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The Polygraph Test: A Scientific and Moral Dilemma – by Koula Zambounis-Black


Throughout history, societies advanced in various methods of deception detection. In the earliest of times, it seems torture was the ideal method for identifying truthfulness. Confessions provided on the rack, by fire, water submersion, or even blood ritual, placated those seeking the truth during our early human history. The first noted scientific approach for lie detection arrived in 1885 when Cesare Lombroso invented a device that measured changes in blood pressure in individuals being questioned about truthfulness. In 1917, William M. Marstin, J.D., Ph.D. a student at Harvard University, alleged the discovery of a specific lie response that launched the means of distinguishing deception from truthfulness. This discovery birthed the creation of what we now know today as the polygraph test after considerable innovations and a patent by a police officer in California named Leonarde Keeler during the 1920s.

Over time, the modern polygraph was refined, and several attempts were made to enhance its reliability. Current polygraph machines record and measure several physiological responses, such as skin conductivity, pulse, perspiration, and blood pressure. Since its inception, the polygraph test has remained shrouded in controversy. Debates in U.S. Congress, courtrooms, and many scientific forums all focus on two key components: ethical issues and validity.

In his book about the polygraph test, A Tremor in the Blood Uses and Abuses of the Lie Detector, Dr. David Lykken states, “We have enough evidence to say that an innocent person has nearly a 50% chance of failing a lie detector test. Odds that are much worse than in Russian Roulette” (xvi). Estimates of the validity of polygraph testing range from 90-95% by proponents in the non-scientific community and as low as 10% in the realm of scientists and psychologists. Consequently, in U.S. v. Scheffer, #96-1133, (1998), the U.S. Supreme Court stated, “There is simply no consensus that polygraph evidence is reliable.” In 2005, in U.S. v. Henderson, #04-11545, 409 F 3d 1293 (11th Cir. 2005), the court found that “Polygraphy did not enjoy general acceptance from the science community.” Several journals, books, articles, and seminars examine both sides of this dispute. This paper will share some of the research surrounding the controversy vis-à-vis the validity, reliability, and moral issues surrounding the modern polygraph test.   

            How it Works:

The fact of the polygraph test is that it does not measure lying. The polygraph does measure physiological changes, including changes in galvanic skin response, respiration, and cardiovascular activity. The philosophy on polygraph results is that changes in its measures result from emotional stimulation. There are four basic physical components with various trial apparatus devices throughout history.          1) The pneumograph comprises two 10-inch convulated tubes fastened around the subject’s chest and abdomen. During a test, as the circumference of the subject’s chest and abdomen increases with each inspiration of air, the pneumograph tubes stretch: as the subject exhales, the contraction moves. Its function is to record the subject’s breathing and respiration changes.
2) The galvanograph, which consists of electrodes attached to the index finger and the ring finger of the left hand or to the palmar and dorsal surface of the left hand, the left hand is suitable because of the fact that the blood pressure cuff attachment is on the right arm. Its function is to record the subject’s skin resistance to a very imperceptible amount of electricity.
3) The cardiosphygmograph consists of a blood pressure cuff and rubber pump and the sphygmomanometer, an instrument used for measuring blood pressure, specifically arterial blood pressure. The blood pressure cuff is fastened around the subject’s right arm in such a way as to ensure that the rubber portion of the cuff is placed over the brachial artery for a more satisfactory recording. When the rubber cuff is inflated, the alternating distension and contraction of the tissue of the subject’s arm due to the changes in blood pressure (and probably blood volume as well) cause an increase in pressure within the cuff and in the associated below.
4) The kymograph is the motor that drives or pulls the chart paper under the recording pen at the rate of 6 or 12 inches per minute. Its function is to record the blood pressure/pulse, respiration, and galvanic skin resistance and are recorded simultaneously and continuously on the surface of moving graph paper driven by the kymograph. (Furedy, J.J. and R.J. Heslegrave 79). 

The problem in the measurements and results occurs because physiological activity changes may result from factors other than deception. These variations may occur due to a subject’s anxiety, or a truthful subject may become very nervous and fearful when asked personal or crime-related questions and thus be falsely tested as deceitful; contrary to this, a subject who is lying may be adept at controlling his/her/their emotions and/or physiological responses and may thus be erroneously certified as truthful. (These issues will be discussed further later).

Therefore, according to research by Leonard Saxe P.h.D in SOCIETY Journal, the underlying premise of polygraph tests is that physiological arousals following attempts at deception is in some respects a preposterous assumption” (39-41). Additionally, as stated by the 1999 publication by the Federation of American Scientists, “No specific polygraphic or behavioral response has been directly linked to the act of deception, and there are too many subjective factors involved in the administration and interpretation of polygraph tests to be able to predict and control their effectiveness and limitations” (www.fas.org). 

   CQT & R/I:

The R/I (relevant/irrelevant) method was the first standardized method of polygraph questioning. It was initially developed by Marston (1917). Although no longer used in specific incident examinations, a variant of the technique is the basis for most screening tests, such as a pre-employment polygraph. In a traditional R/I examination, relevant and irrelevant questions are interspersed. Deceptive subjects are assumed to react significantly more to relevant questions than to irrelevant ones. An underlying assumption is that non-deceptive subjects will respond equivalently to all questions because they do not fear questions about the relevant issue any more than irrelevant questions.

According to research journal publications by Lykken, Podlesny and Raskin, there are a number of well-recognized issues with the R/I technique. The most significant problem is that because the intent of the questions is transparent, non-deceptive as well as deceptive subjects are likely to be more aroused to relevant than irrelevant questions. (121) Additionally, any drug or mental state that either heightens or depresses physiological reactions may yield false or inconclusive readings. Although the R/I method is most commonly utilized for pre-screening polygraphs for employment, “The R/I method is considered even less accurate than the CQT, which highlights the shadowy, under-addressed system of modern pre-employment polygraph screening in America” (Rutbeck-Goldman 729).

