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Who was Robert Kennedy?

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, anthropology professor | June 8, 2018

There was no Saint Bobby. Robert Kennedy was a hawk not a dove, particularly with respect to his role in U.S.-Latin American relations. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, it was RFK who convinced his brother that a blockade would not be as effective as an invasion of Cuba. Relations between JFK and Bobby with Martin … Continue reading »

How to talk (and not to talk) about school shootings

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, anthropology professor | June 7, 2018

Yes, as we all know, we have been here before. Twenty years ago, the nation was shocked by the Columbine High School shooting. On June 1, 1999, the day after the massacre, President Clinton gave an impassioned speech in the Rose Garden in which he announced a national campaign against youth violence. The campaign was to mobilize businesses, volunteer organizations … Continue reading »

Trump can’t block you from his Twitter account, but you can block him from yours

William Turner, Lecturer in media studies | May 31, 2018

Last week a federal judge in New York decided that President Donald Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking individuals from his Twitter account who criticized him or his tweets. Trump admitted he barred the individuals from access to his tweets and from commenting on them because of their political opposition to Trump’s positions. Judge … Continue reading »

It’s time to raise wages for care workers

Ken Jacobs, chair, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education | May 29, 2018

If you have children, you have likely struggled to find affordable quality childcare. Many of us face the same struggle seeking home care for a loved one or ourselves. In both cases costs to consumers are often out of reach while wages for workers are too low to retain a trained, stable workforce. Ballot initiatives this year … Continue reading »

Three works about inequality converge on similar policy agenda

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | May 24, 2018

In a span of three months in 2017, three Richards— Reeves, Florida, and Rothstein—published three well-received books on inequality in America. Each work begins at starkly different origin points, but end at remarkably similar conclusions. The consensus policy agenda developed by the three Richards suggests not only the unfinished business of past generations, but also … Continue reading »

Free speech on campus: an exchange

R. Jay Wallace, professor of philosophy | May 21, 2018

On May 10, columnist Megan McArdle published a blog post for The Washington Post about the recent release of the report of the Berkeley Commission on Free Speech. As co-chair of the commission, I responded to McArdle’s post in an email, resulting in the following exchange, which I’d like to make available for those interested in the … Continue reading »

Why we must continue to fight for fair housing, 50 years on from nation’s Fair Housing Act

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | April 11, 2018

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act. The final major legislative accomplishment of the Civil Rights Movement, this act was preceded by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed for an “open housing” law several years before, but … Continue reading »

Vilified by Trump, DACA youth getting an ICEy reception across the country

Bruce Fuller, professor of education and public policy | April 5, 2018

This commentary is cross-posted from Education Week’s Commentary section, where Fuller regularly exchanges views with Lance Izumi. America’s high schools rarely offer a warm cocoon for our youths, secluded from pressing social ills. Neighborhood disparities deepen wide gaps in learning. The cowardice of pro-gun politicians leads to bloodshed inside classrooms. President Donald Trump chose Easter … Continue reading »

MLK: an enduring and great teacher

john a. powell, director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | April 4, 2018

This is cross-posted from the Haas Institute Blog of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. This week people all across the world are pausing to acknowledge the incredible life and the tragic death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I always deliberately include the “Reverend” in his title as we … Continue reading »

CEOs take to the pulpit on gun control

Kellie McElhaney, founder, Center for Responsible Business | March 28, 2018

You know their names: Emma Gonzalez (age 18); David Hogg (age 18); Naomi Wadler (age 11); Yolanda Renee King (age 9). These young people, and many more, stand at podiums to eloquently, outspokenly and loudly demand tighter gun control legislation from our political leaders following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 … Continue reading »

Facebook and the humanities: Pondering what would Oedipus do

Timothy Hampton, professor of French and comparative literature, director of the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities | March 21, 2018

No less disturbing than the recent news that the personal data of millions of Americans was culled from Facebook by the shady research firm Cambridge Analytica and provided to the Trump campaign, has been the behavior of the masters of Silicon Valley.  The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has so far been mostly silent. This … Continue reading »

Lack of oversight puts Americans’ privacy at risk across entire tech, information industry

Jennifer King, Ph.D candidate in information science at UC Berkeley’s School of Information | March 20, 2018

As fallout from the revelation of Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of Facebook user information continues, many are mistakenly calling this incident a breach. Facebook is right to claim this incident was no breach — this is Facebook’s platform working exactly as designed. I know, because I too created a survey app on Facebook for the express purpose of … Continue reading »

What economics and cars can tell us about guns

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | March 18, 2018

For years I have been teaching classes on applied economics and policy and a key concept that economists stress is externalities. Activities of individuals may cause unintentional harm to a third party. Pollution from production of steel is a classic example. But car accidents are another. And economic theory and common sense suggest that people who … Continue reading »

Trump v. Scalia on violent video games

William Turner, Lecturer in media studies |

In response to the Florida school shooting, President Donald Trump promptly convened a White House summit on what to do about violent video games. He said he has been “hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts.” He expressed concern about some of the … Continue reading »

Why doesn’t the American public use its power over the gun business?

Brian DeLay, Associate professor of history | March 7, 2018

As teenagers in Parkland, Florida, dressed for the funerals of their friends – the latest victims of a mass shooting in the U.S. – weary outrage poured forth on social media and in op-eds across the country. Once again, survivors, victims’ families and critics of U.S. gun laws demanded action to address the never-ending cycle of mass shootings and routine violence ravaging American … Continue reading »

Kerner@50: Why the Kerner Report matters for racial equity today

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | February 25, 2018

Fifty years ago this week, a special commission assembled by President Lyndon B. Johnson released a blockbuster report. Tasked with investigating the causes of more than 150 civil uprisings that erupted across the nation in 1967, the “National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders,” led by Governor Otto Kerner, squarely placed the blame on white racism. … Continue reading »

Protests in Iran: not a crushing end

Mahmood Monshipouri, visiting associate professor, Middle Eastern Studies | January 22, 2018

Several days of protests in cities small and large around Iran in the recent eruption of political unrest served as yet another reminder that Iran’s Islamic Republic titanic vessel has collided with an iceberg of new protest waves. The Islamic Republic of Iran, which has traditionally relied on recruits from smaller towns and villages and … Continue reading »

Brazil’s electoral reform: The more things change, the more they stay the same

Liz McKenna, Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology | December 16, 2017

This blog was originally published by Nexo and cross-posted by CLAS Berkeley. In the stream of sensationalist stories coming out of Brazil, electoral reform seems among the least newsworthy. The updated rules of the political game, however, reveal exactly how the deck gets stacked against democracy—and how incumbent elites tinker with institutions to consolidate power over … Continue reading »