race did come from science and theology; it came to science and theology. racial ideas were born in the colonial world, in the brutal and deadly processes of empire building....
by craig steven wilder ebony and ivy
Frederick Douglass On the eve of the Civil War, Douglass stated:
“I have little hope of the freedom of the slave by peaceful means. A long course of peaceful SHAREHOLDING has placed the slaveholder beyond the reach of moral and humane considerations. … The only penetrable point of a tyrant is the fear of death.”
...There are a number of racist types floating around, like the I’m Not a Racist racists. Think of the guy who says “I’m not racist” every time he justifies mass incarceration and police murders. He doesn’t identify as a racist because he talks to black people in public places, loves professional sports like the NBA and NFL, which are dominated by black athletes, and is totally okay with black people until they bring up race or question his privilege. And then we have the I Don’t Know That I’m a Racist racists. This is the guy who doesn’t think he’s a racist because he masturbates to Beyoncé — but jumps across the street so he won’t have to walk past a group of black people. He looks at the black guy in his office with a raised eyebrow every time he misplaces his own wallet. Both of these guys are different from but just as dangerous as the Proud Racist racist (think: the Confederate flag made into a t-shirt guy shaking his ass a Donald Trump rally).
I see these guys all the time. They start race conversations and then ask questions that they don’t really want the answers to, or they already have the answers and want to waste your time. No statistic or study or hard evidence can shift their stance; they are knee-deep in tradition and strangled by their own perspective. I’m not against anyone who wants to spend their time enlightening people who aren’t intellectually curious, but just consider that it’s hard making racists acknowledge their own racism in a system where racism is okay.
D. WATKINS - salon
articles of interest
*HOUSING DISCRIMINATION, REDLINING AND LACK OF LAND OWNERSHIP CREATED THE RACIAL WEALTH GAP(ARTICLE BELOW)
*HOSPITAL STAFF FATALLY IGNORED BLACK TEEN’S CHEST PAIN — NOW HER FAMILY IS DEMANDING ANSWERS(ARTICLE BELOW)
*How Race and Money Stood In the Way of a Cure for Sickle Cell Anemia(ARTICLE BELOW)
*THE LATEST CHALLENGES TO THE SOUTH'S FELONY DISENFRANCHISEMENT LAWS(ARTICLE BELOW)
*HIGH-RANKING CHICAGO OFFICIALS CRUELLY MOCKED BLACK VICTIMS OF GUN VIOLENCE IN SHOCKINGLY RACIST EMAILS(ARTICLE BELOW)
*In Post-Recession America Why Is Homeownership Still Elusive to Blacks(ARTICLE BELOW)
*RISING NUMBER OF DISCRIMINATION LAWSUITS HIGHLIGHTS THE LACK OF DIVERSITY IN THE MEDIA(ARTICLE BELOW)
*WHILE BLACK BOYS ARE FAST-TRACKED TO PRISON, THE PIPELINE TO THE CLASSROOM REMAINS BLOCKED FOR BLACK MALE TEACHERS(article below)
*STUDY: BLACK GIRLS VIEWED AS LESS INNOCENT THAN WHITE GIRLS(ARTICLE BELOW)
*MAJOR STANDFORD STUDY FINDS BLACK MOTORIST ARE STOPPED, TICKETED, SEARCHED, ARRESTED MORE THAN ANY OTHER RACE (ARTICLE BELOW)
*RACIST US LAWS PROVIDED INSPIRATION TO THE NAZIS: AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMES Q. WHITMAN (article below)
*A BARE MAJORITY OF WHITE VOTERS ARE THE ONLY ONES HAPPY WITH TRUMP(article below)
*WHITE PEOPLE KEEP FINDING NEW WAYS TO SEGREGATE SCHOOLS( article below)
*STUDY CONFIRMS THAT STATES WITH HIGHER POPULATIONS OF BLACKS HAVE MORE RESTRICTIVE WELFARE BENEFITS(article below)
*REPORT: BLACK WOMEN ARE WORKING HARD BUT ‘OUR COUNTRY IS NOT WORKING FOR THEM’ (article below)
*THE TECH INDUSTRY'S PROBLEM WITH FUNDING BLACK WOMEN FOUNDERS (IT DOESN'T DO IT) (article below)
*BLACK FARMER CALLS OUT LIBERAL RACISM IN POWERFUL FACEBOOK MESSAGE “IT ISN’T RICHARD SPENCER CALLING THE COPS ON ME FOR FARMING WHILE BLACK.” (article below)
*POWER VS. EQUALITY: MALCOLM X SOUGHT NOT TO CHANGE AMERICA BUT TO CHANGE BLACK PEOPLE (article below)
*INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE HIGHEST IT'S EVER BEEN IN THE U.S. (article below)
*WHICH WORKING WOMEN? FROM PLANTATION TO PUBLIC SECTOR(article below)
*IT WAS CULTURAL ANXIETY THAT DROVE WHITE, WORKING-CLASS VOTERS TO TRUMP (article below)
*What’s wrong with white teachers? Closing the performance gap between black and white teachers means talking about racism(article below)
Housing Discrimination, Redlining and Lack of Land Ownership Created the Racial Wealth Gap By Nadra Nittle - July 26, 2017
From Atlanta Black Star: The wealth gap between African-Americans and whites has persisted for generations, but new research indicates that housing discrimination is the main culprit for this gap. Predatory lending has prevented Blacks from accumulating the wealth that other racial groups have, and even today housing discrimination has never dissipated, despite federal laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1968, designed to stop it.
