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The birth of a new white supremacist movement

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | March 4, 2016

We’re seeing the birth of a new white supremacist movement in the US. I want to talk about the responsibility of white liberals and progressives for letting it happen. This movement has been growing, and growing bolder, since President Obama was elected. It’s not covert or subtle; it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than … Continue reading »

Structural racism in Flint, Michigan

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | January 18, 2016

On Jan. 16, 2016, President Barack Obama signed an order declaring a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan.[i]  It was not because of a tornado or hurricane, flooding or landslides, as was the case in South Carolina or Mississippi a few weeks before, or any other natural disaster.[ii]  Rather, it was a response to a … Continue reading »

Racing into the future

john a. powell, director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | January 2, 2016

“Identity” — Dictionary.com’s “Word of the Year” — was undoubtedly one of the most popular topics of 2015. As what has been called “the year of identity” draws to a close, issues of race remain at the forefront of our nation’s consciousness and reality when it comes to identity. In the past few weeks alone we’ve … Continue reading »

What Trump gets right

john a. powell, director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | December 15, 2015

How does one make sense of a US presidential candidate calling for the banning of Muslims entering the country and the tracking and profiling of those who live here? How does one make sense of a US Supreme Court justice suggesting that Blacks should not go to top-tier universities? We live in strange times and … Continue reading »

The Charleston massacre: What is the meaning of black life in America?

Stephanie Jones-Rogers, assistant professor of history | July 13, 2015

“Was already weary. Was already heavy hearted. Was already tired. Where can we be safe? Where can we be free?” I excerpted these words from a tweet that Solange Knowles (Beyoncé’s younger sister) posted on June 18th at 6:49pm, the evening after Dylann Roof walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, … Continue reading »

Racism is not a mental illness

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | June 20, 2015

On Wednesday, a young white man named Dylann Roof killed nine black people at prayer in South Carolina. Some have called it racism. Others say it was a crazy, isolated act. “He was one of these whacked out kids,” said Senator Lindsey Graham. “I don’t think it’s anything broader than that.” Does Graham have a … Continue reading »

The Top 10 Insights from the “Science of a Meaningful Life” in 2014

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | January 3, 2015

It’s time once again for our favorite year-end ritual here at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center: Our annual list of the top scientific insights produced by the study of happiness, altruism, mindfulness, gratitude–what we call “the science of a meaningful life.” We found that this year, the science of a meaningful life yielded many … Continue reading »

Pointergate: Where to point the blame in media bias

Rasheed Shabazz, former communications fellow, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | December 10, 2014

What happens when a mayor of a major U.S. city points at a resident while posing for a photo? If that mayor poses with a black male, police officers might accuse that mayor of throwing up gang signs. That’s what happened when Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, while canvassing for GOTV (Get Out the Vote) activities … Continue reading »

1964 to the present — a personal perspective

Robert Birgeneau, professor of physics, former chancellor | September 22, 2014

During the historic Free Speech Movement period at Berkeley, beginning in the autumn of 1964, I was a graduate student in physics at Yale University. There was no doubt that Berkeley students were playing a leadership role for us all across the country. At Yale, the focus was primarily on civil rights. Racism and its destructive … Continue reading »

Why Gov. Nixon has to remove prosecutor

Jack Glaser, associate professor of public policy | August 28, 2014

We are a long way from knowing precisely what happened in Ferguson, two weeks ago, but one thing is clear: The town’s name has become yet another synonym for the chasm of experience dividing white and black America. Time and again, young African-American men have been fatally shot by police under ambiguous circumstances: Amadou Diallo, … Continue reading »

Ferguson and human dignity

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | August 27, 2014

Michael Brown was buried Monday (August 25, 2014) in St. Louis, near his hometown of Ferguson, Mo. As the world knows by now, two weeks ago the 18-year-old recent high-school graduate was shot six times and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Michael Brown was unarmed, and the reasons for Officer Wilson’s actions have yet … Continue reading »

How Many Black Boys Have to Die?

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | August 14, 2014

Although the “facts” are still in dispute, it’s not presumptuous to add Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri to the list of young black men and boys killed by overzealous police or armed civilians: Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant, Jordan Davis and so many more, including young women like Renisha McBride. The … Continue reading »

What does prejudice reveal about what it means to be human?

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | October 22, 2013

The questions raised by racism and xenophobia go straight to the heart of what it means to be human, for they involve dehumanization. Prejudice means we implicitly embrace a definition of humanity that includes some — usually those who most resemble us — and excludes others. That’s why Susan T. Fiske was invited to speak … Continue reading »

Can patriotism be compassionate?

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | July 2, 2013

Feeling ambivalent about the Fourth of July? You’re not alone. “I don’t mean love, when I say patriotism,” writes Ursula K. Le Guin in her classic 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness. “I mean fear. The fear of the other. And its expressions are political, not poetical: hate, rivalry, aggression.” In some corners, patriotism … Continue reading »

Human origins and Africa

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, associate professor of psychology | July 17, 2012

Archaeology has witnessed a number of recent new discoveries that make this an exciting time to be studying human evolution. In this piece, for example, Dr. Chris Stringer discusses how technology is accelerating — even upending — our understanding of human origins. Accordng to Stringer, though, the scientific community remains in consensus about one thing: modern … Continue reading »

How to actually read a racist book to your kid

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | July 2, 2012

On June 15, the novelist Stephen Marche published a thought-provoking piece in The New York Times entitled, “How to Read Racist Books to Your Kids.” I empathized with the issues he faced — I’ve also felt ambushed by racist imagery when reading classic children’s books to my multiracial child — and I was sympathetic to … Continue reading »

Jeremy Lin and racism? How subtle discrimination affects targets

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, associate professor of psychology | February 24, 2012

In last week’s post, I compared Jeremy Lin to Jackie Robinson, making the point that Lin might open doors for other Asian American athletes in pro sports. One reader, Angela, astutely pointed out that the analogy is problematic: “There was an actual structure preventing such players from participating, a structure that doesn’t exist for Asians … Continue reading »

Racial bias and bankruptcy: Implications for the 2012 election

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, associate professor of psychology | January 26, 2012

In the news this week, more evidence of discrimination under our seemingly egalitarian noses: A forthcoming study in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies shows that lawyers are about twice as likely to steer blacks debtors filing for bankruptcy towards the harsher chapter 13 than they are other filers, whom they are more likely to … Continue reading »

Making the invisible visible: Campus Republicans’ bake sale

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, associate professor of psychology | September 26, 2011

As reported by CNN here, Berkeley’s campus Republicans are planning a bake sale with a sliding scale for payment, depending on the buyer’s gender and background. According to the organization’s president, “it’s really there to cause people to think more critically about what this kind of policy would do in university admissions.” The organization is protesting … Continue reading »