Wednesday, March 6, 2013

stop owlcatraz!

The GEO Group, a private prison corporation, is willing to pay Florida Atlantic University 6 million dollars for the naming rights to the new university football stadium, and this has sparked demonstrations by FAU students. The protest organization, Stop Owlcatraz, claims the corporation engages in human rights abuses, particularly against minority prisoners, and they don't want it to be associated with their university. A recent story in The Nation has framed the controversy as the "ground zero fight against new Jim Crow."

Monday, March 4, 2013

wealth inequality: perceptions and reality

Although uploaded to YouTube last November, this animated video has gone viral in recent days. It provides a graphic overview about current inequalities in the U.S. by considering disparities in wealth in terms of (a.) how Americans think wealth is actually distributed, (b.)  how Americans believe wealth should be distributed, and (c.) how wealth is actually distributed. Of particular note is the great discrepancy between perceptions and beliefs versus reality: actual wealth inequality is so much greater than how we perceive it to be distributed and how we believe it should be ideally distributed. The video is an excellent example of how video can transform complex, abstract ideas into compelling, understandable terms. Read this story in the Daily Kos for the possible role of such videos in sparking public action and social change. For a conservative critique of the video, see this article from National Review Online.