Tearing Down Walls

Tearing Down Walls



Friday, June 30, 2017

Can a Creative Music Video Be a Counterweight to the Vilification of Immigrants?

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius - and a powerful one - who is using the success of his musical Hamilton to advocate and “raise money for amazing causes.”
As the politicization of immigration continues, Miranda is delivering a powerful message with the release of his first music video from a Hamilton Mixtape song - and it has generated big buzz.
The six-minute video “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)” intends to show the plight of immigrants - their sacrifice, resilience and strength as they struggle to survive and seek a better life in this country.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

How Does the President's Twitter Account Affect Civil Society?

The statement “Let’s Make America Great Again, Together” is prominent on the home page of WhiteHouse.gov. While the proverbial online language suggests collaboration, the nearest reference to community under the Trump administration directs visitors to a page focused on strengthening the nation’s law enforcement.

Policy platforms do change with any presidential transition as the incoming administration advances its own agenda. Yet in the short time since President Trump has taken office, factions of civil society—the array of non-governmental organizations that have a presence in public life—have engaged in daily protests against a range of enacted and anticipated legislative and regulatory rollbacks. 

And the digital infrastructure that was designed to bridge civil society and government has been seemingly reduced to a unilateral platform for mass communication. 

Absent of two-way communication, current acts of civil disobedience will continue among segments of civil society that feel alienated from government.

To keep reading this article, click here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Who Are the Last Big Holdouts on Gay Marriage?

Resistance and opposition to same-sex marriage has been crumbling among Americans — save for one specific segment of society that’s proving the last wall to even wider acceptance: Evangelicals.
This is not entirely unexpected. But it is uncomfortable. It puts those of most serious faith in a heated spotlight that can be used by the left to showcase the evangelical Christian crowd as discriminatory, as hate-filled, as antithetical to the core values of America.

To keep reading this article click here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

44 Years After 'The Battle of the Sexes', The Same Dumb Debate

Here we are in 2017 discussing whether Serena Williams can beat the 700th-ranked male tennis player or a 58-year-old guy with a big mouth.

 Why is it that we’re still framing a battle of the sexes as the ultimate test, as if until a woman athlete proves she can beat a mediocre man, she won’t have wrested control of the clicker, the thermostat and the wheel?

Like one stunt by Williams could make up for the whole imbalance, every crummy dollar and cent.

To keep reading this story, click here.

Monday, June 26, 2017

White People Keep Finding New Ways to Segregate Schools

For the past few years, residents in the city of Gardendale, Alabama, have been pushing to take over a county high school, a middle school, and two elementary schools from the greater Jefferson County school system, one of several districts still bound by a federal desegregation order. 

Residents argue that they want local control. The city’s mayor went so far as to tell the Washington Post that it was about “keeping our tax dollars here with our kids, rather than sharing them with kids all over Jefferson County.” 

Opponents of the plan, though, claim the move is mired in racial overtones and the pursuit of a divided system that benefits Gardendale’s families at the expense of others in the county. 

To keep reading this article, click here.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Let's Declare Civility, Openness, And Common Sense

In the course of human events it is necessary, now and again, to renew our commitment to the principles and practices that made our country great in the first place.
Our country has always held what the Declaration of Independence says about certain “Truths”: They are “self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Regrettably, we forget these simple truths sometimes.
To renew our passion for the free and equal pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, we need a new declaration that promotes civility, open conversation and common sense.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

10 Myths About Immigration That Need Debunking

Myths about immigration and immigrants are common. Here are a few of the most frequently heard misconceptions—along with information to help you and your students separate fact from fear.
When students make statements that are unfounded, one response is to simply ask, "How do you know that’s true?" Whatever the answer—even if it’s "That’s what my parents say"—probe a little further. Ask, "Where do you think they got that information?" or "That sounds like it might be an opinion, not a fact." Guide students to find a reliable source for accurate information and help them figure out how to check the facts.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Friday, June 23, 2017

