The Continuing Damage of the Great Recession

A New Lecture: “Anti-Black Discrimination in the Age of Obama” by Dr. Algernon Austin

The simplistic idea that impoverished African Americans have only themselves to blame for their poverty, due to their poor cultural values—a notion advanced by many, including black public figures such as Bill Cosby—is believable only if a blind eye is turned to those inconvenient things social scientists like to call “facts.” Algernon Austin soundly refutes the “culture of poverty” argument by paying careful attention to macro-economic data about long-term poverty trends and sociological case studies about persistent discrimination. In other words, unlike the glib punditry, Austin actually looks at the “facts.”
--Dr. Andrew Hartman, professor and audience member, Illinois State University

Contact Dr. Austin to arrange a speaking engagement.

“We have a work-based safety net without any work.”

Even as the American economy shows tentative signs of a rebound, the human toll of the recession continues to mount, with millions of Americans remaining out of work, out of savings and nearing the end of their unemployment benefits.

Economists fear that the nascent recovery will leave more people behind than in past recessions, failing to create jobs in sufficient numbers to absorb the record-setting ranks of the long-term unemployed.

Call them the new poor: people long accustomed to the comforts of middle-class life who are now relying on public assistance for the first time in their lives — potentially for years to come.

. . .

“American business is about maximizing shareholder value. . . . You basically don’t want workers.”
Full story: Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs, New York Times.

Black Women Evicted from Apartments

Here and in swaths of many cities, evictions from rental properties are so common that they are part of the texture of life. New research is showing that eviction is a particular burden on low-income black women, often single mothers, who have an easier time renting apartments than their male counterparts, but are vulnerable to losing them because their wages or public benefits have not kept up with the cost of housing.

And evictions, in turn, can easily throw families into cascades of turmoil and debt.

“Just as incarceration has become typical in the lives of poor black men, eviction has become typical in the lives of poor black women,” said Matthew Desmond, a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin whose research on trends in Milwaukee since 2002 provides a rare portrait of gender patterns in inner-city rentals.
Full story: A Sight All Too Familiar in Poor Neighborhoods, New York Times.

Nothing for an Able-Bodied Black Man Down on His Luck

I have to find a place to stay. . . .

Now, before I landed in my current stitch, I checked out every state program I could find. Help for immigrant refugees, help for families, for women, for long-term homeless, for minors – nothing for an able-bodied man down on his luck. And when I say “down on his luck,” I mean it. I’ve been unemployed, with a few short stints of employment, for three-and-a-half years –- so long I don’t qualify for unemployment.
Full story: Young, Black, Male, Single--and Homeless in San Jose, New America Media.

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--Algernon Austin, Ph.D.

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