Sun, 26 April 2020
Prejudice is its own logic, or, at least, it is impervious to logic, evidence, or critical thinking. This week we'll consider the irrational beliefs behind many of our prejudices. We look at the early American assumption that Native Americans, Africans, and Asians were somehow less than human and then we pay special attention to the case of the British mathematician, Alan Turing, who was of unique importance to both winning World War II by breaking the German Enigma code, and later laying the groundwork for the invention of the computer. In just a few years after the war, Turing was put on trial for being gay and chose suicide over the chemical castration imposed on him. Considering our history of prejudice shines a particular light on the current violence against the trans community.
Sun, 19 April 2020
"On Reparations" presented by Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins, Missouri State University professor of Sociology
The subject of paying the descendants of African slaves some form of reparations is complicated but just because it is complicated does not mean that it should not be done. Imagine starting to play Monopoly with 10 players but one player starts with 90% of the property and the bank. Liberated slaves were promised "40 acres and a mule" to give them a more fair start in life but with the assassination of Lincoln, that plan was never carried out. How can we meaningfully address the injustice of centuries of forced, uncompensated labor and the centralization of capital in the hands of the few? We have to be honest about the history of American wealth and seriously drill down on solutions which will inevitably be controversial but must, none-the-less, be carefully thought out and implemented.
Sun, 12 April 2020
The pandemic is almost all that is mentioned in the news and it certainly occupies much of our emotional and mental energy. Sadly, however, the Covid-19 virus might not be the most dangerous thing going on in the world right now. The Trump administration had rolled back more than a 100 Environmental Protection Agency regulations before the coronavirus elbowed its way into our awareness but since journalists are paying attention to nothing else, the Trump administration is crucifying the EPA in what CBS news has called "an open license to pollute." The virus will eventually recede, even though it may take a year to 18 months, but the earth . . . the earth is forever!
Sun, 5 April 2020
As we try to learn the skills of staying home, maintaining distance, and the disciplines that prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus, that means that some of us are very isolated, living alone with almost no face to face contact with anyone. Others are quarantining with a significant other, or with children. There is a lot of stress in both contexts, stresses from anxiety, depression, or domestic conflict, all of which can lead to substance abuse. Dr. Roger Ray and Dr. Paul Thomlinson met two decades ago working on an addiction research project and have often shared a lectern to speak about the most recent research and the insights they have gained from both personal and professional experience with drug and alcohol use and abuse. This talk on addiction is directed to our unique situation as we are all trying to survive both the coronavirus and the quarantine it demands of us.