“The racial differences they find are stark,” Smith noted. “For essentially all of recorded American history, poor white families were far more likely to escape poverty than poor Black families. Although the Black-white income gap did narrow over this time, the difference in mobility kept it from fully closing.” The study found that white children were much more likely to escape the lower classes than black children were in every generation. The researchers said this mobility gap proved stronger than the parents’ original class status.
Like Collins and Wanamaker, the EPI points the finger at housing discrimination, redlining and restrictive covenants for creating this wealth gap, as they largely prevented Blacks from entering the land-owning class. The studies also point out how redlining, or refusing loans to people deemed to live in “financially risky” neighborhoods or giving them high-interest loans instead, has continued despite federal intervention.
“During the housing bubble that was the disastrous run-up to the Great Recession, the exposure to predatory, high-interest, and high-leverage mortgages led to an absolute wealth disaster for African-American families when the bubble burst,” explained the EPI’s Janelle Jones. “In the aftermath of the bubble’s burst, black unemployment rates rose to levels twice as high as white unemployment, leading to higher rates of delinquency and foreclosure for black families. And the sluggish recovery has only made matters worse, as home values recover at different rates across racial lines.”
Redlining makes it difficult for Black people, even those in the professional class, to leave low-income neighborhoods. A 2016 study called “Pockets of Poverty: The Long-Term Effects of Redlining,” by Ian Appel and Jordan Nickerson, looks at the legacy of redlining dating back to 1940. It found that 50 years later, homes in redlined neighborhoods had 4.8 percent less value than homes in neighborhoods not plagued by discriminatory mortgage lending.
“That 5 percent figure may seem like a modest difference, but it only represents one specific type of discriminatory policy at one point in time,” argues Bloomberg columnist Smith. “The sum of all such policies is probably quite a bit larger. This paper doesn’t include the long-term effects of black Americans being forced into bad neighborhoods. But other economists have studied this. An experimental program in the 1990s called Moving to Opportunity gave poor people vouchers to escape their neighborhoods. This resulted in considerably higher income, as well as improved well-being by a variety of measures.”
Of course, Blacks anecdotally know how racist lending practices have hurt their communities and pocketbooks alike. But for those who doubt the lingering effects of longtime discrimination or are unaware of the effects of predatory mortgage lending practices in the years leading up to the Great Recession, this body of research puts matters into perspective. It also strengthens the argument of The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, who demonstrated in his seminal essay “The Case for Reparations” how discrimination in housing and other key areas of life effectively prolonged slavery for decades after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. To put the racial gap into perspective, it’s helpful to look at the findings of the EPI’s report “The Racial Wealth Gap: How African-Americans Have Been Shortchanged out of the Materials to Build Wealth.”
“The typical black family with a head of household working full time has less wealth than the typical white family whose head of household is unemployed,” the Institute found. “This outcome holds for black families regardless of the time and money spent on educational upgrading. Median wealth for black families whose head has a college degree, for example, has only one-eighth the wealth of the median white family whose head has a college degree. Even the typical black family with a graduate or professional degree had more than $200,000 less wealth than a comparable white family.”
It seems in America that even when Black people who do all of the “right” things — earn a college degree, land a professional job and buy a home — they still can’t catch up to whites who’ve achieved far less. That’s a case for reparations indeed.
Hospital staff fatally ignored black teen’s chest pain — now her family is demanding answers
David Ferguson 21 Jul 2017 at 16:05 ET
From Raw Story: The family of a 15-year-old girl in Stockton, CA says that hospital staff dismissed the girl’s complaints of chest pain twice and ignored signs of the blood clots that ended up killing her.
TheRoot.com said that Yunique Morris’ family believe the fact that she was black played a role in doctors’ refusal to take her seriously when she said she was ill and in pain.
Weeks ago, the 15-year-old cheerleader at Weston Ranch High School went to San Joaquin General Hospital, said her grandmother Wanda Ely.
Ely told Fox 40 News that the doctor at San Joaquin diagnosed Yunique with chest-wall pain, gave her pain medicine and antibiotics and sent her home.
“Her health just started going downhill,” Ely said. “It got to the point where she couldn’t even go up and down a flight of stairs without getting out of breath.”
Days later Yunique returned to the hospital and saw the same physician, who insisted that the girl was merely experiencing inflammation and that more serious intervention was not needed.
Days passed and the teen grew more and more ill.
Then last Thursday, she sent her mother a frantic text message that said, “I NEED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL, I JUST PASSED OUT, I’M THROWING UP NOW.”
Yunique’s older brother rushed her to San Joaquin’s emergency room where doctors diagnosed her with multiple blood clots in her chest and rushed to save her life. Their efforts were in vain, however. Hours later, Yunique was dead.
Racial disparities are a fact of life — and death — for black patients in the U.S. healthcare system.
A study published in 2015 by University of Southern California found that black patients report a higher level of difficulty getting physicians and hospital staff to take their concerns seriously. Racial stereotyping by hospital staff can leave patients feeling helpless and ignored, and sometimes in more pain. The Guardian reported last year that black patients in the U.S. are half as likely to be prescribed opioid pain medication.
