers stifle innovation and reify bad policy decisions. Disagreement stimulates creative thinking and prompts innovation.

Yet, there is indeed a peaceful, even collaborative, way to disagree. And, I contend, that it never involves personal insults, ad hominem attacks, and strings of epithets and curse words.

Unfortunately, it seems as though few in the U.S are taught how to disagree peacefully and constructively. Instead, if we read, hear or see something that bothers us, we tend to get all pissy about it and, rather than present our case, resort to the lowest blows we can. This behavior is, of course, modeled at nearly every turn. (more…)

Preventable Violence

November 05, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Family, Laura L. Finley

Taking Responsibility for Helping Those in Need

by Laura L. Finley

In the last two weeks over a four-day period, 14 adults and seven children from four different states were killed in domestic violence-related murders.  In Texas, police said a man with a long criminal history and a substance abuse problem went on a murder spree on October 26, killing his mother in the home he shared with her, then an aunt and three others. On October 28, police officer Christopher Robinson shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and her firefighter boyfriend near Baltimore, Maryland. Robinson then committed suicide. In New York City, a relative hacked to pieces a mother and her four young children. Bryan Sweatt, who called 911 and told the operator he was “stressed out,” broke into his girlfriend’s home in Greenwood, South Carolina, where he duct-taped her then shot and killed her and four others, including two children, before killing himself.

In the U.S, an estimated 1,300 people are killed each year from domestic violence. This is nine women each week.  According to Futures Without Violence, in 2011, 1,707 women were murdered by men, and, of them, 1,509 were by people they knew. Over half of the homicides involved guns. (more…)

Called to Act

October 21, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Laura L. Finley, Politics

In Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples

by Laura L. Finley

Last I heard, contracts negotiated between two consenting and capable parties are supposed to be binding, with repercussions if one party violates what has been agreed upon and codified into a legal document.  That is, of course, unless it is the state entering into such agreements with indigenous peoples. Then these legal documents are little more than lip-service, or so it seems, based on the actions of the U.S., Canadian, and other governments who have and continued to trample the rights of indigenous peoples with impunity. Instead of being held accountable to the legally binding agreements they have signed, these governments continue to deprive indigenous peoples of their land, their livelihoods, and their cultures. Worse yet, they have the gall to point the finger at indigenous peoples and their allies who resist this continued destruction of their land and resources, calling them the criminals. (more…)

School’s In…

August 29, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Education, Laura L. Finley

Four Lessons for College Professors

by Laura L. Finley

A few days ago, I read on Facebook the re-posting of an essay, authored by a young college professor, which discussed the five things students should never say to their professors. Originally published in USA Today, the list includes such gems as “Did I miss anything important?” “I took this class for an easy A,” “I didn’t know we had anything due,” “I was studying for another course so couldn’t do my work for this class,” and “Did you answer my email yet?”

While I, like so many professors, have been asked all of these questions during my teaching career, I want to offer a different list, this one for professors. Too often, educators, and especially professors, seem to operate from the perspective that “this job would be okay if it weren’t for the kids.” That list of questions not to ask, in my mind, comes from the same place. While it may have been intended to help students get in good with their professors, it seems to suggest that students are clueless dolts who are annoyingly self-centered. (more…)