Why the surge in racist misinformation about Kamala Harris is so worrisome

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Within hours of Joe Biden announcing that he had selected Kamala Harris as his presidential running mate, conspiracy theories as well as racist and sexist misinformation about her proliferated online. Much of this harassing dialogue recycled or built on earlier false claims spread about Harris. And the actions social media has already taken — or avoided — are stoking anxieties about the role of misinformation in the campaign to come.

On QAnon and other right-wing Facebook pages, memes compared Harris to Rachel Dolezal and wrongly claimed she was not African American. On Twitter, a post with 20,000 “likes” pointed …

Birtherism 2.0, explained

Kamala Harris, born in October of 1964 in Oakland, California, meets all the constitutional criteria to serve as president — and therefore as vice president — of the United States.

Yet on August 12, Newsweek published an op-ed by John Eastman, a professor at the Chapman School of Law and a fellow at the Claremont Institute, arguing that she does not. The publication’s editors are at pains to argue that Eastman’s argument had nothing to do with the “racist conspiracy theory” of birtherism. But Donald Trump, who parlayed his considerable fame into political clout specifically by avowing such racist theories, …

Shirley Chisholm’s historic presidential run helped lead to this moment

Sen. Kamala Harris’s nomination for vice president marks a historic first.

As Joe Biden’s running mate, Harris is the first Black woman and the first South Asian American woman to be named a vice presidential nominee on a major-party ticket.

In a speech announcing her candidacy, she acknowledged the legacies of the women who’ve run in the past. “Joe, I’m so proud to stand with you,” Harris said Wednesday. “And I do so mindful of all the heroic and ambitious women before me whose sacrifice, determination, and resilience makes my presence here today even possible.”

Harris’s nomination follows the groundbreaking …

It’s not just Twitch: The military has a history of using video games to reach young people

The US military is trying to get people interested in enlisting with the help of Twitch, a highly popular video game streaming platform — so civilian gamers are now using government-moderated chat rooms as an opportunity to troll the military.

“They would ask about Eddie Gallagher, the Navy SEAL that was turned in by his fellow Navy SEALs for alleged war crimes, and that Trump later pardoned — just kind of asking really unpleasant questions about the military,” said Matthew Gault, a contributing editor at Vice’s Motherboard who has reported on the trolling and spoken about it on an episode …

How The Vanishing Half fits into our cultural fixation with racial passing stories

The Vox Book Club is linking to Bookshop.org to support local and independent booksellers.

In Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half, the character of Stella haunts the narrative like a ghost. Stella is the half who vanished: half of her family, half of her sister’s heart. And she vanished by excising half of her own identity.

Stella is a light-skinned Black woman, and when she is 16, she decides to start passing for white. Her identical twin sister Desiree, meanwhile, grows up to marry the darkest-skinned man she can find. Stella breaks away from her family, and we don’t get …

The dystopian tech that companies are selling to help schools reopen sooner

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Thousands of schools nationwide will not be reopening this fall. But in Las Vegas, the private K-12 Meadows School plans to use an artificial intelligence-powered thermal screening system to keep students safe as they return to classes.

As they enter school, the system scans for signs that students have elevated temperatures — a sign that they might have Covid-19 — as they enter buildings for their classes. If they’re flagged, the students will be asked to wait separately for about 10 minutes, and then their temperature is taken again. If the result is within normal range, they’re cleared to start …