Since 2009, Mikhail has been studying and working with conflict, particularly via Restorative Circles (a restorative practice developed in Brazil by Dominic Barter and associates) and other restorative responses to conflict. Together with Elaine Shpungin, he now supports schools, organizations, and workplaces in developing restorative strategies for engaging conflict, building conflict facilitation skills and evaluating the outcomes associated with restorative responses via Conflict 180.
In addition to conflict and restorative practices, Mikhail also has a long-standing interest (going back about 20 years) in race and racial dynamics and regularly explores these themes in his Psychology Today blog Between the Lines., as well as in contributions to a variety of anthologies on popular culture, ranging from Harry Potter to vampires to superheroes. In addition to OpEdNews, Mikhail's commentary has also appeared in a many other online publications, including Buzzflash, Jewcy, Colors, Race-Talk, Truthout, Tikkun, Alternet and The Huffington Post, and he has been a guest on a variety of radio programs, including Illinois Public Media and Wisconsin Public Radio.
Universities Not Immune to Implicit Bias
Implicit bias is evident across academic departments, including in the sciences, where one might be tempted to believe that applications are more likely to be evaluated objectively.
Is It Possible to Parent Without Threats or Coercion?
Is it possible to parent nonviolently? Ana Joanes's new documentary follows three families as they try to parent without threat or coercion, yet with the general philosophy that everyone's needs (both their children's and their own) matter.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
What not to Wear: 5 Most Racist Halloween Costumes This Year
Even if only for a day, there is no denying it's fun to be someone else. For some, part of the fun is to be as different as possible. Perhaps that's why some men put on drag, why some demure women get their sexy on, and... why some white folks are drawn to blackface.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Racism Insurance Promo for Dear White People: A Critique
The Racism Insurance skits are laugh-out-loud funny, and most of us can use more laughter in our lives. But they are not just funny. They also shed some light on real-world racial dynamics. There is content in these clips worth examining more closely.
"This Lady Refused to Sit Next to a 'Negro'" - The Rest of the Story
The behavior in the "Despicable" PSA is deplorable, but just because we don't stoop to that level doesn't mean we're off the hook for being racist. The problem is much more serious and insidious and requires a great deal more honesty, both with ourselves and each other. Oversimplified depictions of racism stand in the way of self-responsibility and restorative actions.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014(24 comments)
A Racial Analysis of Sterling's Comments, NBA's Response
There is much to celebrate about the NBA's stand against Sterling but also much to be concerned about. Classic studies in psychology suggest that any one of us could have been in Sterling's place. Do we have a greater responsibility as a society than just removing the bad apple?
Saturday, April 5, 2014(10 comments)
Undocumented Migrants Hurt American Economy, Or Do They?
In his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of his desire for a day when all Americans could peacefully coexist as equals. 51 years later our society is still in many ways divided, not only by race, the primary focus of King’s efforts, but also by immigration status. Here we summarize key findings from our study of undocumented immigrants
Thursday, March 13, 2014(7 comments)
Is Nonviolence Effective?
The evidence for the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance is mounting. In the past 100 years, nonviolent campaigns were nearly twice as likely to achieve full or partial success as were violent campaigns and the advantage for nonviolent campaigns held even when controlling for the authoritarianism of the regime.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014(1 comments)
A Reading of the Letter From Birmingham Jail: A Review
Though not as universally known as the "I Have a Dream" speech delivered just a few months later, Letter From a Birmingham Jail, which King started to write on the margins of a newspaper, is the source of many of his most well-known words. A new film gives these words screen time, much to the benefit of anyone who takes the time to watch.
Saturday, July 27, 2013(9 comments)
What If We Choose To Do It With Love?
We tend to think of love as an emotion, which of course it is, but it is also a choice. It is a choice we can make in regard to not only a romantic partner but also a friend, a stranger, and even someone we regard as an enemy. Unlike emotional love, this kind of love is not fleeting. soft or irrational. Rather, it is an orientation toward justice and healing.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013(9 comments)
Restorative Justice for Trayvon Martin
Two cities. Two people of color fatally shot by those charged with security and law enforcement. Two communities torn apart across racial lines. One city reacts conventionally with criminal charges and court proceedings. The other additionally engages in a Restorative Circle, a restorative process designed to create conditions for mutual understanding and repair of harm.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013(12 comments)
A Story of Slavery From the Deep North
Did you know Northerners were involved in the slave trade? This is a review of the documentary film Traces of the Trade, which examines one White Northern family's history with slavery.