These issues, said Cleopatra Abdou, Ph.D. — an assistant professor at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and Department of Psychology — “can affect healthcare efficacy and even prompt some patients to avoid care altogether.”
How Race and Money Stood In the Way of a Cure for Sickle Cell Anemia By Frederick Reese - July 20, 2017
From Atlanta Black Star: “When you get to be a person of my age, you know your triggers,” Raeshal Solomon of Nashville stated when talking about how she lives with sickle cell anemia. Solomon, 36, was diagnosed with the disease as an infant. “You know what you can be around and what you can’t, what you can do and what you can’t. For example, if I am in a high-stress situation — physically or mentally — I know I can get sick. I can have a crisis simply being around secondhand smoke. Sickle cell is all about keeping your environment as pure and clean as possible, including emotional stress. It’s a lot to deal with if you have the disease and it is a lot to deal with if you are a caregiver.”
The death of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy at the age of 42 brought to the spotlight what it means to live with sickle cell. For hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, this disease turns their bodies into war zones, with race, income disparity and education all being obstacles that have slowed or delayed the implementation of a cure. “A sickle cell attack would creep up slowly in my ankles, legs, arms, back, stomach and chest. Sometimes, my lips and tongue turned numb and I knew I was going into a crisis,” Prodigy wrote. “I was a very serious child who never got to enjoy life to the fullest like a normal, healthy kid.” For one in 100 Americans, their blood — the very elixir of their lives — is poisonous. Sickle cell disease — an often-misunderstood and life-threatening set of diseases caused by a hereditary mutation of the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin S — can cause debilitating blood vessel clots, leading to excruciating pain, tissue necrosis, anemia, swelling in the hands and feet, bacterial infection and potentially stroke or death. The disease hits African-Americans the hardest. Approximately 1 in every 14 Black people has the disease or is a carrier of the trait, compared to 1 in 500 whites. Perhaps because of this disparity in occurrence rates, research into sickle cell disease has failed to receive the priority that other diseases have. On July 7th, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first new sickle cell drug in more than 20 years. The drug, Endari, is being hailed as a potential breakthrough in sickle-cell pain management for patients 5 years old and older.
“I am hoping we are finally seeing channels opening, and that this will be the first of many new drugs to hit the market [for sickle-cell disease],” Dr. Alexis A. Thompson, head of the Hematology Section and director of the Comprehensive Thalassemia Program at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, said to NBC News.
Endari’s development suggests that we are turning a corner in prioritizing sickle cell development. This, however, begs two important questions: Why was sickle cell research deprioritized in the first place? What can be done to make sickle cell less of a health epidemic for the Black community?
Sickle cell is a genetic malfunctioning of the oxygen transportation system. Oxygen is carried from the lungs to the cells by means of red blood cells via hemoglobin, which temporarily bonds to oxygen molecules. Sickle cell patients carry a variant of hemoglobin, hemoglobin S. This variant does not easily bind with oxygen. Worse, it affects the red blood cells’ geometry. As the abnormal hemoglobin forms rigid rods in the blood cell, it changes the blood cell from a flexible disk to a rigid crescent sickle shape that does not allow the blood cell to sustain its travel in the vessel walls. Sickle-cell red blood cells tend to get entangled with each other when they bump, causing vessel blockages.
The sudden lack of oxygen to the tissue from these blockages creates sudden, intense moments of pain known as crises. These happen without warning and usually require hospitalization for treatment. The lack of oxygen also causes tissue degradation or necrosis, causing chronic pain for adolescents and adults, as well as organ damage.
Due to the lack of flexibility, sickle cell red blood cells tend to hemolyze or burst apart. The effect of this is that a sickle cell red blood cell typically has a lifespan of 10 to 20 days, compared to the 90 to 120 days of a regular blood cell. This causes sickle cell patients to have a lower red blood cell count than normal. This state, known as anemia, results in diminished energy for the patient.
For those afflicted with sickle cell, the disease vastly influences all aspect of life. Typically, the average lifespan of a sickle cell patient in the United States is 40 years, compared to 72 years for a healthy American. Newborns are screened for sickle cell, with afflicted infants receiving immediate treatment, typically involving a bone marrow transplant. This treatment is effective but is dependent on access.
The Burden of Ignorance
Sickle cell in adults can typically be managed with a drug known as hydroxycarbamide, an orally administered drug that increases the production of fetal hemoglobin, a form of hemoglobin that can bind with oxygen more readily than adult hemoglobin, while suppressing DNA formation of sickle cell red blood cells. The drug itself is relatively inexpensive, however, cost is not the only factor.
“Sickle cell disease is not a commonly-talked-about disease in the USA as far as its danger of causing death, because the majority of the USA population is screened at birth for the disease and treated appropriately if they have it,” Dr. said Erik Serrao, manager of business development at Silver Lake Research, the developer of a rapid screening test for sickle cell. “However, if you go to Uganda, for example, sickle cell disease is one of, if not the largest killer of children under the age of 5.” Therefore, in low-resource countries, sickle cell disease is quite well-known and talked about. But just because it is talked about doesn’t mean it is under control,” he continued. “The poor in Uganda and the poor in the USA alike suffer from lack of access to proper health care, which includes screening at birth, screening at adulthood and access to hydroxyurea, this new drug Endari, and other drugs that can be prescribed.”
