In late 1996, when I was 35 years old, I had finally reached a point in my life where I felt I had just about everything I had ever wanted. I had grown up in extreme poverty, in rural Georgia. But I had been lucky and hardworking enough to become a professor of psychology at UCLA. In fact, I had just received tenure. I even had a pretty happy marriage. After all, I had not yet discovered that my wife was a lesbian (nor had she, by the way). I had almost completed a book on one of my favorite…

Images adapted from U.S. Library of Congress (left) and photo by Arturo Rey (right), courtesy of Unspash

Not long ago, it felt like life was returning to normal. By late May of 2021, half of all Americans had been at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, and the Biden administration’s push to make several safe and highly effective vaccines widely available looked like a stunning success. But then two very bad things happened.

The first bad thing is that the virus evolved. It mutated into a different strain that is much more contagious than the original version. This is the case because many, many more copies of the delta version of the COVID-19 virus hang out in the…

Three clever and popular things NOT invented by White people. Pokémon logo is in the public domain, image courtesy of Wikipedia. Papyrus of Henefer is a free image courtesy of the British Museum. Inuit sunglasses image is in the public domain, courtesy of arctic explorer L.T. Burgess and the Library and Archives Canada.

How did the United States and a few other nations come to possess such a massive portion of the earth’s wealth? Two decades ago, the geographer, historian, and evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond gave us the one-word answer: agriculture. This blog explains how agriculture begat racism.

A common argument that Whites are superior to other ethnic groups — though the argument is often implicit rather than explicit — is the fact that Whites have so much money, power, and technology. If Whites are not the superior race, so the argument goes, why did White people invent everything amazing, from the steamboat…

This article is so poorly reasoned -- and so dangerous -- that I do not know where to begin responding.

But let me begin with the ridiculous rain metaphor. It is already raining. We're not debating whether it is raining. We're debating how to keep as many people possible dry because it is raining. If you want to walk in the rain and go home wet, more power to you. But if you want to walk in a downpour and come into the grocery store and shake your wet clothes on everyone else who needs to shop, you are being…

Images, clockwise from top left, by Clay Banks, Tim Gouw, Micheile Henderson, and U.S. Library of Congress, all courtesy of Unsplash

By Brett Pelham

I am a psychological scientist who studies racism and sexism. Research on these topics identifies powerful biases of which most people are wholly unaware. For example, my recent research shows that women of color disproportionately receive unnecessary cesarean sections during birth — but only when they can afford to pay for them. It’s about gender and power. Mothers of color have little power. Doctors have lots of it. Research also shows why Black infant mortality rates are higher than White infant mortality rates. It’s racism and stress, not genetics. …

Hi Ivar:

I f you read any of my other blogs on how social inequality is much worse than almost anyone realizes, you'll see that I am being totally ironic.

See, for example:

You are absolutely correct that the American system of unbridled capitalism guarantees needless poverty and suffering -- and does so in dozens of ways that dramatically favor the rich.

Brett :)

Images by Taylor Brandon (L) and Nate Johnston (R), courtesy of Unsplash

If you think COVID-19 decimated the U.S. economy and standard of living in 2020, think again. Yeah, things may have been rough back in April and May, but 2020 was a banner year for many sectors of the U.S. economy. Consider a few examples.

Cars. Back in April and May, new car and light truck sales in the United States plummeted. Just consider the data below, which I harvested from Statista. But things quickly rebounded. In fact, by November and December of 2020, a lot of Americans were enjoying the new cars Santa had brought them. …

Thanks you for being so gracious in respnse to my grumpy comment. I do agree that language can be very important. My own research shows so. But I think we worry too much about it sometimes -- and forget what we progressives are all fighting for.

I don’t believe in reincarnation, but there couldn’t have been a dog on the planet — other than Red — that better typified everything good and bad about my dad

Red (left), Lucky (right center), and some of my siblings, circa 1972. Photo courtesy of Jason Pelham

When I was about seven or eight years old, my family got a second dog. This was an extremely unlikely event. This is because we could not afford to care for the one dog we already had. Our little dog Lucky somehow survived on our skimpy table scraps, and she survived many insults and injuries without ever seeing a vet. After all, my siblings and I only got medical care when my parents thought we might be dying. Of course, we got the inoculations that were required for school. But we got them at free public clinics. In my rural…

A simple analysis of recent CDC death rates proves it

Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

Like Americans from almost all walks of life, I was extremely distressed to see the callous nature of George Floyd’s murder. It is utterly unimaginable that this senseless murder would have happened, for example, to a 14-year old White girl — or even to a 46-year-old White man.

But there is a much deeper tragedy than George Floyd’s murder. It is the fact that it took the recent, conspicuous, and well-documented deaths of many Black Americans such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmad Aubrey to spark widespread anti-racism protests in the United States last year. This fact reveals a…

Brett Pelham

Brett is a social psychologist at Montgomery College, MD. Brett studies health, gender, culture, religion, identity, and stereotypes.

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