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Jimmy Margulies | Oscars all white / media.cagle.com

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Beware America's Shocking Loss of Empathy

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  • Without empathy, our humanity is dead.
  • The symptoms of a society coming unhinged.
  • The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the "dumbing down" of America

David Niose, Psychology Today

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Mar 06, 2016 | Here’s a sobering thought for the idealists among us: Even if we someday achieve a truly fair and just society, that society will nevertheless be inhabited by the same species that produced the Holocaust. “Humans are capable of many things,” as author Noam Chomsky once told me. “Some of them are horrible, some are wonderful.”

Knowing that the human animal’s behavioral capacities cover a spectrum from the horrific to the kindhearted, it seems obvious that our challenge going forward is to create social structures that lead to the more desirable outcomes. There’s plenty of room for debate over details, but the basic framework of where we want to go shouldn’t be very controversial: general prosperity, a healthy and educated population, a government free of corruption and responsive to human needs, a sustainable natural environment, and a safe and free social environment.

David Niose's latest book is Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason.

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The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the "dumbing down" of America, Ray Williams, Psychology Today / Signs of the Times

8 Times the Helpers Eased the Pain of Sad Situations in 2015

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Even in the tragic and sad times, there were so many people who showed us the very best of humanity. So many people who reminded us that the good far outweighs the bad.

Laura Willard, Upworthy

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December 18, 2015 | Sometimes the helpers are those who, in the

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 wake of a tragedy, are quite literally saving lives. There are also the quieter helpers. The ones who are there to do what they can, long after the news cameras have gone. The ones who see serious everyday problems and know that even small gestures of compassion can make a world of difference.

There were a lot of helpers in 2015.

Here are eight of them that I want to remember because they remind me of the good in the world and inspire me to do my part when I can, no matter how small, to help make the world a better place.

Laura Willard

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'People Don't Really Have Time to Dream'

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Darnell Moore: “The goal was to really…think about creative ways to utilize the imagination, to move us from problem to solution, to move us from sort of looking at a past that also gets very stagnant to possibilities of what a present and future might look like.”

Janine Jackson, CounterSpin / Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

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http://fair.org/new/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/BLM_GROW_13x19_WEB-1-701x1024.png“Grow,” Seán Geer (Black Lives Matter: Black Futures Month)

February 19, 2016 | Social movements have always been fueled and uplifted by culture — art, music, stories. And not just movements, but the human beings who comprise them. In this vein, February marks the second annual Black Futures Month, a project of Black Lives Matter that brings together different cultural forms to shed light and spark discussion about issues that affect black communities, including questions not only of police violence, but also of labor, reproductive and gender justice.

Black History Month can be a valuable reminder of African-American struggles and unheralded contributions to US society. Black Futures Month extends the conversation from where African-Americans have been to where we might still go.

Janine Jackson is the program director of FAIR, and the co-host and co-producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin—a weekly program of media criticism airing on more than 150 stations around the country.

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How bad is Hollywood diversity? We cropped celebrity photos to demonstrate.

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  • If we're not being shown a world as diverse as the one we live in in the media, we're not seeing the whole picture.
  • #OscarsSoWhite? It's really about #HollywoodSoWhite.
  • "Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise": First Film on Writer and Activist Chronicles an Extraordinary Life

Parker Molloy, UpWorthy

February 23, 2016 | The University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism just released the Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment.

The report comes with a bunch of really helpful charts and other graphics that show how Hollywood's makeup is out of step with the general population.

Why does that matter?

Parker Molloy: I wear many hats. I'm a writer, blogger, intersectional feminist, and Chicagoan, who doesn't think people should legislate what others do with their bodies. My hobbies include chipping away at the patriarchy, fighting transphobia, and taking naps.

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To Make the Oscars More Diverse, Let’s Adopt Football’s Rooney Rule, Carrie Rickey, TruthDig 

  • Voluntary steps to include more people of color and women should be a priority throughout the entire Hollywood system of moviemaking, from studios’ executive ranks to casting.
  • Yet another #OscarsSoWhite

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"Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise": First Film on Writer and Activist Chronicles an Extraordinary Life, Amy Goodman, Rita Coburn Whack, Bob Hercules, Colin Johnson, Democracy Now!

In a Black History Month special, we remember the life and legacy of the legendary poet, playwright, civil rights activist, Maya Angelou. Now, for the first time, a documentary chronicles her remarkable life.

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