12/20/2013

Obama Commutes Sentences for 8 in Crack Cocaine Cases

President Obama, expanding his push to curtail severe penalties in drug cases, on Thursday commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates who were convicted of crack cocaine offenses. Each inmate has been imprisoned for at least 15 years, and six were sentenced to life in prison. [Read more]

Tackling a Racial Gap in Breast Cancer Survival

Despite 20 years of pink ribbon awareness campaigns and numerous advances in medical treatment that have sharply improved survival rates for women with breast cancer in the United States, the vast majority of those gains have largely bypassed black women. [Read more]

Santa’s skin color flies right over kids’ heads

The color of Santa’s skin — though a hotly debated topic among adults this week — pretty much means bupkis to the kids mobbing Kris Kringle at a Hyattsville mall. That red suit means loot. And it basically ends right there. “I’m just excited to see him, and I want him to bring me some doll babies,” Dae’Lese, 6, said as she waited in line at the Mall at Prince Georges, which features one of the region’s few African American Santas. But his race wasn’t what brought Dae’Lese and her mom, Masche Williams, 26, to the mall. “I don’t care if he’s yellow, black, green. And she doesn’t care — she’s so excited to see him because he brings toys,” Williams said. [Read more]

12/17/2013

South Africa's Unfinished Revolution

For all his remarkable achievements, Nelson Mandela died with his dream for South Africa incomplete. Democracy and peace were attained, yet real racial harmony, social justice and equality seem, in some ways, further away than ever. 


South Africa’s economy still stifles the aspirations of most of its black citizens — a situation that threatens the sustainability of the project of national reconciliation that is a central part of the Mandela legacy. [Read more]

Some Are Freaking Out Because Miss France is Tan





“I’m proud to represent a multicultural France,” gushed Flora Coquerel last Saturday as she accepted the title of Miss France 2014. Unfortunately, some of her countrymen did not feel the same kind of egalitarian pride.


Within minutes, social media was drowned in comments: Miss France set Twitter on fire with over 1.1 million tweets that night, according to TF1, Gala, and Le Télégramme. And a portion of those comments were horrifying: “I’m not a racist but shouldn’t the Miss France contest only be open to white girls?” to “Fuck, a n***er” or “Death to foreigners.” Hateful tweeters put up offensive collages like this.

[Read more]

12/12/2013

The Real Lessons from the PISA Results

What the top-scoring PISA nations do: (1) invest in early childhood education; (2) target resources to the most disadvantaged children; (3) provide teachers with time to prepare lessons and collaborate; (4) have a robust curriculum; (5) use tests to diagnose, not punish; and (6) foster partnerships between all educational stakeholders, not battles.


12/10/2013

Many blacks and Latinos have no retirement savings, study shows

More often than not, blacks and Latinos benefit little from the tax breaks and other policy initiatives aimed at bolstering retirement security because they typically have no money to save for retirement in IRAs and other vehicles outside the workplace, according to Diane Oakley, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), which conducted the study.[Read more]

U.S. poverty rate decreased over past half-century thanks to safety-net programs

While the government has helped keep poverty at bay, the economy by itself has failed to improve the lives of the very poor over the past 50 years. Without taking into account the role of government policy, more Americans — 29 percent — would be in poverty today, compared with 27 percent in 1967. [Read more]

11/13/2013

Hoop Dreams Versus Hoop Reality



“Growing up in a wealthier neighborhood is a major, positive predictor of reaching the NBA for both black and white men.”
 
“It’s expensive for a kid to make a traveling AAU squad,” the coach said. “Our best players have parents who support them, travel with them, and provide the money to make it possible for them to be on the team. Yes, from time to time, there’s a promising kid who might make our team but just can’t afford to because his family isn’t there to support him.” [Read More]

10/31/2013

The Emerging White-Nonwhite Divide in American Politics

"Thus a crucial variable before last November’s election was the racial composition of the electorate. As the Obama team predicted, the proportion of white voters fell to 72 percent. The president won by drawing eight in 10 black, Hispanic and Asian-American votes, even as Mitt Romney won six in 10 white votes." [Read more]

10/17/2013

Judge Posner Sees Voter ID as Disenfranchising

“We weren’t really given strong indications that requiring additional voter identification would actually disenfranchise people entitled to vote.”... In a new book, he writes that he was “guilty” of upholding a law “now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than of fraud prevention.” [Read more]

10/04/2013

Republicans Block Millions of the Poor from Health Coverage

"A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.

"Because they live in states largely controlled by Republicans that have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid, the medical insurance program for the poor, they are among the eight million Americans who are impoverished, uninsured and ineligible for help. The federal government will pay for the expansion through 2016 and no less than 90 percent of costs in later years." [Read more]

9/25/2013

For Low-Income Students Considering College, a Nudge to Aim High

The group that administers the SAT has begun a nationwide outreach program to try to persuade more low-income high school seniors who scored high on standardized tests to apply to select colleges. 