CQT (control question test) method is the most common technique used in investigations with a specific issue. This technique was developed by John Reid (1947). This questioning format during the polygraph uses a series of questions that introduces irrelevant, sacrifice relevant, outside issue, lie control, etc. The first question is the familiar irrelevant type. Question two is relevant in substance but not used in scoring the charts; this is the sacrifice-relevant question. Question three is described as an outside issue question and is designed for the situation in which the subject might be afraid that the interrogation will stray into an area they are concerned about. If the subject seems disturbed by this question, testing will be postponed until they can be convinced that the only questions asked will be those previously reviewed with them. (Lykken 117-120). The chart below is an example of a control question test administered by D. Raskin to a defendant accused of homicide by stabbing.

Table 1

1. Were you born in Hong Kong? (Yes) (Irrelevant)

2. Regarding the stabbing of Ken Chiu, do you intend to answer truthfully every question about that? (Yes) (Sacrifice Relevant)

3. Do you understand that I will onlyask questions we have discussed? (Yes) (Outside Issue)

4. During the first 18 years of your life, did you ever hurt someone? (No) (Lie Control)

5. Did you cut someone with a knife on Dumfries Street on January 23, 1976? (No) (Relevant)

6. Before 1974, did you ever try to seriously hurt someone? (No) (Lie Control)

7. Did you stab Ken Chiu on January 23, 1976? (No) (Relevant)

8. Is your first name Williams? (Yes) (Irrelevant)

9. Before age 19, did you ever lie to get out of trouble? (No) (Lie Control)

10. Did you actually see Ken Chiu get stabbed? (No) (Relevant)

In a study conducted by Patrick and Iacono, 45% of innocent test subjects of the CQT method were wrongly classified as deceptive. During conclusion of the study, Iacono stated, “We’re talking about using a procedure that has a very weak scientific foundation and making it worse I already don’t have much confidence in how government agencies conduct these tests in lieu of scientists or trained psychologists. Now, they might as well be flipping a coin”  (89). The control question test, widely regarded among polygraphers as their most refined technique, is the only lie detection method to have been seriously studied. The problem is that these studies were determined in many ways as defective or irrelevant; none are definitive. Because of the contamination resulting from reliance on polygraph-induced confessions as criteria of ground truth, the CQT’s accuracy is inexact. Especially in detecting guilty suspects is overestimated by these studies to an unknown extent. Naïve subjects can learn to beat the CQT with less than an hour’s instruction, using covert countermeasures that even experienced polygraphers cannot detect. (Lykken 135-136)

Pre-Employment Polygraph Screening:

Of the various context the polygraph is administered, the pre-employment polygraph test is perhaps the most controversial use of this device. Its proponents contend that it is “An inexpensive method of verifying employee truthfulness, and its opponents claim that human dignity and individual rights are lost in this quest” (www.nap.edu). The lack of field research led the National Resource Council (NRC), which compiled a comprehensive report on polygraph technology in 2003, to conclude that agencies seeking to use polygraph testing for employee security screening face “An unacceptable choice” and between “too many loyal employees falsely judged deceptive and too many major security threats left undetected”  (https://www.nationalacademies.org/). Polygraphs continued use in pre-employment screening raises questions in the scientific community, which question the lack of their validity and reliability. The U.S. Congress was well aware of this lack of scientific consensus when it passed the Employee Polygraph Protection Act in 1988, but it still exempted itself from its obligations. While the reasons for Congress’s exemption seem to constitute a deferential approach to national security jurisdiction, this exemption undermines the Act’s effectiveness. It casts doubt on the government’s patchwork policy regime in place regarding the polygraph’s continued use. 

It is primarily because of the polygraph’s unreliability that its use in employment has been so controversial. Even before the passage of the EPPA in 1998, the polygraph’s use in pre-employment screening had faced harsh criticism. Before congressional debate, several states had already passed their statutes banning its use in employment screening, and state courts often upheld challenges to these statutes. The Minnesota Supreme Court, for example, in deciding a First Amendment challenge to Minnesota’s pre-employment polygraph ban, found that the state had a number of legitimate interests for its statute. 

Encouraging the maintenance of a harmonious atmosphere in employment relationships which may be disturbed by the coercion to take a polygraph or similar examination; protecting an employee’s expectation of privacy which he or she may have in questions put during these examinations are personal, private, or confidential; discouraging practices which demean or appear to demean the dignity of the individual employee in a significant way; protecting employees from adverse inferences drawn if they refuse to take these tests; and avoiding the coercive impact present in the solicitation. (State v. Century Camera, Inc. Minn. 1981)

As described above, the Minnesota Supreme Court focused on the coercive nature of the polygraph, the desire to maintain “harmonious relationships” in the employment context, and other dignitary issues suffered by employees as rationales to uphold state legislation. 

Unfortunately, at this time, public employees are still not afforded the same exemptions as private employees. This is not the first or only time the government has exempted itself from a law. However, it seems strange that the government would have exempted itself in this case while concurrently promoting a policy choice based on the unreliability of the polygraph: even the stated importance of national security cannot make the polygraph more reliable. Furthermore, if another motivator of the Act was fear of misuse or overuse by private agencies, why is the government exempt from this potential misuse? These questions underlie a much-needed discussion of the dangerous implications of using polygraph examinations for pre-employment screening. First, anyone concerned about fair employment practices should raise an eyebrow at the large number, but invisible nature, of employees who are falsely identified as “deceptive” by the polygraph on an annual basis: the “false positives.” This invisible community of false positives is particularly concerning since polygraph testing tends to have an adverse effect on the most truthful, conscientious employees that one might intentionally seek for high-security positions.

Conversely, the polygraph’s effectiveness is undercut by the fact of existing “false negatives,” those who pass the polygraph despite having a criminal record or posing a security risk. “Research suggests that using the polygraph for employment purposes might lead to a sense of overconfidence on the part of the government, thereby relaxing other screening standards and detecting actual security threats. This concern about undue confidence also underlies Supreme Court decision-making concerning the role of polygraph evidence in the courtroom. For all these reasons, using the polygraph for pre-employment screening or as an ongoing condition of employment should be reconsidered” (Rutbeck-Goldman 733)

False positives are one inevitable outcome of using unreliable polygraph practice for employment screening. While there is no court-recognized right to public employment, the fact remains that there is a sizeable invisible community of people not receiving employment offers because they cannot pass this test but are not lying, regardless of how broadly we might define lying. “The FBI alone still polygraphs approximately 13,000 people a year for job screening, and as many as 40% of special agent applicants do not get the job because of their polygraph test results.