The disease proliferates, however, due to a lack of education and understanding. This lack of understanding extends not only to those afflicted by the disease or the carrier trait but also to those tasked with caring for them.
Life with Poisonous Blood
“When I having a crisis, I would number the crisis on a pain scale from 0 to 10. When I am at a full-blown crisis, where I have to go to the emergency room, that is a 10-out-of-10 pain,” Tosin Ola, a sickle cell patient, said. A registered nurse, Ola created the blog “Sickle Cell Warriors” as a way to reach out to others afflicted with the disease. The blog has since grown into an active advocacy and support network. “Usually, I try to manage my crises at home, because I realize that going to the hospital all the time was quite stressful and made my pain worse,” she said. “You have to deal with the stigmas and the misconceptions and the poor treatment in the emergency room. All of that is frustrating.”
Ola pointed out that while sickle cell care in this nation is excellent for newborns and children under 5, it is desperately lacking for adolescents and adults. Because infant screening makes the most lethal versions of the disease the exclusive domain of poor Blacks and Latinx or recent immigrants, many doctors — particularly those who work outside of Black population centers — are unfamiliar with adult sickle cell. “Sickle cell disease can be, and frequently is, mistaken for other health issues,” Serrao noted. “The reason is that the symptoms are many times very vague, especially if the individual does not know that he or she has sickle cell disease.”
It is typical for emergency rooms, after finding nothing on their tests, to write off sickle cell pain as psychosomatic or as an attempt to falsely obtain prescription pain medication. These misdiagnoses can be frustrating and, at times, deadly. Many of those affected by the most serious forms of sickle cell have insufficient health insurance to pay for the emergency room visits and medications. This, coupled with the stress of misdiagnoses and stigmatization, has led many to seek alternative treatments or to “stick it out,” often with disastrous consequences.
The lack of interest in the disease has fueled speculation that because the disease primarily affects African-Americans, it does not receive the attention other genetic defects, such as cystic fibrosis, get. Fewer than a dozen laboratories in the United States are currently committed to sickle cell research and finding benefactors to back studies has proven to be difficult, at best.
“Sickle cell patients have never been at the front of the line,” Dr. David Nathan, a former president of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who helped discover hydroxyurea, said to Stat News. “It strikes Italians, Greeks, Blacks. … This work, especially clinical trials, is hugely expensive and the National Institutes of Health and private foundations haven’t prioritized it.”
Finding a Cure
While bone marrow transplants are effective for infants, such treatments incur the cost of having to be permanently on anti-rejection medications. In addition, having blood transfusions — which is typically a prescribed treatment for temporarily increasing the healthy red blood cell count and staving off anemia — creates an environment when an adult bone marrow transfusion would like reject or fail. This leaves few viable options for adult sufferers.
Additionally, there are no viable solutions for pain management. Even if the crises were subsided, the residual tissue damage would create a consistent pain that is difficult to mask or chemically block. For many patients, including Ola, medical marijuana is the only medicine that has been proven to be fully effective for pain relief. The legal access to this, however, is suspect in light of suggestions that the Department of Justice of Attorney General Jeff Sessions may challenge the states on marijuana legalization.
A cure, however, may be in reach. A clinical trial, sponsored by Bluebird Bio, has been conducted following gene therapy on a French boy that has effectively stopped his sickle cell crises. The therapy took the healthy hemoglobin gene and affected the boy’s bone marrow cells, effectively purging the hemoglobin S gene from his system.
The activity from this therapy has given the sickle cell community hope that a cure is within reach and that this generation of patients will be the last to have to endure a sickle cell crisis.
The Latest Challenges to the South's Felony Disenfranchisement Laws Wednesday, July 19, 2017 By Olivia Paschal, Facing South | News Analysis
From Truthout: While all Southern states have laws disenfranchising people while they are incarcerated and on probation or parole, Florida stands out with one of the nation's most restrictive felony disenfranchisement laws -- one of only four states that impose a lifetime ban on voting for anyone convicted of a felony. The others are Virginia, Kentucky and Iowa.
Because of the law, there are currently nearly 1.7 million Floridians -- the highest number in any state -- that have permanently lost the right to vote, according to a 2016 report by The Sentencing Project. Florida accounts for 27 percent of the national population of people disenfranchised due to felony convictions, and the 1.5 million Floridians who have completed their sentences but remain without voting rights make up 48 percent of the national total.
But they could get that right back thanks to a ballot initiative now underway to amend the state constitution and allow people with felony convictions to vote once they complete their sentences, including probation or parole.
This spring, the Florida Supreme Court approved the language for the initiative, which was drafted by Floridians for a Fair Democracy, a coalition of nonpartisan civic and faith organizations. But for the amendment to appear on the ballot next November, its supporters need to collect and submit over 700,000 signatures to county elections supervisors, who will need to verify them by Feb. 1.
That's a huge number of signatures to collect in a relatively short time. But Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) that's leading the collection effort, said he and his fellow activists are encouraged by the grassroots support the ballot initiative has already gotten, even without an organized campaign.
"The first 100,000 signatures that we did collect was pure volunteer effort," he said.
