Racist cop shows, biased news fuel public fears of crime

Portrayals of violent crime in pop culture and media are skewing people's perception of how likely it is to happen to them, says U of A expert

Racist cop shows, biased news fuel public fears of crimeU.S. President Donald Trump tweeted recently that defunding the police would “be good for Robbers & Rapists.” Last week, after signing his tepid executive order on policing, he proffered that “without police, there is chaos.” The reality, however, is that violent crime – the kind that people often think of when rationalizing the need for a…

Social change hampered by Neanderthals

Culture change is a messy process. We need to stand up to the ignorant in this fight for social justice

Social change hampered by NeanderthalsI truly think this time is different. I think as a society, we’re fed up with lingering racial injustice. It’s been heartening to see white leaders in government, corporate America and the sports world step up in a strong way toward social justice in the days since George Floyd died. But this movement toward real…

Exposing the roots of racism through song

As an artist and an academic, Arsh Khaira explores the power of music to overcome divisions

Exposing the roots of racism through songMusic has a major role to play in the fight against systemic racism, according to newly minted music PhD Arsh Khaira. The Edmonton-based musician and University of Alberta instructor, who graduated on June 12, wrote his thesis on how the trauma of ethnic conflict is passed down through generations. He focused specifically on the ways…

Half measures won’t solve the problem with police

It’s time to reduce funding to police and reallocate those dollars to more proactive ways to reduce crime

Half measures won’t solve the problem with policeHere’s a couple of questions that might have seemed crazy to many people just a few short years ago but are gaining purchase today. Do we really need as much policing as we have? Or are the ever-growing police budgets actually inadvertently leading to greater violence? A lot of us have believed that police exist…

NFL all talk no action until Kaepernick signed

NFL all talk no action until Kaepernick signedAll of a sudden, the National Football League tells us it’s seen the light. The league’s leaders tell us their draconian reaction to players kneeling during the U.S. national anthem in protest of police brutality and social injustice was all wrong. That they’re very sorry. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even appears to be trying to…

Defunding police a movement whose time has come

Reallocating some police funding to social workers, making body cameras mandatory would cut unnecessary violence

Defunding police a movement whose time has comeThe last two weeks have seen an explosion of interest in defunding the police in Canada and around the world. This is not a new idea – governments have long recognized that “the current model … was obsolete, expensive and too often produced dire consequences,” and have sought “alternative, more community-responsive approaches to public safety.” Despite these…

Do we choose chaos or community?

It takes true courage to hear another person’s point of view, admit we were wrong, shift our beliefs and move forward

Do we choose chaos or community?One of the most important qualities of a good leader is the ability to listen. It’s very easy to jump on a bandwagon and it’s easy to jump to conclusions. It takes true courage to hear another person’s point of view, admit we were wrong, shift our beliefs and move forward. To be honest, my…

We need to talk about racism

Racism isn’t easy to discuss, but we shouldn’t shy away from it or we’ll never stop wounds from being inflicted

We need to talk about racismIs our society afraid to discuss the issue of racism?  I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest most people would rather not broach this subject. It doesn’t constitute a pleasant conversation at the dinner table or coffee shop, and it can lead to tense moments with family members, friends and loved ones. But while racism…

How police departments can root out violent members

U of A sociologist recommends training, screening, higher education, more accountability and better gender balance

How police departments can root out violent membersThe global condemnation of the death of George Floyd, one of the latest in a constellation of officer-involved deaths of unarmed civilians, has grown into a worldwide social movement for disbanding or defunding police. At the far end of the debate, there are those calling for abolishing the police altogether. On the other hand, there are…
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