As universities deal with an increasing number of sexual assault allegations, attention is being turned to finding a way to clarify the term “consent.” Many activist groups are unhappy with the current sexual education programs in the United States, arguing that the lackluster curriculum is partly to blame for the high rates of sexual violence on college campuses.
The ability of humans to genetically modify the resources we use for food has changed the way in which we view and interact with the environment and natural resources. In the past, seeds for agricultural staples, like corn and soybeans, have undergone genetic modification to improve growth and yield and make the most efficient use of agricultural inputs. While controversy still surrounds the issue of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), many argue that they must be part of a sustainable food future in which humans make the most of every developed acre. Continue reading “GMOs, Salmon and Overfishing”
A new McDonald’s location has opened up at a controversial location in China: inside a former Taiwanese president’s villa. The home belonged to President Chiang Ching-kuo and his family, but they only lived there for about a month before fleeing to Taiwan. They left very few possessions behind and multiple families rented the house later on. Although the house was declared a cultural heritage site in 2003, part of the home was already converted into a Starbucks a few weeks ago.
This post originally appeared in The Indy Star on November 2, 2015.
Anybody who has ever been lied to or betrayed by a friend or coworker knows just how difficult it is to re-establish trust in the offending party. Sometimes, credibility that is destroyed can never be fully restored. So it is with America’s news media, which recently got yet another dismal report on public perception of the journalism industry. The media face a stiff climb in order to get back in the citizenry’s good graces.
The annual Gallup survey of media trust shows only 40 percent of Americans have a great deal, or even a fair amount, of confidence that media report the news “fully, accurately and fairly.” That matches the historic low marks recorded in election years 2012 and 2014. Over the years of the Gallup research, the lowest citizen confidence in media has come during election years. This year, of course, is not a general election year. Almost a fourth of all Americans now say they have no trust in media reporting at all.
Respondents who report they are politically independent are turning against the media in big numbers. Only 33 percent of such citizens trust the journalism industry to be fair, down a staggering 22 points in just 16 years. Independents now view the media at about the same low level as Republicans, long considered the most distrustful of media.
The most disturbing component of the study is that younger adults, ages 18 to 49, have less media trust than adults over 50. Only 36 percent of younger adults have confidence in the media, down 17 points in the last 12 years. Young adults who already have a dim view of media fairness won’t be easily won back.
The decline of younger adults trusting the media is likely a factor in the dwindling number of people who seek careers as journalists. Enrollment in college journalism programs has dropped in recent years. The highly regarded Columbia University School of Journalism is cutting staff.
Of those students in college journalism and mass media programs, approximately 70 percent are studying advertising or public relations. There was a time when PR and advertising tracks were in the less prestigious hallways of j-schools. It is hard to blame college students, however, when public relations and advertising executives are viewed as more reputable than reporters. Beyond that, reporter salaries now average only two thirds of what a public relations specialist makes, and that gap is widening. The public thinks the journalism industry is weak now, and things will only get worse given that the best and brightest in colleges aren’t seeking news careers.
Beating up on the media is now a favorite sport of most political figures, and that sustained bludgeoning is surely a factor in sinking media trust assessments. President Obama, in spite of generally beneficial news coverage during his presidential campaigns, has fought the press on several fronts during his two terms, taking particular shots at Fox News.
The presidential candidates currently getting the most traction are all ripping into the media. Donald Trump and Ben Carson on the Republican side and Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have all trashed the news media in recent weeks. Politicians’ complaining about bad press is nothing new, but the intensity and constancy of the animosity is noteworthy. It’s resonating with voters because it reinforces current public sentiment.
The American people no longer view reporters as the public surrogates they should be. Trust can’t be restored until news audiences look at reporters and sense that the journalists represent the public’s interests. Trust can’t be restored as long as the nation’s news agenda is saturated with sensational, yet low impact, stories about pop culture figures, such as Cecil the lion and a county clerk in Kentucky.
