PBS News Weekend full episode, May 7, 2023
JOHN YANG: Tonight on "PBS News Weekend," another deadly mass shooting in America. This time at a mall outside Dallas, Texas. COLE KORCHEK, Mall Shooting Witness: There's this guy dressed in all black, wearing a vest, has an assault rifle, and he's just shooting at people. JOHN YANG: Then, a new survey sheds light on the troubling state of LGBTQ youth mental health. And using language translation technology is jeopardizing Afghan asylum seekers claims and even putting lives at risk. (BREAK) JOHN YANG: Good evening. I'm John Yang. Tonight, another American community is grappling with the
aftermath of another mass shooting. This time, it was at an outlet mall and outside Dallas, Texas. A gunman identified as 33-year -old Mauricio Garcia killed eight people and wounded seven others before a police officer killed him. Three of the wounded are in critical condition. None of the victims has been publicly identified
yet. The oldest is said to be 61 years old, the youngest just five years old. Shoppers scurried for safety as the gunman opened fire during a busy shopping day in the middle of Texas's high school prom and graduation season. COLE KORCHEK: Out of nowhere heard about like ten pops go off and we see the guy there's this guy dressing all black, wearing a vest, has an assault rifle, and he's just shooting at people. JOHN YANG: Witnesses said they heard dozens of rounds fired.
EBER ROMERO, Mall Shooting Witness: Soon I get out of the store, the Gulf City like, I don't see nobody. I keep walking. Everybody like all doors were locked. JOHN YANG: A police officer was at the mall for an unrelated incident. He heard the gunfire and rushed to the scene where he shot and killed the gunman. Then in an all too familiar picture
bystanders their hands up were led away as police secured the area store by store. According to the gun safety group, Everytown more people have been killed in mass shootings in Texas than in any other state. Barely a week ago, five people were killed after asking a neighbor to stop firing a gun because a baby was sleeping. And just weeks away is the one year anniversary of the Uvalde School shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead.
Texas officials reject suggestions it has anything to do with the state's relatively lenient gun laws. Governor Greg Abbott today on Fox news Sunday. GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R) Texas: We need to recognize a reality, what we've seen across the United States over the past year or two, and that is an increased number of shootings in both red states and blue states, in states with easy gun laws, as well as states with very strict gun laws. JOHN YANG: As the tragic cycle of gun violence touches yet another U. S. Community. According to the Gun Violence Archive, this was this year's 20th U.S. mass murder in which four or more people were killed. In Brownsville, Texas, on the Mexican border, police say an SUV plowed through a crowd waiting at a city bus stop, killing seven people and injuring at least 10 others. The bus stop is outside a migrant center,
and the center's director says most of the victims were Venezuelan men. The driver was arrested, and police are trying to figure out whether it was intentional or an accident. Hot, dry, and windy conditions in western Canada are fueling more than 100 wildfires, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate from their homes. The province of Alberta is under a state of emergency. Fires there have destroyed 20 homes. Canada's wildfire agency says dozens of fires are still out of control. Evacuations have also been ordered in parts of neighboring British Columbia.
Last night's Kentucky Derby, which was won by Mage, ended an agonizing week at Louisville's Churchill Downs. Seven horses died in the days leading up to the Derby, including two that suffered life ending injuries in races yesterday. It's more bad news for the embattled racing industry. Animal rights advocates are pressing to do away with it all together, and online sports betting is eating into racetrack's revenues.
And California is one step closer to being the first state to pay reparations to the descendants of African Americans who are enslaved. A special task force voted to recommend that the state legislature approve the plan, which would include a formal apology for slavery. Payments would also compensate eligible African American California residents for health disparities, mass incarceration, and housing discrimination. Still to come on "PBS News Weekend," how language translation technology is causing problems for Afghan asylum, refuge seekers, and the native Hawaiian who blazed a trail in surfing and swimming.
(BREAK) JOHN YANG: As conservative lawmakers around the country push anti-LGBT legislation, some of it aimed specifically at young people, there's new data underscoring the mental health and psychological challenges LGBT youth are trying to cope with. The Trevor Project, which works to end suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth surveyed more than 28,000 LGBT people aged 13 to 24. 41 percent of them said they had seriously considered suicide in the previous twelve months. 56 percent said that in the past year they wanted mental health care but couldn't get it.
And nearly two out of three said that hearing people talk about proposed laws banning discussion of LGBT people in school made their mental health much worse. We spoke with LGBT young people around the country to hear their perspectives. AVA SMITH, LGBT Youth: My name is Ava Smith. I'm 18. My pronouns are she, her, and I live in Texas. JAVIER GOMEZ, LGBT Youth: My name is Javier Gomez. My pronouns are he, him, his. I'm 19 years old and I am based in Miami, Florida.
