Black Wealth Down 40 Percent

"If we compare the white and black wealth declines from their most recent high points, we see white net worth down 27 percent (from 2007) and black net worth down 40 percent (from 2004). A 40 percent decline is a large drop for a population with very little wealth even at their peak." [Read more]

Hard Times for Black Job Seekers in NYC

"More than half of all of African-Americans and other non-Hispanic blacks in the city who were old enough to work had no job at all this year, according to an analysis of employment data compiled by the federal Labor Department. And when black New Yorkers lose their jobs, they spend a full year, on average, trying to find new jobs — far longer than New Yorkers of other races." [Read more]


Public Workers Face Continued Layoffs, Hurting the Recovery

"In California, the governor is threatening to eliminate 15,000 state jobs. When school begins in Cleveland this fall, more than 500 teachers probably will be out of work. And in Trenton — which has already cut a third of its police force, hundreds of school district employees and at least 150 other public workers . . . ." [Read more]

A Formerly Segregationist Institution Tries to Change

"When the Southern Baptist Convention met Tuesday, it elected its first African American president, Fred Luter Jr., a former street preacher and current pastor of a church in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward.

"Luter’s election marks a watershed moment for the SBC. The organization was founded in a split over slavery before the Civil War and for decades was a largely segregated, all-white denomination. It was not until 1995 that the organization adopted a resolution of racial reconciliation; it has come under scrutiny for racial insensitivity as recently as the Trayvon Martin case, when the president of its policy arm made racially charged comments about the case." [Read more]


Conservatives Like Big Government

They just want it working for the rich.

"It is totally understandable that the right would try to conceal the massive extent to which it relies on government to redistribute income upward. It is very hard to figure out why the country's leading progressive thinkers want to help them." [Read more]


Innocent but Incarcerated; Justice Department Needs to Look Up the Word "Justice"

"A USA TODAY investigation, based on court records and interviews with government officials and attorneys, found more than 60 men who went to prison for violating federal gun possession laws, even though courts have since determined that it was not a federal crime for them to have a gun.


"Still, the Justice Department has not attempted to identify the men, has made no effort to notify them, and, in a few cases in which the men have come forward on their own, has argued in court that they should not be released.

"Justice Department officials said it is not their job to notify prisoners that they might be incarcerated for something that they now concede is not a crime." [Read more]


The Problems With NYC's Stop-and-Frisk

From letters to The New York Times:
  • "there is no evidence — none — that New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy saves lives."
  • "Weapons are recovered in roughly one in 1,000 stop-and-frisks in New York City. About 90 percent do not result in arrest or summons."
  • "Eighty-seven percent of all people stopped are black and Latino, though they are 23 percent and 29 percent of our population, respectively."
  • "Stop-and-frisk as carried out in New York breeds mistrust of law enforcement among communities of color — particularly young men, who are disproportionately targeted for stops."
  • "The simple math shows that 3,200 guns were seized by means other than stop-and-frisks, four times more than were seized in street stops. By allocating police resources to inefficient stop-and-frisk tactics instead of using tactics that have higher public safety payoffs, the N.Y.P.D. is missing out on a substantial number of gun seizures."
  • "The seizure rate of about one-tenth of 1 percent and the persistence of shootings show that the police are looking for guns in all the wrong places."
  • "If the New York Police Department stops and frisks people to deter crime, rather than based on reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is engaged in crime, the stop-and-frisk policy is unconstitutional."
NAACP March against Stop-and-Frisk in NYC this Sunday, June 17th.

How Racist Are We? Ask Google

And many Americans use Google to find racially charged material. I performed the somewhat unpleasant task of ranking states and media markets in the United States based on the proportion of their Google searches that included the word “nigger(s).” This word was included in roughly the same number of Google searches as terms like “Lakers,” “Daily Show,” “migraine” and “economist.” [Read more]


Obama Has Fought for Blacks

"Last week, Professor Frederick Harris penned an op-ed in the Washington Post lampooning President Obama's commitment to the African American community and made the slanderous claim that we are "Still Waiting For The First Black President."

. . .

"But the distortions and omissions of the President's record from a professor at an esteemed university were so egregious . . ." [Read more]

GOP Steps Up Bogus War on Voter Fraud

"It's hardly coincidence that the majority of those targeted for voter purges are black and Hispanic. And it's even less of coincidence that the bogus vote purge campaigns are zeroed in on the key battleground states of Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Colorado and New Mexico where election officials are also mounting similar purge campaigns." [Read more]

As Unions Decline, Inequality Rises

"To a remarkable extent, inequality, which fell during the New Deal but has risen dramatically since the late 1970s, corresponds to the rise and fall of unionization in the United States." [Read more]


The Life Expectancy Gap Shrinks

The good news: Fewer blacks are dying from heart disease and HIV/AIDS.

The bad news: More whites are overdosing on prescription drugs. [Read more]

A Natural Hair Movement for Black Women?

The filmmaker Zina Saro-Wiwa presents an Op-Doc on black women’s decision to embrace their naturally kinky hair, rather than use chemical straighteners. [See it here]


We Still Have a Long Way to Go to Achieve Racial Equality

"Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen recently illustrated how much overt racial bigotry against blacks has been reduced. He used the case of Wesley A. Brown, the first African American graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Brown was the first to “successfully endure the racist hazing that had forced the others to quit.” When Brown joined the Naval Academy, if blacks dared to enroll, they were harassed to force them out. Today, there is a building in the Naval Academy named in Brown’s honor.
"Cohen is correct. Today, black children know that there is no occupation that is categorically off limits to them. They can grow up to be president, an idea that seemed farfetched just a few years ago.
"On the other hand . . ." [Read more]


Race Colors the Political Brain

"Tesler has used polling experiments to identify a series of issues that have become enmeshed in complicated racial attitudes by dint of Obama’s association with them: health care reform, taxes, the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Even Bo Obama fell into this matrix; racists looked less favorably on a picture of the president’s dog when they learned the identity of his owner." [Read more]

Should Obama Have Done More for Blacks?

"The president has gone to bat for gay rights, even at the risk of alienating some independent voters and plenty of conservatives, who can’t be thrilled when Newsweek magazine declares Obama “the first gay president.” But he has been unwilling to do the same for top black priorities. He has even berated African American leaders, telling members of the Congressional Black Caucus last year to “stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying” and get behind him.

"Obama may be our first gay president, but if a focus on racial inequality matters at all, we’re still waiting for our first black one. Or at least the first black president since Lyndon Johnson, who pushed through civil rights legislation and the Great Society programs." [Read more]

Is Romney a unicorn?

"The time has come for Mitt Romney to prove it once and for all: Is he or is he not a unicorn?

Let me stipulate that I have no proof that Romney is a unicorn, and indeed I want to believe that he is not. But I have not seen proof of this because he has not released the original copy of his long-form birth certificate." [Read more]