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Delete or Ignore? Pretend You're a Facebook Content Moderator | Blog | Independent Lens | PBS
In 2018, after much debate and controversy, Facebook finally published its censorship policies. All 27 pages of them. The move, wrote the LA Times, “adds a new degree of transparency to a process that users, the public and advocates have criticized as arbitrary and opaque.” But as explored in the Independent Lens film The Cleaners, to what end do those policies translate into something sensible that a contractor hired to do the actual censoring can understand and apply?

And if you were one of those “cleaners,” what decisions would you make based on FB policy and your background?

This quiz is based on real scenarios as well as Facebook’s own censorship guidelines. Your task: Imagine that you yourself are a censor for hire, a “cleaner” whose job it is to monitor a social media feed. Get into the mindset of these real-life cleaners and try to guess what they actually decided.

Delete or ignore? Choose One.
Speech  Social  Media  constitution 
2 days ago
About Those Self-Evident Truths | On the Media | WNYC Studios
As Americans battle for control of the future of the United States, it seems that we're always going back to founding documents and core principles: relying on them and reinterpreting them, in what seems to be an increasingly arduous effort to govern ourselves. It all starts to beg an uncomfortable question: in the end, can we govern ourselves? John Adams didn’t think so. He said that all political systems, whether monarchy, democracy, aristocracy, were equally prey to the brutish nature of mankind.

Harvard historian Jill Lepore recently released a sweeping history of the American experiment called These Truths: A History of the United States. Brooke speaks with Lepore about this country's history and the history of the contested — and supposedly self-evident — truths under-girding our shaky democracy.
history  constitution  NPR 
3 days ago
Frederick Douglass in Full - The New York Times
Dependent upon abolitionist charity for his family’s daily bread, Douglass nonetheless chafed under a stifling Garrisonian orthodoxy that required adherents to embrace pacifism and abstain from politics. He charted a course away from all that by starting his own newspaper and openly embracing as household saints blood-drenched figures like the slave-rebellion leader Nat Turner and the white revolutionary John Brown, both of whom he classed with the founders.
Books  history  race  politics  War 
8 days ago
Opinion | What America Owes Frederick Douglass - The New York Times
Editorial by David W. Blight

"The very thing Your Excellency would avoid” — a race war — “in the Southern states can only be avoided by the very measure that we propose,” i.e., black suffrage, Douglass said. As the delegation walked out, the president was overheard saying: “Those damned sons of bitches thought they had me in a trap. I know that damned Douglass; he’s just like any nigger, and would sooner cut a white man’s throat than not.”

Douglass left a timeless maxim for republics in times of crisis: “Our government may at some time be in the hands of a bad man. When in the hands of a good man it is all well enough.” But “we ought to have our government so shaped that even when in the hands of a bad man we shall be safe.” Politics, he insisted, mattered as much as the air he breathed.
history  race  War  constitution  politics 
8 days ago
Anger and Identity in an Age of Polarization | On the Media | WNYC Studios
Anger and tribalism appear to be at an all time high, creating political and societal rifts that can seem unbridgeable. Indeed, it’s hard to believe that only 70 years ago, the country was deemed by political scientists not to be polarized enough, leading to confusion and disengagement on the part of the electorate. Since then, party lines have been crystallized, and the parties, polarized. Most people know exactly which party they belong to — leaving us with two camps that seek to destroy one another. Lilliana Mason is professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland and author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity. She and Bob discuss how anger and tribal identity have gotten us to the current political moment, and how we might move past it.
politics  history  Psychology 
10 days ago
Schoolbooks and Slavery in 1864: Lessons in the North and South
When you visit Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow, two of the first objects you’ll see are books: The First Dixie Reader, used in the South, and The Gospel of Slavery: A Primer of Freedom, used in the North. Both were likely used in schools to teach children to read; both were published in 1864, during the American Civil War; and both discuss slavery. However, the lessons on slavery in each book are completely different.

[digital copies of each are available]
history  race  Books  children 
10 days ago
How Black Citizenship Was Won, and Lost - The New York Times
“Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow,” an exhibition about Reconstruction and its aftermath at the New-York Historical Society through March 3, doesn’t draw explicit parallels to today’s politics. But perhaps it doesn’t have to.

“The struggle over who has the right to citizenship and who belongs has been at the heart of American life over centuries,” Marci Reaven, vice president of history exhibitions at the museum, said on a recent afternoon.

Reconstruction can be a challenging story to tell, given how it cuts against deeply held American ideas about steady moral progress. It can also seem like a very abstract story, dominated by Constitutional amendments, legal battles and court decisions.
race  history  inequalities  constitution 
10 days ago
Trump’s Birthright Citizenship Proposal Is at Odds With Legal Consensus - The New York Times
The meaning of that clause is plain, said Peter J. Spiro, a law professor at Temple University. “The conventional understanding is absolutely clear that children born in the United States are citizens of the United States, with the insignificant exception of the children of diplomats,” he said.

