Culture + Society – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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The ‘It’s okay to be white’ poster campaign, seen in the context of reacting to ‘Black Lives Matter,’ cannot be seen as benign. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The trouble with saying ‘it’s okay to be white’

Posters with the phrase "It's okay to be white" were found around the campus of the University of Manitoba. What does it really mean?
North Korea and Cuba have struck up a friendship that is particularly bizarre given each country’s attitudes towards children. North Korean children, left, live an Orwellian nightmare at the hands of its socialist government while Cuban children, right, are revered, supported and celebrated. The Associated Press

What about the kids? The worrisome Cuba-North Korea friendship

The new friendship between North Korea and Cuba is puzzling. The two countries should share values as socialist republics, but their brands of socialism are worlds apart when it comes to children.
Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib became one of two Muslim women to be elected to Congress in the recent midterm elections. How voters gender-identify has an impact on how they vote. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

How sex and gender influence how we vote

Men and women are not unified voting blocs. We must consider how voters identify themselves in terms of gender to truly understand how women and men think about politics.
Barbados was ground zero for racism and slavery but due to the resilience of the islanders, it is a model country of democracy. Here a sugar cane harvest post card, circa 1927. W. L. Johnson & Co. Ltd., Barbados. No. 15

The resilience of Barbados counters Trump’s ‘sh-thole’ remarks

U.S. President Trump's former attorney revealed some ugly racist things his client has said. One of them - once again - speaks of "shit-hole" countries. We need to counter this false idea.
Emile Durkheim who taught at Sorbonne University is considered a founder of modern sociology. School of Life/You Tube

Pioneering sociologist foresaw our current chaos 100 years ago

Emile Durkheim helped to lay the foundations of sociological thought and theory. He spoke of our current condition as being influenced by social structures and institutions.
The fact that parents may be physically absent from schools does not mean they are disinterested in their children’s academic and professional success. Muhammad Rizwan/Unsplash

Too busy for the PTA, but working-class parents care

Working class parents may be too busy to attend high school events, but they take an active role in their children's success.
MP Tony Clement has resigned from the Conservative caucus after admitting to sending “intimate” photos to women he met online. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

The Tony Clement scandal shows all texting is sexting

Former Conservative MP Tony Clement, dropped from caucus over a public sexting scandal raises questions for all of us about what is too much in our 'casual' daily online exchanges.
Despite the demonization of marginalized communities by politicians on the campaign trail, research shows they’re marked by a profound sense of community, supportive social networks – and resilience. A Toronto Regent Park resident, a boy named Cody, is seen as part of an art installation in this 2008 photo. Dan Bergeron/fauxreel.ca

Campaign trail bigots blind to the strengths of marginalized communities

Research shows marginalized communities are marked by a profound sense of community, supportive social networks -- and resilience.
A scholar takes a pilgrimage of the Western Front to try to comprehend the loss of lives of the First World War. Here British soldiers in a battlefield trench, c. 1915-1918. Shutterstock

An infinity of waste – the brutal reality of the First World War

From the Swiss border to the English channel, a scholar describes his pilgrimage of the Western Front as a tribute to fallen soldiers and to learn more about the devastating loss of life.
Canadian orthoodontists were able to sell braces and other orthodental procedures by promising patients better lives with better teeth. (Shutterstock)

How did orthodontists sell orthodontics?

Why do Canadians have such straight white teeth? The story is in the marketing of orthodontics in Canada.
Research suggests male diners respond more favourably to restaurant meals if they consider their female server attractive. (Shutterstock)

Attractive restaurant servers can influence what we think of our meals

Heterosexual male diners can be particularly swayed by the attractiveness of their servers. Good food will taste better and lousy food will taste worse in the presence of attractive female servers.
While media portrayals of online sperm donation often portray “rogue breeders” or “super sperm,” research reveals that the real men who do this are motivated to help others. (Shutterstock)

Meet the men who donate sperm on Facebook

Sperm donation websites are the Ubers and Airbnbs of the fertility world. But why are they so popular? New research explains the reasons why some men donate.
Passengers aboard the MS St. Louis from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archives. Courtesy of Dr. Liane Reif-Lehrer. Copyright of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

MS St. Louis apology: How novels can teach us about our past

We can learn a lot about our past from fictional stories. In 'What is Left the Daughter,' author Howard Norman presents a cautionary tale from the Second World War of xenophobia and prejudice.
A sign denouncing transphobia is held up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court at a protest in June 2016. (Shutterstock)

Trump’s efforts to redefine gender and sex

Donald Trump is seeking to amend laws that prevent discrimination against Americans based on their sex. It's all just another attempt to fire up the Republican base for the mid-term elections.
Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault on the campaign trail last September before the election that saw his party form a majority government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Québec’s push to ban the hijab is ‘sexularism’

The Québec government's push to ban the hijab is 'sexularism' and also basic nationalism – one that pits an ‘us’ against ‘them,’ where the ‘them’ represent multiple threats to the nation.
A photograph by Oliver de Ros presents a different impression of the migrants at the Guatemalan border than the standard tropes published. Migrants bound for the U.S.-Mexico border wait on a bridge that stretches over the Suchiate River, connecting Guatemala and Mexico, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)

Visual tropes of migration tell predictable but misleading stories

Photographs can influence us -- they can inspire us to act and they can also impact the way we think about issues. The recent published photos about the migrant 'caravan' convey several stereotypes.
A YouTube producer trying to create a parody of ‘The Simpsons’ found out that Apu is being phased out of the show. While many will miss Apu, others reflect on what his character represents – a flat stereotype of South Asian immigrants. The Simpsons

Goodbye Apu – here’s what you meant to us

Recent rumours of Apu's demise may be exaggerated but his presence has been slowly written out of 'The Simpsons,' and many feel it is time for the stereotyped Indian-American character to go.
In this combo photo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel leads the weekly cabinet meeting of her government at the chancellery in Berlin. Merkel has been at the helm of the German government since 2005 but she has announced she won’t run for the party’s leadership again. (AP Photos/Markus Schreiber, file)

What’s next for Germany after Angela Merkel

Germany's long-time Angela Merkel era is coming to an end. But is it the end of one person’s dominance of the political scene, or does it forebode more fundamental changes to German society?
Most Canadians have a higher probability of dying of heart disease than winning something in the McDonald’s Monopoly game. THE CONVERSATION CANADA/Scott White

McDonald’s Monopoly: A statistician explains the real odds of winning

McDonald's Canada has brought back its popular Monopoly game. A statistician explains the odds of winning the top prizes and how that compares to the odds we confront in everyday life.
An old Canadian law which outlaws magic fraud is about to be eliminated. This print by William Hogarth, ‘Credulity Superstition and Fanaticism,’ from 1762 epitomizes the Enlightenment view that witchcraft and religious fanaticism go hand in hand. William Hogarth/1762

Hello magic and witchcraft, goodbye Enlightenment

An antiquated Canadian law against magic and witchcraft is about to be repealed. A close look at its history reveals that it is far less superstitious than it appears.