Now, FRRC and allied organizations across the state hope to capitalize on that grassroots energy. They will convene this week to kick off their organized signature-collecting efforts, which include a public education campaign and a door-to-door canvassing drive. If they manage to get the initiative on the ballot, Meade says internal polling shows it has a strong chance of passing. It needs 60 percent of the vote to become law.
"When people realize the current policies that we have," Meade said, “they immediately know it's not fair." Meanwhile in Louisiana, the New Orleans-based nonprofit Voice of the Experienced (VOTE, formerly Voice of the Ex-Offender) is preparing to appeal a court ruling that upheld two state laws disenfranchising people with felony convictions even while they are out of prison and on probation or parole. Filed last year, the group's lawsuit contends that the state constitution's felony disenfranchisement provision intends to prevent only incarcerated individuals from voting -- not those on probation or parole.
The state currently disenfranchises 108,000 people in total under its felony disenfranchisement laws -- a number that would drop dramatically if VOTE's appeal succeeds. The group estimates that about 70,000 Louisianans who are currently on probation and parole would regain the right to vote if the two laws, passed in the 1970s, are repealed.
VOTE lost its initial case in state district court. But the judge, Tim Kelley, was sympathetic, saying he disagreed with the law but had to uphold it.
"I don't like this ruling. I don't like it. It's not fair," he said at the time.
VOTE is undertaking its appeal with legal help from The Advancement Project, a national civil rights advocacy group. Bruce Reilly, VOTE's deputy director and one of the plaintiffs in the case, is optimistic about their chances, observing that the state "didn't seem to be lawyering at a very high caliber." And, he added, winning the appeal isn't his group's only goal. They also want to change the public consciousness about the issue.
"It's a means to an end," he said, "a way to shift the culture."
The Racist History of Felony Disenfranchisement
The Florida ballot initiative and Louisiana court case are the latest battles in the long war to overturn felony disenfranchisement laws. According to The Sentencing Project, over 4.5 million Southerners are currently disenfranchised due to these laws.
The laws, which have origins in white-supremacist politics, disproportionately disenfranchise African Americans.
During Reconstruction, each ex-Confederate state was required to hold a constitutional convention and write a new state constitution. They were expected to eliminate Black Codes -- statutes enacted after the Civil War that restricted the rights and civil liberties of Black residents -- and extend the franchise to newly emancipated slaves.
But when Florida held its convention in 1868, it included a provision barring anyone with a criminal conviction from voting. This was done for the specific purpose of disenfranchising as many emancipated slaves as possible, according to Ari Berman in his book on voting rights, "Give Us the Ballot."
"During slavery, blacks were far more likely to be arrested than whites, for crimes such as looking at a white woman," writes Berman. With emancipated Black people already criminalized at higher rates than white people, disenfranchising people with felony convictions was the next step toward suppressing the Black vote.
The Reconstruction-era provision has persisted through the various revisions of Florida's constitution into the present day. And Florida wasn't alone: After the Civil War, every Southern state had a law or constitutional provision in place barring citizens with felony convictions from voting. Some prohibited people convicted of specific crimes from voting. Others implemented blanket bans on those convicted of felonies.
In Alabama and Virginia, the provisions were inserted as part of turn-of-the-20th-century constitutional conventions that rewrote Reconstruction-era constitutions to cement the political rule of the white-supremacist Democratic Party. The purpose of Alabama's new constitution was, as the president of the convention put it, "to establish white supremacy in this state." One of the Virginia delegates said that his aim was to "disenfranchise every negro that I could disenfranchise under the Constitution of the United States."
While the Voting Rights Act of 1965 put an end to poll taxes and literacy tests, it left felony disfranchisement laws untouched. Today, their severity varies significantly by state.
Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia still permanently disenfranchise all citizens with felony convictions even after they have served their sentences. Some states -- Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi -- allow people with certain felony convictions to vote after they have served their sentences but permanently disenfranchise people with other convictions.
And though the white-supremacist origins of felony disenfranchisement laws may have been largely forgotten, their racially disparate effects have persisted.
Of the 6.1 million people nationwide currently disenfranchised because of felony convictions, 4.5 million or 74 percent live in the South. And nearly 1.8 million, or 39 percent, of those are Black -- almost 8 percent of the South's total Black population.
But Meade of FRRC points out that felony disenfranchisement is not just an African-American issue. "The reality is that you have three times as many people who are not African-American who are directly impacted," he said. "So while it disproportionately impacts the African-American community, we don't lose sight of the fact that this policy has managed to transcend racial lines."
Groups across the South have been fighting felony disenfranchisement laws for decades and are making progress in some states. In Alabama, where the constitution bars voting by people convicted of "crimes of moral turpitude," that ambiguous phrase was defined earlier this year after pressure by the Campaign Legal Center and other groups, potentially restoring voting rights to thousands of people. And in Virginia, where state law permanently disenfranchises people with felony convictions unless the governor intervenes, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has used the power of his office to personally re-enfranchise 156,000 people.
But in other states the movement has experienced setbacks. In 2014, for example, former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, issued an executive order that would have restored voting rights to most people convicted of felonies after they had completed their sentences. It was immediately revoked by his Republican successor, Matt Bevin.