A main purpose of the clause was to overrule Dred Scott, the shameful 1857 Supreme Court decision that said black slaves were property and not citizens. The decision said the Constitution barred Congress and the states from granting citizenship to the descendants of slaves, and it helped prompt the Civil War.

The 1898 decision did not specifically discuss unauthorized immigrants. But in 1982, in Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court ruled that undocumented children were entitled to free public education. The court relied on another part of the 14th amendment, its equal protection clause, and it interpreted language similar to that in the citizenship clause.

“Although the court splintered over the specific question of public education,” Mr. Ho wrote, “all nine justices agreed that the Equal Protection Clause protects legal and illegal aliens alike. And all nine reached that conclusion precisely because illegal aliens are ‘subject to the jurisdiction’ of the U.S., no less than legal aliens and U.S. citizens.”
education  history  constitution 
14 days ago
Reimagining the Four Freedoms Archives | Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms
Project for students?

How might notions of freedom, as presented by Roosevelt and Rockwell during the World War II era, be reinterpreted for our times? What does freedom look like today? (MANY ARTISTIC RESPONSES FOLLOW)
art  photos  photography  history  WWII 
15 days ago
NYTimes: The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected
America’s public schools are still promoting devices with screens — even offering digital-only preschools. The rich are banning screens from class altogether.
Read More...<https://nyti.ms/2JkjOuf?smid=nytcore-ios-share>
Get  The  New  York  Times  on  your  mobile  device<https://www.nytimes.com/services/mobile/apps/> 
16 days ago
Starship Troopers: One of the Most Misunderstood Movies Ever - The Atlantic
But those critics had missed the point. Starship Troopers is satire, a ruthlessly funny and keenly self-aware sendup of right-wing militarism.
Movie  sociology  War  history 
18 days ago
Originalism is all the rage, but the Constitution’s authors had something else in mind - The Boston Globe
Despite this outsized attention, crucial features of the Constitution’s creation remain obscure. It is often assumed that the Constitution was fully created in 1787 and 1788 when it was written and ratified. But when it initially appeared, it was shrouded in uncertainty. Not only was the Constitution’s meaning unclear but, far more significantly, it was unclear what the Constitution itself actually was.

For starters, the Constitution was a written text. Unlike the unwritten British constitution that Revolution-era Americans had come of age worshiping — which was an amorphous amalgamation of custom, practice, and tradition — the American Constitution enjoyed an obvious tangible presence. Comprised of seven articles and some 4,000 words, it could be located clearly in space and time.

Accordingly, during the earliest debates over the Constitution, many congressmen assumed that it was unfinished — and that it was their job, as elected representatives, to help complete it. They embraced Madison’s earlier remarks from Federalist 37: “All new laws, though penned with the greatest technical skill. . . are considered as more or less obscure and equivocal, until their meaning be liquidated and ascertained by a series of particular discussions and adjudications.”

Over the course of the 1790s [THE CRITICAL PERIOD], more constitutional debates began to turn on appeals to the history of the Constitution’s creation. Those who had insisted that the Constitution was necessarily unfinished found it too tempting not to join this game.

Over time, sustained appeals to the Constitution’s history helped ingrain a new kind of idea: that the Constitution was born finished.

In 1788, James Madison had reminded Americans that “no language is so copious as to supply words and phrases for every complex idea.” It was a “cloudy medium” incapable of definitive expression, particularly when it came to constitutions. So while the American Constitution was fundamental law, its meaning could change as future generations interpreted its uncertain contents. [his opinion later changes]

If we look at the early history of the Constitution anew and put aside our obsessive search for an original fixed document, we will find a story about how the Constitution’s first users [CRITICAL PERIOD] inadvertently sanctioned a novel idea of constitutional fixity. [therefore, the logic goes, *that* concept is in itself a construction, post-ratification]
constitution  history 
24 days ago
African Burial Ground Digital Diaries - New York National Parks
PBS film 55 minutes long

From the 1690s until the 1790s, both free and enslaved Africans were buried in a 6.6 acre burial ground in Lower Manhattan, outside the boundaries of the settlement of New Amsterdam, later known as New York. Lost to history due to landfill and development, the grounds were rediscovered in 1991 as a consequence of the planned construction of a Federal office building. A memorial at the African Burial Ground National Monument honors the memories of the estimated 15,000 enslaved and free Africans who were interred in the burial ground.
history  race  mythology  Video 
25 days ago
Large Majorities Dislike Political Correctness - The Atlantic
With the exception of the small tribe of devoted conservatives, progressive activists are the most racially homogeneous group in the country.

One obvious question is what people mean by “political correctness.” In the extended interviews and focus groups, participants made clear that they were concerned about their day-to-day ability to express themselves: They worry that a lack of familiarity with a topic, or an unthinking word choice, could lead to serious social sanctions for them. But since the survey question did not define political correctness for respondents, we cannot be sure what, exactly, the 80 percent of Americans who regard it as a problem have in mind.
politics  race  sociology 
4 weeks ago
Jonathan Haidt: Can a divided America heal? | TED Talk
We evolved for tribalism. One of the simplest and greatest insights into human social nature is the Bedouin proverb: "Me against my brother; me and my brother against our cousin; me and my brother and cousins against the stranger."