The group, the College Board, is sending a package of information on top colleges to every senior who has an SAT or Preliminary SAT score in the top 15 percent of test takers and whose family is in the bottom quarter of income distribution. The package, which includes application fee waivers to six colleges of the student’s choice, will be sent to roughly 28,000 seniors. 

The program is the largest response so far to new academic research showing that most low-income students with high test scores and grades do not even apply to, yet alone attend, select colleges. Forgoing significant financial aid, many students may instead enroll in nearby colleges with low graduation rates.[Read more]

Navy Yard shooting underscores how mental illness can be misdiagnosed among black men

“For African American males, there is a huge disparity in access to mental-health treatment and gross under-diagnosis of mental illness,” said William Lawson, chairman of the psychiatry department at Howard University’s College of Medicine. “They are much more likely to be viewed as having a behavioral problem rather than a mental disorder.” [Read more]

9/12/2013

University of Alabama Sororities Still Won't Rush Black Women

In a fantastic and depressing exposé, the Crimson White reports that at least four traditionally white sororities at the University of Alabama had their alumnae blatantly block two black women from pledging this year, women that current sorority members had already targeted as prime candidates who they wanted to offer bids to.

The sororities mentioned in the article are Alpha Gamma Delta, Tri Delta, Chi Omega and Pi Beta Phi, four sororities part of a robust Greek life at UA that felt they were, in the words of Alpha Gamma Delta member Melanie Gotz, "powerless over the alums": [Read more]

Blacks and Hispanics Are Falling Behind Whites in Retirement Coverage

The shift from traditional defined-benefit pensions to 401(k) plans over the past two decades has left the vast majority of Americans unprepared for retirement. Minority workers have been disproportionately affected. In 1990, black workers were almost as likely as white workers to have pensions, as shown in the figure below. Over the next two decades, blacks started falling behind whites. By 2010, only 43 percent of black workers age 26-61 were participating in an employer-based retirement plan, compared to 50 percent of white workers the same age. Hispanics, meanwhile, who already lagged behind both groups, fell even farther behind. [Read more]

Hundreds Line Up For Little Caesars Jobs

[Every year or so I see basically this same article. Some service sector employer opens a new store and hundreds of people who some conservatives like to say don't want to work show up hoping to get a job that pays minimum wage with few, if any, benefits. We probably need to see these stories at least once a month for the truth to sink into public consciousness broadly.]

When he saw a “now hiring” sign outside a new fast-food pizza joint near his house, Andre Earl got in line and waited over an hour for a minute-long interview.


Earl, who’s 30, was one of over 200 people who streamed through Little Caesars Pizza shop Thursday at the corner of Ella T. Grasso Boulevard and Whalley Avenue. The store is set to open Sept. 10 in a space formerly occupied by Dunkin’ Donuts.


Earl said he’s been searching for work for six years, since the toy store he was working in at the Milford Mall closed. He said he has put in applications up and down Whalley Avenue to no avail. [read more]

8/28/2013

The number of homes with an unemployed parent rose by a third in just six years

The number of households with at least one out-of-work parent soared by a third from 2005 to 2011, according to a new U.S. Census report on families and living arrangements.[Read more]

The link between civil and economic rights

Of all the commemorations of the March on Washington, the one that will best capture its spirit isn’t really a commemoration at all. Thursday, one day after the 50th anniversary of the great march, fast-food and retail workers in as many as 35 cities will stage a one-day strike demanding higher wages.

Sadly, the connection between the epochal demonstration of 1963 and a fast-food strike in 2013 couldn’t be more direct. 

The march 50 years ago was, after all, a march “For Jobs and Freedom,” and its focus was every bit as economic as it was juridical and social. Even more directly, one of the demands highlighted by the march’s leaders and organizers was to raise the federal minimum wage — then $1.15 an hour — to $2. According to Sylvia Allegretto and Steven Pitts of the Economic Policy Institute, that comes out to $13.39 today.  [Read more]

8/27/2013

The March@50: Jobs

Watch the PBS video here: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365067768/.

The Unfinished March Toward a Decent Minimum Wage

Immediately after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Bayard Rustin, deputy director of the march, read off the marchers’ demands.

As they did after each demand was read aloud, the crowd roared its approval when Rustin proclaimed, "We demand that there be an increase in the national minimum wage so that men may live in dignity."

The demand for a higher minimum wage was part of a package of demands seeking economic justice for workers through government intervention in the labor market. At the time of the march about half of all blacks lived in poverty. Due to discrimination in the labor market and the educational system, blacks were heavily concentrated in many of the lowest-paid occupations. An increase in the minimum wage, along with the other march demands, had the potential to lift a large share of the black population out of poverty. [Read more]

A White Working-Class Remembrance of the March for Jobs and Freedom

 
King helped me see how the issues of class and race exploitation overlapped. He brought me–like many others–with him on a political journey from the initial moral disgust at the brutal repression in the Jim Crow South to an understanding of the way the entire country’s elite used racial antagonism to keep the working class divided. Finally, to his prescient grasp of the massive damage that the Vietnam War would do to this country.