ORION BOONE, LGBT Youth: My name is Orion Boone. I am 17 and I live in Florida. My pronouns are hebay. AYDIN TARIQ, LGBT Youth: I'm Aidan Tariq. I'm 15 years old. I am a bisexual teenager living in southern rural Illinois. I see these attacks. I see these language used by legislators, and it makes me very scared.
ORION BOONE: I really do worry introducing myself as. a trans man nowadays, just because there's so much animosity towards who I am. I live in a pretty purple area when it comes to politics, and I have both been openly supported and openly called slurs at my school. AYDIN TARIQ: I don't know who's on my side and who's not. I don't know who's
going to tell me that I need to fix myself. I don't know who's going to actually help me. JAVIER GOMEZ: I struggled a lot with mental health, and a lot of it stems from me not embracing my queerness and having a very unaffirming household. AVA SMITH: I haven't been able to find someone who's queer, who's a therapist and who I could feel comfortable listening to. ORION BOONE: I think a lot of people, me included, have worried about, you know, mental health professionals and just older people than us not believing what we tell them. JAVIER GOMEZ: It was just very, very, very hard for me to get a proper diagnosis, especially with my socioeconomic background. AYDIN TARIQ: People will leave me in comments or leave threats of violence in my messages on social media and those kinds of things. While I try not to let them get to me, it does affect you.
JAVIER GOMEZ: Knowing that my identity is something so special that is being under attack makes me even more energized to continue fighting. AYDIN TARIQ: A world where LGBTQ plus people are accepted to me really just looks like love. ORION BOONE: We wouldn't have to worry walking down the street holding the hands of our partner or wearing what we want or proudly presenting as who we are. AVA SMITH: If everyone was accepted for who they are, there's nothing wrong that could happen. Like, I feel like that could only produce good.
JAVIER GOMEZ: I know that a world that is accepting of LGBTQ plus people is a world that is realistic. It is our world, and we need to make it up. JOHN YANG: LGBT youth describing the challenges they're facing and their hopes. Dr. Jack Turbin is one of the practitioners who listens closely to voices like that. He's assistant professor
of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. Among the surveyed population, suicide ideation, or thinking about suicide, was twice as high as the general high school population. Why is that? DR. JACK TURBAN, Assistant Professor, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: It seems that the greatest driver of those mental health disparities come from stigma. These kids are constantly being told that who they are is wrong or that they're less than for being LGBT, and those things take a dramatic mental health toll over time. On top of that, a lot of these trans kids are dealing with physical gender dysphoria, which is something that we have effective treatments for but have been harder and harder to access.
JOHN YANG: You know, I think it's worth pausing for right here and ask you to explain gender dysphoria, what gender dysphoria is. JACK TURBAN: Yes, gender dysphoria refers to somebody having a gender identity. So their psychological sense of their gender, that's different from their sex assigned at birth. So what was written on their birth certificate? Essentially. Not all trans people have the same experience. So there are people who have a different gender identity than their sex assigned at birth, and they're OK with their bodies, and they don't need medical interventions. There are other kids who need different medical interventions, like puberty blockers, gender firming hormones, et cetera.
JOHN YANG: Given the political environment we're in now, where this has become a pawn in political fights, what does that do to the young people? JACK TURBAN: There was a time when there wasn't a lot of political attention on trans youth, but it's been new the past few years that it's become really a dominant media political messaging machine attacking LGBT youth, right. They're hearing things, especially the trans youth, like, your identity is a mental illness. You are dangerous to other kids on your elementary school sports teams, or you're a sexual predator. There's tons of data that none of that stuff is true, obviously, but the kids hear it constantly, and it seeps into their subconscious. What if I am just mentally ill? What if I am dangerous? And you can see how that kind of gaslighting can really worsen mental health, especially if they don't have anyone to talk to about it, because there are so few pediatric mental health providers available, let alone ones that are comfortable talking about LGBTQ issues.
JOHN YANG: The survey did find that transgender and nonbinary youth in particular are at higher risk for attempting suicide than their peers. What can people what can schools, what can communities do to help them? JACK TURBAN: So, at the macro level, talking to politicians, if you see a bill introduced that's attacking LGBT youth, reach out to your representatives and tell them you oppose it. Also at the micro level, we know some of the greatest predictors of good mental health for trans youth are things like parent support from peers and support from school. So if you as a parent can just create an environment in your home where it's clear that LGBT speople are loved and accepted. Let's say you see something on the news
that a bill is introduced that would attack trans youth. Say out loud to your family, wow, that's really awful. I can't imagine how hard that is for those kids. That's unfair. They deserve to be loved and supported. And it can even be just
one small comment like that might stick in your child's mind. A big part of my work is working with schools to make sure they're addressing things like bullying. So the Trevor Project study found that 53 percent of these kids were harassed in school. Making sure schools are dealing with that, making sure kids have bathrooms they're comfortable using, that they can change for gym, all these really basic things can help a lot.
