12: Respectability Politics are a Lie

On this episode, Yvette and Cynthia discuss the potential end of the Temporary Protected Status program, break down respectability politics, and analyze the case Goldberg v. Kelly. They note the erasure of Central Americans, reject respectability politics, applaud the Supreme Court for determining that welfare benefits are a form of private property, and examine the importance of due process.

Visit cerebronas.com for more information and links on what we discussed.
Thanks to @romobeats for the intro tune!
Follow us on IG and Twitter at @cerebronas
Transition song: Ryan Little – Lucy’s Song

Current Event: Executive Action on TPS

Here’s an article from Aljazeera that’s helpful: “Hondurans in US live in limbo amid TPS uncertainty” by Nidia Bautista.

This is USCIS’ official page on Temporary Protected Status, which includes a brief overview of the program, eligibility, countries designated for TPS, and a link to the press release on Acting Secretary Elaine Duke’s Announcement on Nicaragua and Honduras.

Also an informative read: “Black immigrants call on Congress to extend Temporary Protected Status” by Esther Yu Hsi Lee on ThinkProgress.

Deep Thoughts: Respectability Politics

A great example of respectability politics at work.
  • Here’s a link to the book that’s credited with first articulating the term: Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham’s Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880-1920.
  • Here’s the transcript to Bill Cosby’s speech at the NAACP 50th Anniversary commemoration of Brown vs. Board of Education.
  • An Op-Ed in the LA Times that discusses how respectability politics can get embedded into policy: “Respectability politics won’t save us from police violence” by Jamil Smith.
Respectability politics is a trap for WOC, particularly black women, in regards to “professional clothing” as demonstrated by the controversy over Patrice Brown’s dress.

Case: Goldberg v. Kelly

Here’s information on the case, including a link to the decision.


  • Yvette recommended Netflix’s How to Survive a Plague.
  • Cynthia recommended checking out the Reads page on our website!


11: The Spanish Own the Cow

In this episode, Cynthia and Yvette discuss Eduardo Galeano’s Venas Abiertas de América Latina, the gender discrimination case Nguyen vs. INS and the case of Jane Doe — an unaccompanied minor who sought an abortion while detained in immigration custody. They discuss the economics of colonialism, how gender is analyzed under the Equal Protection doctrine, and the myriad ways in which the bodies of migrant womxn are regulated and controlled.

Thanks to @romobeats for the intro tune!
Follow us on IG and Twitter at @cerebronas
Transition song: Ryan Little – Lucy’s Song

Current Event: Garza v. Hagran

Read the ACLU information on the event here and read the legal files here.

Here’s a CNN article with problematic quotes from Texas State Attorney General by Eric Levenson and Tal Kopan, “Court Delays Abortion for Undocumented Teen in Detention.

Here’s an interview by VICE with the undocumented teen, Jane Doe.

Deep Thoughts: Eduardo Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America

You can buy the book here on Amazon.

When Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez met former President Barack Obama, he gave Pres. Obama a copy of the book. Read more about it here.

Case: Tuan Anh Nguyen v. Immigration and Naturalization Service

You can find the court documents, summary of the case, and a recording of oral arguments here at Oyez.


Yvette recommends reading Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? by Mumia Abu-Jamal and other texts published by AK Press.

Cynthia recommends listening to Andra Day, an amazing artist from San Diego, CA. Listen for yourself below 🙂

10: Chiquitasode: “I’m Not Racist But…”

In this chiquitasode, Yvette and Cynthia interview professor Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, who shares the research that led to the writing of her book “Crook County: Race and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court.” She reveals the coded language used in the Prosecutor’s office to justify incarcerating black & brown folks, notes that these moral narratives are systemic, and gives warm advice for young Latinas interested in academia.

