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Author: The Conversation

Wokewashing: When companies only make charitable efforts to get good PR for their brands

By Kim Sheehan, Professor of Journalism and Communication and Director of the Master’s Program in Brand Responsibility, University of Oregon More consumers want companies to address societal problems, including climate change and crumbling infrastructure. Additionally, more than half want to buy from brands that take stands on social issues. At the same time, consumers are increasingly skeptical about these partnerships, seeing them as marketing stunts. It’s called wokewashing. In marketing terms, allies are members of a dominant social group that bring attention to important social issues. A company can serve as an ally when it works to increase awareness...

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Online privacy regulated by Reagan Era law from 1988 designed to protect video rentals

By Jonathan Cohn, Assistant Professor of Digital Cultures, University of Alberta In 1988, after United States Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s videotape rental history was leaked to the press, Congress realised the threat that new technologies, through the clandestine buying and selling of personal data, had to the well-being of all citizens. They acted to fix the problem with the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), a law that forbids the sharing of video tape rental information to anyone. While a law focused on videotape rental information may seem esoteric and anachronistic, debates at the time of its writing show...

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The Big Squeeze: A new midlife crisis is confronting many over 40

By Frank J. Infurna, Associate Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University The way my mom imagined it, midlife was going to be great: counting down days until retirement, spending winters in Florida and checking off destinations on her bucket list. But it has not turned out that way. Instead of more time spent in Florida, she’s still stuck in the snowy north. She traded romps in the sea and traveling the world for her daily visits to her mom, who is in a nursing home. Instead of the joys of living the snowbird life, she’s saddled with stress, guilt...

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Lessons from the Soviet past: How a Confederate statue graveyard could help bury the Old South

By Jordan Brasher, Doctoral Candidate in Geography at University of Tennessee; and Derek H. Alderman, Professor of Geography at University of Tennessee An estimated 114 Confederate symbols have been removed from public view since 2015. In many cases, these cast-iron Robert E. Lees and Jefferson Davises were sent to storage. If the aim of statue removal is to build a more racially just South, then, as many analysts have pointed out, putting these monuments in storage is a lost opportunity. Simply unseating Confederate statues from highly visible public spaces is just the first step in a much longer process...

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Usual Suspects: Politicians continue to use mental illness as a scapegoat for gun violence

By Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University President Donald Trump called for reform of mental health laws on the heels of two deadly shootings that claimed the lives of at least 31 people and left a grief-stricken country in disbelief. The president, saying that “hatred and mental illness pulls the trigger, not the gun,” also called for better identification of people with mental illness and, in some cases, “involuntary confinement” of them. These sentiments are similar to comments that Trump and a number of other politicians have made previously. For example, after the Parkland shooting, which...

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Communities pay high economic costs resulting from changes in ICE enforcement

By Emily Ryo, Professor of Law and Sociology, University of Southern California President Donald Trump has continued threats of mass raids nationwide using the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. While these mass raids have yet to happen, the specter of sweeping immigration raids have stoked fear among immigrants and mobilized immigrant rights advocates across the country. Threats of mass raids in communities at large are representative of how the Trump administration has shifted the focus of immigration enforcement since the Obama administration, making changes that could have significant implications for U.S. democracy and the rule of law. I investigated patterns...

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