These numbers should be extremely disconcerting for anyone who cares about unfair employment practices since many people screened out are (1) innocent by definition or (2) ‘guilty’ of something – but that ‘something’ likely does not relate to his or her essential job duties” (Rutbeck-Goldman 734). As far as numbers within this false positive community are concerned, one study found that one in four applicants for law enforcement were disqualified solely based on their polygraph results. Federal agencies report a similar failure rate. According to a 1997 letter submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee by Donald Kerr, then assistant director of the FBI’s Laboratory Division, “Twenty percent of the Bureau’s job applicants who had passed an initial pre-employment screening were determined to withhold pertinent information on lie detector tests. This problem does not affect pre-employment alone but also affects screenings for continued employment. Indeed, the likelihood of receiving a deceptive test result at some point in an employee’s career increases when one is subjected to multiple polygraph examinations. The more times one is subjected to a polygraph examination, the more opportunities one has for the machine to show a deceptive result even just one fatal time” (Rutbeck-Goldman 735). There is no credible research on the important topic of pre-employment polygraph testing. No one has established whether the screening test has some, slight, or no validity. 

Ethical Concerns – Bias and Other Concerns Beyond the Machine:

Regarding various differences of race on polygraph results, Lykken stated, “There are even ethnic differences. When Bedouin tribesman of the Negev desert were examined on the polygraph, they were found to be far less reactive than Israeli Jews, whether of Near Eastern or European origin” (273). For policy-making executives, in particular, the polygraph raises more than technical issues of validity and reliability. There are documented concerns about racial disparities. Using polygraph techniques to detect or avoid hiring certain persons due to implicit biases constitutes a subversion of judicial processes to “trial by polygraph.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) shared an article written by Jay Stanley, stating, “Wired used records of polygraph use obtained from police departments and several lawsuits to show that not only do ‘failure rates’ for various supposed lies vary wildly from examiner to examiner, but also that Black people have been ‘failed’ disproportionately often. A polygraph only records raw data; it is up to an examiner to interpret the data and draw a conclusion about the subject’s honesty. One examiner might see a blood pressure peak as a sign of deception, another might dismiss it – and it is in those individual judgments that bias can sneak in” (www.aclu.org). 

There are two types of bias: explicit and implicit, which translate to our conscious and unconscious impressions. With explicit bias, we make intentional decisions based on a pre-existing belief. Explicit bias is most easily identified as active discrimination, refusing to hire someone due to an awareness of their gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. The employment hiring and interview process rely on the judgment of the applicant and the interviewer. Tan, Teoh, and Tan found “Performance of the applicant determines the response given from the interviewer, and the interviewer’s decisions are based more on the manner of the applicant’s response than the information in the response. According to Devine et al., “Common bias during the hiring process for positions with high male employment includes gender and race bias” (44).

Unconscious biases may arise partly due to the physical demands of law enforcement and/or views on the group from which the applicant is included (race, religion, sexual orientation, etc). So, if the polygraph test is “pseudoscience hokum,” as described by the National Academy of Science, then the potential outcomes are likely influenced generally by the polygrapher. A study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine stated, “Using these tests in pre-employment screening is even more complicated because examiners make inferences about individuals’ future behavior based on information about previous deeds, which may differ widely from the offenses authorities hope to prevent. The committee concluded that polygraph testing is less accurate for employee screening than for specific incidents” (Blascovich et al. 2).

Furthermore, the most recent review and study of the polygraph test conducted by the Office of Technology Assessment stated, “The OTA study concluded that other factors, including race, gender, and intelligence could affect polygraph accuracy. Likewise, a court case in Chicago suggested that Blacks may suffer false positives more than whites. In a discrimination suit brought by the U.S. District Court, individuals seeking jobs as prison guards persuaded the court that Blacks fail pre-employment polygraph tests more often than Whites” (https://sgp.fas.org/). 

In 2018, Avital Ginton, a researcher on polygraph testing, conducted a study for AV-GN in Tel Aviv, Israel. The study incorporated the effect of outside influence on polygraph scoring. Ginton and his team of researchers recruited participants through emails sent to various practicing polygraph examiners employed by the American Polygraph Association. During the research, half the polygraphers were told their case subjects were confirmed as guilty ahead of the polygraph, while the other half were told all the cases were verified as truthful. On average, polygraph scores and decisions were shifted in the direction pointed out by the biasing information. The shift was evident for both clear and ambiguous tests, but not all scorers were affected by the biasing information. It seems that this finding suggests the danger of contaminating the polygraph decisions with prior knowledge to be more severe than found in previous studies. (Ginton 9). 

The study, as mentioned above, bases its theory on informationally-induced bias. There is also the potential for other types of bias by the examiner. According to a study posted by the group “Antipolygraph.org,” in a test examining more than 1,100 subjects’ polygraph results, only 23.5% of innocent black candidates were correctly identified as being non-deceptive. By contrast, 36.9% of innocent white participants were correctly identified. In the Modified General Question Test (a variant question structure), only 14.6% of black participants were correctly identified as giving non-deceptive answers, compared to 33.3% of whites. In polygraph tests administered to FBI applicants between October 2008 and June 2010, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders were also overrepresented in the failed applicants dismissed for failing the test.  

The Obama-era FBI was aware of conversations about the disparate racial impact of police violence and the resulting push to increase diversity in U.S. police agencies. The FBI has long struggled with diversity: of the Bureau’s 13,455 agents, only 606 (4.5%) are African-American, and only 6.8% are Hispanic. Members of racial minorities facing the sort of psychological phenomena inherent in a polygraph examination sit for their tests with this underrepresentation as a backdrop.

The effects of this backdrop might manifest themselves through a stereotype threat expectation loop – the fear of not wanting to confirm the Bureau’s historic attitude and mistreatment of African American officers, which culminated in a 2001 class action settlement – as well as through the effects of tokenism because of the small number of agents who identify themselves as members of a minority group. For example, Professor Pamela Braboy Jackson’s study on African American leaders found that racial rarity increases “token stress,” including having to show greater competence in the job force while experiencing a severe sense of isolation and other adverse effects. Similar to certain criminal convictions, when one is denied a government job for failing the polygraph test, this is considered a “black mark” that will likely disqualify someone from federal employment for life. Based on the reality of which groups are overrepresented in the criminal justice realm generally, social science research suggests that these life-long consequences will fall disproportionately on racial minorities in the pre-employment context as well.

