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Author: The Conversation

A whitewashed curriculum fails to teach basic historical facts about racial supremacy

By Noelle Hurd, Scully Family Discovery Associate Professor in Psychology, University of Virginia When it comes to how deeply embedded racism is in American society, blacks and whites have sharply different views. For instance, 70 percent of whites believe that individual discrimination is a bigger problem than discrimination built into the nation’s laws and institutions. Only 48 percent of blacks believe that is true. Many blacks and whites also fail to see eye to eye regarding the use of blackface, which dominated the news cycle during the early part of 2019 due to a series of scandals that involve...

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Humble Patriotism: The inclusive and collective pride found in the nature of National Parks

By Jennifer Ladino, Associate Professor of English, University of Idaho For many Americans the physical grandeur of parks like Grand Teton, Yosemite and Yellowstone inspires patriotic pride. Twenty-first-century patriotism is a touchy subject, increasingly claimed by America’s conservative right. But the national park system is designed to be democratic – protecting lands that belong to the public for all to enjoy – and politically neutral. The parks are spaces where love of country can be shared by all. But some sites send more complex messages. In my new book, Memorials Matter: Emotion, Environment, and Public Memory at American Historical...

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Toxins Among Us: The danger and damage from exposure to lead

By Christopher P. Holstege, Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Virginia Everything is a toxin, or has the potential to be, in the field of toxicology. In the 1500s, Swiss physician Paracelsus, the father of toxicology, coined his famous dictum: “What is there that is not poison? All things are poison and nothing is without poison. Solely the dose determines that a thing is not a poison.” Lead, however, is toxic at any dose. It serves no purpose in our body. Unlike most other toxins that our body can eliminate through metabolism and excretion, our body has...

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How the news media fumbled reporting about the Stonewall riots

By Chad Painter, Assistant Professor of Communications, University of Dayton The Stonewall riots were a six-night series of protests that began in the early morning of June 28, 1969, and centered around the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. Four days earlier, on June 24, 1969, the police, led by Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine, raided the Stonewall Inn and began arresting bar employees and confiscating liquor. But when Pine led a second raid on the 28th, patrons fought back. Approximately 150 people fled, regrouped on the street and stormed the bar, trapping the police inside. The...

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New Digital Divide: People who trust their lives to algorithms vs. those who opt out

By Anjana Susarla, Associate Professor of Information Systems, Michigan State University Every aspect of life can be guided by artificial intelligence algorithms – from choosing what route to take for your morning commute, to deciding whom to take on a date, to complex legal and judicial matters such as predictive policing. Big tech companies like Google and Facebook use AI to obtain insights on their gargantuan trove of detailed customer data. This allows them monetize users’ collective preferences through practices such as micro-targeting, a strategy used by advertisers to narrowly target specific sets of users. In parallel, many people...

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Data insecurity drives economic injustice and sharpens financial distress for low-income families

By Michele Gilman, Venable Professor of Law, University of Baltimore Congress may finally be on the verge of passing a comprehensive federal privacy law after almost a half-century of trying. Even the tech lobby is on board following years of resistance. The growing bipartisan support for privacy legislation seems to be responding to the public “techlash” against a drumbeat of data breaches and social media misinformation campaigns. It also appears aimed at preventing a patchwork of state laws after California passed its own privacy legislation in 2018. While the time is right to enact a new law, what you...

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