Racism in America, Economic Recovery, Schools Reopening

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From Factions to the Media, Why Racism Persists in U.S.
In a new paper published this week, Stanford University psychology professor Steven O. Roberts describes seven factors that contribute to racism in the U.S. They include the concept of hierarchy “which emboldens people to think, feel and behave in racist ways” and passivism, whereby individuals or institutions deny the existence of racism which, in turn, encourages others to do the same. Roberts and his co-author also explore “anti-racism” as a tool to combat racism proactively — instead of reactively — and the role psychology can play in promoting anti-racism to reduce racial inequality in our society.   


  • Steven O. Roberts, assistant professor of psychology, Stanford University

A Long Road to Economic Recovery As Restrictions Ease on Businesses
This week, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that restaurants in the city could reopen starting Friday for outdoor dining so long as health and safety protocols are followed — such as limiting the number of people seated at a table unless they’re from the same household.  On Monday, San Francisco retailers will be allowed to reopen for indoor shopping for the first time in three months. The city is also providing free, temporary permits to allow businesses to use public spaces, like sidewalks and parking spaces, for outdoor dining and shopping. Meanwhile, the tech sector in the Bay Area has remained relatively strong during the pandemic, with some companies such as San Francisco-based Instacart posting record growth for its on-demand grocery shopping service. Another fallout from the pandemic may be the acceleration of income inequality between low-wage service workers and tech workers, many of whom can work remotely. 


  •  Jay Cheng, public policy director, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
  •  Jeremy C. Owens, San Francisco bureau chief and technology editor, MarketWatch

Challenges and Risks Abound for School Reopenings
This week, the California Department of Education unveiled a detailed set of guidelines on how school districts should prepare for students returning to classes in the fall. Among the recommendations are requiring teachers to wear face coverings at all times, hand-washing stations and staggering on-site academic instruction to allow for social distancing and reduce class size. Each school district will likely develop their own set of protocols based on their needs and resources. But big challenges remain, from the difficulties of distance learning for some students to the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks in the fall just as students are settling in to reshaped classrooms and assignments.  



  • Julia McEvoy, senior editor of education and equity, KQED
  • Dr. Dan Cooper, professor of pediatrics, UC Irvine