Photo Credit: REUTERS/Darren Ornitz

The brutal, in-your-face murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police was just the latest in a long succession of Black killings captured on video. Following closely on the heels of the shooting death of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery by white, self-professed vigilantes in Georgia, and the killing of Breonna Taylor in her own home by Louisville police, Floyd’s murder revealed, yet again, the precarity of Black life in America. But this time, in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic, Americans of all races took to the streets, risking their own health, to demand the overhauling of police practices and to insist that Black lives do matter.

I stand with protesters who say that enough is enough with respect to police brutality. As a sociologist, I understand that protestors’ call for social justice is about much more than just the most recent killings. These killings are symptoms of an underlying American disease: a virulent structural racism originating from, and still spread by, the nation’s longstanding affair with white supremacy. Protestors have rightly seized the present moment as one of those temporal inflection points that have the potential to shape American life for years to come. We all have been summoned to stand on the right side of history, to accompany our words of support with the actions necessary for substantive change.

We take this call very seriously in the social sciences. Below I include statements from units all across our Division that outline their commitments to being a part of the solution, as opposed to a part of the problem.

Darnell Hunt, Dean of Social Sciences at UCLA

Click on the links below to read the statements:

 

The current state of relations between multiple arms of law enforcement and the similarities and differences between police brutality aimed at Latinos and African Americans is discussed with Dr. Amada Armenta, UCLA assistant professor in Urban Planning at the Luskin School of Public Affairs and a UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (LPPI) faculty expert. She also addresses points of solidarity between both groups.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Introduction

0:35 – Major changes to immigration enforcement

3:12 – How do local law enforcement agencies participate in immigration enforcement?

8:08 – What is the relationship like between local police and Latina/o immigrant communities?

14:10 – How are the relationships similar and different from African Americans’ experiences with police brutality? Detention/Deportation?

17:45 – Closing remarks

To learn more, check out Dr. Armenta’s book, Protect, Serve, and Deport The Rise of Policing as Immigration Enforcement.

 

Subscribe to L.A. Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA’s Division of Social Science experts and other faculty about upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.

UCLA Assistant Professor Felipe Goncalves in the Department of Economics spoke with LA Social Science about his research on racial bias in policing. In collaboration with Professor Steve Mello from Dartmouth College, Dr. Goncalves estimates the degree to which individual police officers practice racial discrimination.

Interview Chapters:

0:00 – Introduction

0:49 – Tell us about your research into policing and crime.

5:16 – Does race or gender of the officer affect the level of discrimination?

7:27 – Are the disparities in treatment conscious or implicit?

9:26 – What policies seem most effective at addressing the disparity?

16:55 – Any other studies in the area?

20:39 – Closing

To read the full research paper, “A Few Bad Apples? Racial Bias in Policing,” click HERE.

 

Subscribe to L.A. Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA’s Division of Social Science experts and other faculty about upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.

Demonstrators march through the streets of Hollywood, California, on June 2, 2020, to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. – Anti-racism protests have put several US cities under curfew to suppress rioting, following the death of George Floyd. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

In this important piece featured in the Los Angeles Times, UCLA’s Dr. Marcus Anthony Hunter, Scott Waugh Endowed Chair in the Division of the Social Sciences, professor of sociology, and chair of the department of African American Studies, presents a conversation he recently had with some of the nation’s foremost writers on Los Angeles to discuss how the city’s racial history informs the present moment and the continued fight against racism and injustice.

Dr. Hunter writes:

“Black people’s lives have remained vulnerable and unprotected by the very government that abolished the institution of slavery. As the planter class took its last sips of power and blood, they managed to bequeath us a century and a half of debt and devastation. Racism is their lasting hex on a country that would dare to try and outlive them, an institutionally effective death spell killing black people every day.”

To read the full article, “How Does L.A.’s Racial Past Resonate Now? #Blacklivesmatter’s Originator and 5 Writers Discuss,” click HERE.

The UCLA California Policy Lab has released their fourth policy brief focused on Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims in California since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March. The latest policy brief, “An Analysis of Unemployment Insurance Claims in California During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” focuses on the increasing number of workers who are returning to work and seeing their unemployment claims either reduced or denied altogether as a result.  Although returning to work may signal good news for the economy, the brief highlights how this can create some challenging decisions for workers, especially if they’re being called back on a reduced schedule with reduced earnings that result in them losing all or part of their UI benefits in addition to childcare and health safety issues.

To read the press release, click HERE.

To read the full report, click HERE.

Key Research Findings

1. In a sign of improving economic conditions, the fraction of UI beneficiaries either not receiving their first benefit payment because their earnings were too high or receiving partial UI benefits increased in the first half of May. Only workers earning less than three quarters of their prior weekly wages qualify for partial UI and FPUC (and workers earning above that are denied UI benefits entirely for that week), creating a difficult decision for workers in an uncertain labor market.

2. In the weeks preceding May 16th, the period preceding last week’s Jobs Report, a total of 0.46% of the California labor force in April either received partial UI or were denied benefits because of excess earnings (compared to a one and a half decline in the national unemployment rate). Hence, a substantial fraction of individuals that recently returned to work are working reduced hours and may still be attached to the Unemployment Insurance system.

3. As layoffs become more evenly distributed across industries, the share of UI claims by more educated workers have been gradually increasing. Among higher educated workers that claimed benefits recently, Generation Z (age 16-23), women, and those working in Health Care and Social Assistance were most affected.

4. During the past four weeks, about 70% of initial UI claimants reported that they expected to be recalled. However, differences in recall expectations are growing, with 62% of Black workers who filed claims from May 17th to May 30th saying they expect to be recalled vs. 72% of White, 73% of Hispanic, and 74% of Asian workers.