These concerns should urge careful consideration of the use of the polygraph in pre-employment settings. (Rutbeck-Goldman) The 2003 NRC Report about polygraph testing drew upon a 2000-2001 study, which validated Rutbeck-Goldman’s research. The NRC found heightened blood pressure rates amongst African-American participants during testing that measured their cognitive responses to difficult test items. The Report concluded, “The experimental situations in which these stigma studies have occurred bear a striking resemblance to polygraph testing situations, particularly employee screening tests” (National Research Council).  

Aside from the disproportionate impact polygraph examinations likely have on minority populations; two additional civil rights concerns should inform the use of polygraphs in employment settings. First, policymakers should consider whether information about one’s past should reasonably preclude the opportunity to participate in gainful employment in the future. Secondly, the information obtained during the polygraph is often elicited in a testing environment that mirrors a custodial interrogation but lacks the same protections. Therefore, one might expect a prevalence of false confession in the pre-employment polygraph context, which is contrary to the asserted purpose of utlizing the test. “Federal judges are beginning to take note of collateral consequences as well. For example, in May 2015, federal judge John Gleeson attempted to expunge the criminal record of a woman he convicted of fraud over a decade earlier after learning the extent to which her record (discovered through a polygraph test) prevented her ability to sustain a long-term job” (Rutbeck-Goldman 742). 

Aside from racial implications, there are concerns about accuracy due to physical issues. In an article by Dr. Glen Cook and Dr. Charles Mitschow, they question issues with polygraph results and the autonomic nervous system. By using vital signs as an indirect measurement of deception-induced stress, the polygraph machine may provide a false positive or a false negative result if the applicant has an inherited or acquired condition that affects the autonomic nervous system. Various diseases, from alcohol use disorder to rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the ANS.

In addition, a multitude of commonly prescribed drugs can affect ANS. Even conditions not widely recognized as having a predominant clinical impact on ANS function can demonstrate measurable physiological effects. For example, approximately 60% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis will have blunted cardiovagal baroreceptor responses and heart rate variability, and dysfunction is also a common sequela of alcoholism. Patients with diabetes mellitus often have an elevated resting heart rate and low heart rate variability due to dysregulated adrenergic activity. Individuals with ANS dysfunction that causes blunted physiological responses could have inconclusive or potentially worse false-negative polygraph results due to a lack of variation between control and target questions. Also, some over-the-counter medications have effects on autonomic functions. Sympathomimetics such as pseudoephedrine or antihistamines with anticholinergic activity like diphenhydramine can both increase heart rate and blood pressure; of the ten most prescribed medications of 2016, 5 have direct effects on the ANS or the variable measured by the polygraph machine. (Cook and Mitschow (1-5)

Higher body temperature fluctuations can occur during a menstrual cycle, perimenopause, or menopause. As progesterone levels rise, estrogen levels fall. This decrease can affect the function of the hypothalamus, the part of your brain that keeps your body temperature stable. In response to lower estrogen levels, your brain releases norepinephrine and other hormones, which can make your brain even more sensitive to small changes in body temperature. How might this affect the results of a polygraph examination? “A hot flash can cause failure on a lie detector test! The same galvanic response is positive in both. Why? Because – with every flush, a massive explosion of neurotransmitters and brain stress hormones are released. These are the same brain chemicals that are produced as we struggle to create a plausible falsehood. Both arise from a fundamental brain pathway that mediates both our physical and emotional responses to perceived threats” (Kissling 1). This galvanic skin response, in simple terms, provides for clammy skin, elevated heart rate, and excessive perspiration, thus, providing an additional concern for females undergoing a polygraph test.  

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects an individual’s cognitive and psychological function. It is characterized by difficulties in sustaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, making it challenging for the affected person to manage day-to-day tasks efficiently. “Taking a polygraph test can be a challenging experience, especially for individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as their condition may affect the accuracy of the results. For instance, heightened anxiety associated with ADHD might lead to physiological responses on the polygraph that could be misinterpreted as deceptive. Similarly, individuals with ADHD may have difficulty concentrating and maintaining a consistent train of thought, making it difficult to stay focused on the questions or remain still during the examination” (Hubble 2). 


Of the research available, even the most basic scientific polygraph studies available give a reason for concern that countermeasures easily degrade polygraph test accuracy. When these measures are effective, they further undermine any value of polygraph screening. All of the physiological indicators measured by the polygraph can be altered by conscious efforts through cognitive or physical means, and there is enough empirical research to justify concern that successful countermeasures are learnable. One successful study of countermeasures states that it is “possible and quite easy” to train guilty parties and prepare them for a polygraph examination.

The techniques are described as being “picked up with little effort” and can cause very strong reactions to the control questions. These techniques rely on either physical or mental manipulation. Physical countermeasures involve systems such as biting one’s tongue or a tack in the shoe and mental countermeasure means call to one’s mind an exciting or frightening event or engaging in mental activities that require effort. The study found that the countermeasures most detrimental for all psychophysiological -detection were the mental techniques because mental manipulations cannot be detected even by seasoned and educated examiners. The results concluded that the rate of mistakes by the examiners was nearly 70%. (Ben-Shakhur et al.)

In 2000, convicted spy Aldrich H. Ames sent a letter from the Allenwood federal penitentiary to Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists. While working for the CIA, Mr. Ames defeated the counterintelligence polygraph examination several times. One of these examinations, for example, did not yield any suspicious findings about large cash transactions he received after he returned from his post abroad, including but not limited to a half-million-dollar cash deposit on a new home. It was only when physical surveillance was conducted that Ames and his wife were caught. Below is a portion of the letter:

Having had considerable experience with the polygraph (well beyond that which you referred to), I read your very sensible essay in SCIENCE with great interest. I offer you a few comments on the topic for whatever interest or use they may have. Like most junk science that just won’t die (graphology, astrology, and homeopathy come to mind), because of the usefulness or profit of their practitioners enjoy, the polygraph stays with us. 