Van Cleve-MBG.jHeadshotspgCrookCounty-high resolution

​​​​Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve is an Assistant Professor at Temple University in the Department of Criminal Justice with courtesy appointments in the Department of Sociology and the Beasley School of Law. She is the recipient of the 2014-2015 Ford Foundation Fellowship Postdoctoral Award, the 2015 New Scholar Award (co-winner) awarded by American Society of Criminology’s Division on People of Color and Crime. She is also an affiliated scholar with the American Bar Foundation. Her award-winning book, “Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court” (Stanford University Press) was an NAACP Image Award Finalist, a two-time Prose Award Winner and a recent winner of three “Best Book” distinctions by the American Sociological Association. It has been featured on NBC News, MSNB’s The Rachel Maddow Show and CNN.

Send her love notes at Facebook or Twitter 

Buy Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court here. “Crook County bursts open the courthouse doors and enters the hallways, courtrooms, judges’ chambers, and attorneys’ offices to reveal a world of punishment determined by race, not offense.”

Mentioned on the episode:

6: Hold Complexity

In this episode, Cynthia and Yvette discuss the gentrification of Boyle Heights, the SCOTUS case that clarified whether disparate impact claims can be brought under the Fair Housing Act, and internalized racism. They applaud the tactics of Defend Boyle Heights protestors, note the varied solutions to housing inequality, and share how they cope with with the burden and weight of internalized racism.

Thanks to @romobeats for the intro tune!

Follow us on IG and Twitter at @cerebronas

Transition song: Ryan Little – Lucy’s Song

Current Events

Learn more about Defend Boyle Heights at their facebook page and check out these relevant articles:

Follow @defendboyleheights on IG

We forgot to mention the new series coming September 7th on gentrification in Oakland. Peep the trailer:

Case: Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.

Here’s a SCOTUS blog post about the case – Disparate-impact claims survive challenge: In Plain English

Here’s an article from The Atlantic: Supreme Court vs. Neighborhood Segregation

Here’s the link to the District Court in Northern Texas’ opinion finding that there was no prima facie case made of discrimination under the standards by SCOTUS, meaning that their case was dismissed.

Here’s a site that gives context on the Kerner Commission and the famous Kerner report that found: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

Deep thoughts: Internalized Racism

Here’s an excellent read that we recommend: This One Is For The Hairy Girls by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez


Yvette really enjoyed watching Girl’s Trip, starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish. Here’s the trailer:

Cynthia recommended listening to Latino USA’s episode: The Stolen Child since authoritarianism has been on her mind lately.

5: Womxn’s Autonomy

In this episode, Yvette and Cynthia call out Rob Kardashian’s posts of Blac Chyna as indicative of rape culture, highlight the unnecessary feticide charges brought against Purvi Patel, and discuss what Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” leaves out. They highlight the anti-blackness present in the discourse around Chyna and Rob, the increased punitiveness of abortion laws, and what reproductive justice means for women of color. Skip from 35:25 to 54:09 if you don’t want to hear “The Handmaid’s Tale” spoilers.

Thanks to @romobeats for the intro tune!

Follow us on IG and Twitter at @cerebronas

Transition song: Ryan Little – Lucy’s Song

Current Events

Congrats to my Bestie @amberrose !! I'm so proud of you 💕 #amberroseslutwalk2016

A post shared by Blac Chyna (@blacchyna) on

Here’s one example of why Blac Chyna and Amber Rose are #bffforevergoals

Here’s an article on the work Kylie Jenner stole from Tizita Balemlay.

Case: Purvi Patel v. State of Indiana

Here’s the decision from the appeals court.

Here’s an article covering the trial that mentions the study by National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Deep Thoughts

Here’s a critique of The Handmaid’s Tale that we love. It has such a great historical discussion of reproductive justice for womxn of color. We highly recommend a read!

Here’s the interview/discussion between Junot Díaz and Margaret Atwood.


Yvette recommended NBC’s Superstore, available on Hulu.

Cynthia recommended Chani Nicholas, especially the horoscopes.

Statement from Ismael Chamu

I was racially profiled and taunted. It didn’t matter that I attend the number one public University in the world UC Berkeley, or that I am one of the youngest substitute teachers for the West Contra Costa Unified School, or that I hold a certificate for multilingual proficiency by the state of California. In the eyes of these police officers I was nothing but a suspicious looking Mexican in a Upper Class White Neighborhood. I was humiliated by the police department for “not speaking English” , I was taunted by an Alameda County Sheriff for being Mexican , I was called a “little bean”.

