LGBTQ Native/Pacific Islander youths (aged 13-18) most likely to self-harm, attempt suicide

Photo credit: EdBloomimage / Corbis via Time
Photo credit: EdBloomimage / Corbis via Time

A new study published two months ago in the American Journal of Public Health delves for the first time into the complex intersection of race and sexuality in mental health issues affecting the nation’s youth, and their results are telling.

Using survey data from 2005-2007, the group assessed the mental health outcomes of over 70,000 teens living in 14 districts, and which included over 6,000 sexual minorities. The group was able to for the first time disaggregate depression, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among teens by race and gender, and particularly with regard to often-times invisible racial groups — multiracial and Alaska Native / Pacific Islander youths.

In their study, the group found that regardless of race, sexual minorities are about twice as likely as sexual majorities to feel sad, and about three or four times as likely to self-harm or attempt suicide. The absolute numbers are also striking —  half of LGBTQ youth between ages 13 to 18 feel an unusual degree of sadness, and one in three have attempted suicide. One in three.

This finding can be nothing other than a profound and poignant demonstration of our society’s failure to provide LGBTQ youths the kind of supportive, accepting environment that they need to feel accepted.

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Creationist teacher calls Buddhist Thai American student’s faith “stupid”

Sabine Parish Superintendent Sara Ebarb
Sabine Parish Superintendent Sara Ebarb

This is why we need to protect the separation between church and state, and keep religion out of public schools.

The ACLU took a Louisiana school to court earlier this year after Negreet High school science teacher, Rita Roark, repeatedly denigrated the religious faith of a Buddhist student of Thai descent, calling both Buddhism and Hinduism “stupid”. One incident occurred after the student — identified as C.C. in the lawsuit — refused to answer Ms. Roark’s test question: “ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

According to Ms. Roark, the right answer was “Lord”, and she requires all her students to answer “correctly” for test credit. She marked the question incorrect and publicly shamed C.C. when he first failed to answer the question, and then when he attempted to answer the question with “Lord Boda [sic]” —  a reference to his Buddhist faith — when it appeared on a second exam.

In both incidents, Ms. Roark proclaimed it “stupid” to not fill in a reference to the Christian God, and encouraged her students to also verbally humiliate C.C. for not doing so.


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22 Responses to 22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe in Evolution


Earlier this week, Bill Nye debated Ken Ham in a little museum in Kentucky. Buzzfeed, ever delighted to turn pop culture spectacles into listicles, asked 22 Creationists to write questions they would ask a person who believed in evolution (and here’s the parallel article of 22 messages from evolutionists to Creationists).

Here are my responses.

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The Scientific Faith: Why Bill Nye is right to debate Creationism


In just over two weeks, Bill Nye (the Science Guy) is scheduled to travel to Kentucky to debate evolution with Ken Ham, founder and CEO of the Creationism Museum. There are a lot of scientists (and anti-creationist advocates) who are up-in-arms over Nye’s decision to engage the trolls.

Dan Arel over at the Richard Dawkins Institute writes:

When you accept a debate, you are accepting there is something worth debating….

Creationism vs. evolution however is not worth debating. Why? Simple, there is nothing to debate. Evolution is a scientific fact, backed by mountains of evidence, peer-reviewed papers you could stack to the moon and an incredible scientific community consensus.  Creationism is a debunked mythology that is based solely in faith. It has zero peer-reviewed papers to back up its claims, it has absolutely no scientific consensus and is not even considered science due to the fact it cannot be tested…

Ham is a snake oil salesmen and Nye just offered him up an infomercial to sell his product. Ham can repeat his mantra over and over; “teach the controversy”.

Arel is absolutely right: debating Creationism with a scientist dignifies Creationism, elevating it to the level of rational debate. However, Arel is wrong for concluding that for this reason Nye should not participate in the “debate”.

Here’s why: not having the debate is against the scientific faith.

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#AAPI face highest chronic unemployment rate: Why we should be against cuts to long-term benefits

Job seekers wait in line at a job fair in Seattle.  (AP/Photo Credit Ted Warren).
Job seekers wait in line at a job fair in Seattle (AP/Photo Credit Ted S. Warren), found via Salon.

For unemployed Americans, the new year was not a good one.

With the ushering in of 2014, many of America’s unemployed saw a sudden and terrifying cut to their long-term federal benefits. On December 28th, 1.3 million Americans battling long-term unemployment — that is, unemployment lasting longer than 6 months — suddenly found that the federal program that provided them with unemployment benefits had expired. And with that came the loss of critical income that has helped buoy these unemployed Americans through one of the toughest economic recessions in this nation’s history.

As the supposed Model Minority, Asian Americans are typically lauded as hard-working members of the workforce, and cited as reasons why unemployment benefits are unnecessary. Republicans frequently parade the Asian American community — and our below-average aggregate unemployment rate of ~6% — as reason to stop federal programs aimed to help this nation’s poor.

And, surprisingly, few Asian Americans have taken up the cause for maintaining or extending benefits for unemployed Americans. Yet, when we dig deeper into the statistics, there is ample evidence to suggest that cuts to long-term unemployment benefits should be a major cause for concern for the Asian American community.

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