Its most obvious use is as a coercive aid to interrogators, lying somewhere on the scale between the rubber truncheon and the diploma on the wall behind the interrogator’s desk. It depends upon the coerciveness of the setting – you’ll be fired, you won’t get the job, you’ll be prosecuted, you’ll go to prison – and the credulous fear the device inspires. This is why the Redmon Report ventures into the simultaneously ludicrous and sinister reality that citizens’ belief in what is untrue must be fostered and strengthened. Rarely admitted, this proposition is of general application for our national security apparatus. 

Your account of the Redmon Report – I haven’t seen it – shows how another hoary slider is thrown past the public. The polygraph was asserted to have been a useful tool in counterintelligence investigations. This is a nice example of retreating into secret knowledge: we know it works, but it’s too secret to explain. The use of the polygraph (which is inevitably to say its misuse) has done little more than create confusion, ambiguity, and mistakes. I’d love to lay out this case for you, but unfortunately, I cannot – it’s a secret too. (www.sgp.fas.org) 


Although used for decades, the polygraph is unreliable in determining whether a particular individual is truthful or deceptive. The presumed “scientific” basis for it lacks a verifiable theory, and the tests lack validity. The polygraph cannot deliver proof of truthfulness or deception through the tracings on the paper. The vast majority of the literature from proponents of the polygraph in the field is useless. Literature that employs an appropriate academic basis is limited and often suffers from sampling issues, lack of ground truth, and examiner bias, to name only a few problems. The widespread selection out of inconclusive test results falsely buoys exaggerated accuracy claims. “What few tests that exist are flawed. The machine is dangerous, and no person, agency, or government should rely on it to inform on important decisions” (www.nationalacademies.org).

As a screening tool, it is very problematic. Ben-Shakhur’s research states, “It is not surprising that even keen supporters of the event-related applications of the polygraph, including its use as admissible evidence, have opposed to its use for screening and selection” (Ben-Shakhur and Honts). There is no Pinocchio effect. The same physiological responses can occur during both lying and truth-telling. In an American Bar Association Journal, Lee M. Burkey stated:

The courts, arbitrators, and administrative bodies have usually justified their refusal to admit lie test results in evidence for the following reasons:

  1. The machine’s operation and the interpretation depend wholly on the skill of the operator, many of whom have little or no training in psychological or physiological sciences.
  2. The emotional state of a sensitive person may render the test less accurate or, in some instances, useless.
  3. The machine itself is not free from error.
  4. There is no conclusive proof that physical response correlates with the mental state of the subject.

In addition to finding the polygraph to be an essentially unscientific and unreliable investigative method, many recent administrative decisions also hold that its use violates the right to privacy and the right against self-incrimination. If these decisions are any guide, emphasis will probably continue to shift from science to civil rights in future cases. (Burkey)

Works Cited

Barr, Marianna and Gershon Ben-Shakhar. Science, Pseudo-Sceince, Nonsense, and Critical Thinking. Routledge, 2019. 

Ben‐Shakhar, G., & Iacono, W. (2021, June 10). Fallacies in the estimation of the validity of the Comparison Question Polygraph Test: A reply to Ginton (2020). Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 18(3), 201–207. https://doi.org/10.1002/jip.1576 

Cook, LCDR Glen, and LT Charles Mitschow. “Beyond the polygraph: Deception detection and the autonomic nervous system.” Federal Practitioner 36.7 (2019): 316.

Divine, J.M., et al. Fundamentals of Polygraph Practice. Academic Press, 2015.

Fact Sheet #36: Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988. (n.d.). DOL. http://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fact-sheets/36-eppa

Furedy, J. J., & Heslegrave, R. J. (1988). Validity of the Lie Detector: A Psychophysiological Perspective. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 15(2), 219–246. 

Gilna. (2015, May 6). Accuracy of Widely Used Polygraph Machine Under Fire. Prison Legal, 5(26). 

Ginton, et al. “A Method for Evaluating the Use of the Polygraph.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 67, 131-137. 1982. Accessed 16 AUG 2023. 

High-Tech “Mind Readers” Are Latest Effort to Detect Lies | ACLU. (2012, August 29). American Civil Liberties Union. https://www.aclu.org/news/national-security/high-tech-mind-readers-are-latest-effort-detect-lies 

“The Polygraph and Lie Detection.” National Academies. OCT 2002, https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2002/10/the-polygraph-and-lie-detection. (n.d.). https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2002/10/the-polygraph-and-lie-detection

Hubble, John. (2016, December 1). Polygraph Examinations Contaminating Factors. European Polygraph, 10(4), 151–157. https://doi.org/10.1515/ep-2016-0020

Iacono, W. G., & Ben-Shakhar, G. (2019, February). Current status of forensic lie detection with the comparison question technique: An update of the 2003 National Academy of Sciences American Psychological Association Report on Polygraph Testing. Current status of forensic lie detection with the comparison question technique: An update of the 2003 National Academy of Sciences report on polygraph testing. , 43(1), 86–98. https://doi.org/10.1037/lhb0000307

Kissling J. (2010, March 7). “Of Hot Flashes, Lie Detectors, and Stress.” Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research. 

Lie Detectors in the Workplace: The Need for Civil Actions against Employers. (1988, February). Harvard Law Review, 101(4), 806. https://doi.org/10.2307/1341174 

Lykken, David T. A Tremor in the Blood Uses and Misuses of the Lie Detector. Plenum Press, 1998. 

Lykken, et al. Perception: “On the Validity of Perception.” Psychophysiology, vol. 11 pp. 125-132, 1974, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1469-8986.3650127. 

National Research Council. The Polygraph and Lie Detection. National Academies Press, 2003.

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Equity Rising: DEI Expertise in the Boardroom – by Dr. Deborah Ashton, Tracie Hall


After the killing of George Floyd, Equity Rising, a group of Black professionals, came together to address social justice and equity in the government and in corporations. They believed that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) expertise is essential to the total sustainability strategy of corporations and, therefore, is an essential boardroom function. The DEI expertise brings both functional and demographic diversification of board members.  This article contends that since traditionally the DEI function has been populated primarily by people of color and women, DEI expertise will add to the demographic diversification of the board. With the increase in demographic diversity for other functional board positions, DEI experts will aide in establishing a critical mass of women and people of color in the boardroom. 