The spirit on the Mall that day fifty years ago was alive with anger, joy, anxiety and hope. Our goal was to shape America’s future.

We did, in part. But not quite the way I would have guessed. [Read more]
King helped me see how the issues of class and race exploitation overlapped. He brought me–like many others–with him on a political journey from the initial moral disgust at the brutal repression in the Jim Crow South to an understanding of the way the entire country’s elite used racial antagonism to keep the working class divided. Finally, to his prescient grasp of the massive damage that the Vietnam War would do to this country.
The spirit on the Mall that day fifty years ago was alive with anger, joy, anxiety and hope. Our goal was to shape America’s future.
We did, in part. But not quite the way I would have guessed.
- See more at: http://www.epi.org/blog/fifty-years-marched/#sthash.hlG6THIF.dpuf
King helped me see how the issues of class and race exploitation overlapped. He brought me–like many others–with him on a political journey from the initial moral disgust at the brutal repression in the Jim Crow South to an understanding of the way the entire country’s elite used racial antagonism to keep the working class divided. Finally, to his prescient grasp of the massive damage that the Vietnam War would do to this country.
The spirit on the Mall that day fifty years ago was alive with anger, joy, anxiety and hope. Our goal was to shape America’s future.
We did, in part. But not quite the way I would have guessed.
- See more at: http://www.epi.org/blog/fifty-years-marched/#sthash.hlG6THIF.dpuf
King helped me see how the issues of class and race exploitation overlapped. He brought me–like many others–with him on a political journey from the initial moral disgust at the brutal repression in the Jim Crow South to an understanding of the way the entire country’s elite used racial antagonism to keep the working class divided. Finally, to his prescient grasp of the massive damage that the Vietnam War would do to this country.
The spirit on the Mall that day fifty years ago was alive with anger, joy, anxiety and hope. Our goal was to shape America’s future.
We did, in part. But not quite the way I would have guessed.
- See more at: http://www.epi.org/blog/fifty-years-marched/#sthash.hlG6THIF.dpuf

A SNCC Member Remembers the March for Jobs and Freedom

I’d spent the summer in New York at the national headquarters of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, working with Bayard Rustin, the march director, and a dozen young people. I raised funds to charter buses to bring Southerners to Washington. It took us eight weeks — without social media, fax machines, email, and only limited use of the telephone – to organize the march. We routinely worked 10 to 12 hour days in the Harlem office, and many nights when Eleanor Holmes (now Congresswoman Norton), Rachelle Horowitz and I would arrive at Rachelle’s one bedroom co-op on Eighth Avenue and West 24th Street, we’d find Bob Dylan sitting on the sofa serenading my sister, Dorie. All I could think was I wish he’d leave so I could pull out the sofa and go to sleep. [Read more]

The Applied Theology Behind the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

They wanted a set of tactics that were at once more aggressive and at the same time deeply rooted in biblical teaching. That meant the tactics had to start with love, not hate; nonviolence, not violence; renunciation, not self-indulgence. “Ours would be one of nonresistance,” Randolph told the Senate Armed Services Committee all the way back in 1948. “We would be willing to absorb the violence, absorb the terrorism, to face the music and to take whatever comes.”[Read more]

8/24/2013

For Jobs and Freedom

"The March on Washington grew out of a long, sometimes complicated, but often close relationship between the civil rights and labor movements that persists to this day. One of King’s closest associates—and the guiding hand behind the March—was A. Philip Randolph, the founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a union of black men who worked on America’s railways, carrying luggage, waiting on passengers, and serving food. The 1963 march was the culmination of Randolph’s lifetime fighting for racial equality and unionism." [Read more]

