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Language Used when Covering People with Disabilities

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News outlets frequently portray people with disabilities as either helpless victims or objects of motivation. Portrayal of people with disabilities has improved over the years, but there is still room to grow. News outlets tend to make disability the center

News outlets frequently portray people with disabilities as either helpless victims or objects of motivation. Portrayal of people with disabilities has improved over the years, but there is still room to grow. News outlets tend to make disability the center of the story. A story about a disabled person is primarily about their disability, with their other accomplishments framed by it.

As one example of the victimhood narrative, ABC News used to run a special called My Extreme Affliction as part of 20/20 until 2012. As the name implies, the specials covered people with disabilities, specifically extreme versions. One 2008 episode on Tourette’s syndrome described Tourette’s like it was some sort of demonic possession. The narrator talked about children who were “prisoners in their own bodies” and a family that was at risk of being “torn apart by Tourette’s.” I have Tourette’s syndrome myself, which made ABC’s special especially uncomfortable to watch. When not wringing their metaphorical hands over the “victims” of disability, many news outlets fall into the “supercrip” narrative. They refer to people as “heroes” who “overcome” their disabilities to achieve something that ranges from impressive to utterly mundane. The main emphasis is on the disability rather than the person who has it. These articles then exploit that disability to make readers feel good. As a person with a disability, I am aware that it impacts my life, but it is not the center of my life. The tics from my Tourette’s syndrome made it difficult to speak to people when I was younger, but even then they did not rule me.

Disability coverage, however, is still incredibly important for promoting acceptance and giving people with disabilities a voice. A little over a fifth of adults in the United States have a disability (CDC: 53 million adults in the US live with a disability), so poor coverage means marginalizing or even excluding a large amount of people. Journalists should try to reach their entire audience. The news helps shape public opinion with the stories it features. Therefore, it should provide visibility for people with disabilities in order to increase acceptance. This is a matter of civil rights. People with disabilities deserve fair and accurate representation.

My personal experience with ABC’s Tourette’s special leads me to believe that the media, especially the news, needs to be more responsible in their reporting. Even the name “My Extreme Affliction” paints a poor picture of what to expect. A show that focuses on sensationalist portrayals in pursuit of views further ostracizes people with disabilities. The emphasis should be on a person and not their condition. The National Center for Disability Journalism tells reporters to “Focus on the person you are interviewing, not the disability” (Tips for interviewing people with disabilities). This people-first approach is the way to improve disability coverage: Treat people with disabilities with the same respect as any other minority group.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Proportional Representation Electoral Systems and Minority Representation in the American Legislature: A Comparative Analysis of Potential Reforms

Description

In this paper I conduct a comparative analysis of how proportional representation electoral systems could affect the political representation of racial and ethnic minorities if adopted in America. In order to do this I first discuss the central ideas of

In this paper I conduct a comparative analysis of how proportional representation electoral systems could affect the political representation of racial and ethnic minorities if adopted in America. In order to do this I first discuss the central ideas of proportional representation in conjunction with a historical and contemporary view of the American electoral system. Using this discussion as a basic framework I enter a more in depth discussion about the pros and cons of PR systems, especially in so far as party lists, district magnitude, and links between constituent and representative. To better contextualize the American electoral system I then use case studies featuring New Zealand, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, and Germany. These case studies discuss important aspects of each country's electoral system and how they have affected ethnic and racial minorities within those countries. Each case study concludes with an assessment of how a similar system might work if adopted in America which aims to inform a broader discussion about electoral reform. Finally I conclude with a discussion of my findings that recognizes how proportional representation systems open new pathways for minority representation, while still urging caution in viewing those systems as a straightforward solution to the chronic underrepresentation of America's ethnic and racial minorities in politics.

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2018-05

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Colin Kaepernick, Ethnocentrism, and Multiculturalism: Redefining Nationalism in the United States

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This paper explores whether American football player Colin Kaepernick and other athletes’ refusal in 2016 to acknowledge the national anthem symbolizes a form of nationalism in the United States. At first glance, the rising support of “un-American” acts that reject

This paper explores whether American football player Colin Kaepernick and other athletes’ refusal in 2016 to acknowledge the national anthem symbolizes a form of nationalism in the United States. At first glance, the rising support of “un-American” acts that reject traditional patriotism would imply that American nationalism is faltering. If one observes the colloquial understanding of nationalism as extreme commitment to a country, this may be true. But after closer examination, the pattern instead depicts a polarization of two distinct forms of nationalism — ethnocentric nationalism and what I call multicultural nationalism, both intensifying away from each other.
As opposed to colloquial understanding, there is no standard scholarly definition of nationalism, but it is widely seen as zeal over an identity that strives to manifest into an organized state. Despite this minimal consensus, nationalism is usually equated with an ethnocentric conception of the nation-state, what I recognize to be ethnocentric nationalism, the commitment to a linguistically, racially, and culturally likeminded nation. I argue that this traditional, ethnocentric understanding of nationalism is only one interpretation of nationalism. Ethnocentric nationalism has and continues to be in tension with a more recently established interpretation of the nation, which I call multicultural nationalism: the commitment to a country’s principles rather than to its racial, cultural, and religious ties.

