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The many problems with “I want mixed babies”

25 Oct

Non-academic vlog discussing mixed babies and how parents of mixed race children should be prepared to deal with identity issues of their children.

The Evidence That White Children Benefit From Integrated Schools

20 Oct

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/10/19/446085513/the-evidence-that-white-children-benefit-from-integrated-schools

The Evidence That White Children Benefit From Integrated Schools

OCTOBER 19, 2015 6:04 AM ET

Recently a neighborhood in Brooklyn made national headlines for a fight over public schools. Lots of affluent, mainly white families have been moving into new condos in the waterfront area called DUMBO, and the local elementary school is getting overcrowded.

The city wants to redraw the zones in a way that would send kids from this predominantly white school to a nearby school where enrollment is over 90 percent black and Hispanic and which draws many of its students from a public housing project. Some parents on both sides of the line balked.

“Liberal hypocrisy,” was the headline in the conservative National Review.

The tacit assumption was that sending children to a majority-minority school would entail a sacrifice, one that pits their own children against their (presumably) progressive ideals.

But there’s plenty of evidence that suggests the opposite: White students might actually benefit from a more diverse environment.

Here are three reasons why.

1. Their test scores won’t be any lower.

The federal government just released a report looking at the black-white achievement gap. It found something remarkable: “White student achievement in schools with the highest Black student density did not differ from White student achievement in schools with the lowest density.”

Translation: After controlling for socioeconomic status, white students essentially had the same test scores whether they went to a school that was overwhelmingly white or one that was overwhelmingly black.

This finding “confirms decades of research that white students’ achievement is not harmed” by the color of their classmates’ skin, says Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, an education professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, who researches race, stratification and inequality in American schools.

2. They may work harder and smarter.

Katherine Phillips is a professor at Columbia Business School who studies the benefits of diversity — a growing field. For example, there’s evidence that corporations with better gender and racial representation make more money and are more innovative. And many higher education groups have collected large amounts of evidence on the educational benefits of diversity in support of affirmative action policies.

In one set of studies, Phillips gave small groups of three people a murder mystery to solve. Some of the groups were all white and others had a nonwhite member. The diverse groups were significantly more likely to find the right answer.

“What the work tells us is that when you have people from the social majority in a diverse environment they work harder and focus on the task more,” Phillips explains. “They think about problems more broadly.”

And, she adds, they are more likely to back up their own opinions and consider alternative points of view, rather than assuming that everyone thinks as they do.

Phillips believes that her research, done on business students, could generalize to other classroom settings. Being in a homogeneous group may feel more pleasant, she says, but diverse groups keep people on their toes.

This is potentially an important finding for schools, given the Common Core’s emphasis on deep learning, critical thinking and citing evidence.

3. They may become more empathetic and less prejudiced.

“Diverse schools, especially when kids attend them at an early age, are linked to cross-racial friendships,” says Siegel-Hawley. “Your willingness to stereotype declines, and that in turn is linked to a reduction in prejudice.”

Considering that the United States is projected to be majority-minority by 2044, when today’s elementary school students are in the workforce, being comfortable with difference may become a competitive necessity.

All of the researchers I spoke with emphasized that the benefits of diversity don’t come at the stroke of a redistricting pen.

“The benefits aren’t automatic,” says Phillips. “If you put people in diverse environments they can go really badly or really well. A lot of it is a function of things like how much you respect the people in the room.”

Still, given that truly integrated public schools have long-established benefits for students who are poor and who come from minority groups, many researchers believe that creating classrooms that benefit everyone is a good policy.

“Cities and schools need really strong leadership that articulates clearly the need for diversity and equity and why it’s connected to 21st century skills,” says Siegel-Hawley.

14 y/o teen Muslim in Texas

17 Sep

http://www.vox.com/2015/9/16/9337053/Ahmed-Mohamed-school-arrest

Here’s how a Texas school explained arresting a 14-year-old Muslim boy for making a clock

http://www.vox.com/2015/9/16/9336557/ahmed-mohamed-clock-school

Racialicious website

31 Aug

http://www.racialicious.com/

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

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Mustard Gas Study WWII

22 Jun

http://www.npr.org/2015/06/22/415194765/u-s-troops-tested-by-race-in-secret-world-war-ii-chemical-experiments

As a young U.S. Army soldier during World War II, Rollins Edwards knew better than to refuse an assignment.

When officers led him and a dozen others into a wooden gas chamber and locked the door, he didn’t complain. None of them did. Then, a mixture of mustard gas and a similar agent called lewisite was piped inside.

“It felt like you were on fire,” recalls Edwards, now 93 years old. “Guys started screaming and hollering and trying to break out. And then some of the guys fainted. And finally they opened the door and let us out, and the guys were just, they were in bad shape.”

About This Investigation

This is Part 1 of a two-part investigation on mustard gas testing conducted by the U.S. military during World War II. The second story in this report will examine the failures by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide benefits to those injured by military mustard gas experiments.

Edwards was one of 60,000 enlisted men enrolled in a once-secret government program — formally declassified in 1993 — to test mustard gas and other chemical agents on American troops. But there was a specific reason he was chosen: Edwards is African-American.

“They said we were being tested to see what effect these gases would have on black skins,” Edwards says.

An NPR investigation has found evidence that Edwards’ experience was not unique. While the Pentagon admitted decades ago that it used American troops as test subjects in experiments with mustard gas, until now, officials have never spoken about the tests that grouped subjects by race.

For the first time, NPR tracked down some of the men used in the race-based experiments. And it wasn’t just African-Americans. Japanese-Americans were used as test subjects, serving as proxies for the enemy so scientists could explore how mustard gas and other chemicals might affect Japanese troops. Puerto Rican soldiers were also singled out…

http://www.npr.org/2015/06/23/416408655/the-vas-broken-promise-to-thousands-of-vets-exposed-to-mustard-gas

The VA’s broken promise to those exposed to Mustard Gas

In secret chemical weapons experiments conducted during World War II, the U.S. military exposed thousands of American troops to mustard gas.

When those experiments were formally declassified in the 1990s, the Department of Veterans Affairs made two promises: to locate about 4,000 men who were used in the most extreme tests, and to compensate those who had permanent injuries.

Charlie Cavell at his home in Virginia. He is one of 60,000 World War II veterans exposed to mustard gas as part of secret experiments by the U.S. military.
Ariel Zambelich/NPR

But the VA didn’t uphold those promises, an NPR investigation has found.

NPR interviewed more than 40 living test subjects and family members, and they describe an unending cycle of appeals and denials as they struggled to get government benefits for mustard gas exposure. Some gave up out of frustration.

When Serena Williams wins, the racist and sexist comments follow

8 Jun

This article does a great job breaking down the racism and sexism in people’s reactions to Williams’ performance. It has a very good, succinct video to explain the social construction of race.

Noam Chomsky on Israel-Palestine Oct 2014

29 Nov

In U.N. Speech, Noam Chomsky Blasts United States for Supporting Israel, Blocking Palestinian State
This is from Democracy Now. Speech and transcript at:
http://www.democracynow.org/2014/11/27/in_un_speech_noam_chomsky_blasts