Understand Messenger Motivations to Uncover Facts

The news today about Amazon buying Whole Foods made me think of my surprise when, as a teenager, I discovered that Disney owned much more than just a few theme parks and a movie collection.

While it always seemed like there was such variety—hundreds of TV channels, shows, newspapers, magazines—in reality, these could all be directly connected to just a handful of companies.

Suddenly, the world seemed to shrink. I realized I wasn’t as exposed to different thoughts and ways of life as I might have expected. When everything you are exposed to can be attributed to the desires of ~50 people (mostly white men), how representative of life’s possibilities can it actually be? Continue reading “Understand Messenger Motivations to Uncover Facts”

The Feminism Frustration: Why Hillary’s Loss Had Nothing to Do with Gender

“Well, this proves it. America is more sexist than it is racist.”

As I’m sure you’re well aware, Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump by a stunning 74 electoral votes, yet won the popular vote. The results map shows an enormous swath of red running through the center and southern portions of America. Many have blamed this on an adherence to traditional gender roles and fear of a strong female. This needs to stop. Continue reading “The Feminism Frustration: Why Hillary’s Loss Had Nothing to Do with Gender”

It Takes Money to Make Money

Today, my husband and I are closing on our first home in one of the toughest housing markets in the country.

I’m so proud of us. We were both raised in economically depressed areas of Central New York, a region of limited economic mobility, and have managed to achieve one of the tenets of the American Dream.

I’m fortunate enough to have had a few of these financial victories already, and while each big milestone fills me with pride, I’m constantly aware of how they are as much the result of other people’s actions as they are of my own good decisions.

Continue reading “It Takes Money to Make Money”

What’s Your “American Dream” Score? Take the Quiz

The “American Dream”—the idea that through hard work and perseverance, anyone can individually improve their situation in life. Core tenants to the Dream are upward mobility and financial independence.

The trouble with this is that, while the idea is your hard work will pay off, you are reliant on others to give you the money that makes upward mobility and financial independence possible. Hard work is generally rewarded, but we’ve all had a slacker colleague getting paid as much or more than you do.

Because you are reliant on others, you have to be the person they want to hire. And you have to do the work they want you to do. Also, if you’re very good at a job that a lot of others are willing to do, they will pay you less than if you are just OK at a job that not a lot of others would be willing or able to do.

All of this to say—there’s a lot more to a person’s economic situation than hard work. And yet this idea of the American Dream is generally completely reliant on an individual’s effort. Continue reading “What’s Your “American Dream” Score? Take the Quiz”

Experts Speaking on Trump’s Mental State Failing to Reduce Stigma

Last week at Yale, dozens of mental health experts stepped forward with a statement that Donald Trump was “paranoid and delusional” and that this “dangerous mental illness” made him unfit for the presidency.

In doing so, these experts violated a professional norm (the Goldwater Rule, preventing professionals from publicly speaking out about people who they have not personally treated), but even worse increased the stigma of mental health. Continue reading “Experts Speaking on Trump’s Mental State Failing to Reduce Stigma”

Embrace the Gift of Disagreement

Yesterday, CNN posted an article called the “War on Campus: The Escalating Battle over College Free Speech.” It highlights a number of recent occasions from Auburn University to  Middlebury College where protests against conservative speakers have turned violent.

One of my favorite quotes, and one I’ve especially had to remind myself of often during the last few months, is from Evelyn Beatrice Hall (often attributed to Voltaire): “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

There is a reason freedom of speech is our very first amendment in the United States. There is no progress without collective learning or the sharing of ideas and thoughts. Continue reading “Embrace the Gift of Disagreement”

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