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:

https://aninjusticemag.com/racism-is-deadlier-than-covid-19-81fcb09bca75

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…


Perhaps the worst thing about losing loved ones to COVID-19 is not being able to say a proper goodbye. We’re wired to do so — and thoughtful COVID-19 policies prevent this.

Photo by Amin Moshrefi, courtesy of Unsplash

Throughout much of human existence, life sucked, and then you died. Worse yet, you died young, usually. Even two centuries ago, most people in Western Europe who were lucky enough to make it through infancy could expect to die in their early to mid-40s. Disease and malnutrition were so rampant that making it to 70 was a small miracle. But in the modern world of improved nutrition, sanitation, and medication, people in wealthy nations who only make it to 70 are perceived as dying young.

According to developmental psychologist Laura Carstensen, senior citizens in wealthy nations have responded to this…


Research on narcissism shows exactly why Trump encouraged violence in DC on January 6, 2021.

Image by Vince Fleming, courtesy of Unsplash

As a social psychologist who studies how people figure out other people, I have long been surprised at the unwillingness of many psychologists to say that Donald Trump is a narcissist. In this blog, I document a few of the many ways in which Trump qualifies as a narcissist. Then, I briefly explain how badly his narcissism has damaged America. Ultimately, it was the main reason for yesterday’s assault on the U.S Capital.

Let me begin by noting that there are some clear exceptions to the rule that psychologists have been cautious about labeling Trump a narcissist. Harvard social and…


Photo by Azazella BQ, courtesy of Unsplash

On January 2, 2021 – rather than going golfing or working hard to get the new COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of desperate Americans – President Trump spent just over an hour talking on the phone to Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger (and a couple of his associates). The lengthy conversation was packed with about a dozen whacky conspiracy theories, all of which have been thoroughly debunked by Georgia’s conservative elected officials, by GBI and FBI officers, and by numerous Republican and Democratic judges.

Everyone from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal says that every American…


A Donald Trump — Ted Cruz conversation

Cartoon by the author, Brett Pelham

DON-I-WON: “I AM THE DON. I’M DON-I-WON. YES, DON-I-WON.”

TED: “THAT DON-I-WON! THAT DON-I-WON!

I DO NOT LIKE THAT DON-I-WON!

HE LIED ABOUT MY DEAR OLD DAD.

I HATE THAT DON. HE MAKES ME MAD.”

DON-I-WON: “BUT DON’T YOU LIKE TO STAY IN POWER?”

TED: “I DO NOT LIKE IT WHEN WE LOSE.

BUT AS THEY SAY, ‘THE VOTERS CHOOSE.’”

DON-I-WON: “WILL YOU HELP ME STEAL FROM GEORGIA?”

TED: “THOUGH WE’D BOTH LIKE TO KEEP OUR POWERS,

AND STAY HERE IN OUR LOFTY TOWERS,

I DO NOT WANT TO STEAL FROM GEORGIA.

JOE BEAT YOU, HASN’T SOMEONE TOLD YA?”

Brett Pelham

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

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