Trust can’t be restored as long as the public senses that the news media are driven more by bottom-line profit and ratings motivations than by a sense of public service, even though those two objectives are not mutually exclusive.
The trust gap between the public and media industry can be closed only when news organizations get the courage to change the vision and prevailing culture of their newsrooms. The news industry, and the nation, can’t afford another 10-point trust decline in the next 10 years. If that happens, there will no longer be a news industry. Whatever is left over will be merely part of the creative writing industry.
In the wake of tragedy, the issue of rhetoric often moves to the forefront of public discourse. The framing of an event and the way it is discussed has a powerful impact on public knowledge and understanding of an event and its aftermath. When it comes to situations such as these, one particularly difficult task is to cope with finding the proper rhetoric for discussing tragedies with children. Is there a “right way” to talk to children about these events?
There are currently more than 123,000 people on waiting lists for potentially life-saving organ donation in the United States alone. Many of these individuals will not receive the organ(s) they need in order to survive, raising the question of whether or not patients with the most need are on the top of the waiting lists.
A little over a week ago, on November 6th, President Obama rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline deal. The gigantic project has been the topic of equally gigantic controversy over the past seven years, for much of Obama’s presidency. Republicans and oil/business interests have generally been in favor of the pipeline, while environmental groups and most Democrats (with the exception of construction unions), including the president, have generally been against it.
“I was genuinely terrified.”, “We came so close to a global meltdown.” , “That was scary, mate. I mean, not film scary. Really scary.”
The date was September 15th, 2008. These were the reactions of some financial workers and bankers to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, as interviewed in the City of London by Joris Luyendijk. “The City” is the financial center in London. In his article for The Guardian Weekly, Luyendijk points out how our current financial system is “dangerously flawed”. He believes that the collapse of Lehman “could very well have been a genuine breakdown of society.” Even more terrifying is the fact that seven years after this event occurred, the reforms that banks had to endure in order for governments to bail them out were largely superficial. A new system is needed.
When Free Speech Becomes a Political Weapon (Chronicle of Higher Education)
by Kate Manne and Jason Stanley
“The notion of freedom of speech tends to be ambiguous. It is used to refer to both the political right it enshrines, and the ethical ideal it embodies.”
Did the media ignore the Beirut bombings? Or did readers? (Vox)
by Max Fisher
“The media has, in fact, covered the Beirut bombings extensively. The New York Times covered it. The Washington Post, in addition to running an Associated Press story on it, sent reporter Hugh Naylor to cover the blasts and then write a lengthy piece on their aftermath…”
China’s Bold Push into Genetically Customized Animals (Scientific American)
by Christina Larson
“The goats were made not by breeding but by directly manipulating animal DNA—a sign of how rapidly China has embraced a global gene-changing revolution.”
Do women and minorities have an advantage on the job market? (What Is It Like to Be a Woman in Philosophy?)
by Jenny Saul
“This story is for everyone who thinks women and minorities have an unfair advantage on the job market in philosophy.”
The crackdown on cigarette smoking is still in full swing, as evident by the new law proposed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro. Proposed on November 12th, this rule would enact a nation-wide requirement for public housing agencies to transition their buildings into smoke-free facilities.
Many are familiar with the popular dating app “Tinder,” best known for its quick “swiping” method of indicating interest in nearby users and creating “matches.” In an apparent effort to get away from its reputation of simply being a convenient “hook-up” app and get closer to its original dating purpose, Tinder recently announced that profiles will now feature work and education information. The change doesn’t go so far as to completely eliminate those with less education or a lower income, such as apps like Luxy, but it does bear possibly problematic consequences. Tinder has marketed this change as a response to user requests for these added profile details to help make more “informed choices”. Yet some are wary that this change comes with an ulterior motive.