And that tribalism allowed us to create large societies and to come together in order to compete with others. That brought us out of the jungle and out of small groups, but it means that we have eternal conflict. The question you have to look at is: What aspects of our society are making that more bitter, and what are calming them down?

Diversity and immigration do a lot of good things. But what the globalists, I think, don't see, what they don't want to see, is that ethnic diversity cuts social capital and trust.

There's a very important study by Robert Putnam, the author of "Bowling Alone," looking at social capital databases. And basically, the more people feel that they are the same, the more they trust each other, the more they can have a redistributionist welfare state.

There's wonderful work by a political scientist named Karen Stenner, who shows that when people have a sense that we are all united, we're all the same, there are many people who have a predisposition to authoritarianism. Those people aren't particularly racist when they feel as through there's not a threat to our social and moral order. But if you prime them experimentally by thinking we're coming apart, people are getting more different, then they get more racist, homophobic, they want to kick out the deviants. So it's in part that you get an authoritarian reaction. The left, following through the Lennonist line -- the John Lennon line -- does things that create an authoritarian reaction.

JH: You have to see six to ten different threads all coming together. I'll just list a couple of them. So in America, one of the big -- actually, America and Europe -- one of the biggest ones is World War II. There's interesting research from Joe Henrich and others that says if your country was at war, especially when you were young, then we test you 30 years later in a commons dilemma or a prisoner's dilemma, you're more cooperative. Because of our tribal nature, if you're -- my parents were teenagers during World War II, and they would go out looking for scraps of aluminum to help the war effort. I mean, everybody pulled together. And so then these people go on, they rise up through business and government, they take leadership positions. They're really good at compromise and cooperation. They all retire by the '90s. So we're left with baby boomers by the end of the '90s. And their youth was spent fighting each other within each country, in 1968 and afterwards. The loss of the World War II generation, "The Greatest Generation," is huge. So that's one.
Video  politics  culture  Psychology  sociology  Social  Media  WWII  history 
5 weeks ago
Jonathan Haidt: The moral roots of liberals and conservatives | TED Talk
1) Harm/Care (compassion for the weak, eg.)
2) Fairness/Reciprocity (unclear if this appears in animals)
3) Ingroup/Loyalty (tribal psych/found in animal groups, too)
4) Authority/Respect (voluntary deference)
5) Purity/Sanctity (attaining virtue via body control, the Left & food)

Across cultures, Liberals tend to value or function on 2 channels, Conservatives function on all 5 channels.
Video  education  politics  Psychology  culture  sociology 
5 weeks ago
Great American High School: Reforming the Nation’s Remaining Low-Performing High Schools | America's Promise Alliance
Over the last two decades, the number of low-performing high schools has been cut in half, as high school graduation rates have reached an all-time high. While graduation at the remaining low-performing high schools still is just a 50-50 proposition, these schools make up a small percentage of high schools throughout the country, totaling just 10 percent of all traditional high schools enrolling 300 or more students.

From this progress, a clear vision emerges on how high schools can be reformed to once again serve as engines of economic and community development. This is why the Great American High School report, authored by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University, was released in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education, as part of the GradNation campaign working to increase the national on-time graduation rate to 90 percent.
education  inequalities  sociology 
5 weeks ago
Exclusive: we re-ran polls from 1991 on Anita Hill, this time on Christine Blasey Ford - Vox
The answer might seem obvious, but some of Kavanaugh’s defenders have argued that he should be confirmed — even if guilty. The understandably pseudonymous Federalist contributor Soren Midgley has argued that “what we know about Kavanaugh’s record for the last 30 years of his life tells us the realized negative consequences would be minimal if he were actually guilty.” Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle has gone further, stating, “I would be cool with a teen murderer getting a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”

Americans at large took a different stand in October 1991, and take a mostly identical one today. In both cases, a minority of 31-33 percent say that the allegations, if true, shouldn’t disqualify Thomas/Kavanaugh from the court, while 67-69 percent argue they should.

It’s easy, especially in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations and #MeToo, to assume that the American public takes allegations of sexual harassment and assault more seriously than it did decades ago. And some parts of our survey confirm that, especially the findings that American voters think less of Trump and of senators who support Kavanaugh.

But in the crucial matter of whether a true accusation of sexual assault is important enough to derail a nomination, things haven’t changed much since 1991.

In part because of the demographic makeup of the parties, there are significant gaps based on age, race, and church attendance as well. Eighty-four percent of black respondents and 75 percent of Hispanic respondents say a true allegation is enough to reject, compared to 66 percent of whites. 78 percent of people between 18 and 30 said a true allegation would be enough, compared to 63 percent of people 66 or older.
politics  gender  women  inequalities  history  sociology 
5 weeks ago
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