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Author: TheConversation

When the “thin blue line” kills: Scholars analyze why Derek Chauvin’s trial was different

By Alexis Karteron, Associate Professor of Law, Rutgers University – Newark; Jeannine Bell, Professor of Law, Maurer School of Law, Indiana University; Rashad Shabazz, Associate Professor at the School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University; and Ric Simmons, Professor of Law, The Ohio State University Scholars analyze the guilty verdicts handed down to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the 2020 murder of George Floyd. Outside the courthouse, crowds cheered and church bells sounded – a collective release in a city scarred by police killings. Minnesota’s attorney general, whose office led the prosecution, said he would not call...

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Reaching herd immunity against COVID-19 by mass vaccination faces the barrier of Christian nationalism

Monique Deal Barlow, Doctoral Student of Political Science, Georgia State University While the majority of Americans either intend to get the COVID-19 vaccine or have already received their shots, getting white evangelicals to vaccination sites may prove more of a challenge – especially those who identify as Christian nationalists. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in February found white evangelicals to be the religious group least likely to say they would be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Nearly half (45%) said they would not get the COVID-19 shot, compared with 30% of the general population. Some evangelicals have even linked...

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From Oak Creak to Indianapolis: Sikh communities struggle to heal after latest mass shooting

By Simran Jeet Singh, Visiting Professor, Union Theological Seminary On April 16, 2021, a gunman opened fire at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis killing eight people and injuring several others before taking his own life. Four members of the Sikh community were among those gunned down. The site was reported as having a significant number of Sikh employees, and the massacre has left the community shaken and in grief. “I have sat with families from our community and so many others at the Holiday Inn Express as they wait to hear the fates of their loved ones,” said Maninder...

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Firearm Fatalities: Understanding the endemic nature of gun violence in American culture

By Lacey Wallace, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Penn State The U.S. has suffered yet another mass shooting, with a deadly attack in a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. This was the fifth mass shooting in five weeks, including a shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado that took the lives of 10 people on March 22 and just days earlier, eight people were killed in a series of shootings at spas in Atlanta, Georgia. Public outcry about gun violence, gun rights and racism and what to do about these issues is high. As a criminal justice researcher, I study...

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A Confidence Gap: Study finds that Black students have far less trust in their colleges than peers

By Kevin Fosnacht, Associate Research Scientist, Indiana University; and Shannon M. Calderone, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Washington State University Black undergraduates consistently said they trusted the people who run the colleges they attend – and society overall – substantially less than their White peers did. We have termed this difference the racial trust gap, and it was not a trivial difference. The trust gaps we observed were of a size rarely seen in education research. We also observed sizable trust gaps for Asian and Latino students, relative to White students. However, the magnitude of the differences were up...

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Derek Chauvin’s trial stirs questions about the legal, moral, and political legitimacy of any verdict

By Lewis R. Gordon, Professor of Philosophy, University of Connecticut There is a difference between enforcing the law and being the law. The world is now witnessing another in a long history of struggles for racial justice in which this distinction may be ignored. Derek Chauvin, a 45-year-old White former Minneapolis police officer, is on trial for third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man. There are three questions I find important to consider as the trial unfolds. These questions address the legal, moral, and political legitimacy of...

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