'GLOW' Star Wrestles with Hollywood Sexism

In her first ever on-screen role, Alison Brie played a woman possessed by her demon fetus in the horror B-movie Born. The experience was clearly memorable—Brie quickly switches into the high-pitched voice of her scared mother-to-be and the gravelly growl of the body invader trying to force her to commit nefarious deeds as she recalls the plot—and it was admittedly a fun job to have right out of theater school. But still, it wasn’t quite the role she imagined she would be playing when she became An Actress.
“When I was standing on set at like three in the morning in a cemetery with a weird contraption strapped around my body to shoot green ooze out of myself when my water breaks… I was like, ‘Huh. This is not maybe what I pictured working as an actress to be like,’” Brie laughs, recalling the experience for The Daily Beast.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Feds Must Do More to Fight Ageism

AARP on Wednesday urged the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to exercise its regulatory power to strengthen protections for the nation’s older workers and to step up enforcement of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), enacted in 1967 to protect workers age 40-plus. Testifying at a hearing marking the 50th anniversary of the ADEA, Laurie McCann, senior attorney at AARP Foundation Litigation, said it “has become a second-class civil rights law.”
She said that “both in terms of statutory language and how that language has been interpreted by the courts,” there is far less protection than other civil rights laws for older workers. “Age discrimination is no less harmful than other forms of discrimination,” said McCann.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Science of Sexism

The recent case of man in a powerful position making a sexist comment — during a company meeting aimed partly at addressing discrimination against women — raises the question of why gender issues in the workplace are so difficult to quash.
During an Uber staff meeting on June 13, board member Arianna Huffington said that having one woman on a company's board often leads to more women joining the board.
David Bonderman responded, "Actually, what it shows is that it's much more likely to be more talking," according to The New York Times.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

For Sake of Civility, Can Violent Speech Be Changed

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama should “suck my machine gun.” When President Obama was running for reelection in 2012, the rocker said during the National Rifle Association convention that, “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” The statement attracted the attention of the Secret Service.
But after Wednesday's shooting at a congressional baseball practice, Nugent has decided to be “more selective with my rants and in my words.”
“At the tender age of 69, my wife has convinced me I just can’t use those harsh terms,” he said on the 77 WABC radio program Thursday. “I cannot and will not and I encourage even my friends, slash, enemies on the left, in the Democrat and liberal world, that we have got to be civil to each other.”
“I'm not going to engage in that kind of hateful rhetoric anymore.”
To keep reading this article, click here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Look at Civility in the 2 Years Since Trump Announced for President

It was two years ago Friday when Donald Trump descended an escalator inside Trump Tower to announce his candidacy for president. Did he drag the country's political conduct with him? "Any debate about civility in politics begins with Trump," New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush tweeted on Thursday. "No one has degraded discourse more, while embracing the fringe."
There is ample, unique evidence to back the second half of Thrush's claim. It would require a cumulonimbus word cloud to condense all the vulgar bluster Trump said on the campaign trail. He has legitimized the likes of InfoWars and Gateway Pundit: demonstrable peddlers of conspiracy theories and falsehoods. Trump's Twitter feed, often mad as hell, could be ghostwritten by Paddy Chayefsky some days. Just look what he said Friday morning:
To keep reading this article, click here.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Girls Say School Dress Codes Are Sexist

Jane Minor was wearing a V-neck shirt in gym class when a teacher called her out for violating the school’s dress code, which prohibits low-cut tops. The boy next to her was wearing a similar tee. The teacher didn’t say a word.
A rising senior at Owen J. Roberts High School in Pottstown, Minor received just a warning. But as far back as elementary school, she said, she and her friends have gotten busted for what they consider to be unfair and sexist dress code violations.
Shoulder straps too thin. Shorts and skirts too short. A sliver of bare midriff. Leggings. Bare shoulders. Bra straps.  With schools locked in fights over budgets, immigration, and weapons in the classroom, the cut of a collar or a peek of bare shoulder shouldn’t warrant a second look, let alone a reprimand. At least that’s the stand of a vocal movement of teen girls across the country who have started petitions, staged walkouts, made videos, and — often with their parents chiming in — used social media to criticize schools for body-shaming and promoting sexual harassment.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pain of Racism Can Still Sting When Source Is Familiar