8/05/2013

Detroit: Pensions, Racism and Bankruptcy

"Detroit’s current citizens and the public employees who serve them are not the cause of Detroit’s fiscal problems. They are the victims of forces beyond their control, including globalization, capital flight and racism. No one can, with any seriousness, blame Detroit’s librarians, social workers, garbage collection workers or street cleaners for the city’s catastrophic loss of population and tax base, the long decline and near-collapse of the Big 3 auto companies, or the 1967 riots, which launched a frantic exodus of businesses, white residents, and money from the City of Detroit to the suburbs." [Read more]
Detroit’s current citizens and the public employees who serve them are not the cause of Detroit’s fiscal problems. They are the victims of forces beyond their control, including globalization, capital flight and racism. No one can, with any seriousness, blame Detroit’s librarians, social workers, garbage collection workers or street cleaners for the city’s catastrophic loss of population and tax base, the long decline and near-collapse of the Big 3 auto companies, or the 1967 riots, which launched a frantic exodus of businesses, white residents, and money from the City of Detroit to the suburbs. - See more at: http://www.epi.org/blog/detroit-pensions-racism-bankruptcy/#sthash.fFDClc7O.dpuf
Detroit’s current citizens and the public employees who serve them are not the cause of Detroit’s fiscal problems. They are the victims of forces beyond their control, including globalization, capital flight and racism. No one can, with any seriousness, blame Detroit’s librarians, social workers, garbage collection workers or street cleaners for the city’s catastrophic loss of population and tax base, the long decline and near-collapse of the Big 3 auto companies, or the 1967 riots, which launched a frantic exodus of businesses, white residents, and money from the City of Detroit to the suburbs. - See more at: http://www.epi.org/blog/detroit-pensions-racism-bankruptcy/#sthash.fFDClc7O.dpuf
Detroit’s current citizens and the public employees who serve them are not the cause of Detroit’s fiscal problems. They are the victims of forces beyond their control, including globalization, capital flight and racism. No one can, with any seriousness, blame Detroit’s librarians, social workers, garbage collection workers or street cleaners for the city’s catastrophic loss of population and tax base, the long decline and near-collapse of the Big 3 auto companies, or the 1967 riots, which launched a frantic exodus of businesses, white residents, and money from the City of Detroit to the suburbs. - See more at: http://www.epi.org/blog/detroit-pensions-racism-bankruptcy/#sthash.fFDClc7O.dpuf
Detroit’s current citizens and the public employees who serve them are not the cause of Detroit’s fiscal problems. They are the victims of forces beyond their control, including globalization, capital flight and racism. No one can, with any seriousness, blame Detroit’s librarians, social workers, garbage collection workers or street cleaners for the city’s catastrophic loss of population and tax base, the long decline and near-collapse of the Big 3 auto companies, or the 1967 riots, which launched a frantic exodus of businesses, white residents, and money from the City of Detroit to the suburbs. - See more at: http://www.epi.org/blog/detroit-pensions-racism-bankruptcy/#sthash.fFDClc7O.dpuf
Detroit’s current citizens and the public employees who serve them are not the cause of Detroit’s fiscal problems. They are the victims of forces beyond their control, including globalization, capital flight and racism. No one can, with any seriousness, blame Detroit’s librarians, social workers, garbage collection workers or street cleaners for the city’s catastrophic loss of population and tax base, the long decline and near-collapse of the Big 3 auto companies, or the 1967 riots, which launched a frantic exodus of businesses, white residents, and money from the City of Detroit to the suburbs. - See more at: http://www.epi.org/blog/detroit-pensions-racism-bankruptcy/#sthash.fFDClc7O.dpuf
Detroit’s current citizens and the public employees who serve them are not the cause of Detroit’s fiscal problems. They are the victims of forces beyond their control, including globalization, capital flight and racism. No one can, with any seriousness, blame Detroit’s librarians, social workers, garbage collection workers or street cleaners for the city’s catastrophic loss of population and tax base, the long decline and near-collapse of the Big 3 auto companies, or the 1967 riots, which launched a frantic exodus of businesses, white residents, and money from the City of Detroit to the suburbs. - See more at: http://www.epi.org/blog/detroit-pensions-racism-bankruptcy/#sthash.fFDClc7O.dpuf
Detroit’s current citizens and the public employees who serve them are not the cause of Detroit’s fiscal problems. They are the victims of forces beyond their control, including globalization, capital flight and racism. No one can, with any seriousness, blame Detroit’s librarians, social workers, garbage collection workers or street cleaners for the city’s catastrophic loss of population and tax base, the long decline and near-collapse of the Big 3 auto companies, or the 1967 riots, which launched a frantic exodus of businesses, white residents, and money from the City of Detroit to the suburbs. - See more at: http://www.epi.org/blog/detroit-pensions-racism-bankruptcy/#sthash.fFDClc7O.dpuf
Detroit’s current citizens and the public employees who serve them are not the cause of Detroit’s fiscal problems. They are the victims of forces beyond their control, including globalization, capital flight and racism. No one can, with any seriousness, blame Detroit’s librarians, social workers, garbage collection workers or street cleaners for the city’s catastrophic loss of population and tax base, the long decline and near-collapse of the Big 3 auto companies, or the 1967 riots, which launched a frantic exodus of businesses, white residents, and money from the City of Detroit to the suburbs. - See more at: http://www.epi.org/blog/detroit-pensions-racism-bankruptcy/#sthash.fFDClc7O.dpuf

8/01/2013

Minorities and whites follow unequal college paths, report says

"The nation’s system of higher education is growing more racially polarized even as it attracts more minorities: White students increasingly are clustering at selective institutions, while blacks and Hispanics mostly are attending open-access and community colleges, according to a new report.


...

"Students at the nation’s top 468 colleges are the beneficiaries of much more spending — anywhere from two to five times as much as what is spent on instruction at community colleges or other schools without admissions requirements. And students at top schools are far more likely to graduate than students at other institutions, even when they are equally prepared, according to the report. In addition, graduates of top schools are far more likely than others to go on to graduate school." [Read more]

7/29/2013

Economic Goals and the Civil Rights Movement

The Economic Policy Institute held a forum on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-IL) delivered the keynote speech at this event which includes panels on race, economic inequality and the goals of the march. [View the video]

Prisons are shrinking. That won’t necessarily last.

