By Dimitris Xygalatas, Assistant Professor in Anthropology, University of Connecticut. Dimitris Xygalatas, CC BY Why do people distrust atheists? A recent study we conducted, led by psychologist Will Gervais, found widespread and extreme moral prejudice against atheists around the world.
A researcher on youth organizing presents her evidence for how critical race theory benefits students and society
Critical race theory – an academic framework that holds that racism is embedded in society – has become the subject of an intense debate about how issues of race should or shouldn't be taught in schools.
Largely missing in the debate is evidence of how exposure to critical race theory actually affects students.
As a researcher who specializes in youth activism, I have conducted research on and with youth organizing groups in which critical race theory is a core component of the political education. Eighty-two percent of youth organizing groups regularly offer political education, which involves a critical examination of social issues, usually through workshops and group discussions.
1. Ignites passion
First, research shows that learning to apply a critical race theoretical perspective and think critically about society do not fuel a sense of divisiveness among youth, as some politicians have suggested.
Instead, I have found that doing so can ignite passion in youths to work collaboratively to bring about social change aimed at equity.
In my research, I have observed that when youth organizers learn how power and privilege are reproduced from one generation to the next through racialized policies like redlining or discrimination in housing, funding school districts on the basis of property taxes, which favors wealthier school districts, and tracking students into different academic levels, they often become inspired to take action to redress unfair conditions.
Many of the low-income youth organizers of color I have studied come to realize that most of their struggles in life are not their fault. They develop hope that reform is possible, if only policymakers and the public embrace more equitable policies. And so they set to work devising and advocating for such policies.
This framework helps young people understand how societal oppression of groups of people, such as racial minorities, spirals as individuals from those groups internalize oppression and begin to act on the negative stereotypes they have internalized. These actions, in turn, lead to further oppression, such as greater police surveillance, supervision and state violence as the spiral continues.
Across years, participants repeatedly told me how empowering it was to learn this framework. It helped them to make sense of what they saw happening in their communities. More significantly, it prompted them to consider how they could disrupt the spiral, both individually and collectively. Rather than seeing themselves through the binary lens of victim or oppressor, they adopted identities as change agents, committed to institutional and societal reform.
2. Improves academics
Second, research shows youth organizers become more academically successful in school as they progress through organizing.
For example, in one study, I found that two-thirds of the actively involved youth organizers in Philadelphia's lowest-performing schools significantly improved their grade-point averages.
Similarly, other scholars have found that youth organizers are more likely than their peers to report that they received mostly A and B grades in high school, and they go on to attend four-year colleges at higher rates. Ironically, research shows that while youth organizing helps young people become more aware of inequities within and across schools, it can also make them less alienated in school and more committed to academics.
3. Lifelong benefits
Third, the benefits of being exposed to critical theory through youth organizing do not end in high school or college. My research has shown that formative experiences in youth organizing can shape the choices individuals make in their professional and civic lives as adults.
Alumni explain how the values and dispositions cultivated in organizing led them not only to adopt pro-social careers as, for example, educators or counselors, but also to find ways to continue to participate constructively in the civic life of their communities as young adults.
Other researchers have turned up similar results. In one large-scale study in California, researchers found that as adults, former youth organizers are far more likely than their peers to have volunteered, worked on an issue affecting their community, participated in civic organizations and registered to vote. These results raise the question: Could such outcomes become more widespread if schools adopted some of the principles and curricular frameworks of youth organizing, including critical race theory?
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As the debate over critical race theory and its place in schools rages on, it is important that the discourse be grounded in evidence.
These outcomes are most pronounced for low-income youth of color. When politicians advance legislation to block the use of critical race theory in schools, they may actually be blocking an important means of fostering outcomes that would make America's democracy more robust and vibrant than it would otherwise be.
The trial of a wealthy banker who allegedly tried to get a job in Donald Trump's administration by handing out a sweetheart loan to Paul Manafort will center on the testimony of former White House official Anthony Scaramucci, Bloomberg is reporting.
Stephen Calk, founder and chief executive of Federal Savings Bank, stands accused of approving $16 million in loans to former Trump campaign manager Manafort with an eye on a job at the Pentagon.
According to the report, Calk 'greenlighted' the loans "in exchange for a cabinet post or ambassadorship."
"Scaramucci is expected to testify 'that Manafort asked him to get Calk an interview for the position of Secretary of the Army, and that he complied with the request despite believing that Calk was not qualified.'"
According to Bloomberg's Bob Van Vooris, "The testimony may shed light on the early days of the Trump administration, including the struggles to staff the White House and top levels of the U.S. government following his surprising victory over Hillary Clinton."
For his part, Calk has denied the charges filed in a Manhattan court despite a document he sent to Manafort titled, "Stephen M. Calk Perspective Rolls (sic) in the Administration," that suggested he would also be interested in becoming Treasury Secretary.
According to the report, Scaramucci allegedly texted Manafort, "Would he take under secretary of the Army? Are we double sure? If so, I think we can get it done."
"Minutes after receiving the text, Manafort called Calk, talking with him for more than 11 minutes about the administration role but also a $6.5 million loan, prosecutors said," with the report adding Manafort texted Scaramucci afterward, writing, "Yes he will def take it."
You can read more here.
GOP’s Marjorie Taylor Greene says she opposes Black Lives Matter – but her investments say something different
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) invested in companies that back the Black Lives Matter movement she denounced as a "terrorist threat."
The Georgia Republican introduced legislation to award Congressional Gold Medals to police officers who served on duty during nationwide protests last year over police brutality, just weeks before scooping up $15,000 in stock from Walmart, whose president and CEO pledged support for the civil rights movement's goals, reported Insider.
That May 19 investment was disclosed last week in a required transaction filing reviewed by the website, which also found that she'd purchased the same amount in stock from NextEra Energy -- a power-generation company that has vowed to roll back its own harmful contributions to the climate crisis Greene denies.
Greene also purchased up to $30,000 in Nestle SA shares on May 18 or 19 and $15,000 in shares from Advanced Micro Devices, BHP Group, Seagate Technology Holdings, Southern Co. and Vulcan Materials.
The lawmaker told Insider that all her stock activity could be attributed to a financial adviser, but she did not say whether she provided any guidance to that individual about stocks to choose or avoid.
"I have an independent investment advisor that has full discretionary authority on my accounts," Greene told the website by email. "I do not direct any trades."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) have said they plan to introduce bills banning stock trading by lawmakers.
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