A common acceptance of difference is growing in the United States as shown by Kaepernick’s public support in the face of patriotic conformity. This perspective draws from the United States’ ideological roots that argue for one nation made up of many, e pluribus unum, so that foreign backgrounds should not just be accepted but also embraced to form a more diverse nation. The passion for a progressive, multicultural America can be translated into its own movement of multicultural nationalism. In this context, the support for Kaepernick’s actions no longer appears to represent increased dissent from the United States, but instead seems to be an attempt to challenge ethnocentric nationalism’s claim to the nation.

This paper will begin by contrasting the reactions to Kaepernick’s protest and to protests before him in order to contend that nationalism is no longer characterized by only ethnocentric tradition. I will analyze theoretical studies on nationalism to dispute this common understanding that nationalism is solely ethnocentric. I will argue that nationalism, rather, is the intense manifestation of a community’s identity within a political state; the identity of which can be either ethnocentric or multicultural. The Kaepernick ordeal will be used to signify the greater division in the American public over whether a multicultural or ethnocentric conception of the nation should be supported in the United States. Lastly, this paper will observe how the Kaepernick protest suggests multicultural nationalism’s viability in today’s politically progressive environment, and how multiculturalism should embrace nationalism to advance its platform.

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Created

Date Created
2017-05

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CHAOS THEORY AND THE EVOLUTION OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE

Description

Since the start of U.S. hostilities against Iraq in 2003, International Relations scholars have begun to characterize the U.S. as potentially an empire. This is because the traditional notion of sovereignty under the Westphalian nation-state system is held as a

Since the start of U.S. hostilities against Iraq in 2003, International Relations scholars have begun to characterize the U.S. as potentially an empire. This is because the traditional notion of sovereignty under the Westphalian nation-state system is held as a constant in the prominent theories that govern how it is thought how nation-states interact with each other. The blatant violation of international laws and norms with impunity by the U.S. have led to a re-questioning of the true dynamics underlying this system. Some scholars have characterized the recent research as a popular fad, but most of the research is aimed at just attempting to show how the U.S. could be an empire. What the current research is missing is how the U.S. became an empire, with that analysis anchored in an historical comparison. A complete chronological review of each system in its entirety is required, with all of its components, to more fully understand these phenomena. This has required researchers to devise a new methodological process of qualitatively and quantitatively analyzing macro structures. We believe the implications of the insights that can be obtained with this new method could be of use to many fields and can generate many new hypotheses to test in the future.

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Created

Date Created
2014-12

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Is the "Special Relationship" Still Special? The Politics and Role of Anglo-American Relations since 1980

Description

This research looks at the state of Anglo-American political relations since 1980. By examining the political partnerships between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher and George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown,

This research looks at the state of Anglo-American political relations since 1980. By examining the political partnerships between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher and George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, and Barack Obama and David Cameron, it explores if the so called ‘special relationship’ remains so special today in a world of growing political animosity and challenges. The thesis argues that the success of the ‘special relationship’ between the United States and United Kingdom has not been just due to similar political ideologies or goals, but also personal friendships which often overcame national interests or immediate personal political gain. Furthermore, it is often the periods of disagreement between these sets of leaders that helped strengthen the relationship between America and Britain, evidenced by episodes like the Falklands War, policy towards the Soviet Union, the invasion of Grenada, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ultimately, the thesis explores how current relations have deteriorated due to problems on both sides of the Atlantic under the Obama, Brown, and Cameron administrations, but the research concludes that the special relationship is, while damaged, alive and fixable.

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Created

Date Created
2015-12

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Fidel Castro: Controversies Over his Political Vision- What American Political Elites Should Know About the Shaping of Cuban Politics

Description

The purpose of this thesis is to outline the different and often contentious arguments that surround the ideological outcome of the Cuban Revolution. Especially now that United States policy makers and diplomats are considering renegotiating trade and political agreements with

The purpose of this thesis is to outline the different and often contentious arguments that surround the ideological outcome of the Cuban Revolution. Especially now that United States policy makers and diplomats are considering renegotiating trade and political agreements with Cuba, it is important to have a clearer idea as to whether Fidel Castro was an idealist or opportunist, and which of these profiles American diplomats should base their assumptions of Cuban leadership on. My thesis proposes the following argument: That much of the controversy surrounding Castro's personality is contentious and falls within extremes. He is neither devil nor angel; that is, he is neither purely idealistic nor wholly opportunistic. Assessments of his personality fall somewhere in between these two positions. Further, diplomatic strategies formulated by American policy makers should take into account the subtleties in determining whom the figure Fidel Castro really is. And, any proposed changes in policy must take into account the complexities of Castro's leadership style and of the way this style forms the legacy and context in what current and future Cuban leadership will approach negotiations between the United States over political and trade relations.