"Meanwhile, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s leading provider of private, for-profit prisons, had a happy announcement in a recent PowerPoint presentation: State budgets will soon be no longer in crisis. One must imagine that CCA shareholders who are U.S. residents were excited that school budgets would no longer be slashed, public services more broadly would no longer be cut, and the dangerous state-level austerity holding back the economy would no longer be an issue. But the real excitement was over the idea that states could finally start arresting people again, thus filling the depleted ranks of the incarcerated." [Read more]

7/25/2013

The cost of child poverty: $500 billion a year

"The United States has the second-highest child poverty rate among the world’s richest 35 nations, and the cost in economic and educational outcomes is half a trillion dollars a year, according to a new report by the Educational Testing Service." [Read more]

Black-White Divide Persists in Breast Cancer

"Breast cancer survival is, over all, three years shorter for black women compared with white women, mostly because their cancer is often more advanced when they first seek medical care, new research shows.

"While cancer researchers have known for two decades that black women with breast cancer tend to fare worse than white women, questions remain about the reasons behind the black-white divide. The new report, from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, begins to untangle some of the issues by using an analytic method to filter the influence of demographics, treatment differences and variations in tumor characteristics, among other things." [Read more]

7/23/2013

Huffington Post series on pain and promise in Black America

"In a series that begins Sunday, The Huffington Post examines the pain and the promise of Black America and looks at how far we have come, and still have left to go, to reach Dr. King's longed-for mountaintop. The stories focus on poverty and joblessness, health care, crime and incarceration, barriers to civic participation, the administration's record, education, and black progress against long odds. HuffPost also seeks to highlight potential solutions to these endemic issues." [Read the first article]

White people believe the justice system is color blind. Black people really don’t.

"Social psychologists conducting controlled lab experiments, for example, have demonstrated that merely thinking briefly about blacks can lead people, including police officers, to evaluate ambiguous behavior as aggressive, to miscategorize harmless objects as weapons, to shoot quickly and, at times, inappropriately, and to endorse harsh treatment of a black (versus a white) suspect. And the association between race and crime is not strong, but also outside people’s awareness and control to some extent (see, for example, research here, here; and here)." [Read more]

7/18/2013

Black-White Gap in Life Expectancy Narrows

"The gap in life expectancy between black and white Americans is at its narrowest since the federal government started systematically tracking it in the 1930s, but a difference of nearly four years remains, and federal researchers have detailed why in a new report." [Read more]

6/21/2013

50 years of recessionary-level unemployment in black America

In 1963, civil rights activists were keenly aware that blacks were suffering disproportionately from high unemployment, and, therefore, one of the demands of the march was for a jobs program that would provide a job to every American who wanted to work. As this recent EPI report explains, we have not yet achieved this goal and blacks have persistently endured what can be considered a “permanent recession.” [Read more]

6/20/2013

Local GOP Leader Calls a Black Former Miss America a "Street Walker"

A former Miss America winner who is now a GOP candidate for Congress was called a string of profane names today, including "street walker," "love child" and "Miss Queen. " Her attacker? A local Republican Party chairman in central Illinois. [Read more]

6/18/2013

Economic Goals of the 1963 March on Washington Still Unrealized

"But the hard economic goals of the march, critical to transforming the life opportunities of African Americans, were not fully achieved. The organizers of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom also demanded decent housing, adequate and integrated education, a federal jobs program for full employment, and a national minimum wage of over $13.00 an hour in today’s dollars." [Read more]

Infographic: The Unfinished Business of the 1963 March on Washington

6/17/2013

How Latino Immigration Boosts African American Employment and Wages

The positive economic impact of Latino immigration is related to population. Many metros, particularly in the Midwest, including Cleveland, Dayton, Detroit, and St. Louis, are not experiencing vibrant population growth. Instead, aging baby boomers and negative net migration are leading to a hallowing out of cities, declining school revenue, falling housing prices, big businesses moving their headquarters, and a dearth of small businesses. St. Louis, for instance, has experienced a sharply declining population, and at the same time, very little Latino immigration. As a result, Saint Louis has closed more than a dozen schools in recent years, which has cost the jobs of hundreds of African American teachers, administrators, and staff. Our research shows that an increase in immigration from Latin America would have sustained St. Louis’s population, tax base, school enrollment, and most of the lost African American jobs. Further, it would have reduced crime among young African American men by giving them more economic opportunities. [Read more]

A black history collection with a surprising collector

How did a white guy of modest means who grew up in Takoma Park amass one of the largest and most significant private collections of African American artifacts in the country, and become an unseen force in the creation of the National Museum of African American History and Culture? [Read more]

Health Care Lessons from Sweden

The United States spends more than $8,000 a person per year on health care, well more than twice what Sweden spends. Yet health outcomes are far better in Sweden along virtually every dimension. Its infant mortality rate, for example, was recently less than half that of the United States. And males aged 15 to 60 are almost twice as likely to die in any given year in the United States than in Sweden. [Read more]

Faces of the Minimum Wage

AT least one part of the labor force has expanded significantly since the recession hit: the low-wage part, made up of burger flippers, home health aides and the like. 