After the killing of George Floyd and with the social unrest that followed, the first author (Dr. Ashton) was talking with Robert Ingram, publisher of the Urban Health Report, that something needed to be done to promote social justice and equity using a two-prong approach, working both through policing and corporations. She believed this two-prong approach would have sustainable positive change for social justice and equity through all facets of Black lives by holding corporations and government entities accountable. This was the beginning of Equity Rising and the push to have Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) expertise in the boardroom. 

DEI Expertise in the Boardroom

On August 6, 2020, Dr. Johnnetta Cole, President And Chair, National Council Of Negro Women and Melonie Parker, Chief Diversity Officer, Google, discussed the importance of Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) having a voice in the C-suite of corporations. Dr. Cole gave Candi Castleberry, a supporter of Equity Rising, credit for bringing together Black professional women, many who serve as CDOs, and focused on elevating the CDO to the C-suite. (CNNBusiness, 2020) Dr. Cole believed that adding CDOs to the C-Suite would bring that expertise to the decision table and increase the demographic diversification of the C-Suite. Equity Rising would like to see CDOs represented in both the C-suite and on boards, just as there is CFO representation, bringing a diversification of function and demographics to the boardroom.

Many CDOs and retired CDOs have a broad base experience to contribute to the strategic sustainability of the corporation. To borrow from Dr. Cole’s general discussion of having Black representation in the C-suite,

     “We stand in solidarity with all allies’ communities, but there is a specific need especially at this moment in our country for corporate America, for all organizations to address systemic racism that affects Black people. And [there is not] a contradiction in calling for that and standing simultaneously with all marginalized communities.” (CNNBusiness, 2020) 

Marginalized communities, which include all non-dominant groups, including women, Latinos, Asians, indigenousness people and other marginalized groups nationally and globally, need to be represented on corporate boards. In 2020, people of color were only 12.5% of corporate boards. Black board members comprised only 4% of the total board seats, and Black women only 1.5% (Eavis, 2020). There is a push to increase the presence of people of color on corporate boards. Since 2020 to mid-2022, the representation of people of color on boards has increased to 23% for the S&P 500 index and to 16% from 7% for the Russell 3000 index  (Michael & Mishra, 2022).

The described model of intentionally increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of the board is similar to the one used to obtain more gender diversity on boards. For decades, Irene Natividad, President of the Global Summit of Women, an annual international gathering of women leaders and co-chair of Corporate Women Directors International has advocated for the increased participation of women on corporate boards globally. Natividad is a strong believer in specific targets. And to executives who would argue that women do not have the industry or discipline experience to be on boards, she answers, “did Vice President Gore have tech experience when he got on the board of Apple? There are other skills that are needed, … There are untapped women… The pool is there, it’s just a question of creating the demand…” She acknowledged that the demand is sometimes created by quotas for instance, in California or the UK or the EU. (Nurole, 2019) 

We believe that the demand for CDO representation on the board is for marketing, the consumer part, and human resources. But additionally, CDO board members can promote equity and social justice, guard against brand erosion and promote a nimble response in these transformational times.

On December 1, 2020, Nasdaq proposed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that companies listed on Nasdaq publicly divulge the diversity representation of their board of directors and that SEC require “at least two diverse directors, including one who self-identifies as female and one who self-identifies as either an underrepresented minority or LGBTQ+.” (Nasdaq, 2020). 

Anthony Romero, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union stated that Nasdaq is bending to this period of history (Nasdaq, 2020). We note that this period in history has been propelled by the Black Lives Matter movement worldwide. Historically, the United Farm Workers Movement, Women’s Rights Movement (Women’s Liberation Movement) and Gay Rights Movements, followed in the footsteps of the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights Movement, that is, the Black Movement. 

As seen by the change in board representation from 2020 to mid-2022, corporations are being driven by SEC requirements and shareholders’ demand for more diversity on the corporate boards. SEC approved Nasdaq proposal on August 9, 2021 that most companies listed on the exchange will have to hire (a) at least one director who self-identifies as female, and (b) one director who self-identifies as a person of color or LGBTQ+ (Hartunian, 2021).

This period of history fosters the need for CDOs to be appointed to boards, just as CHROs and retired CHROs are now appointed to boards.  CHROs are needed because of their broad base contribution to the overall strategic success and to increase gender diversity, and CDOs and retired CDOs should likewise be appointed to the board because of their broad base contribution to the overall strategic success and to increase racial and ethnic diversity across genders. Equity Rising has had discussions with some former CEOs and executives who may influence board selection. There has been more resistance in suggesting that CDOs be on boards than there has been for CHROs. Part of the concern is that in many companies, even though CDOs were given global responsibility, they were not represented in the C-suite. However, we would argue, even if the CDOs were not represented in the C-suite, many diversity leaders established and served on global Executive Diversity Councils chaired by the CEO or CFO and made presentations to both the C-suite and the board of directors. With Nasdaq’s SEC request, we are hopeful that corporations will look to leaders with DEI expertise for board membership.

One former CEO was concerned about admitting CDOs to the board because in past years, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) had been added to boards and the CIOs had a very narrow focus of expertise that did not lend itself to a board’s view. While Michael Hyter, President and CEO, The Executive Leadership Council and former Chief Diversity Officer for Korn Ferry, is a successful example of a CDO who was appointed to a board (Dine Brands Global, Inc.), he is seen as the exception to the rule because he had experience as a Managing Partner at Korn Ferry and the President of Global Novations, a $40M business with 250 staff.

 Most people of color, most women of color, neither have executive C-Suite experience in corporate America, nor in direct feeder roles such as CFOs, P&L leaders and general counsel that may lead to CEO or board positions (Larker & Tayan, 2020).  People of color are underrepresented in the C-suite. They are 16 percent of the C-suite positions and only 13 percent of the positions that are readily considered for boards, such as, CEO, CFO, and P&L executives. Twenty-six percent of the Fortune 100 have no people of color reporting directly to the CEO (C+1 positions); six percent have no people of color or women as direct reports to the CEO and only four percent of CFOs are people of color. (Larker & Tayan, 2020). Similar to the racial statistics for talent, women hold 25 percent of C-suite positions and only seven percent of the CEO positions are held by women (Larker & Tayan, 2020).

