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Respected scientists within the recently formed National Research Council proposed building orphanages to study nature vs nurture with respect to racial differences. Library of Congress

Proposed 1920s orphanage study just one example in history of scientific racism

The history of race science is a history of racist science, as epitomized by this proposed but never carried-out experiment from the early 20th century.
Alejandro G. Inarritu’s Birdman took home four awards, including Best Picture. Mike Blake/Reuters

Oscars 2015: expert reaction

Indies to the rescue, the quiet power of foreign language films, Gen-X's crowning moment. All – and more – are covered by our experts, who weigh in on this year's Oscars.
Willie O'Ree, the first black NHL player, debuted for the Boston Bruins in 1958. The Root

Only the puck was black: a story of race and the NHL

Last week’s release of Black Ice – the memoir of Val James, the first African American to play in the NHL – brought me back to when I was a teenager living in Boston. It was the winter of 1978 – the year…
Marginalised. University of Salford

Why is it so hard to talk about race in UK universities?

At first glance, Benedict Cumberbatch’s recent faux pas – using the word “coloured” to refer to racially minoritised groups – may appear to have absolutely nothing to do with the world of UK higher education…
Hollywood films have long depicted Arabs in a negative light. Pictured is the movie poster from 1921’s The Sheik. Wikimedia Commons

American Sniper perpetuates Hollywood’s typical Arab stereotypes

The first Iraqis to appear in Clint Eastwood’s Iraq War drama, American Sniper, are a young mother and boy of maybe 12. They are seen from the point of view of the man who will kill them: Chris Kyle, the…
How does feeling you inhabit a body different than your own affect your racial biases? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Maister et al.

Virtual bodyswapping reduces bias against other races

In 1959, John Howard Griffin, a white American writer, underwent medical treatments to change his skin appearance and present himself as a black man. He then traveled through the segregated US south to…
Mixed-income developments replace Chicago’s Cabrini-Green Homes: Old Town Village West townhouses rise in front of the last remaining towers (since demolished) in this 2009 photograph.

Mixed income public housing: mixed outcomes, mixed-up concept

For decades, public housing stood as the most architecturally visible and politically stigmatized reminder of urban poverty in many American cities. Originally built to accommodate an upwardly mobile segment…
Racial disparities in tip size can’t be explained by discriminatory service. Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock

What’s behind racial differences in restaurant tipping?

Within the US restaurant industry, blacks are generally considered comparatively poor tippers. One recent survey of roughly 1,000 restaurant servers from across the nation found that 34% thought blacks…
Selma director and co-writer Ava DuVernay has crafted a new and important vision of an oft-examined era in our nation’s history. Stanley Wolfson/Library of Congress

Selma blurs line between past and present

Hollywood films that depict American history deeply influence our sense of national identity. Films that portray Civil Rights and Black Freedom history are particularly important. Beyond entertaining moviegoers…
Directors Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee don’t see eye-to-eye on much of anything.

Why I taught a class on rivals Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino

With Spike Lee’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus in the news for the film’s straight-to-Vimeo release, and Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight currently in production (see Samuel L. Jackson’s Camera+ page for…
The movie Selma takes King – best known to Americans as an orator – and turns him into an organizer. Wikimedia Commons

How the movie Selma made MLK human again

It’s been almost 60 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. became a household name during the 1955-1956 Montgomery Bus Boycott, and some may find it astonishing that, until the recent release of Selma, he’s…
Howard-era Human Rights Commissioner Sev Ozdowski is the new chairman of the revamped Australian Multicultural Council. AAP/Matthias Engesser

New Multicultural Council signals a broader shift to the right

Late in December, I took a phone call from a young woman working for the Department of Social Services. She had called, she said, because the department was checking its database of contacts, so that the…
Ridley Scott’s casting choices for Exodus: Gods and Kings are emblematic of a larger, systemic problem in the entertainment industry. Movie Pilot

Ridley Scott’s casting of white actors is symptomatic of larger problems

Director Ridley Scott recently set off a firestorm when he dismissed those who criticized him for casting white actors as every major character in the recently released Exodus: Gods and Kings, while reserving…
Mark Ryden’s art for Michael Jackson’s 1991 album Dangerous. Augusto Podrido/Flickr

Michael Jackson: Posthuman

The album cover for Michael Jackson’s album Dangerous was painted by American pop-surrealist artist Mark Ryden. In it, he depicts a world in which the boundaries between human and animal, living and dead…

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