Op-Ed: The Institutional Sexism in Cycling Needs to End

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(From Outside) — Former pro road rider Iris Slappendel founded the first labor union for women cyclists with one goal: getting team managers, sponsors, and riders to treat male and female cyclists with equal respect, ’cause that sure isn’t happening now.

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Institutional discrimination based on gender continues to persist. This, despite governmental policies and laws firmly in place meant to eradicate it. Much of it is rooted in bias that is largely culture driven, although some of it occurs as a result of unconscious attitudes and behaviors. In either case, change continues to be needed.

Click here to learn more about gender inequities, how to recognize them and what to do when you encounter them.


How East and West Think in Profoundly Different Ways

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(From the BBC) – Psychologists are uncovering the surprising influence of geography on our reasoning, behavior, and sense of self.

Until recently, scientists had largely ignored the global diversity of thinking. In 2010, an influential article in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences reported that the vast majority of psychological subjects had been “western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic”, or ‘Weird’ for short. Nearly 70% were American, and most were undergraduate students hoping to gain pocket money or course credits by giving up their time to take part in these experiments.

The tacit assumption had been that this select group of people could represent universal truths about human nature – that all people are basically the same. If that were true, the Western bias would have been unimportant. Yet the small number of available studies which had examined people from other cultures would suggest that this is far from the case.”

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When it comes to cultural identity and difference, bias plays a huge role – not just in how you perceive others, but also how you view yourself and those like you. This cultural bias is especially problematic when one limits oneself to interacting only with people who think and look like you. It creates a false sense of understanding rooted in a very limited experience. There are all sorts of barriers that contribute to these conditions. The above article highlights the very real issue that arises as a result of geographic barriers. Towering mountains, expansive oceans and vast distances all contribute to groups of people being separated. In such cases, “truth” becomes a real matter of perspective that is largely driven by experiences within that group. Such matters of truth are also apparent closer to home, even within the same city or community.

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Native American demonstrators push back against oppressive questioning by reporters

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(Credit: Global News) – Indigenous demonstrators who led a protest and erected a teepee on Parliament Hill on Wednesday held a press conference this morning, in which they accused media of being disrespectful.

Sensational headline aside, this video clip illustrates how misunderstanding cultural ways of being and unconscious oppressive language can interrupt conversations. Learn more at Beyond Diversity.


Why It’s So Hard For Whites To Understand Ferguson

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Robert P. Jones in The Atlantic states: “One reason for the racial divide over Michael Brown’s death is that white Americans tend to talk mostly to other white people.” He goes on to say: “The shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri…has snapped the issue of race into national focus…causing many Americans to question just how far racial equality and race relations have come, even in an era of a black president and a black attorney general.” To read more, click here.

The Red Carpet Look

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On the website, RadioTimes, Sarah Millican, a comedian, said, “A funny thing happens when female celebrities hit the red carpet: The world tends to forget that they are actual human beings, with feelings and everything.”

She continues: “I thought I had been invited to such an illustrious event because I am good at my job. Putting clothes on is such a small part of my day. They may as well have been criticising me for brushing my teeth differently to them.” To read more, click here.




Stand-Up Comedy And Mental Illness

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David Haglund, a senior editor at Slate who runs Brow BeatSlate‘s culture blog, interviewed Maria Bamford and spoke about her ability as a stand-up comedienne to “engage with questions of mental health in a way that’s serious and thoughtful as well as really funny.” To read more, click here.

Welcome To The Age Of Denial

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The Truth Can Be Seen

The Truth Can Be Seen

In the “Opinion Pages” of The New York Times, Adam Frank, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester, points out that today it is politically effective, and socially acceptable, to deny scientific fact.

Frank states that though transparently unscientific, denying evolution has become a litmus test for some conservative politicians, even at the highest levels. He explains that Americans always expected their children to face a brighter economic future, and scientists expected their students to inherit a world where science was embraced by an ever-larger fraction of the population. To read more, click here.

Is “Jew In A Box” Exhibit Fostering Understanding Or Anti-Semitism?

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The Jewish Museum in Berlin is stirring up controversy with an exhibit called “The Whole Truth: Everything You Wanted to Know About Jews.” The element of the show getting the most attention is a cast of Jewish men and women who take turns sitting in a Plexiglas box, and answering visitors’ questions about Jewish life and culture. To read more, click here.

Derailing for Dummies

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This tongue-in-cheek guide for avoiding difficult conversations about racism, sexism and other isms offers approachable lessons on how people mistreat one another in casual conversations about some of the most important topics facing our society. The list of  “derailers,” which range from “You’re being hostile, ” to “But that happens to me too,” offers insight into the everyday toxic dynamics that keep progress around oppression and diversity in check. To read more, click here.

Nate Garvis: Change Our Culture, Change Our World

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In this TED Talk, Nate Garvins discusses new “tools” that we can use to change culture. The talk has profound implications for social justice work.

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