However, many people of color have had meaningful executive level roles and advanced degrees, such as, MBAs and doctorate degrees, requiring rigorous analytical, empirical and decision making before or while functioning as a CDO in corporate America. And this experience can translate into transferable skills for board positions. Bersin refers to the CDO position as “One of the toughest jobs in business” He argues that it is tough because it “is a management strategy, not an HR program.” (Bersin, 2020)

Anderson from LinkedIn Talent Solutions argues that the “Head of Diversity is the job of the moment”, not only because diversity and inclusion “drive business results [increased sales, revenue, stock price] and spark innovation”, but there is a “positive difference in the brand perception of companies with a diversity and inclusion function versus companies without one.” Based on global data, organizations with a dedicated D & I office were 22% more likely to be viewed as industry-leaders with exceptional talent and 12% more likely to be viewed as inclusive for people of color and various backgrounds. (Anderson, 2020)

So why compare CDOs to CIOs? We would argue that CDOs have a strategic view of the organization and that global and corporate CDOs understand and implement DEI as an ecosystem strategy—affecting all the key business areas:  operations, sales, marketing, procurement, community involvement/corporate social responsibility, strategic planning, and human resources (Ashton, 2011; Ashton & McElvane, 2019).

Research for Russell Reynolds by Paikeday, et al. found that successful CDOs collaborate and influence across functions. That CDOs are not simply ambidextrous, they are quinquedextrous that is, CDOs are proficient in five business areas. CDOs’ proficiencies include 1) being strategic executors, 2) data-savvy storytellers, 3) influencer champions, 4) savvy and authentic communicators, and 5) pragmatic disruptors. (Paikeday, Sachar, & Stuart, 2019)

When one of the former CEOs compared CDOs to CIOs and expressed concerns with having an emphasis on the Black experience because of the current unrest, Ashton’s response was to emphasize that the overall diversification of boards is essential. Board members need to represent all stakeholders, not any one group. And in these transformational times, CDOs would represent all stakeholders by virtue of their expertise. Because CDOs would focus on equity and social justice, domestically and globally.  CDOs would add a valuable perspective to the board impacting CSR, externally, and policies, practices, and procedures, internally. CDOs need to be viewed as full peers with other board members.  Part of diversification is diversifying what is seen as essential functions on the board. DEI professionals have a broader breadth and understanding of the organization than the IT specialists. 

The importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) to socially responsible investors is also a factor in understanding the rationale for having a DEI perspective on the board. ESG refers to the three key factors when measuring the sustainability and ethical impact of an investment in a business or company. Most socially responsible investors, such as, BlackRock and Vanguard, evaluate corporations using ESG criteria to determine which corporations will have an impact on positive social change (Market Business News, 2022). 

We believe CDOs who have worked strategically across the organization will have readily addressed the social and governance aspects of ESG. The CDO’s focus on inclusion must encompass respect, integrity, belongingness, and transparency (Ashton D. P., Inclusive Culture Profile, 2016). Inclusion covers the S of ESG, which is how people are treated (respect and belongingness) and the G of ESG, which is how corporations regulate themselves (integrity and transparency). 

Just as the CFO specialist or CMO specialist, that are often sought as board members, the CDOs, who have had a companywide span of DEI crossing multiple functions, have a strategic view of the organization and see the organization as an ecosystem (Ashton D. , 2011) (Ashton & McElvane, 2019). They understand Porter’s five competitive forces that determine profitability—threat of new entrants, bargaining power of suppliers, bargaining power of buyers, threat of substitute products and intensity of rivalry; Porter’s four forces that determine success—1)factor conditions, e.g., human capital and capital resources as well as infrastructure, 2) the quality demanded by the consumers, 3) the absence or presence of related and supporting industries, e.g., suppliers needed for success, 4) the company’s strategy; and Porter’s value chain, understanding the relationship between the primary activities, such as, operations, marketing and sales and the supporting activities, such as, human resources, research and development or procurement, and how to leverage any component of the value chain for a competitive advantage (Ankli, 1992). CDOs have provided advice that have kept corporations from making critical mistakes that could erode brand equity and have during these times helped corporations maintain and enhance brand equity while addressing the needs of the employees.

Imagine, if, in 1998, Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America had a strong DEI voice on the board maybe their reputation would have avoided being tarnished by the sexual harassment scandal and a legal judgement costing $34 million (Ashton D. P., 2013); or Ford Motor Company’s $22 million settlements in the 1990s and having the same problem in 2017; or the sexual harassment scandals at FOX and ABC.  Imagine if a DEI expert were on the board for H&M, Prada, and Gucci whose brands suffered from what was perceived as racist imagery. Imagine if a DEI expert had been on Facebook’s board would Facebook have lost 6% of its revenue because of the advertiser boycott which was an outgrowth of Facebook allowing the “Boogaloo Boys” on their site that incited violence and printed hate speech.

CDOs have had broad experiences establishing Executive Diversity Councils, and by providing insight to human resources, to marketing, to sales, and to procurement; they have had regular interaction with the C-Suite and have had cross functional partnerships (Paikeday, Sachar, & Stuart, 2019) (Ashton D. P., Diversity Action Committees at Novant Health–North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, 2014).

On its website Russel Reynolds asks, Is Your Board Positioned for Sustainable Success? Two of the inquiries to determine if the board is positioned are:

  • Is your culture inclusive? 
  • Does your board value differences?   (Russell Reynolds, 2020)

If DEI is critical to equitable treatment, sustainability, driving business results and innovation, and guarding against brand erosion, professionals with a broad breadth of CDO experience would add value to boards. They are quinquedextrous and they readily address the SG of ESG. 

Next Steps/Recommendations

While we would argue that there are CDOs and retired CDOs who are currently quinquedextrous and practice these competencies by being strategic, tactical, and practical, we must lay groundwork to make the consideration of CDOs for board positions a norm. One former CEO recommended that we start by petitioning current CEOs and board members to consider candidates with CDO experience. Other successful strategies for changing the board makeup have been shareholders who advocate for change, for instance, pension funds, investment funds and private equity funds have banded together, and they have written letters and approached CEOs of companies (Nurole, 2019). Another CEO recommendation was to have retired CDOs provide advisory services to and training for the boards of Directors. A long-term strategy is for current CDOs and their allies to request or recommend that CDOs have a seat in the C-suite and the next step would be grooming them for future board positions.