"The fight's gotten more difficult," said Shelton McElroy with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, a statewide grassroots organization that has been organizing around the issue. "Our House is red, our governor is red."
Still, Meade of FRRC is optimistic about the chances for success in Florida. He attributes the broad support he sees among the public across racial and partisan lines to the grassroots campaign's appeal to American ideals. "At the end of the day we're talking about an issue that really is based on fairness," he said. "All Americans should be able to participate in the democratic process."
High-ranking Chicago officials cruelly mocked black victims of gun violence in shockingly racist emails Noor Al-Sibai 17 JUL 2017 AT 16:24 ET
The investigation turned up offensive emails written by three high-ranking officials of the city’s water department. According to DNA Info, Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson released the emails Monday — and the findings were shocking.
Among the emails were multiple racist references to watermelons, an age-old stereotype about African Americans, as well as an image that depicted a Ku Klux Klan robe in a watermelon patch with a sign that read “watermelon protection.” The emails also include anti-Muslim sentiments and “derogatory and threatening statements” from a water department chemist to ex-employees — two of whom filed complaints for harassment.
One email offered employees “Chicago Safari Tickets” and included an image of white people taking pictures of black individuals. “We guarantee that you will see at least one kill and five crime scenes per three day tour. You’ll also see lots and lots of animals in their natural habitat. Call and book your Chicago Safari today,” the email said.
In Inspector General Ferguson’s report, he called the emails from the chemist’s emails “particularly egregious” because the still-anonymous chemist had a “long and documented history of harassing other employees.” Read more at: OIG 2nd Quarter 2017 Report 1 by Heather Cherone on Scribd
In Post-Recession America Why Is Homeownership Still Elusive to Blacks
By Nadra Nittle - July 16, 2017 Atlanta Black Star
Having spent much of her adulthood in Section 8 housing, Natasha Jones never imagined that she’d one day become a homeowner. But in March, the 32-year-old closed on a three-bedroom house in Jacksonville, Florida. It took months of repairing her credit and the help of affordable housing advocacy groups to achieve her goal.
“I have kids, and I didn’t want to raise them in government housing,” Jones said. “I wanted something I could call my own.”
The majority of African-Americans believe homeownership is part of the American dream, according to affordable housing group NeighborWorks America. But the wealth gap between blacks and whites, soaring home costs, fewer available homes and the lingering effects of the Great Recession make homeownership an out-of-reach dream for many Black people. Despite the odds, Jones made it happen. The mother of three makes a modest income working in a facility that serves people with intellectual disabilities but set out to become a homeowner after tiring of telling her children she needed permission from the landlord just to decorate their rooms how they liked. So last fall, Jones pulled her credit report and worked to clean up any blemishes. By January, she had paid off the outstanding debts that lowered her FICO score. And with the help of NeighborWorks, Jones secured funding for a down payment.
The majority of African-Americans believe homeownership is part of the American dream, according to affordable housing group NeighborWorks America. But the wealth gap between blacks and whites, soaring home costs, fewer available homes and the lingering effects of the Great Recession make homeownership an out-of-reach dream for many Black people.
Despite the odds, Jones made it happen. The mother of three makes a modest income working in a facility that serves people with intellectual disabilities but set out to become a homeowner after tiring of telling her children she needed permission from the landlord just to decorate their rooms how they liked. So last fall, Jones pulled her credit report and worked to clean up any blemishes. By January, she had paid off the outstanding debts that lowered her FICO score. And with the help of NeighborWorks, Jones secured funding for a down payment.
Although Blacks place a high premium on homeownership, they are finding themselves pushed out of their homes from coast to coast in places such as Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco Bay Area. A new report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies found that blacks are 30 percent more likely not to own their homes compared to whites. As the nation continues to rebound from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the number of whites, Hispanics and Asian-Americans buying homes is on the rise, but Blacks are taking longer to recover from the economic downturn that wreaked havoc on both the labor and housing markets. The Joint Center for Housing Studies found that the home ownership disparity between Blacks and whites is at a 70-year record high. When the housing market was booming in 2004, almost half of Blacks and 75 percent of whites owned homes. Fast forward 12 years, and the Black home ownership rate has slipped to 42.2 percent while the white home ownership rate is 71.9 percent. Yul Dorn of San Francisco is among those African-Americans who’ve lost homes in post-Recession America. After their house was foreclosed upon, Dorn and his wife were forced from their home and ended up living in a motel, which the federal government considers to be a form of homelessness.
“The person who bought the house, we lost all of our memories,” Dorn, a pastor, told the Associated Press. “He put the furniture out on the street, and it was just devastating to my family.”
Contacted via email by Atlanta Black Star, Dorn said he didn’t want to relive this difficult ordeal. “My family is in crisis, and I can tell you that there is NO affordable housing in San Francisco, for people of color, and the out-migration is in full effect.”
Blacks in California and the Midwest are least likely to own homes, according to an Associated Press analysis of U.S. Census Bureau statistics. On the other hand, in the South, where Natasha Jones became a first-time homebuyer, Black homeownership is the highest. This is likely because homes in the South on average cost less than they do in a Western state like California, where people of all ethnic backgrounds struggle to find even affordable rental units, let alone buy homes.
