Episode 239: Supporting the Needs of Refugees
29:43The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine have brought an increased number of refugees to America over the past year. Enter refugee resettlement agencies – organizations that provide food, shelter, and of course, job placement to newly arrived refugees. But according to sociologist Dr. Nicole Kreisberg, their current strategy of job placement is deeply flawed: prioritizing immediate yet low-wage work over long-term reliable employment. Kreisberg spoke to us about the harms of this strategy, and what needs to be done to truly support incoming refugees. For more on this topic: Check out Nicole Kreisberg’s SSN brief, co-written by Els de Graauw and Shannon Gleeson: Refugee Settlement Should Look Beyond First Job Placements Read her recent paper, also co-written by Els de Graauw and Shannon Gleeson: Explaining Refugee Employment Declines: Structural Shortcomings in Federal Resettlement Support
Episode 238: The "Neutral" Umpires of the Supreme Court
29:50The US Supreme Court has a long history of firmly defending its philosophy of neutrality and did the same for the recent and historic overturn of Roe. Wade. But according to law professor Cedric Merlin Powell, the Court’s neutral stance on cases impacting marginalized groups – including women and communities of color – ignores inequalities and in doing so, worsens them. Professor Powell sat down to speak with us about the serious harms caused by a judicial branch whose decisionmaking ignores the realities of racism, sexism, and other oppressive forces in our society. For more of Cedric Merlin Powell’s work: Check out his SSN brief: How Race-Neutral Rulings by the Supreme Court Perpetuate Inequalities Pre-order his forthcoming book , Post-Racial Constitutionalism and the Roberts Court Last but not least, SSN is excited to highlight a new podcast series, When the People Decide, by The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at PennState. In this series, Jenna Spinelle tells the stories of activists, legislators, academics, and average citizens who changed their cities, states, and the country by taking important issues directly to voters — like Medicaid expansion in Idaho, sentencing reform in California, and LGBTQ workplace protections in Ohio.
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Episode 237: Who’s Really in a Student Debt Crisis?
24:26More and more Americans are facing massive student debt and daunting payment plans once the federal pause on loan payments runs out. But this burden is not spread evenly, and neither are the challenges of paying it off. In this episode, we spoke to Associate Professor of Public Policy Fenaba Addo about who is really facing a student debt crisis, what contributes to student debt accumulation, and how race and family wealth factor into it all. For more of Fenaba Addo’s work: Check out her report on this topic: Ensuring a More Equitable Future: Exploring and Measuring the Relationship Between Family Wealth, Education Debt, and Wealth Accumulation Listen to her on an episode of PitchFork Economics titled Why Should We Cancel Student Debt?
Episode 236: How White Millennials Really Think About Race
27:16Millennials are often seen as a progressive-minded generation – as 80’s and 90’s kids, they grew up in a digital landscape that exposed them to a diversity of perspectives. But while expectations were high that this generation would be on the frontlines in the fight for racial equality, recent research by Associate Professor of Political Science Candis Watts Smith paints a different picture. During our conversation, Professor Smith discussed how white millennials’ really think about race and the ways in which their views and beliefs have largely halted progress for Black Americans and other racial minorities in the United States. For more of Candis Smith’s work: Check out her book on this research, Racial Stasis: The Millennial Generation and the Stagnation of Racial Attitudes in American Politics Read her latest book Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter Listen to her podcast, Democracy Works, to hear interviews with experts who study all different aspects of what it means to live in a democracy.