However, if we want quicker movement for this critical expertise on the board, organizations may have to take the same preeminent strategy that was used for increasing the number of women on board positions globally. Natividad refers to it as helicoptering women into board seats, since “it is harder to grow them from the inside.” (Nurole, 2019)

We would recommend that in this pivotal time, it is a necessity to helicopter professionals with DEI expertise into board seats. Besides for the DEI expertise, it would bode well to have professionals who have experienced first-hand the unintentional adverse impact policies, practices and procedures have had on Black employees, customers, and the Black community. DEI experts are prime candidates to promote the learning-and-effectiveness paradigm that Ely and Thomas (Ely & Thomas, 2020) describe as essential to systemic change and a power shift. This systemic change “combat forms of discrimination and subordination that inhibit employees’ ability to thrive” and emphasizes that “Companies will not reap benefits from diversity unless they build a culture that insists on equality” (Ely & Thomas, 2020).

The perfect storm of the killing of George Floyd and the COVID-19 pandemic has made the importance of having DEI expertise on boards clear. This external ‘chance’ event has exerted enormous pressure on Porter’s “4 Forces That Determine Success” included: 1) company strategy, structure & rivalry; 2) related and supporting industries; 3) demand conditions; and 4) factor conditions (Ankli, 1992). DEI expertise has been essential in navigating this perfect storm. DEI expertise can provide direction to systemic change and a power shift promoting equitable treatment of Black people and all marginalized groups both internally and externally to the corporation.

When James White, former CEO of Jamba Juice, was asked by the first author about DEI in the boardroom, he stated, “CEOs must lead the work around Culture and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion—the CEO can never delegate leadership and culture!” and that those efforts should have the strong governance and support of the board to measure progress. White has had a strong commitment to social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion; however, not all CEOs have White’s expertise.  

While the CEO can never delegate leadership and culture, CEOs who do not have White’s expertise can add CDOs to the board. The CDO’s expertise is a valuable asset to boards. CEOs, COOs, CFOs and CHROs from both the culture’s dominant group and marginalized groups are welcome allies. But some board members can’t see the trees for the forest. They have a bird’s-eye view—seeing the big picture. But with DEI and ESG, sometimes the devil is in the details. The board member with the CDO expertise may be able to see both the forest and the tree because they have experienced both simultaneously. They can toggle between the trees and the forest—considering primary, secondary and tertiary consequences in the S and G of the ESG.


Anderson, B. (2020, September 2). Why the Head of Diversity is the Job of the Moment. Retrieved from LinkedIn Talent Solutions:  https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/diversity/2020/why-the-head-of-diversity-is-the-job-of-the-moment?trk=eml-mktg-lts-20200930-q1covidresources-19cc-cust-dm&mcid=6714199311040741376&cid=7010d000001L6sZAAS&src=e-eml&veh=LHS_EML_20200930_Q1

Ankli, R. E. (1992). Michael Porter’s Competitive Advantage and Business History. BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC HISTORY, 228-236.Ashton, D. (2011, Spring). What Makes A World Class Organization? Diversity MBA, pp. 46-48.

Ashton, D. P. (2013, December 16). Resolve Problems Before They Begin. Retrieved from Chief Learning Officer:  https://www.chieflearningofficer.com/2013/12/16/resolve-problems-before-they-begin__trashed/

Ashton, D. P. (2014, December 16). Diversity Action Committees at Novant Health–North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. Retrieved from Reports-HPOE:   http://www.hpoe.org/Reports-HPOE/eoc-novant-case-study.pdf

Ashton, D. P., & McElvane, P. A. (2019, September). Seven Stages of Inclusion (7SI) Maturity Model. Diversity Business Review, pp. 6-11.

Bersin, J. (2020, July 20). Chief Diversity Officer: The Toughest Job in Business. . Retrieved from JoshBersin:  https://joshbersin.com/2020/07/chief-diversity-officer-the-toughest-job-in-business/

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Eavis, P. (2020, September 15). Diversity Push Barely Budges Corporate Boards to 12.5%, Survey Finds. Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/15/business/economy/corporate-boards-black-hispanic-directors.html

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Civil Rights Icon Diane Nash….What else don’t we know? – by Terry Howard

Photo: From left, Rev. John Edwards, Jr., Diane Nash, John Edwards, III

When I got the news that President Biden recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to civil rights icon Diane Nash, I called an elated John Edwards, III, publisher of the Chattanooga News Chronicle having recalled a chat I had with him a while ago about his memories of and experiences with Nash.

Said Edwards, whose dad was an influential pastor and civil rights leader in Tennessee, and whose church was bombed by racists, “I was only 12 years old when I got the approval from my father to take part in the sit-ins. Dad dropped me off at the church early each morning where I sat on the front row and took my marching orders from John Lewis and Diane Nash. I was so enamored with those two Fisk University students and the courage they embodied.”
Continue reading Civil Rights Icon Diane Nash….What else don’t we know? – by Terry Howard

Changing how we talk about racial divide – by Lynne Winfield

CURB218 years of enslavement and 137 years of segregation have left Bermudians struggling with the legacies of intergenerational trauma and economic inequities across our society. A culture of silence and fear arose ensuring that past was suppressed and not talked about. People speak of the need to work together and the need for unity, however, the racial divide is widening, economic disparity between the races continues to grow, and social media is both educating and inflaming passions.

With direct descendants of enslaved people and slaveowners still living on the island, and sharing in many cases the same last name, we needed to find a way to speak to the divide and bring light and truth to our understanding of that past.

Continue reading Changing how we talk about racial divide – by Lynne Winfield

Racial justice is not political correctness – by Deborah Levine

(originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press)

The giant earthquake over our African American history at Trump’s Tulsa rally was followed by a tiny spotlight on Native Americans who protested against Trump’s July 4th appearance at Mount Rushmore. The monument is on sacred Sioux Nation land, but National Guard troops fired pepper spray and arrested indigenous protesters.

Before anyone calls Sioux protestors left-wing radicals, marxists, and anarchists, understand that the National Park Service banned fireworks at Mount Rushmore because they caused wildfires and groundwater pollution on Sioux Nation land.

Continue reading Racial justice is not political correctness – by Deborah Levine