In Washington D.C., where an infusion of wealthy newcomers is pushing rents and housing costs up, Blacks are struggling as well. A recent Washington Post poll found that one in five D.C. residents say lack of affordable housing is a problem, and 78 percent of newer residents with annual incomes of at least $150,000 say high-income transplants have created a housing shortage. While 90 percent of D.C. whites believe they’ve benefited from redevelopment in the city, just about half of D.C. Blacks say they agree. Moreover, 47 percent of African Americans fear that homelessness in the District is getting worse. Alanna McCargo, co-director of the the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center, told the Associated Press that the housing market has long been challenging for African-Americans.
“It has always been historically and systemically harder for Blacks, and we were seeing there a little bit of progress, and now we’re back at square one,” she said.
Rising Number of Discrimination Lawsuits Highlights the Lack of Diversity In the Media By Nadra Nittle - July 10, 2017
From Atlanta Black Star: Before and after he entered the White House, President Donald Trump has vilified the media, branding news agencies that report unfavorably on him “fake news.” His unrelenting attacks on journalism have led politicians, public figures and news reporters themselves to champion the benefits of a free press. But there’s one area in which the mainstream media deserves a heavy dose of criticism—their deplorable record on race, age and gender.
Since just last year, a number of major news organizations have been hit with discrimination suits. CNN is now the subject of racial discrimination suit, first filed in December, accusing managers of giving Black employees lower performance evaluations, lower pay and using racial slurs, among other misdeeds. More than 175 employees have reportedly expressed similar complaints about their experience at the network, and the total number of people involved in the class action suit is expected to expand. Also, in March, a dozen Fox News employees sued the network for “racial discrimination and creating an abusive work environment.” But cable news networks aren’t the sole targets of these racial bias suits. Both The New York Times and the Associated Press have recently faced similar charges. Two Black female Times employees last year sued the paper for age, race and gender discrimination, arguing the paper favors young white employees without families. A Black female editor at the Associated Press made almost identical allegations about that news organization in a lawsuit filed filed in 2016 as well.
These lawsuits are particularly alarming because people of color remain woefully underrepresented in newsrooms. According to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, journalists of color made up just 17 percent of employees at the 737 news agencies that responded to its 2016 survey on newsroom diversity. A lack of diversity combined with toxic work environments for the journalists of color who have broken into the industry may very well dissuade young Black and brown reporters from pursuing a career in the news, keeping the industry and its perspective overwhelmingly white.
A lack of diversity in newsrooms, especially in managerial roles, likely contributes to the fact that Black girls don’t receive nearly as much news coverage as white girls do when they go missing. In many cases, missing Black girls receive no coverage at all. Mostly white reporting staffs also play a factor in how news outlets cover crime stories involving people of color. When young Black and brown people get killed, reporters tend to make a point of stating whether these individuals were gang members. They don’t typically comment on whether white crime victims may have gang ties. By commenting in the former situation and not the latter, the media insinuates that when Black or brown men die they must have done something to deserve it.
And in the age of Black Lives Matter, a number of news agencies have faced criticism for their depiction of police killing victims. It’s common for news organizations to bring up the criminal histories of victims, even if their record did not factor into why police apprehended these individuals, brutalized or killed them. The media has also faced criticism for using old mugshots of Black victims of police violence rather than a family photo or picture posted on a social media network. When white Stanford University student Brock Turner made headlines for sexually assaulting an unconscious classmate, outraged social media users urged the media to use his mugshot in their reports about the case rather than smiling portraits of him in a suit. That’s because convicts of color aren’t presented in the same way in the media.
Arguably the top way the mainstream media has failed the public this year is by perpetuating the idea that Trump voters deserve the nation’s sympathy. Trump supporters feel alienated and economically anxious, newspapers such as The New York Times have reported as recently as last week. But such stories overlook the racial gap between whites and people of color, that whites of all class backgrounds backed Trump and the research suggests that racial animus, not the economy, led voters to back the current president. It’s not only unlikely that a racially diverse news staff would run a series of stories sympathetic to Trump voters but that such a staff would have given Trump as much attention as he received in the press leading up to the election. Without the enormous amount of free press Trump received, it’s unclear that he’d be in the White House today. But white news executives such as Les Moonves of CBS found Trump’s presidential campaign entertaining and good for ratings. Meanwhile people of color in and outside of journalism found much of Trump’s rhetoric terrifying, not amusing.
Collectively, the rash of lawsuits filed against the nation’s top news organizations aren’t just troubling because they may drive budding journalists of color away from the industry. They’re troubling because they reveal the journalism industry, which prides itself on objectivity and exposing wrongdoing, to be hypocritical. The fact that so-called liberal news agencies have been sued for racial discrimination along with Fox News shows that there’s not much of an ideological divide between these news organizations. They’re all historically male and white and have perpetuated the status quo by not hiring journalists of color or creating hostile work environments for them when they do. Whether you label a corporate media outlet liberal or conservative doesn’t matter. What does is how these news agencies perpetuate racial bias in both society and in the workplace.
While Black Boys Are Fast-Tracked to Prison, the Pipeline to the Classroom Remains Blocked for Black Male Teachers By Gus T. Renegade - July 3, 2017
From Atlanta Black Star: A Black male teacher in the New York City public school system joined a recent Q&A with Black male studies scholar Dr. Tommy Curry. The NYC educator described seeing “Black teachers, especially Black male teachers, mistreated and often pushed by suspected racists to act out in anger or to a point in which we are overwhelmed and resign.”