Saturday, July 6, 2013(22 comments)
The Health Outcomes of a Racist Society
Residential segregation and other societal racist structures increases health risks and mortality. David Williams and other scholars empirically illustrate the problem...and the potential interventions.
How Super is Superhero Justice?
Like speculative fiction in general, superhero stories are ultimately about ourselves. The fictional universes allow the writers to manipulate the circumstances to better examine the most complex aspects of the human experience, none more so than the issues of morality and justice
Are stereotypes unfairly stereotyped?
Think you know what stereotypes are? If you're relying on definitions from mainstream dictionaries, you're probably, well...guilty of stereotyping. But don't worry. That might not be a bad thing
The Racial Scoop on NYPD Officers' Dirty Dancing
White men "keeping order and control" over Black women's bodies, while at the same time using those same bodies for their own sexual gratification has a long and painful history in this country. Are the women and police officers in this video aware that they are playing out the slavery script?
Wednesday, September 21, 2011(3 comments)
Twenty Tweets About Troy Davis and the Death Penalty
With Davis's execution just hours away, it is time to not only take immediate action to save his life (see last tweet) but to examine the system of capital punishment more broadly, a system that is racially biased beyond a reasonable doubt.
Study Finds Smiling Men are Less Attractive to Women
A new study suggests that smiling is seen as sexually attractive on women but not on men. The findings explain some enduring widely-believed phenomena and raise interesting questions about inter-racial attraction.
Monday, June 6, 2011(1 comments)
The Racial Politics of X-Men
The X-Men franchise draws deliberate parallels between the oppression of mutants and that of other marginalized groups. What does it have to teach us about our own culture's racial history and prejudices?
Beauty May Be In Eye of Beholder But Eyes See What Culture Socializes
Kanazawa's claims aside, there is no single "objective" standard of beauty. The adage that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is incomplete. Sure, there are individual differences. The point is that there are also group differences, not in attractiveness (as Kanazawa claims), but in cultural messages about what is and is not attractive.
About Those Whites-Only Scholarships
Do race-based scholarships (and race-based affirmative action in admissions) ultimately do more harm than good for both students of color and for our society? Two race-bloggers discuss the "whites-only" scholarships and their implications for scholarships targeting students of color.
Did Kanye Create a Monster?
One of the defining characteristics of monsters is that they don't have redeeming qualities. The moment we begin to like or sympathize with any part of the monster, it is no longer a monster but a flawed being. What, then, are we to make of Kanye West's new video?
Introducing OEN's First Special Issue: Restorative Justice
Usually, like most news/opinion sites, we focus our attention on the problems. Today, we want to focus on some creative ways of working through them. As befitting an alternative news site, we want to highlight an alternative way of "doing justice".
Friday, December 10, 2010(28 comments)
The U.S. (in)Justice System Doesn't Work. The Alternative Just Might
To the uninitiated, restorative processes may appear idealistic and naive. After all, they reject the two core aspects of the traditional justice system: the assignment of blame and the administration of punishment. Instead, the goal of the Circle is for the parties involved in the conflict to first gain mutual understanding of the others' experiences and needs and then to restore or build a mutually satisfying relationship.
Our Justice System Requires Us To Punish Wrongdoers. What if There Were a Better Way?
What if conflict was seen as something to engage rather than to avoid? What if there was a way of "doing justice" that involved neither fault-finding nor punishment? Restorative Justice systems are challenging all of our sacred cows concerning justice. For those that are open to what they offer, they may deliver far more than anything we dare to hope for.
Race is Sexy. Sex is Racy. Now "Get Lost"
The photos are edgy. They're sexually charged, literally (and symbolically) hot and wet. They're also undeniably racially provocative. The white model (Daria Werbowy) is apparently "Lost", at least that's what the title of the spread implies.
But lost in what?
Thursday, April 29, 2010(8 comments)
Ladies and Gentlemen: The U.S. (in)Justice System
Incarceration rates are skyrocketing, particularly for men of color. The racial bias in law enforcement and incarceration rates is well-documented. Are we at the dawn of a new civil rights movement?