JOHN YANG: You mentioned schools. Obviously, there are a lot of places or Florida leading the way on the so called don't say gay laws. Are there things teachers and administrators can do in their particular school, their particular classroom? JACK TURBAN: It's really dangerous to not have kids have access to accurate information about gender identity and sexual orientation, at least in their adolescent years. When we know that a lot of exploring happens, which is developmentally normal. Right. Kids in their teenage years explore romance, explore intimacy, and you don't want them doing that in secret because then they can do things that get them into dangerous situations.
So in the same way that you want to create environment in your home to know that LGBT people are accepted, you want there to be an environment where you can talk about gender and sexuality, and there's not going to be shame, you're not going to get in trouble. We're just going to talk about how to keep you safe and make sure that you're exploring in a way that's appropriate. JOHN YANG: In the voices we just heard, some of them talk about the reluctance they may have felt to seek mental health care. Why do you think that's such a hard step to take? JACK TURBAN: For a lot of reasons. We even before the COVID-19 pandemic had a huge shortage of mental health providers. These LGBT kids also have to deal with this
double stigma. They have to deal with the stigma of struggling with a mental health condition and the stigma of being LGBT. They have to tell their parents most of the time, if they want to access that therapy, they're going to have to tell therapist.
And if you're in a state where all you're hearing is that LGBT people are less than, it's going to be really scary to tell therapist that because you don't necessarily know what their views are going to be. And a lot of child psychiatrists don't take insurance, so it's only the families that really can pay a few hundred dollars a session often to be able to access care. JOHN YANG: Dr. Jack Turban from the University of California, San Francisco. Thank you very much. JACK TURBAN: Thanks for having me. JOHN YANG: Since U. S. forces left Afghanistan in 2021, the humanitarian situation there has
gotten worse by the day. This past week, the Biden administration took steps to allow some Afghans who fled after the Taliban takeover to extend their temporary stays in the United States. But for those still applying for asylum, it's proving increasingly difficult. Ali Rogin has more on how some claims are getting lost in translation.
ALI ROGIN: In Afghanistan today, over 28 million people, two-thirds of the population, require humanitarian assistance. Six million people are living in near famine conditions. Women and girls remain incredibly vulnerable under Taliban rule, all of these factors leading many Afghans to seek asylum here in the US. Now, machine learning technology is being used to translate the dozens of languages spoken in Afghanistan. But a new investigation by the news organization Rest of World details how various forms of language translation technology are creating computer errors that put asylum seekers lives in danger.
We recently spoke with a translator who works with Afghan asylum seekers. We've concealed her identity for her safety and the well-being of her family. WOMAN: The raise in machine translation and apps are not only costing translators their jobs, but quite literally jeopardizing asylum cases. Like a recent example of this is a Dari translation done by a machine mistranslated actually, I as we. This created
an inconsistency between the asylum seeker initial interview and what was written in their asylum application. This consequently was enough for the judge to reject the case. ALI ROGIN: Joining me to discuss how translation technology is putting asylum seekers at risk is Andrew Deck, who wrote the investigative story, and Leila Lorenzo, policy director at Respond Crisis Translation, which provides translation services for migrants and refugees. Thank you both so much for joining me. Andrew, I'm going to start with you. Why does the U.S. government say it's using this technology, and what do we know about how widespread its uses. ANDREW DECK, Reporter, Rest of World: You know, in the U.S. as of December 2022, there was a backlog of 1.6 million asylum applications. And, you know,
one way that this technology is framed is a way to speed up the processing of these applications. But what our reporting bore out is that it's also a way of kind of cutting corners in terms of cost, especially, that has long tail impact on the quality of translations, and that becomes concerning quickly when we're dealing with the safety and security of incredibly vulnerable communities like Afghan refugees. ALI ROGIN: And Leila, you are indeed part of this translation community.
So what are you seeing? What are some of the problems that the people you're working with are experiencing in using this AI technology? LEILA LORENZO, Policy Director, Respond Crisis Translation: I think that we've seen a variety of problems with the translation technology. For example, with the CBP One app that's used at the border, there's only a few number of languages that can be used English, Spanish, and in some cases Haitian Creole. And we have received reports here at Respond Crisis Translation that the Haitian Creole programming, for example, is mistranslated because they only use machine translation. And we've seen several instances here at Respond Crisis Translation of mistranslations in critical asylum documents that can result in seriously jeopardizing the case or completely invalidating them. ALI ROGIN: Andrew, what are some of the most common problems that happen when these programs are used to help with the Afghan asylum process? ANDREW DECK: Machine translation really struggles with idioms, cultural nuances, different dialects and slang. And those problems are only exacerbated with Pashto and Dari.
