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Discrimination

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Original author: 
Xeni Jardin

James Harbeck created this video to demonstrate various vocalizations that young adults make, to express emotions that are endemic to teens. From an accompanying article at The Week: The next time you find yourself wondering about the highest use of linguistics, or enduring the insulting grunts and groans of petulant adolescents and wondering how such noises could even be described, bring the two worlds together. Clearly, linguistics exists just so we can give a technical description of those hard-to-spell sounds that erupt from callow youths. Here are seven examples (with three bonus variations).     

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While enrolled as a student at the International Center of Photography in the fall of 2005, Samantha Box was given an assignment to photograph a community space in New York. In the Hell’s Kitchen district of Manhattan, she found Sylvia’s Place, the city’s only emergency shelter for homeless LGBT youth. More than six years later, she has yet to leave.

On any given night in New York City, an estimated 4,000 LGBT youth roam the city without a home. As the country celebrates LGBT Pride month throughout June, Box aims to remind us that, in spite of tremendous progress, vulnerable LGBT youth still suffer in the shadows. According to a recent study by the Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services, an estimated 25-40% of homeless youth in New York City identify as gay, bisexual, and/or transgender. These young adults must navigate a social and cultural landscape punctuated by multiple layers of stigma in regards to race, gender, class and sexuality. Many suffer from a history of trauma. Most, if not all, have fled broken homes.

Box believes in slowing down, that to accurately tell a story involving a cacophony of societal and personal layers one must wait patiently for the expression to flicker on someone’s face. Only after three to four years of patiently returning to Sylvia’s Place — after producing a series of images focused on the issue of homeless LGBT youth designed to, in her words, “hit people in the head to say these people need your attention,” — did she fully understand the nuances of her story.

Although one senses heartbreak in the images — the pained expression of a young woman visiting the grave of her deceased mother, the “Happy Mother’s Day” note bequeathed on a bed of flowers — there is an overwhelming feeling of life and youth radiating from Box’s photos. As opposed to relying on expected visual tropes of homelessness and LGBT youth, Box paints a more refined and heartfelt portrait: these are young adults coming of age and coming together in search of family.

“The young people that I photograph are some of the most resilient people that I have ever met: despite facing the societal animosity of homo- and transphobia, and the burden of a broken system that conspires to keep them homeless,” she says, “they continuously work for a future where their talents and intellect can be used, where they have a home, a family and a life of stability.”

Samantha Box is a documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. You can see more of her work here.

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For members of the Ku Klux Klan, burning a cross isn’t sacrilege: it’s an act of faith.

Every so often members of the highly secretive organization gather in fields to conduct so-called “cross lightings”—ceremonies meant to reaffirm their belief that Christianity is a white religion, and to strengthen the bonds between them. Veiled in white robes, members form a circle around a wooden cross. Following a group prayer, each man—or woman—throws his torch at the cross and spreads his arms outward to mimic its shape. “I know from talking to members of the Klan that it’s a very spiritual experience for them,” says Tyler Cacek, a photojournalist who has been researching and photographing Klansmen since 2009. “They really feel that this is the closest they could possibly come to God.”

First founded by veterans of the Confederate Army in 1865, the KKK has gone through several iterations—first as an insurgent movement in the South during Reconstruction, then as a racist, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant fraternal organization, and finally, as many have described, as a subversive terrorist organization opposed to civil rights. Its influence has waned significantly over the course of the 20th century, peaking in the 1920s when it had up to six million members. Today the American Defamation League estimates its numbers have dwindled to around 5,000 members, who are affiliated with roughly 40 local chapters.

Cacek, 20, is quick to point out that he isn’t a KKK sympathizer. The purpose of his series—entitled “For the Love of Hate”—is to understand how reasonable people come to adopt an unreasonable philosophy. “It’s one thing for me to understand them and it’s another thing for me to agree with them,” he says. “As a photographer I want to be able to show the human side of the story, and the process that leads these people to their beliefs.”

Members come to the organization in a number of ways—sometimes encouraged by family, sometimes in spite of them. They frequently feel like victims of inequality and have had negative encounters with specific people that later color their impressions of groups at large. Being bullied by immigrants or minorities is one example. Others are more extreme. “I know one guy whose brother was killed by a gang in Chicago,” Cacek says. “That really reinforced his belief that it’s good to seek racial segregation.”

Gaining the trust of the Klan hasn’t been easy: they’re naturally suspicious of media coverage, and have a checkered history with journalists, police informants and the government. Although Cacek has developed a working relationship with a number of Klansmen and photographed various groups in Kentucky and Virginia, he still faces challenges that limit the scope of his work. Members of the Klan like to maintain an aura of mystery—hence the white robes—and they insist that photos include their pointed hats and swastika tattoos. All that symbolism “makes it much more difficult for me to break into something deeper that tells a poignant story.”

Ty Cacek is a documentary photographer and currently studying at the University of Missouri. See more of his work here. If interested in supporting his project on The Ku Klux Klan, take a look at his Kickstarter here.

William Lee Adams is a staff writer at the London bureau of TIME. Find him on Twitter at @willyleeadams or on Facebook

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Sonskynhoekie Care Centre. Guateng Province, South Africa 2007

Ian Martin (b. 1972, USA) is a photojournalist who predominantly works in black and white. He is a 2008 recipient of a Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography and his work has appeared in publications including Newsweek, The New Yorker and Rolling Stone. He is a former staff photographer for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper. Ian received the Getty Images grant to continue his project “Invisible People: Poor and White in the New South Africa,” a documentary he began in 2007. With the Getty Images funding, he spent over three months photographing in South Africa in the fall of 2008 and 2009. The resulting body of work was recognized as a finalist for the World Understanding Award in the Premiere Division of the 2010 Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition.

About the Photograph:

“I took this picture at a poverty shelter north of Pretoria. I had just started out on this project a few weeks before and wasn’t aware that South Africa had poor white people. I needed a photo that acknowledged South Africa’s white-supremacist past. (The man on the right told me he believes white people and black people are equal. He says that he got his swastikas, three of them, after seeing a World War II movie in the 1970’s and liked the way they looked.) This photo feeds the stereotype that South Africa’s poor whites are bitter racists. Some certainly are. But as with all groups of human beings, assumptions fall apart under closer examination. After I took this picture, I worked to balance it with other pictures that show poor whites who are open-minded. On my most recent trip, I took a photo of a black woman cradling a white little boy while sitting with a white woman holding a black baby. The women were waiting in line at a soup kitchen.”

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Click here to read An Odyssey of Murder, Sorrow, and Peril

On March 24, 2007, 22-year-old Lindsay Hawker went to a cafe with a man she had met only days earlier, Tatsuya Ichihashi, then 28. Ichihashi had approached her on the train and then followed Hawker home, asking her for a drink of water. She acquiesced. More »

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