Put simply, the recession took middle-class jobs, and the recovery has replaced them with low-income ones, a trend that has exacerbated income inequality. According to Labor Department data, about 1.7 million workers earned the minimum wage or less in 2007. By 2012, the total had surged to 3.6 million, with millions of others earning just a few cents or dollars more.  [Read more]

How Jim Crow Damaged Black Swimming Culture

about 70 percent of African-American children, 60 percent of Latino children and 40 percent of white children are nonswimmers. Lack of access and financial constraints account only partly for these numbers. Fear, cultural factors and even cosmetic issues play a role as well.

“Before the Civil War, more blacks than whites could swim,” Lynn Sherr, the author of “Swim: Why We Love the Water,” said in an interview. “There are many stories of shipwrecks in which black slaves rescued their owners.”

But as Ms. Sherr learned from Bruce Wigo of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, segregation destroyed the aquatic culture of the black community. “Once whites discovered swimming, blacks were increasingly excluded from public pools and lifeguarded beaches,” Mr. Wigo told her.

As a result, many minority parents never learned how to swim. [Read more]

Blacks Have Highest Rate of Diabetes-Related Deaths in NYC

Diabetes-related mortality rates have reached an all-time high in New York City, with people of color hit the hardest, according to a report released this week by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Approximately one person dies of diabetes-related causes every 90 minutes in the city— a mortality rate that has nearly doubled in two decades, from 6 percent in 1990 to 10.8 percent in 2011, says the report.

Of any racial group in the five boroughs — Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx — blacks have the highest diabetes-related mortality rate, with 116 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by Hispanics (81), whites (45) and Asian and Pacific Islanders at 41, the report added. New York City has a population of more than 8 million, according to the latest U.S. Census data.
[Read more]

6/13/2013

Spike in Black College Graduates

"After decades of slow growth, the number of Americans graduating from college has surged in the wake of the recession" [Read more]

6/12/2013

It’s Not a Housing Boom. It’s a Land Grab

The reality of the current real estate renaissance is that the rich and those on Wall Street are raking in the cash while large segments of the population—especially historically marginalized communities—remain stuck in a downward, alternate housing reality. 


Generally, housing recoveries are fueled by millions of Americans with new jobs, higher wages, available credit from banks and overall confidence that things will get better. But the real economy that most people live in day-to-day is too weak for all of that. Jobs are in short supply, wages are at historic lows and credit for middle and working class Americans is tight. With their economic ladder into homeownership taken away, many Americans can no longer participate in the housing market. [Read more]

Housing discrimination persists in U.S. in more subtle ways, HUD report says

Housing discrimination remains problematic, according to a government report released Tuesday that found that although blatant acts of racial prejudice in the selling, buying and renting of homes have been declining in the United States, more subtle forms of housing bias “stubbornly persist.”

“Fewer minorities today may be getting the door slammed in their faces, but we continue to see evidence of housing discrimination that can limit a family’s housing, economic and educational opportunities,” said Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development. [Read more]

BMW and Dollar General Accused of Racial Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday accused two major companies of indirectly discriminating against African Americans by using criminal background checks to screen out workers.

The commission said BMW effectively fired 70 black employees with criminal histories from a facility in South Carolina, even though many had been there for years. One woman with 14 years under her belt was let go after a misdemeanor conviction surfaced that was more than 20 years old and carried a $137 fine, according to the EEOC’s lawsuit. [Read more]

6/11/2013

How for-profit colleges prey on African-American ambition

As I’ve reported on the twin housing and unemployment crises in black neighborhoods in recent years, I’ve heard the same refrain from struggling strivers up and down the educational ladder: “I’m getting my papers, maybe that’ll help.” GEDs, associates degrees, trade licenses, certifications, you name it, we’re getting it. Hell, I even went and got certified in selling wine; journalism’s a shrinking trade, after all.

But this headlong rush of black Americans to get schooled has also led too many down a depressingly familiar path. As with the mortgage market of the pre-crash era, those who are just entering in the higher ed game have found themselves ripe for the con man’s picking. They’ve landed, disproportionately, at for-profit schools, rather than at far less expensive public community colleges, or at public universities. And that means they’ve found themselves loaded with unimaginable debt, with little to show for it, while a small group of financial players have made a great deal of easy money. Sound familiar? Two points if you hear troublesome echoes of the subprime mortgage crisis. [Read more]

Juvenile Incarceration -> Adult Incarceration

Over 130,000 juveniles are detained in the US each year with 70,000 in detention on any given day, yet little is known whether such a penalty deters future crime or interrupts social and human capital formation in a way that increases the likelihood of later criminal behavior. This paper uses the incarceration tendency of randomly-assigned judges as an instrumental variable to estimate causal effects of juvenile incarceration on high school completion and adult recidivism. Estimates based on over 35,000 juvenile offenders over a ten-year period from a large urban county in the US suggest that juvenile incarceration results in large decreases in the likelihood of high school completion and large increases in the likelihood of adult incarceration. These results are in stark contrast to the small effects typically found for adult incarceration, but consistent with larger impacts of policies aimed at adolescents.[Read more]

The black/white marijuana arrest gap, in nine charts

As you’re probably aware, black Americans are arrested for marijuana possession far more frequently than whites. You may also know that there’s not much evidence that black people consume marijuana with greater regularity than whites do.