Timothy Welbeck remembers being 24 and at work venting to colleagues in his majority white office about how police had pulled him over 22 times in 19 months — a phenomenon known among African-Americans as “driving while black.”
A white female co-worker whom he’d known for four years listened to his story and replied: “You drive too fast.”
Welbeck felt betrayed. He considered her enough of a friend “to know that I don’t drive recklessly and I’m not a threat to law enforcement.”
“This idea that you could know me, I express a legitimate experience to you, and somehow I’m to blame. I would expect a stranger to do what she did,” said Welbeck, now 35, a lawyer and Temple University professor living in Philadelphia.
Racism in any form is painful enough for black Americans. But when prejudice comes from someone they trust, or consider an ally, it adds salt to the wound. Experts call this the stress of racial disappointment: When people who are expected to understand injure minorities with offensive words or behavior.
Some blacks wrestled with this feeling June 2 when Bill Maher, host of the late-night cable television show “Real Time With Bill Maher,” jokingly referred to himself as a “house nigger” during an interview with a congressman.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Friday, June 16, 2017

America Is Riding a Carousel of Hate

Tragedies such as the attack on a congressional baseball team cry out for interpretation, and resist it.
By intention or not, the shooter was strategic in his malice, going after one of Washington’s few remaining symbols of openness and normality. Members of Congress — who are some of the best, most interesting people I know — spend much of their time treated either like mini-monarchs or like beggars at the gate, asking for money and votes. 
Sport is a rare chance to be teammates and friends. Political violence, among other horrible things, makes it harder to be human in public.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

After Ballpark Shooting, a Call for Civility

Rep. Ryan Costello, shortstop on the Republican congressional baseball team, was two minutes late this morning, and so he missed his ride to a practice that turned into a shoot-out as a gunman wounded five people before he was shot and later died.
The congressman from Pennsylvania, his eyes welling with tears, said what he cared about most was the well-being of the people who were hurt. And then, answering a reporter’s question about what healing message Americans might take from this, he said simply:
“We’re all good people” in Congress – Democrats and Republicans trying to help the country in their own way. In today’s political climate, though, elected officials aren’t given the benefit of the doubt, he said. “It’s almost as if we’re not living, human beings. It’s like we’re bad creatures.”
That plea for a recognition of everyone’s humanity was a sentiment that echoed throughout the Capitol building and down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House on Wednesday. It was voiced by members of both parties as a way to talk constructively with each other rather than spiral down into violence. Although the motives of gunman James T. Hodgkinson III, from Belleville, Ill., are unknown, he was a virulent anti-Trumper.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Too Many Gun Deaths: We Need to Work Together to Do Better

By Dave Price
Senior Writer and Curator
The terrible mass shooting today at a DC-area baseball field 2.5 miles from my apartment was tragic.
The terrible mass shooting a few hours later at a UPS facility 2,814 miles away from my apartment was tragic.
The next mass shooting, whether it occurs tonight or tomorrow or sometime later this month (154 mass shootings and 6,886 gun deaths in America so far this year), will be tragic. And the one after that. And the one after that. And the one after that.
OK ... I've got it. The 2nd Amendment says something about the right to keep and bear arms. And guns alone don't kill people. And there's the problems of mental health and hate and vitriolic political and personal rage involved in all this tragedy, too.
But here's the point. Unless you believe that mass shootings are acceptable, inevitable, or part of your God's inviolate plan to produce more prayer, then I believe it is incumbent upon you to help find ways to reduce this life-taking violence.
One common definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Tonight, I will submit that seeing the same bad thing happen again and again and doing nothing is equally, if not even more, insane.
I don't have an answer. And you may feel you don't have an answer. But I believe that many of us working together with a willingness to compromise could find an answer.
And that would truly make America a better, safer place for all of us.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How to Deal with Sexism at Work

For working women, men can pose a unique, annoying problem. Inherent sexist behavior from a male boss or colleague can blindside women of all age and rank, whether you're Senator Kamala Harris being dubbed "hysterical" for doing your job and taking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to task or a woman in tech whose contributions are devalued by male directors as "more talking." Pushing back when your ideas are co-opted, or when someone speaks over you, can prove difficult.