In today’s world we are constantly pushed to “stay busy” and be as productive and involved as possible. With this mindset, it is often difficult to find time to slow down and let our minds rest from the intensive thinking our lives require. Because of the hectic lifestyles many people live, unstable mental health is becoming more prevalent. A practice that some doctors advocate is letting our minds “rest” and allow ourselves to daydream, which could arguably improve mental health. Daydreaming has become something with a negative connotation because of its requirement of slowing down and simply letting our minds wander, but it has been proven to be good for mental health. As a busy student on DePauw’s campus, it is interesting to consider whether finding time to daydream would be beneficial for students’ overall health and whether this practice would inhibit our ability to perform to the best of our ability in the classroom. It may be argued that the amount of work assigned by employers, teachers and professors may be ethically impermissible and inhibit students and employees from having healthy mental states.
Recent legislation aims to reform sponsorship requirements for foreign workers who live and work in Qatar. Ninety percent of individuals living in Qatar are foreign, often drawn to the area for the abundance of employment opportunities. Historically, Qatar used the Kafala system, which is used to regulate migrant workers in multiple Middle Eastern countries.
Halloween has just passed, and it is clear that public discourse on culturally sensitive and appropriate costumes continues to increase. These discussions about cultural appropriation are particularly prominent amongst America’s educated youth, who are on their way to becoming the next generation of leaders and advocates against racial discrimination. This heightened awareness is now slowly but surely making its way towards the world of sports.
Continue reading “The Sports “Race””
Hello, White Allies.
I honestly do not expect every white person to know when they are offending me, but when I say that you are offensive, just accept and apologize. When you do not accept it, you are silencing my experience. My experience is important as it highlights the inequalities in America. It allows for other people from different backgrounds to interpret and understand that certain racial injustices do exist. As people began to understand these injustices, they are able to find proper ways to fight against them. This battle is bigger than any single person on this campus. My point in addressing Kappa Alpha Theta’s decision to wear Afros was not to shame them, but use them as an example of why the perpetuation of Black dehumanization still exists. The importance of highlighting this fact is to draw to all of your attention to the meaning of dehumanization: “the psychological process of demonizing the enemy, making them seem less than human and hence not worthy of humane treatment.” Perpetuating dehumanization normalizes issues such as police brutality, structural racism, and other injustices in America. If this continues to be normalized, then how do you expect our race to make progress?
I understand that some of the women apart of this fraternity may indeed fight for Black lives and claim themselves to be allies, but unfortunately, sometimes white allies make mistakes. You all do not know the complete history of Black culture. You are not able to identify things that you do not see on a daily basis. So, when I am telling you that Black Afros and White Afros are two different textures – just as curly is to coily; when I am telling you that the texture I witnessed on white women’s head at Greek God and Goddess dance was too close to Black texture, believe me. One would not know the difference unless one is Black and being oppressed for having this hair type every single day — so I forgive your ignorance.
A real ally would take full responsibility, apologize, and raise awareness that appropriation is real. White allies are important because they are the ones who hold privileges that I do not have. You all can easily sway the opinions of this university simply because you make up the majority. You all can easily change the laws that were created to oppress me because you have the same skin color as the group that is empower. But, in order to make changes and fight with me, you have to humble yourself. White allies must admit to being wrong when wrong, do some research, and stand behind Blacks. As you can witness from the rebuttal I received from my last article, Blacks’ experiences are easily silenced and swept under the rug. So, instead of saying things such as “I helped fight for you before,” say “I apologize” and support me as I decide what is best for me and my community. I should not have to challenge my white allies to make you understand that you are hurting me.
When you arrive on DePauw’s campus, or any college campus for that matter, it is assumed that within your next three summers, an internship will occur. Usually students utilize internships to break into an industry they want to pursue post-graduation or to test the waters to see if they like that type of work. But it appears that our work culture mandates that in order to be successful later in life, students must work as interns, even if that means that you work for free or for very little money.
A clash between administrators and students at Yale went viral. Why that is unfortunate for all concerned. (Washington Post)
by Daniel W. Drezner
“As you can see, I was one of the people who found the op-ed problematic. Indeed, it’s problematic in many of the ways that Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt chronicled in an Atlantic cover story a few months ago. That said, I also find the outsize reaction to this campus contretemps — including my own tweet — to be troubling as well.”