Episode 235: The Real Culprits of Climate Change
39:28Conversations around climate change often focus on the consumption habits of everyday people: the cars we drive, the food we eat, our electricity bills. But according to geography professor Matt Huber, the carbon footprints of consumers are not what we should be so concerned about, despite all the rhetoric. During our conversation, Professor Huber focused on what (and who) he argues are largely responsible for our alarmingly high rate of carbon emissions – and offered solutions. For more of Matt Huber’s work: Check out his new book coming out on May 10th: Climate Change as Class War Read his opinion article on this topic published in Jacobin: Rich People are Fueling Climate Catastrophe – But Not Mostly Because of Their Consumption
Episode 234: Election Disinformation
28:27The 2020 presidential election brought disinformation – defined as false information with the intent to mislead – to the forefront of public conversation. Subsequent events, such as the January 6 riot, reveal the serious danger disinformation can pose to democracy. To learn more about the far-reaching consequences of digital disinformation, we spoke with nationally recognized election law expert Rick Hasen, a Professor of Law and Political Science at University of California, Irvine. During the conversation, Professor Hasen shared tangible solutions to combat the rise of disinformation campaigns during US elections. For more of Rick Hasen’s work: Check out his new book coming out on March 8th Cheap Speech: How Disinformation Poisons Our Politics – and How to Cure It Read another one of his recent books on this topic Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy
Episode 233: Pandemic Postpartum
33:02The postpartum experience can be challenging enough for American mothers in normal times, but add a pandemic to the equation, and you may be left with a postpartum nightmare. To better understand what the birthing and postpartum experiences looked like in the early days of the pandemic and how the current Omicron surge mirrors those early days for new mothers, we spoke with Dr. Tova Walsh, an Assistant Professor of social work at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Walsh has spent the last two years interviewing women who gave birth in the earliest days of the pandemic - an experience she shares with her research subjects. She explained the challenges these new mothers faced and laid out policy recommendations to improve postpartum care going forward. For more of Tova Walsh’s work: Check out her recent opinion article published in NBC News: As COVID surges, health officials must remember that in-person postpartum care is essential Listen to her interviews about the experience of early parenting during the pandemic, on Wisconsin Public Radio and Slate’s parenting podcast.
Episode 232: Reflecting on Two Years of Trauma
35:44Amidst the dizzying onslaught of crises facing the nation – and the world – over the past several years, we are starting the new year by reflecting on how Americans react and respond to traumatic events, both as individuals and as groups. How do frightening circumstances facing our communities impact us psychologically? Why does so much disparity exist in the ways we process the same harmful events? How can we connect and find unity amidst all the chaos? These are some of the questions we explored with Dr. Maurice Stevens, a professor of comparative studies whose critical trauma theory research focuses on ways individuals and communities react to overwhelming events. For more of Maurice Stevens’s work: Check out their SSN brief on this topic: Getting Beyond Trauma. Read a similar piece they published in Oppositional Conversations titled Contesting Catastrophes.
Episode 231: Broken Promises for Native American Healthcare
30:18Tribal communities are entitled to federally funded healthcare under treaties signed with the U.S. government. And yet, Native Americans often struggle to access quality healthcare, creating health disparities that take a tremendous toll on their lives . In this episode, research scientist Dr. Emily Haozous explains what those health disparities have looked like over the past few decades, where they stand now, and what needs to be done to better meet the health needs of tribal communities. For more of Emily Haozous’s work: Read her SSN brief on this topic: Challenges on the Horizon for Native American Sovereignty and Healthcare Learn about some of her past research on the health needs of the Native population in Santa Fe, in The Santa Fe Reporter.
Episode 230: America's Childcare Crisis
29:30The decades-long childcare crisis in America -- worsened by the pandemic -- continues to deepen: parents all across the nation have been facing immense challenges in finding quality, affordable childcare, all while childcare providers continue to deal with poor working conditions and cripplingly low wages. This month, we spoke to labor economist Mary King, who focuses on the public provision of high quality preschool and childcare. During our conversation, Dr. King offered a detailed examination of the crisis and explained the many advantages of creating a universal preschool program. For more of Mary King’s work: Check out her article in The American Prospect: On Universal Preschool, Multnomah County, Oregon, Moves to the Head of the Class Read her three SSN briefs on this topic: New Preschool Program in Oregon is a Model for the Nation -- But Challenges Remain, The Labor Force for Needed Investments in Public Childcare Already Exists, and To Address the Childcare Crisis, Talk to Low Wage Moms