The Sign Language that African Americans Use is Different from That of Whites

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/sign-language-that-african-americans-use-is-different-from-that-of-whites/2012/09/17/2e897628-bbe2-11e1-8867-ecf6cb7935ef_story.html

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Conflict in Syria: Cultural Roots

There are many good sources that look at the roots of the conflict in Syria. Here are a few:

Intersectionality: Feminism Can’t Be Just for White Women by BY JAMIE NESBITT GOLDEN, Salon.com

“Because for most of us, intersectionality isn’t a buzzword or a catchphrase. It’s our life. When Quvenzhané Wallis was insulted by the Onion, brown feminists were told by their white allies to take the joke or reclaim the word used to insult a 9-year-old girl. Others, as Clutch writer Kirsten West Savali pointed out, chose to remain silent. When George Zimmerman was freed by five white women, many white feminist allies still chose to remain silent. Our stories are ignored or half-told or erased completely. (A perfunctory Google search about the hashtag will yield several stories from sites like Jezebel and Al Jazeera where Kendall’s involvement has been minimized or glossed over — Jezebel has since edited the story to include Kendall’s contribution.) These aggressions — both micro and macro — along with a host of others, have made bridging the divide nearly impossible.

Honestly, there is little expectation of real, radical change. If this current kerfuffle has taught us anything, it’s that we don’t need to rely on mainstream feminist sites to tell our stories or champion us. It would be nice, though. But some of us remain hopeful that — now that this conversation is public — it will continue in an open and honest way. And it won’t be nice, or pretty, but it will finally be productive.”

http://www.salon.com/2013/08/15/feminism_cant_be_just_for_white_women/

Conflict in Egypt – Cultural Case Study

The situation is Egypt is discouraging for democratic ideals and the violence is disturbing. Not even addressing the problem of the military coup and the illegality of removing an elected president (and the US and other foreign governments’ approval/disapproval/complicity), from an intercultural perspective it is an example of how differences between groups can result in societal and governmental conflict. However, we can also use this case with students to demonstrate the different ways that reality is constructed and the role of the media in that process. Much of the coverage in outside of Egypt has focused on one version of reality, but there are opportunities for us to find alternative perspectives, thanks to technology.  As this situation continues to evolve, the difficulty of ongoing, generational cultural conflict becomes clearer. While not unique to Egypt, this certainly can be used to demonstrate and try to understand a bit of the complexity of culture, politics, power, and identity.

 

The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks: “A Family Consents to a Medical Gift, 62 Years Later” By Carl Zimmer, NYTimes

Issues of ethics, privacy, socioeconomics, racism, research, science, consent, justice, and voice are all present in this case. Henrietta Lacks was a poor black woman with dying from cancer in 1951. Without her consent, some of her cancer cells were removed, cultured, and have subsequently been used in many thousands of research studies (and resulting in profits and careers for scientists and corporations). Her family only found out about the widespread use of her cells when researchers approached them, asking for blood samples. This story is chronicled in Rebecca Skloot‘s 2010 best-seller, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”

From the NYTimes article: “Henrietta Lacks was only 31 when she died of cervical cancer in 1951 in a Baltimore hospital. Not long before her death, doctors removed some of her tumor cells. They later discovered that the cells could thrive in a lab, a feat no human cells had achieved before.

Soon the cells, called HeLa cells, were being shipped from Baltimore around the world. In the 62 years since — twice as long as Ms. Lacks’s own life — her cells have been the subject of more than 74,000 studies, many of which have yielded profound insights into cell biology, vaccines, in vitro fertilization and cancer.

But Henrietta Lacks, who was poor, black and uneducated, never consented to her cells’ being studied. For 62 years, her family has been left out of the decision-making about that research. Now, over the past four months, the National Institutes of Health has come to an agreement with the Lacks family to grant them some control over how Henrietta Lacks’s genome is used.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/science/after-decades-of-research-henrietta-lacks-family-is-asked-for-consent.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0