You know, one translator I spoke with at Respond Crisis Translation told me that machine translation tools he'd tested really struggled with things like military rank in Pashto and Dari. That's concerning because so many refugees entering the asylum review process in the US. You know, they worked closely with U.S. military and U.S. allied forces in Afghanistan, which is essential to their claim of a, say, credible fear of persecution So these kinds of mistakes, they may seem trivial when we're talking about something like Google Translate, but we know that asylum review is a rigorous process where some of these small inconsistencies, they can properly jeopardize a claim. ALI ROGIN: Leila, as it happens, many of the people that were trying to flee the Taliban in the summer of 2021 were people who were providing translation and interpretation services for the United States. Can you tell me about what your organization is doing to help those people? And also, is it a missed opportunity for the United States government to not try to take advantage of this brain power and at least help them help us in translating some of these Afghan languages? LEILA LORENZO: I would shy away from framing it as a missed opportunity. Rather,
I think it's actually a failure on the part of the United States government. This is a missed opportunity to provide paid work to families in Afghanistan where translators may have multiple members, like up to 11 family members that they are supporting one income and that's what we've directly observed at Respond Crisis Translation. So our organization is working very hard to provide paid work, and not only paid work, but finding ways to circumvent what can only be described as a collapsed economic system. And if that's something that Respond Crisis Translation can do on a very limited budget, that is something that bigger companies and the United States government can figure out a way to do.
ALI ROGIN: And to both of you've clearly laid out some of the problems with using this technology. Are there any solutions here, or is the overarching response simply not to use these automated translation services? ANDREW DECK: I mean, AI is largely an unregulated sector of the tech industry right now, and that includes machine translation. As a result, we're often relying and expecting right now for private companies to monitor harm and self-regulate the use of their own products. But ultimately, I think we need to put the onus on agencies and aid organizations to more closely investigate and interrogate the use of this technology and not necessarily private companies that may be competing over lucrative government contracts. LEILA LORENZO: Our position at Respond Crisis Translation is that we do not use machine translation, and especially in the case of Daddy (ph) which is an underresourced language, you'll notice. On Google Translate, it is subsumed under Persian, and Persian is a language with a dialect continuum. There is the Persian that is spoken in Iran, there is the Persian that is spoken
in Afghanistan, and therefore I find it completely inappropriate. And that would be the position that translators who are working in context crisis, such as Respond Crisis Translation, would hold. ALI ROGIN: Andrew Deck with Rest of World and Leila Lorenzo with Respond Crisis Translation. Thank you both so much for joining us.
ANDREW DECK: Thank you, Ali. LEILA LORENZO: Thank you. JOHN YANG: Finally tonight, as part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we're highlighting people whose contributions have often been overlooked. Tonight, we spotlight an Olympic swimming champion and the father of modern surfing Duke Kahanamoku although his legacy can be seen around the world, his name is unknown to many outside Hawaii. Duke Kahanamoko was a true son of Hawaii, completely at home on the waves. He first
gained national attention as a swimmer, overcoming both competitors and racism. In 1911, at Hawaii's first official amateur swim meet, the 20 year old Kahanamoko shattered the world record for the 100 yard freestyle by a full 4.6 seconds. But mainland officials refused to acknowledge his feat. Locals raised money for Kahanamoko to prove his talent as an Olympian. At the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, he won a gold medal and a silver. He qualified for two more U.S. Olympic teams and won two more gold medals and another
silver. His achievement in the pool brought more attention to his surfing exhibitions. On beaches from Los Angeles to Sydney, he used his longboards made of Hawaiian koa wood to introduce the world to a sport little known outside of Hawaii. He also showed that surfboards could save lives. In 1925, while surfing in Southern California, he paddled into a stormy ocean and rescued eight people whose boat was capsized. The incident was the inspiration for the rescue boards lifeguards use today.
Kahanamoko also had something of a movie career. Between 1925 and 1955, he had small roles in more than a dozen films. He later returned to live full time in Hawaii and began a 26-year-career as sheriff of Honolulu.
Kahanamoku is in three sports halls of fame surfing, international swimming and U. S. Olympic. Kahanamoku died in January 1968 at the age of 77, but he still has a presence on Waikiki Beach. A nine foot bronze statue erected to mark the centennial of his birth invites visitors to ride his waves. Now online, an Instagram story on the steep decline in 8th grade civics and history test scores. All that and more is on our website, pbs.org/NewsHour.
And that is "PBS News Weekend" for this Sunday. I'm John Yang. For all of my colleagues, thanks for joining us. Have a good week.