U.S. Research | Race Sentiment

Black Attitudes on U.S. Race Relations

The New York Times released the results of a recent New York Times/CBS News poll surveying individuals’ attitudes on white-black relations in the U.S.. Here are highlights of the level of security expressed by black respondents only:

Belief in real progress made in eliminating racial discrimination
56% believe vs. 41% do not believe

Who has the better chance of getting ahead in today’s society?
Whites do: 60% (2015) vs. 46% (2014)
Blacks do: 1% (2015) vs. 4% (2014)
Both do equally: 35% (2015) vs. 46% (2014)

Feelings about personal interactions with the police
58% mostly safe vs. 37% mostly anxious

Belief that race has ever caused police to stop him/her
41% race-motivated experience vs. 57% no race-motivated experience

Further Reading
“A Growing Divide on Race” (NYT: full results)

“Poll Finds Most in U.S. Hold Dim View of Race Relations” (NYT: analysis)
“How the Poll Was Conducted” (NYT: methodology)

U.S. News | Transgender Jews

Ritual baths pose difficult obstacle for trans individuals converting to Judaism in the U.S.
  • The last step in the conversion process, the mikvah requires submersion in water in the nude, which can be a source of anxiety for transgender converts.
  • Transgender and ally rabbis have been working together to compile a running list of transgender Jews willing to serve as witnesses for those undergoing mikvah.
  • The number of gender minorities seeking to convert has surprised some community members, but theologians note that Judaism has recognized individuals falling outside of the gender binary since its earliest times.

“The body is an area of particular vulnerability for transgender people, because so much of our identities is inextricably intertwined with the nuances of our physical appearance.”

Read the full Religious News Service story at The Huffington Post.

(Image Credit: Mayyim Hayyim, via The Huffington Post)

Afghanistan Feature | Women

Making Bricks of Molehills

An estimated 2 million widows in Afghanistan struggle to hold together their families and forge a future for themselves following the death of their husbands. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty profiles a group of un-remarried women who, living independently, have built a community from the ground up with the few resources they have.

View the full feature at Radio Free Liberty/Radio Europe.

Sweden News | Gender Identity

Sweden’s new gender-neutral pronoun makes its way to Facebook
  • “Hen,” the relatively new alternative to “hon” (she) and “han” (he) in Swedish, has been gaining steady momentum in the last decade as an alternative to explicit gender identification in speech and writing.
  • The Facebook inclusion comes as a part of Facebook’s push to include more identification options for those with non-binary gender identities.
  • The word appeared in the Swedish dictionary for the first time earlier in the year as evidence of common usage and official acceptance.

“Facebook is a hub for other social media which use your Facebook profile. The hope is that they will realize that they have to adapt. Facebook is such a central online space and we hope this will have a ripple effect.”

Read the full story at The Local.se.

U.S. News | Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual

Boy Scouts of America ends ban on gay adult leaders
  • The executive board’s vote culminates a 15-year evolution that began with the Supreme Court’s 2000 affirmation of the right of the organization to ban gay individuals from participating as scoutmasters.
  • In 2013, the organization ended its ban on gay youth participation while upholding the exclusion of openly gay adult leadership.
  • The Mormon church responded that it would have to reevaluate its relationship with the organization, although individually chartered groups will still be able to enforce the ban should they so choose.

“We so much closer to getting back to being about what scouting is all about, going on camping trips and teaching how to build fires and tie knots and lash poles together and build stuff … and learning to be a good leader and good friend and good citizen in the midst of all that.”

Read the full story at BuzzFeed News.

(Image Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP, via BuzzFeed News)

U.S. Feature | Muslim Americans

Reclaiming Faith

Western Muslims are in the throes of a two-front battle against ignorance, forced to counter both religious reactionaries’ and Islamophobia’s reduction of the complexity of contemporary Islam to its most extreme, fundamentalist interpretations. NPR spotlights Not in His Name, an education campaign launched by Reclamation Studios that uses the tools of Islam to demonstrate why most Muslims reject Islamic State theology and action.

Read the full feature at NPR.

China News | Hong Kong Women

Government and communities push to equalize gender representation in Hong Kong’s tech industry
  • Despite equal early interest in tech education, the proportion of girls in computer science courses drops to a third by the start of college.
  • In Hong Kong, where social pressure and negative images of tech culture push many into business, software development faces an uphill battle in capturing the career interests of young women.
  • Programs and organizations such as W Hub, Women Who Code, and First Code Academy are working to open opportunities to girls and young women in the tech field.

“Encouragement and support to study STEM needs to begin early both in school and at home. … Girls who show an early interest in the field often lose interest because of pervasive but underrecognised biases in the learning environment.”

Read the full story at the South China Morning Post.

(Image Credit: Jonathan Wong/South China Morning Post)