I want people to know that racial profiling is well and alive. No matter how Progressive or how Liberal, you are not safe in your own brown skin. Our community is here to protect us and that is who I am with. Also take note that Black and Brown narratives will always try to be dismantled in every way, they will try to criminalize you in every way possible to justify the mistreatment. I will not tolerate that and that is why I tell my story. I am innocent, I made no crime, I have no charges. I simply walked while Brown.

Thank you, Ismael, for sharing with us! We honor your strength, your words, and your spirit. Las Cerebronas stand by you because la raza unida jamás será vencida!

4: Race is a Verb

In this episode, Cynthia and Yvette discuss the police violence that Berkeley student Ismael Chamu experienced, constructions of race, and a less-known precursor case to Brown v. Board. They highlight the targeting of students of color on college campuses, debate the usefulness of the term “mestizo”,  and discuss the role that law plays in constructing race.

Thanks to @romobeats for the intro tune!

Follow us on IG and Twitter at @cerebronas

Transition song: Ryan Little – Lucy’s Song

Deep thoughts: Brazilian is Not a Race by Wendy Trevino and Mexican is Not a Race by Wendy Trevino and Chris Chen

Case: Hernandez v. Texas


Full text of Ismael Chamu’s FB post:

I am Free.
Tuesday around 2AM I was detained by 6 Berkeley Police Department Officers as my friend and I were walking thru the Frat Row Area on Piedmont and College Avenue. Police Officers immediately ran towards us and they handcuffed us on the spot no questions asked. I proceeded to ask the officer why I was being detained and his response was that someone had called about two male subjects suspiciously walking through the neighborhood and that we were burglars. I repeatedly asked to speak to a lawyer and to remain silent. They denied me that right saying that I was not under arrest therefore I was not entitled to such privileges. The officer threw me into the back of a BPD SUV vehicle and they mocked me repeatedly for “not speaking English” . They proceeded to take me to Berkeley City Jail. They fingerprinted me, Strip searched me. I never have felt more violated, frightened and humiliated in my life. Every moment I was fearing for my life. I am a 5′ 2′ Mexican Guy…I have nothing. I begged my Ancestors for help and peace. I prayed to God for freedom.
They threw me into a Jail Cell. It was freezing inside and I slept on a stupid little mattress and one blanket. I was kept locked up at the Berkeley Police Department Jail for 30+ Hours. I kept asking for counsel and legal representation but was never granted the right. The psychological torment was more than I could bare. I would nap and wake up hoping that I was free but it was all in my head. Every now and then the Police would come around and bang on the metal door as to mock me. As to Mock my existence. I could not sleep, I was starving, I was freezing. I felt so alone so detached I got constant anxiety attacks and panic but I was alone no one there to help me but myself.
I had no perception of time.
Today around 4AM I was awaken by loud bangs , I had court for 9AM. I was moved into a BPD van and transported to Oakland Police Department Jail. I was placed into a Jail detainment Cell the entire day, I never saw a lawyer or a judge. Throughout the day a Sheriff C. Tracy Mocked me by putting both hands on his knees and saying “Tu no Hablas Espanol o inlges tu little Frijol, you a little Bean” he would laugh and slap his knees. I felt so low and angry. I was pissed but kept a calm face. Around 6PM I was finally released. I had no charges. They stole 2 days of my life. I missed a Scholarship Interview, a Fellowship Skype interview and work.
I was kidnapped by armed agents. I was humiliated. I have been traumatized. I still feel shock and pain and anger. I am just glad to be free. At Least feel the illusion of freedom.
The Police racially profiled me for being Mexican. For looking like a “Burglar” for appearing ‘Dangerous’.
I will never forget this. Fuck them. Fuck them a thousand times over Fuck them. BPD you will hear from me soon.
I want the world to see this injustice. I was not a teacher, or a student, or a scholar. I was but a Criminal Mexican in thier fucking eyes.