But the extent of the disparity between the rate of arrest and the rate of use for white and black Americans may surprise you. The ACLU has an absurdly comprehensive new report tracking marijuana possession arrests for blacks and whites at the national, state and county level. Sure enough, they find that black and white people use marijuana at roughly the same rates: [Read more]

6/05/2013

Ken Emanuelson, Texas Tea Party Activist, Calls GOP Black Voter Comments 'A Mistake'

A Texas Tea Party activist is in hot water over comments charging that the Republican Party doesn't want black people to vote because of tough odds.

Audio posted by Democratic group Battleground Texas on Tuesday has Ken Emanuelson, a leading state Tea Party figure, answering a question about black voters at a May 20 Dallas County GOP event.

“I’m going to be real honest with you,” Emanuelson said. “The Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.” [Read more]

Houston Cops Attack Black Teen

In video footage from a security camera that caught the March 2010 beating, then-15-year-old Chad Holley is seen falling to the ground after trying to hurdle a police squad car. He's then surrounded by at least five officers, some of whom appear to kick and hit his head, abdomen and legs. Police said that Holley and three others had tried to run away after burglarizing a home.

Holley's beating prompted fierce public criticism of Houston's police department by community activists, who called it an example of police brutality against minorities.

McClelland said that in seeing the video footage, he was disturbed that Holley, who had given up, offered "no active resistance and the force that was being used against him was excessive and unnecessary." [Read more]

Black America shouldn’t give Obama a pass

Gays didn’t pretend to be happy. Neither did white women or Hispanics. They pressured Obama into addressing their concerns.

“Other identity groups are looking strong because their membership is more easily mobilized,” said Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta. “Our civil rights organizations are not nearly as strong as they used to be. They need to be rebuilt and grown to the point that meaningful political pressure can be applied.”

Said Johnson, “Many black people feel that it would be a betrayal if we tried to push Obama to do more than the system would allow him to do.”

But how does anybody know what the system will allow unless it is tested?[Read more]

6/04/2013

Video captures Jasper, Texas, police officers beating woman

"A southeast Texas town with a history of racial unrest on Monday fired two white police officers recently captured on video slamming a black woman’s head into a countertop and wrestling her to the ground.

“'The amount of force used was abominable,' the woman's attorney, Cade Bernsen, told Yahoo News.
The incident was captured by security cameras at the Jasper, Texas, police headquarters." [Read more]

New Survey Takes A Snapshot Of The View From Black America

"You might think African-Americans might be more pessimistic about their lives. The housing crisis decimated pockets of black wealth. The black unemployment rate has been nearly double the national average for several years.

"But according to findings from our survey of more than 1,000 African-Americans, you'd be wrong.

"A new poll released Tuesday by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found that the overwhelming majority of black people (86 percent) said they were satisfied with their lives. Nearly 60 percent said they would eventually achieve the American dream of financial security and homeownership. A little more than half of those polled (53 percent) said they felt their lives had gotten better in recent years." [Read more]

Violent Crime in U.S. Rises for First Time Since 2006

"Violent crime rose in the United States in 2012 for the first time in six years, led by an increase in major crimes in large cities, according to preliminary data released Monday by the F.B.I." [Read more]

Blacks Are Singled Out for Marijuana Arrests, Federal Data Suggests

"Black Americans were nearly four times as likely as whites to be arrested on charges of marijuana possession in 2010, even though the two groups used the drug at similar rates, according to new federal data" [Read more]

5/31/2013

This Is The Mixed-Race Cheerios Ad All The Idiots Are Complaining About

"A new commercial for Cheerios featuring a mixed-race family has become a target for idiots on the internet.
The anodyne spot features a Caucasian mother, an African-American father and their biracial daughter, but contains no overt messaging, politically correct or otherwise (except that Cheerios are good for you)."

Wisconsin Leads in Incarcerating Black Men

"the 2010 U.S. Census showing Wisconsin having the highest black male incarceration rate in the nation. In Milwaukee County over half of African American men in their 30s have served time in state prison." [Read more, PDF]

Joblessness Shortens Lifespan of Least Educated White Women, Research Says

"Researchers have known for some time that life expectancy is declining for the country’s least educated white women, but they have not been able to explain why. A new study has found that the two factors most strongly associated with higher death rates were smoking and not having a job." [Read more]

This research raises the question about the impact of the high rate of joblessness among blacks on their mortality.