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Created

Date Created
2014-05

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French Jewish Emigration, the United States, and the Second World War

Description

At odds with the Axis powers in the Second World War, the American government
began the task of dealing with an influx of Europeans seeking refugee status stateside, even before the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. American

At odds with the Axis powers in the Second World War, the American government
began the task of dealing with an influx of Europeans seeking refugee status stateside, even before the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. American interest in the global situation, nevertheless, did not officially begin after the initial attack on the 7th of December. Before that date, the United States government had to address refugees seeking asylum from European countries. Often studied, German emigration to the United States at times took center stage in terms of the refugee situation after the Nazi regime enacted anti- Semitic legislation in Germany and its occupied nations, prior to the American declaration of war. France, however, had a crisis of its own after the Germans invaded in the summer of 1940, and the fall of France led to a large portion of France occupied by Germany and the formation of a new government in the non-occupied zone, the Vichy regime.
France had an extensive history of Jewish culture and citizenship culture prior to 1940, and xenophobia, especially common after the 1941 National Revolution in France, led to a “France for the French” mentality championed by Marshal Philippe Pétain, Chief of State of Vichy France. The need for the French Jewish population to seek emigration became a reality in the face of the collaborationist Vichy government and anti-Semitic statutes enacted in 1940 and 1941. French anti-Semitic policies and practices led many Jews to seek asylum in the United States, though American policy was divided between a small segment of government officials, politicians, individuals, and Jewish relief groups who wanted to aid European Jews, and a more powerful nativist faction, led by Breckenridge Long which did not support immigration. President Roosevelt, and the American government, fully aware of the situation of French Jews, did little concrete to aid their asylum in the United States.

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Created

Date Created
2014-05

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Russia's War on Democracy: Analyzing Disinformation in the United States, Latvia, and Colombia

Description

Disinformation has long been a tactic used by the Russian government to achieve its goals. Today, Vladimir Putin aims to achieve several things: weaken the United States’ strength on the world stage, relieve Western sanctions on himself and his inner

Disinformation has long been a tactic used by the Russian government to achieve its goals. Today, Vladimir Putin aims to achieve several things: weaken the United States’ strength on the world stage, relieve Western sanctions on himself and his inner circle, and reassert dominant influence over Russia’s near abroad (the Baltics, Ukraine, etc.). This research analyzed disinformation in English, Spanish, and Russian; noting the dominant narratives and geopolitical goals Russia hoped to achieve by destabilizing democracy in each country/region.

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Created

Date Created
2021-05

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Money or Mercy? What Really Drives US/Middle Eastern Relationships?

Description

"The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened".
- John F Kennedy

For over a century now, the United States has publicly professed a commitment to upholding human rights around the world, yet to

"The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened".
- John F Kennedy

For over a century now, the United States has publicly professed a commitment to upholding human rights around the world, yet to this day economically supports numerous dictatorships and undemocratic regimes that flout human rights on a daily basis. The rhetoric of American politicians would imply that human rights and democracy are a priority in America's foreign policy, yet given US support for autocracies, both of these principles seem forgotten. If not respect for democracy and human rights, what is truly influencing America's relationship with these countries? I hypothesize that a country's resource availability will be the best predictive factor for its economic relationship with the US, followed by its military involvement with the US, and finally, human rights records will be the least predictive factor. The study found that a country's military cooperation with the US is the best predictive factor regarding our economic relationship, resource availability comes with a weak correlation, and human rights abuses very rarely substantively impact our economic relationships.

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Date Created
2020-05

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How Russia Could Have Saved the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime

Description

Following the Russian Federation’s illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the world has once again found itself in a time of crisis. President Vladimir Putin has chosen to rewind the clock and restore the Cold War-era divide between Russia

Following the Russian Federation’s illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the world has once again found itself in a time of crisis. President Vladimir Putin has chosen to rewind the clock and restore the Cold War-era divide between Russia and the United States. The European Union, while still divided internally on numerous issues, has seemingly chosen to rise to the occasion in the wake of Russia’s invasion and assert itself as an equal party to both Cold War-era rivals. All the while China, the pacing, ever vigilant threat, continues to keep its cards close to its chest, and it remains to be seen whether a new Sino-Soviet split will emerge just as before or if the adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” still rings true. However, 2022 is not 1962, at least not yet. The global nuclear non-proliferation regime, the culmination of sixty years of constant effort between adversary and ally alike, exists to save the United States and Russia from themselves. Despite the breadth and authority of the regime there are threats abound to its existence, particularly in this time of deep uncertainty. It is incumbent upon the nuclear powers of the world, and Russia especially, to ensure that it does not become a casualty of this age. The world must therefore look back to the early days of the Cold War when crises were abundant, and the United States and the Soviet Union repeatedly brought humanity to the edge of the nuclear abyss. What we learn from doing so is that, while difficult, the global nuclear non-proliferation regime can be supported through unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral actions such as novel weaponry moratoriums, a return to adversarial arms control, and achieving the universality of export control regimes, respectively.

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Date Created
2022-05