News Archive

CRF Scholars & Family Research - IN THE NEWS! – Summer 2013

Spencer named faculty representative to NCAA: Rebecca Spencer, assistant professor of psychology and a former student-athlete, has been named the campus’s faculty athletic representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Spencer will report directly to Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and serve as a key advisor on intercollegiate athletics. The faculty athletic representative is also a member of the Faculty Senate’s Athletic Council.http://www.umass.edu/loop/content/spencer-named-faculty-representative-ncaa

Jennifer Lunquist, sociology, is quoted in a story about the growing number of American couples and singles who have chosen not to have children and how in some cases this has dramatically improved their life satisfaction. Lundquist comments on the 30-percent increase in childless black women from 1994 to 2008, saying it could mean they are refusing to fall into a stereotype of the unmarried black mother. She says in her studies on fertility and family formation, “It is a common refrain to hear high­achieving black women mourn what they say is a dearth of similarly educated black men.” (Time, 8/12/13)

Lynette Leidy Sievert, anthropology, says she’s doubtful about the accuracy of a new study that suggests men may have played an evolutionary role in the development of menopause. The study says the preference men have for reproducing with younger women may have been the trigger for menopause, the process where older women cease to be able to become pregnant. Sievert says scientific evidence shows that by the age of 50, only 10 percent of Neanderthals survived and even with Homo sapiens, just 17 percent survived past age 40. (Health24.com, 6/14/13)

Linda Tropp, psychology professor and director of the Psychology of Peace and Violence program, commented in a story about how celebrity chef Paula Deen could work to rehabilitate her public image after being accused of racist attitudes and comments. Tropp suggests that Deen should socialize with people who come from different backgrounds and learn to listen to and respond to them in an open and honest fashion. (AARP.org, 6/28/13). Tropp also wrote a column where she said racial differences still matter in society. Her column was prompted by recent court decisions where one of the ideas being promoted was that racial attitudes have changed over time. (Psychology Today, 6/27/13)

Joya Misra, sociology and public policy, was interviewed about her research on the high cost of child care and“the motherhood penalty” (that is where women who often earn less than men in the same occupations drop out of the workforce to care for children and then cannot re-enter the job market at the same level of pay). A key driver of this phenomenon is the high cost of child care, when it is available. Misra also notes that costly child care isn’t just a problem for lower-income families, but also is critical for middle- and upper-middle class couples. (WBUR, 8/21/13) (New York Times, 8/17/13)  Research by Joya Misra and Michelle Budig, sociology, is cited in an article about the inequality in pay faced by working mothers.(New York Times, 6/8/13)

Maureen Perry-Jenkins, psychology, said there are distinct advantages for fathers who work non-regular shifts in order to spend more time with their children. She says this helps cut down on day-care costs and allows men to build stronger bonds with children. (USA Today, 6/14/13)

Jonathan Rosa recently appeared on MSNBC’s MHP program to deconstruct the recent changes with the Associated Press Stylebook. The AP has clarified “immigration “and how it is to be used. Kathleen Carroll, the AP’s executive editor and senior vice president, wrote, “The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action.” Reflecting this idea that the term “illegal” should not refer to people, the AP has also changed the title of the Stylebook entry from “illegal immigrant” to “illegal immigration.” This standard for newspaper reporting, Rosa argues, is a major shift in perspective.  In an April 6th interview entitled, “AP’s immigration style change is no small thing” he was joined by NBC Latino’s Raul Reyes and Joy Reid from The Grio. Host Melissa Harris-Perry led the discussion about how the AP’s move from using the term “illegal immigrant” changes the tide in the way people are thinking about immigration. 

Rosa’s prior 2012 interview with Slate, “From ‘Wetbacks’ to ‘Illegals’ to ‘Undocumented’ to …?”  addressed the heated debate over language at the heart of U.S. immigration policy.  Rosa states, “This usage of “illegal” is a way of framing an entire population regardless of their migration status.” The full interview can be heard here.

Rosa was back in the news this past July as partof a panel discussion about topics such as the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, U.S. racial politics beyond Black and White, and the propriety of white comedian Tim Allen and his argument using the “N-word” in comedy will help remove some of the power and hatefulness of the word. Rosa says Allen can choose to use this language, but that ultimately it will be up to the public to determine whether this is acceptable.

Full videos from April and July:

Discussion of the Associated Press' decision to drop "illegal immigrant" from its storybook: HERE

Discussion of language and immigration: HERE

Discussion of citizenship rights and immigration reform: HERE 

Discussion of race in the context of the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial: HERE  

Discussion of racial politics in the U.S. beyond Black and White: HERE  

Discussion of race in the context of Tim Allen's comments about the "n-word":  HERE