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An Unpredictable Turn Of Events

An Unpredictable Turn Of Events

When the news broke last spring that three members of the Duke University men’s lacrosse team were accused of raping a Black college student/dancer at a party, the events that followed were understandable and somewhat predictable. There were protests outside of the house where the alleged rape occurred; the Duke campus became divided between those who supported the lacrosse players and those who didn’t; and there was a close examination of this elite institution’s campus culture.

But no one could have predicted that a year later a group of Black faculty who spoke out about issues of race, gender, sexual violence and athletics would now be the targets of so much venom. How did this happen? Well, you’ll just have to read senior editor Christina Asquith’s article, “Duke’s Devil of a Mess.” While reporting, Christina said she was surprised at the stark differences in the way people she interviewed processed the case, which was usually along racial lines. “The lacrosse case was like a Rorschach test in which, depending on your perspective, politics, race and experiences, you saw something completely different from someone else.” This is an article you definitely don’t want to miss.
With the exception of the Duke piece, the other three features follow the theme of this annual special report on technology.

First, senior writer Ronald Roach sits down with M2Z, a start-up firm that is proposing a national wireless system that would essentially provide free broadband access to the poor. Some consider it a
radical plan.

“Universal broadband access could have a tremendous impact on the lives of working class and low-income Americans. Fast and convenient wireless access to the Internet means that disadvantaged students, whether in K-12 or in colleges to which they commute, can enjoy broadband service that’s comparable to what they experience at school,” Ronald says. “Regardless of how the M2Z proposal fares before the Federal Communications Commission, the company has helped energize the national discussion over the importance of universal broadband access.”

Journalists often joke that they entered their profession so they wouldn’t have to work with numbers. In the article, “A Real Fear,” Diverse correspondent Paul Ruffins writes that people who fear math have a tendency to avoid math-related classes, which, as a result, decreases their math competence. Often times, minorities and women internalize the stereotype that these two groups do not excel in math.
Howard University math professor Louise Raphael says she’s constantly confronting attitudes like, “Nobody in my whole family can do math,” or “You know ‘our folks’ just aren’t good at this.” Paul reports on what scholars are doing to help students overcome math anxiety.

In “Digging Out of the Digital Divide,” Diverse correspondent Peter Galuszka interviews Randal Pinkett, someone who has weighed in over the years with the magazine on issues of minority access to technology. We always knew he was something special, but the rest of the world got to see what he was made of when he was named winner of Donald Trump’s NBC reality show, “The Apprentice,” in 2005. Randal, who is quite busy with his Trump obligations as well as his own company, BCT Partners, discusses broadband Internet access, math anxiety and whether the digital divide actually still exists.

Hilary Hurd Anyaso

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