Feminist Fight Clubpublished last year by Harper-Collins, has come to help women save themselves from the Bropropriators and Manterrupters of the world. The workplace manual-slash-manifesto is aimed to teach millennials to combat patriarchy and move up the ladder, all in one swoop. Using fun vocabulary to name the enemy, author Jessica Bennett employs research and stats to suggest fight moves for women to combat sexist archetypes they encounter on the daily.

To keep reading this article, click here.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Police Shootings: How Racism Can Affect Us All

In a shooting involving a police officer, there's often a familiar blame game: Was the cop was racist? Was the person shot threatening? Or maybe, the bias that leads cops to shoot affects us all.

More than 400 people have been shot and killed by police so far this year. That's according to data gathered by the Washington Post. When a person who was shot is African-American, as was the case in about a quarter of those deaths, we often hear the same questions. Did racism play a role? Was the suspect a threat?
NPR's Shankar Vedantam looks at new research suggesting that, in some cases, a police shooting may say more about a community than it does about the individuals involved. A warning, this story includes audio following a shooting that some may find upsetting.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

One Year After the Pulse Tragedy and It's Still Not OK

We Owe it to Those in Orlando to Become the Voices They Lost
My husband and I live in St. Petersburg, Florida, where it’s not uncommon to take an “Orlando weekend.” We’re about an hour and a half away from the site of the Pulse Massacre.

We haven’t gone.

Not because we don’t want to pay our respects, and not because we haven’t been to Orlando. Not because my husband knew one of the victims or that you can’t really go anywhere in the Florida “gay scene” without talking to someone who knew someone that was at Pulse on June 12, 2016.

Not even because my husband and our friends had celebrated a friend’s birthday at Pulse just months before the massacre, only reaffirming that it could’ve been us or any one of our friends that had been there that night.

We haven’t been because the Pulse Massacre, the anti-gay hate crime which one year ago today claimed the lives of 49 people, injured 68 more, and remains the worst terror attack on American soil since 9/11 and the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, is still just too fresh.

We’re no longer numb, but even now, a year later, we’re still not okay

To keep reading this article, click here.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

When Racism Takes Over Healthcare

On May 27, two courageous men in Portland, Oregon were stabbed to death, a third man seriously wounded on a train after confronting a man for yelling slurs at a Muslim woman and her friend. These men were heroic and compassionate in how they responded to the cruel assailant. This stabbing raises questions about how ordinary citizens ought to respond when racism arises in public spaces. One particularly complicated issue is when racism manifests in a healthcare setting.
Late one night in my call room, I was lying in bed, sleeplessly staring at the ceiling, waiting for my pager to rattle me to attention. As a physician in psychiatry, the uncertain anticipation breeds a tension that renders restful sleep virtually impossible.
Finally the call came. The nurse told me that a patient was being loud, belligerent and disruptive on the unit, and I should come to assess her. When I arrived, I looked over the unit’s common area and quickly realized whom the nurse was referring to — a petite, elderly caucasian woman was yelling obscenities to the staff. I carefully slinked behind her near the nurse’s station and said, “Excuse me ma’am.” She turned around, took one look at me, and said, “I don’t want no n****r doctor.”
To keep reading this article, click here.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Shame Nation: The Rise of Incivility in America

Times in our country have never been more conflict-ridden. In a new survey, Civility in America conducted by Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate with KRC Research, they revealed there is a severe civility deficit in our country. Sixty-nine percent of Americans blame the Internet and social media as the cause – not surprising given that one in four have experienced cyberbullying or incivility online.
What are Americans saying?
“Social media is full of uncivil acts. Trying to remember what the most recent would be is difficult as it’s in my feed pretty much all the time.”
“In commenting on a social media question, I got blasted for not going along with everyone else.”
“Usually social media is full of uncivil people. Sometimes you can’t even comment on a status without someone trying to argue and prove points about something you don’t care about.”
Being respectful to people is not only about online, it’s has to do with our way of life and how we treat people offline too.

To keep reading this article, click here.