Category: Social Justice

Preschool Teacher Catches Child Sex Predators on Plane by Glancing at Text Messages

On Monday, July 31st, a preschool teacher who wished to remain anonymous boarded a flight from Seattle, Washington to San Jose, California, and noticed something odd about the text messages of the passenger seated in front of her. The passenger in question, Michael Kellar, was caught describing explicit practices that involved molesting underage children; his text messages were displayed in an extra-large font size, allowing the young teacher to take photos of the conversation on her on own cell phone. The teacher promptly showed the photos to the flight’s crew members, who immediately contacted local police after the flight...

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Diversity: Hollywood’s Achilles Heel Remains as Crippling As Ever

The Silver Screen Is White Though speakers for a more diverse Hollywood remain vocal, their efforts over the last decade have produced little results. This news comes out of a recent report released by the University of Southern California (USC). The 10-year study looked at the casting and hiring choices of 900 popular films. And the results were less than heartening. In the words of the Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative (MDSCI), “Privilege still speaks, as white, straight, able-bodied men remain the norm on screen in film.” The Numbers Speak for Themselves When it comes to inclusion, here are...

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Keystone XL Protesters Build Solar Panels Right in Pipeline’s Path

By November, the fate of the final phase of the Keystone XL Pipeline will be decided. In a stroke of defiant genius — an effort to thwart construction and a symbol of the renewable energy they want to create — activists and landowners are building solar panels directly on the path of the proposed pipeline. The Solar XL project, a coalition of Bold Nebraska, Indigenous Environmental Network, 350.org, CREDO, Oil Change International and others, has raised over $40,000 for its campaign to build clean energy. Nebraskan farmer Jim Carlson was among the first to install solar panels on his...

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Samsung Rushes to Remove Sexist Bixby Voice Descriptions

Samsung recently faced criticism for their descriptions of male and female voices for Bixby, its new mobile phone assistant. The female voice was described as “chipper and cheerful,” while the male as “assertive and confident.” Many took to Twitter to air their concerns over the sexist hashtags. On Wednesday, the company heeded the customer feedback and swiftly removed the descriptors. Samsung told Gizmodo it was “working diligently to remove the hashtag descriptions from the Bixby service,” and it is “constantly learning from customer feedback.” Humanizing mobile assistants has shown to help consumers become more comfortable with the robots. Unfortunately, this...

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Violence Against Children On the Rise in Central African Republic

THE CURRENT STATE OF THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC While never quite eradicated, civil war in the Central African Republic (CAR) recently re-erupted after French, American, and Ugandan troops completed their planned withdrawals. Without a policing force to calm the flames, smoldering resentments between the country’s many militant groups exploded in a hail of gunfire. The people of the CAR received a brief respite when 14 rebel groups signed a temporary ceasefire. It lasted less than 24 hours. Greed (involving local mining rights) and gunfire shattered the short-lived peace and left at least 100 people dead. Rebels currently control more...

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Britain to Ban Sexist Ads

In the wake of a recent study from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media, Britain announced on Tuesday that it will ban sexist commercials that perpetuate stereotypical gender roles for either men or women. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) completed a comprehensive review on gender stereotyping and questioned whether current regulations are sufficient to provide protection against harmful depictions of gender. The ASA urged greater vigilance to prevent ads that can potentially cause harm. This call to action also applies to portrayals of individuals being mocked when stereotypes are not conformed to. The Committee of Advertising Practice,...

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Germany Pardons Thousands of Gay Men Convicted Under Nazi Law

LGTB rights activists are celebrating the approval of a law by Germany’s Parliament last month pardoning 50,000 gay men convicted of homosexuality under Nazi rule.  The article, under Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code, outlawed “sexual acts contrary to nature… be it between people of the male gender or between people and animals.” Sex between women was not specifically criminalized; however, thousands of gay women were sent to concentration camps during World War II alongside thousands of gay men. Victims and activists have been lobbying for decades to persuade Germany’s government to clear the names of men and women...

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