Due Process, Social Justice, and Education Through Pop Culture
Due process is a constitutional right intended to defend the people from government bias and abuse. It has deep historical roots, but this bureaucratic maneuver is often ignored by much of modern journalism, where exciting stories are reduced to sound bites and simple images to drive views and clicks. But, as it turns out, creative people are able to turn even the most uninteresting news into content that people share and enjoy.
Sean Malone Makes Civics Interesting
The PolitiPeeps interviewed Sean Malone, Director of Media at the Foundation of Economic Education (FEE), and the founder of CitizenA Media. Our series of interviews with him began with a discussion on ways to improve public fluency in important legal codes that are often seen as boring. He showed us that by presenting these otherwise uninteresting topics within the framework of pop culture, he is able to convey complicated ideas to people who would not normally hear his message.
Due Process In Judicial and Educational Settings
When Congress passes a law, implementation can get complicated and unforeseen conflicts can arise with due process or other rules and regulations.
If due process is not observed, the original intent of the law can become perverted and lead to violations of rights and civil liberties. Public protests have always been a source of due process complaints, and more recently, students have begun complaining publicly and in the courts that Title IX of the Education Reform Act is depriving them of due process.
Pop Culture as a Vehicle to Explain Due Process
Is Captain Marvel Actually a Hero? is a video Sean created to highlight the importance of due process in the pursuit of justice and public safety. By using a popular movie he was able to reach over 1.5 million people relatively quickly and engage them in the discussion about due process. During his time at FEE, Sean has helped grow their YouTube audience to over 111,000 subscribers who have made more than 80,000 comments.
Stories are the way we communicate values to people.Sean Malone
Sean Malone believes that as we move forward and expand rights to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, it is vital that we maintain a strong focus on due process in order to avoid hurting the very people we intend to protect, and using popular stories is a powerful way to educate people about our institutions.
Free Speech and Due Process
Hate crime legislation has been passed on federal, state, and local levels in an attempt to make society safer for marginalized groups, and these attempts have exposed issues with free speech. The boundary between free expression and the violation of the rights of others is difficult to find as both sides have compelling arguments.
People don’t think in formal syllogisms. They think in stories.Sean Malone
In the video above, Captain Marvel stands in for government officials, curtailing free speech and taking actions to prevent possible future crimes that ignore what people have actually done. Using popular stories like Captain Marvel to illustrate both sides of the issue, Sean believes we can draw a large audience and provoke them to think about and discuss the topic, leading to a more informed and engaged electorate, possibly even provoking more interest from teenagers, who are forming their opinions on rights and obligations.
Title IX and Due Process
Title IX was passed as part of a broader bill in 1972 intended to remove gender bias in education.
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. “
Due process has become an issue with Title IX. Sean Malone says universities are using Title IX to address violations of the code of conduct that sometimes rise to the level of criminal behavior, but once accused, current Title IX practices do not allow the accused to face their accuser or have the right to judicial review or process, and they are denied access to legal counsel. Additionally, the standards of evidence are incredibly low.
Sean Malone says Title IX needs to be seen as part of a broader conversation, and as a culture, we need to care about due process because anything that degrades due process can lead to injustice and the harm of innocent people. We should not rush to destroy someone’s character, career, or job without all the facts.
Due Process and the Future of Social Justice
As we move forward in the quest to make society more fair and inclusive, it is important to make sure we don’t cause unintended harm. Sean Malone believes a strong focus on due process is important to ensure mistakes and bias are removed from the process, or we risk the system becoming corrupt and abusive.
Our conversation with Sean was especially interesting because he has used popular movies to capture large amounts of attention for these important issues.
In the full interview, Sean Malone discusses these topics in more detail, and this interview is part of a series featuring new and interesting ways to expand justice through education and engagement of larger audiences.
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