Missing Black Voters

"
Unaccounted in the Census Bureau estimates are the 5.8 million adults who are ineligible to vote due to a current or previous felony conviction. All but two states (Maine and Vermont) take away the right to vote for a period of time after a felony conviction. In 48 states, prisoners are ineligible to vote, in 35 of these states persons also cannot vote on probation and/or parole, and in 12 states citizens may lose their voting rights even after they have completed their sentence.

"Racial disparities in the criminal justice system translate into much higher rates of disenfranchisement for African Americans relative to other groups. Factoring these uncounted lost voters in to the black population produces a turnout figure up to 72 percent of the eligible adult population. The high disenfranchisement rate of black males in particular helps to explain as well the nearly nine point gender gap in black voting, considerably higher than for other groups." [Read more]

Illustrating Our Failed Drug Policy

"Street drug prices in the below figure fell by roughly a factor of five between 1980 and 2008. Meanwhile the number of drug offenders locked up in our jails and prisons went from fewer than 42,000 in 1980 to a peak of 562,000 in 2007." The goal of our drug policy is to increase prices because of incarceration. [Read more]

5/28/2013

The Ghetto Is Public Policy

"The wealth gap is not a mistake. It is the logical outcome of policy and democratic will." [Read more]

College diploma gap widens between rich and poor

"Looking at children born in the early 1960s, the researchers found that only 5 percent of children from families in the lowest-income quartile completed college, while 36 percent of those from families in the highest-income quartile did.

"For children born around 1980, the college completion rate among low-income students rose to 9 percent, but among high- income students it jumped to more than half (54 percent). In other words, over two decades, the college income gap widened to 45 percentage points from 31 percentage points." [Read more]

5/15/2013

Racist Tweets Mapped

"Ever wonder where those racist, homophobic tweets that stain social media actually come from?
"Now you can find out.
"And for the open-minded, the news is not so good.
"The “Geography of Hate,” an interactive map created by geography scholars and researchers at California’s Humboldt State University, shows that most bigoted Twitter traffic occurs in the eastern half of the country."

5/13/2013

The Case for Raising the Minimum Wage

"A minimum wage of $7.25 is not enough to live on. Full-time minimum-wage workers today earn about $15,000 a year. In 1968, they earned about $20,000 per year in today's dollars. While certainly not enough for a life of luxury, it is enough for a family of three to stay above the poverty line – which can't be said for today's minimum-wage workers." [Read more]

5/08/2013

Blacks Voted at a Higher Rate than Whites in 2012 Election

"About two in three eligible blacks (66.2 percent) voted in the 2012 presidential election, higher than the 64.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites who did so, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today. This marks the first time that blacks have voted at a higher rate than whites since the Census Bureau started publishing statistics on voting by the eligible citizen population in 1996." [Read more]

5/06/2013

How Social Networks Drive Black Unemployment

"Favoritism is almost universal in today’s job market. In interviews with hundreds of people on this topic, I found that all but a handful used the help of family and friends to find 70 percent of the jobs they held over their lifetimes; they all used personal networks and insider information if it was available to them.

"In this context of widespread networking, the idea that there is a job “market” based solely on skills, qualifications and merit is false. Whenever possible, Americans seeking jobs try to avoid market competition: they look for unequal rather than equal opportunity. In fact, the last thing job seekers want to face is equal opportunity; they want an advantage. They want to find ways to cut in line and get ahead." [Read more]

Black Woman Pretends to be White, Gets Job Offers

"The next day, my phone line and Bianca’s email address were packed with potential employers calling for an interview. I was stunned. More shocking was that some employers, mostly Caucasian-sounding women, were calling Bianca more than once, desperate to get an interview with her. All along, my real Monster.com account was open and active; but, despite having the same background as Bianca, I received no phone calls." [Read more]

An Unfair Barrier to Employment

"Sixty-five million Americans have criminal records that might cause them to be denied jobs, even for arrests or minor convictions that occurred in the distant past. Last year, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reaffirmed a longstanding ruling that it was illegal to screen out employees unless the offense was directly related to the job." [Read more]

4/11/2013

How Chained CPI Hurts African Americans

"Their lack of retirement wealth means that African-American seniors are heavily reliant on the Social Security benefits they earned. Indeed, 47 percent of African-Americans seniors rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income upon retirement compared to 33 percent of whites.

"In a twisted bit of policy logic, the Obama Administration is arguing that the "chained CPI" is a good idea because it represents "a more accurate measure of inflation" while also acknowledging that it's a bad idea from which economically vulnerable groups need to be protected by designating special exemptions. Among the vulnerable groups they seek to protect are the very old, those who are 76 years of age and older.

"The "chained CPI" would have a disproportionately negative impact on African-American retirees not only because they are more heavily reliant on Social Security benefits but also because they have the shortest life expectancies out of all of the major racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. and are the most likely to die before becoming eligible for the special exemption for the very old." [Read more]