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Kleykamp research featured in USA Today, the Military Times

Personal familiarity is the best way to overcome the cultural divide between military veterans and civilians

For years, military and civic leaders have been discussing the widening social and cultural disconnect between those who have served in the military and those who have not. The mainstream media often portrays Iraq and Afghanistan veterans either as altruistic heroes or as badly damaged goods, which often makes veterans feel more alienated from the rest of society.

"Sometimes the coverage generates these negative tropes, but sometimes it generates these overly positive images that ... gives civilians very polarized views of veterans that isn't necessarily very realistic," says MPRC faculty associate Meredith Kleykamp. "I don't see a big celebration of veterans who are just like my husband — the regular guys."

Kleykamp and her associate Crosby Hipes are studying how the media and society in general view veterans. Stereotyping is a major problem because it changes the way that civilians and veterans interact with each other. The best way to overcome stereotypes is through familiarity. "People should get to know someone in the military — befriend your military neighbor," she said. "The best thing that can happen is for people to have natural, human relationships with one another."

Read the story in the Military Times

Read the story in USA Today