Terry Gross and the Art of Opening Up (New York Times Magazine)
by Susan Burton
“This fall, Gross marks her 40th anniversary hosting “Fresh Air.” At 64, she is ‘the most effective and beautiful interviewer of people on the planet,’ as Marc Maron said recently, while introducing an episode of his podcast, “WTF,” that featured a conversation with Gross.”
Analysis: At The University Of Missouri, An Unlearned Free Speech Lesson (NPR)
by David Folkenflik
“…you expect college students to make mistakes during their years on campus. It’s part of the point of coming to campus. You screw up, you learn, and you take those lessons with you. You don’t expect people holding positions of authority to make those same mistakes. Yet in several instances, faculty members and administrators were documented — some on video — harassing those merely seeking to report what was unquestionably news while standing in an unquestionably public space.”
There’s a good reason protesters at the University of Missouri didn’t want the media around (Washington Post)
by Terrell Jermaine Starr
“We in the media have something important to learn from this unfortunate exchange. The protesters had a legitimate gripe: The black community distrusts the news media because it has failed to cover black pain fairly.”
Should I Help a Classmate Who Sexually Harassed My Friend Get a Job? (New York Times)
by Kwame Anthony Appiah, Amy Bloom and Kenji Yoshino
“He would probably be a leading candidate, and by passing his résumé on, I would be implicitly giving my stamp of approval. The problem is that freshman year he sexually harassed and attempted to sexually assault a good friend of mine.”
Please Pass the Cheese (On Being a Black Philosopher at a PWI in Rebellious Times) (Philosophical Percolations)
Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò
“But in philosophy, it would seem, a Black person must do serious work to advance the discussion to the value comparison stage. This is because, in philosophy, one must first argue that Black people exist.”
Though it’s always the big-ticket national elections that draw the most public attention, we need to put Trump, Hillary, Carson and Sanders away for a few minutes and talk about the local elections. A number of interesting issues were put to vote this year on the local level. Some of the issues that were determined popular vote were fracking in two California cities, decriminalization of marijuana in Ohio, minimum wage in Washington state, a ban on GMOs in Benton county, Ohio and a LGBQT issue in Houston, Texas. Such measures, which affect citizens at the community and state level, would modify, pass or vote down certain policies.
We’re constantly looking towards the future of technology and gaining excitement for every new innovation that makes our lives easier in some way. Our phones, laptops, tablets, and now even our cars are becoming increasingly smarter. Most new cars on the market today are equipped with GPS navigation, cruise control, and even with some intelligent parallel parking programs. Now, self-driving cars have made their way to the forefront of the automotive revolution.
India’s commercial surrogacy industry has been a historically lucrative part of the country’s economy. Although surrogacy brings a large amount of business to the country and its people, there is controversy over whether or not it is ethically permissible to let foreigners participate in the surrogacy process. Many Indian women who choose to become surrogates are among some of the poorest individuals in the country. Because of the worry that the women participating in surrogacy are only choosing to be surrogates for financial reasons, and not because they truly want to carry other couples’ babies to term, the government announced that it plans to ban foreigners from involvement in the Indian surrogacy industry.
The National Education System recently published an article in which author Mary Ellen Flannery cites a privately funded program in Houston that offers fifth-graders monetary awards when they “master basic math standards”. This concept is a not a new one in the discussion of how to remedy failing school systems. With educators often struggling to find more effective modes of motivating their students to perform well in the classroom, offering students money in exchange for higher performance makes sense. According to Superintendent Michele Harmala at Wayne Memorial School in Wayne, Michigan, “about 25% of the students who enroll in the program meet their goal. Another 65% improve their grades.”
To understand some of the problems with DePauw’s campus climate, one need look no further than who is participating in the discussion. I learned this lesson firsthand as a sophomore, when I attended a film screening on white privilege at the Prindle Institute. As a white man, I thought it would be important to learn about my own privilege. I hoped that others like me would do the same.