5. The cumulative impact of the crisis is still substantially greater for less advantaged workers – over 1 in 4 women (as opposed to 1 in 5 men), more than 1 in 3 members of Generation Z, and more than 1 in 2 workers with a high school degree have filed for benefits.

6. As the economy slowly re-opens, programs such as Work Sharing, which allow working claimants to keep a share of their UI benefits and maintain eligibility for the $600 FPUC payment, would help strengthen the financial outlook for workers if they’re working at reduced time and earnings.


To read LA Social Science’s previous coverage of the CPL’s briefs in this series, click HERE.

Dr. Ramesh Srinivasan, UCLA Professor of Graduate Studies of Education and Information Sciences and Bedari Kindness Institute Faculty Advisory Committee member, has co-authored an opinion piece on CNN.com with Rene Bermudez titled “How Silicon Valley Is Putting Our Rights at Risk.” The co-authors discuss the need for Dr. Srinivasan’s Digital Bill of Rights especially as we approach the 2020 Presidential Election.  To read the op-ed, click HERE.

UCLA’s Luskin Center for History and Policy (LCHP) has continued to be a leading voice in connecting past to present. The center’s “Then & Now” podcast has tackled some of the most challenge topics of the day by connecting them to the past. The latest conversation is with Dr. Robin D.G. Kelley, in which he and Dr. David Myers discuss the current history-making events. LCHP writes:

“Political philosopher Hannah Arendt famously argued – in the case of SS officer Adolf Eichmann – that ordinary people can easily become complicit in evil acts as part of a larger system of injustice and inequality. In this special episode, we discuss the concept of ‘the banality of evil’ with Robin Kelley, prominent scholar and professor of U.S. and African American History. As protests spread across the country over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more, Professor Kelley shares with us his perspectives on our shared responsibilities, revolutionary pessimism, and the historian’s role in the pursuit of justice.”

To hear this informative podcast, click HERE.

Prayagraj: Migrants arrive to board Shramik special train to travel to native places, during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, at Prayagraj Railway Station, Thursday, May 28, 2020. (PTI Photo)(PTI28-05-2020_000152B)

India’s largest media network, ABP Live, recently published UCLA Professor of History and Asian American Studies Dr. Vinay Lal‘s latest essay, “‘Be Still And Do Not Move’: The COVID-19 Migrant and the Ministry of the Soul,” about the global pandemic. Dr. Lal takes a historic look at the imposed countrywide “lockdown” that the government of India instituted more than two months ago. Dr. Lal provides some historical examples to expose the draconian move by Prime Minister Modi. To read the complete essay, click HERE.

Also, check out his informative blog, “Lal Salaam: A Blog by Vinay Lal,” “a series of articles on the implications of the coronavirus for our times, for human history, and for the fate of the earth.” You may read his earlier essays on LA Social Science.

Subscribe to LA Social Science and be the first to learn more insight and knowledge from UCLA social science experts in upcoming video/audio sessions and posts about current issues.

 

UCLA’s Luskin Center for History and Policy has published a report, “All is Not Well in the Golden State: The Scourge of White Nationalism in Southern California,” that examines white nationalism’s history, ideology, and present-day operations, and provides some recommendations for confronting the dangers it poses. An amazing group of undergraduates were overseen by Ph.D. candidate Sarah Johnson, and Professor David N. Myers, director of the Luskin Center for History and Policy.

This report examines the history, ideological pillars, use of the internet, and maps how white nationalism is being implemented. The report concludes with three policy suggestions that include increasing education and training, and providing media literacy training to parents and teachers. It also provides a ratings scale intended as a tool for teachers, parents, and others to identify stages in the absorption of white nationalist ideas:

  1. Accidental Absorption
  2. Edgy Transgression
  3. Political Provocation
  4. Overt Hate
  5. Physical Violence

All of these tools are recommended to help stop the spread of white nationalist activity.

To read the Executive Summary, click HERE.

To read the full report, click HERE.

To listen to undergraduate co-authors, Grace Johnston-Glick, Gavin Quan, and James Nee, discuss the report on the UCLA LCHP “Then & Now” podcast, click HERE.

Summer 2020 starts this month, and LA Social Science will continue to highlight some of the summer courses being offered within the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA.

UCLA summer courses are open to BOTH UCLA students and non-UCLA students. All summer 2020 courses will be offered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can enroll as long as you are 15 years of age or older by the first day of summer, and you do NOT have to be enrolled in an academic institution in order to participate in UCLA Summer Sessions. For more information, click HERE.

Check out Professor Brian Hurwitz’s UCLA ONLINE summer course, “Sex in the Cinema.” Since the Lumière brothers first screened their short films to an astonished Parisian audience in 1895, movies have continued to leave an indelible imprint on media studies and communication rhetoric. They influence the way we walk, talk, dress and dine. Simultaneously, the medium has profoundly affected our perception of beauty, romance, intimacy and love. Yet much like fashion, such perceptions have been routinely altered owing to evolutions and revolutions in social, political and institutional conditions.

This course examines the contextual forms and factors that have directly led to film shaping the way we communicate about sex and sexuality. Starting at the dawn of the twentieth century, we will engage in a decade-by-decade analysis of cultural norms, the movies that were made in accordance with them and the ones that were produced in opposition to them. This examination will further explore how the cinema has informed our attitudes towards gender identity, cultural taboos and social movements. By evaluating the manner in which erotic imagery is presented and how sexual symbolism is represented, students will gain an understanding of how past, present and future views on sex and sexuality are impacted by the cinema.

For more information about this course, see the preview video below, and enroll HERE TODAY!