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Author: TheConversation

Racial battle fatigue: The cumulative effects of hostility that Black people experience in White society

By Geremy Grant, Assistant Professor of School Psychology, Alfred University When William A. Smith, a scholar of education and culture, introduced the term “racial battle fatigue” in 2003, he used it to describe the cumulative effects of racial hostility that Black people, specifically faculty and graduate students, experience at predominantly white colleges and universities. In short, it takes a toll on their psychological, physical and emotional well-being. Since then, the term has been applied by scholars to Hispanic undergraduates and women of color. Scholars have also applied the term to groups beyond the college campus, such as teachers of...

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Story of Nearest Green: When a Black distiller was credited for teaching Jack Daniel how to make whiskey

By Stefanie Benjamin, Assistant Professor of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management, University of Tennessee When you hear the name Jack Daniel, whiskey probably comes to mind. But what about the name Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green? In 2016, The New York Times published a story about the distiller’s “hidden ingredient” – “help from a slave.” In the article, the brand officially acknowledged that an enslaved man, Nearest Green, taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey. Since then, scholars, researchers and journalists have descended upon Lynchburg, Tennessee, hoping to learn more about a man who, until then, had appeared as a...

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Blind spots in color blindness: Black police officers are infected by same anti-Black bias as White society

By Rashad Shabazz, Associate Professor at the School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University Once again, Americans are left reeling from the horror of video footage showing police brutalizing an unarmed Black man who later died. Some details in the latest case of extreme police violence were gut-wrenchingly familiar: a police traffic stop of a Black male motorist turned violent. But, for many of us, other details were unfamiliar: The five police officers accused of using everything from pepper spray to a Taser, a police baton and intermittent kicks and punches against the motorist were also Black. After pulling...

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Social media never forgets: Why the digital experience of daily life makes it hard to move on from a breakup

By Kate G. Blackburn, Post Doctoral Researcher, The University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts; Leah E. LeFebvre, Associate Professor of Communication, University of Alabama; and Nick Brody, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, University of Puget Sound Before the internet, people commonly burned Polaroids and love letters in a fire as an act of closure following a breakup. Nowadays, it is not so simple. People produce and consume massive amounts of digital stuff – 33 trillion gigabytes of online data in 2018 alone, a number that has surely grown. Even as more and more of daily life...

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The loss of “Black Twitter” would make it harder to discuss racism and publicize police brutality

By Deion Scott Hawkins, Assistant Professor of Argumentation & Advocacy, Emerson College Before the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile and Sandra Bland were propelled into the media spotlight, their names were Twitter #hashtags. In 2020, Twitter was essential to the spread of historic Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality across the world. But Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has thrown the future of Black Twitter into question. Social media users argue that the takeover has already had an impact on the Black social media community. For instance, not only do multiple sources report an almost...

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Disney’s Magic: When people come close to crossing the boundaries between consumerism and religion

By Hannah McKillop, Doctoral Student in Religious Studies, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa Disney has been making the headlines lately, but it has not been about blockbusters. Recently, people have been up in arms over a ruined Disney park proposal and a couple who opted to have Minnie and Mickey at their wedding instead of food. Many news articles and social media users were quick to say that for some folks, Disney is a religion — citing mythologies, symbols, rituals, community and regular expensive pilgrimages to the park as central reasons. But just because many people treat Disney as sacred,...

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