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How Many Black Boys Have to Die?

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley | 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 »

Opportunity in America: The problem with the Paul Ryan plan

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley | August 1, 2014

Last week the House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan issued a report on opportunity and poverty in America that has sparked an important national conversation. As a putative Presidential contender for 2016, Rep. Ryan’s report will help shape a discussion that will frame future election cycles as well as the direction of … Continue reading »

Inequality In the Twenty-First Century

john a. powell, director, Othering & Belonging Institute | May 2, 2014

As part of his nationwide book tour, French economist Thomas Piketty stopped on campus and in San Francisco last week to speak to overflowing lecture halls. The lecture I attended in San Francisco quickly filled to capacity, and the enthusiasm in the audience was palpable. Piketty’s new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, has catapulted … Continue reading »

To the Fruitvale Station

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | October 7, 2013

Thanks to the persistence of my wife who has insisted for some time that as residents of the East Bay we must see it in the theater along with fellow East Bayers, our whole family saw this remarkable film a couple of weeks ago. The film moved me to tears and then settled into my … Continue reading »

Fear of a Black President?

Brad DeLong, professor of economics | August 30, 2013

A few thoughts provoked by reading Mann and Ornstein this morning… Barack Obama has, after all, been pursuing Bill Clinton’s gun-control policy, Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy, John McCain’s climate policy, Mitt Romney’s health-care policy, George W. Bush’s immigration policy, the bipartisan Squam Lake Group’s financial-regulatory policy, Bill Clinton’s tax policy, George H.W. Bush’s spending policy, … Continue reading »

Why are whites so pessimistic about the future?

Sandra Susan Smith, associate professor of sociology | August 20, 2013

Americans’ collective mood has been souring. But it so happens that trends in outlook vary substantially by race and ethnicity and in seemingly paradoxical ways. According to a new report, AP-NORC_Public Mood White Malaise But Optimism Among Blacks and Hispanics, while whites are becoming more pessimistic, blacks and Hispanics have been relatively optimistic, and especially … Continue reading »

It’s not George Zimmerman, it’s the system

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley | July 19, 2013

Like many Americans, I was deeply – viscerally – disappointed in the Florida jury’s verdict to acquit George Zimmerman. While I can understand how a jury might have at least a sliver of reasonable doubt about Zimmerman’s guilt, since the only other eyewitness to the fight is dead, I am nonetheless deeply saddened by the … Continue reading »

Race and reasonable doubt: Notes from the Sanford, Fla. verdict

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | July 15, 2013

The official media narrative is in.  The acquittal of wanna-bee neighborhood guardian George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin reflects the impenetrable wall that the law and the trial judge set up between the narrow legal questions of culpability and the broad social issues that had animated passions in the case: gun carrying … Continue reading »

Shelby County v. Holder: Extend voting rights nationwide

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley | June 29, 2013

On Tuesday, June 25, the Supreme Court rolled back history when it overturned a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that was instrumental to nearly 50 years of political and social change.  The Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder opens the floodgates to new forms of voter suppression and discriminatory electoral tactics.  … Continue reading »

The new Southern strategy

john a. powell, director, Othering & Belonging Institute | January 30, 2013

When President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he told an aide that Democrats had “lost the South for a generation,” anticipating a white backlash in the South. Since the end of Reconstruction, the South had been dominated by the Democratic Party. The national party’s efforts to promote civil rights at the national … Continue reading »

An open letter to African-Americans

john a. powell, director, Othering & Belonging Institute | November 19, 2012

In the wake of the 2012 presidential election, john powell, Paul Hudson, Eva Paterson and Roger A. Clay, Jr. published the following open letter: Although we acknowledge the deep support President Obama received from many groups and from the American people generally, African-Americans were a critical constituency both nationally and in battleground states such as … Continue reading »

Obama’s racial penalty

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | October 17, 2012

Barack Obama has run his presidential races with an extra weight on his shoulders: being black. Sure, there are some pundits who claim that he benefits from his race – black loyalty, white guilt, and such – but serious scholars understand that his race has been, in net, a notable disadvantage. My rough sense from … Continue reading »

How others’ (and our) attitudes about race affect our health

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, professor of psychology | August 9, 2012

Health disparities across racial and ethnic groups suggest— but not conclusively— that discrimination affects your health. As a recent report from the American Psychological Association that I was a co-author on notes, minorities are far more susceptible to many diseases relative to majority groups, most notably heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The data are as consistent … Continue reading »

How to actually read a racist book to your kid

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | 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 »

Blind spot: How reactionary colorblindness has infected our courts and our politics

Ian Haney López, Earl Warren Professor of Public Law | June 9, 2011

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne knows racism when he sees it, and he isn’t afraid to publicly castigate the most recent agents of race hate. Horne is an outspoken opponent of racism in a state roiling with tensions about “illegal aliens” and “anchor babies.” The bigotry Horne especially rebukes? Courses like “Latino literature.” If Horne … Continue reading »

Why getting “Trumped” has been good for America

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, professor of psychology | May 5, 2011

After what seemed like interminable, passive silence– and even the perception that releasing his long-form birth certificate was a form of defeat– President Obama finally addressed Donald Trump at the Correspondents’ Dinner. It was classic Obama jiu-jitsu: I realized he was waiting for the right opportunity to strike back, and then he did so with … Continue reading »

Should we talk to young children about race?

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, professor of psychology | April 28, 2011

One of the most talked-about recent studies on how parents talk to their children about race, featured in the book “Nurture Shock,” is famous for an odd reason: the study was never completed, and no findings were published. Why? As it turns out, parents had signed up for a study about how parents communicate with their … Continue reading »

Drawing from experience

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, professor of psychology | March 25, 2011

Many years of studying intergroup conflict have taught me this: the world is like a coloring book, and culture our crayons. You see, the world provides us with only an outline, a suggestion, of what the boundaries of our experience should be. We fill in these outlines with our own interpretations, value systems, and behavior … Continue reading »