Seeking counsel from Curry, the NYC educator gave a dire summation: “After years of teaching and seeing Black male teachers mistreated and forced to resign or be fired, I often wonder if I should choose another profession or when [not “if”] the time will come when I [become] the primary target.”
Curry sympathized with and encouraged the fellow Black educator but offered no gimmick remedies or hopeful rhetoric. Brandishing a Ph.D. Curry holds full tenure at the University of Texas A&M but says his accomplishments have “afforded me no respect from my white colleagues.” His new book, “The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood,” corroborates and dissects the New York teacher’s observations.
“There’s a reason that there’s a shortage of Black male teachers, and it’s not because we’re not capable,” Curry said. “It’s because the kind of racism and the kind of dehumanization we experience … is so overwhelming, it almost paralyzes our will.”
During the 2014-2015 school year, nonwhite children outnumbered white children for the first time in public school history. But with an unprecedented demand for teachers that reflect the students they’ll be charged to educate, the pipeline to the classroom is blocked for Black male teachers.
According to a 2016 Department of Education report, Black males represent 2 percent of the United States’ teaching workforce. Radio personality Evan Dawson helped make it plain: “You’d have to stop by more than 50 classrooms in this country before you found one Black male teacher.”
Dr. Travis Bristol, aformer New York City high school teacher and current research and policy fellow at Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, told Boston, Mass.’s WBUR Radio that, “The experiences of Black males teachers really represent a microcosm of what’s happening to Black teachers in urban United States.” He cited Chicago, New Orleans and Washington, D.C., as cities where Black educators have vanished over the past 15 years. Bristol, who is Black, emphasized that the loss of Black male teachers is especially damaging because of their already-paltry numbers.
In the essay “Black male teachers: There aren’t enough of them,” Bristol details the routine violation and despair faced by Black male teachers like Dante Smith. A former high school teacher, Smith observed Black students treated like murderous convicts skilled at concealing contraband. He said an administrator doubted that he’d collected all the students’ cell phones even after Smith showed him the confiscated mobiles. “Believing that he had not collected enough phones, the administrator interrupted the exam to stop and frisk the students for cellphones,” Bristol writes. Smith resigned the next year.
Mirroring the shabby treatment reported by Curry and Smith, Bristol’s 2015 research examines how countless Black teachers experience tremendous “frustration sitting in on department meetings and having [their] comments about how to address the social, emotional and academic challenges facing students of color discounted by white colleagues on the faculty.” Being predictably ignored, many Black male teachers conclude their fellow white teachers do “not see them as intellectual peers.”
This also helps explain why Dante Smith and many other Black educators seek a new line of employment. Malignant neglect from white colleagues is a widespread impairment for Black people in every field of employment. But for Black teachers, a unique job stress is being forced to view the devastation of Black children as an impotent witness. Speaking anonymously, the NYC teacher who questioned Curry explained the most excruciating aspect of his profession: “Watching the attack of Black boys and Black girls from white teachers and administration and being powerless to do anything about it, other than attempting to heal wounds that I couldn’t prevent.”
Having a front-of-the-class view of the criminalization and miseducation of Black boys and girls erodes many Black educators’ love for and reason for teaching.
Bristol made similar observations while studying a collection of Black male teachers in Boston during the 2013-2014 school year. A Northern city infamous for violent white opposition to the busing of Black students in the 1970s, Boston is subject to a 1985 court order to have 25 percent of public school teachers be Black. Bristol noted a glaring pattern where Boston’s Black male teachers “were concentrated in the most challenging schools.” Seeing classrooms brimming with Black children attending schools designed to under nourish and fast-track Black boys to prison sabotages the most talented of instructors.
While he was visiting WBUR, Bristol had a statement pledging Boston Public Schools’ commitment to Black and nonwhite pupils read to him. “If you look at overall student achievement, the group that is most at risk tends to be Black males. This is the demographic that tends to have the lowest academic growth and lowest overall graduation rate. We can do more to support these students and their families,” BPS officials wrote.
Bristol dismissed their remarks as worthless gab, noting that, in Boston, “Over the past four years, the percentage of Black male teachers continues to fall.” Authentic concern for Black students should be reflected in vigorous commitment to hiring, retaining and valuing Black educators. As opposed to feeling welcome, Bristol explained that Boston’s “Black male teachers, specifically, are more likely to have negative evaluations.” Being placed in the most demanding teaching environments and simultaneously subjected to the harshest scrutiny guarantees that Black male teachers will continue to have one the highest turnover rates of any educators.
Stephan Blanford is the school board director in Seattle, Wash., and the lone Black on a 7-member school board. He told KUOW radio being director of the school board has been the experience of his life. However, “As an African-American man, it’s been hugely frustrating.” While using his position to promote academic excellence for all Seattle students, with particular concern for nonwhite children and racial disparities in education, Blanford confessed “racial microaggressions” and “unrealistic expectations of what I could do” are just two of the variables that have made it “pretty hard to be a Black man.”
Like prison, the classrooms are designed to be “hard” time for Black students and Black educators.
Study: Black girls viewed as less innocent than white girls Ryanne Persinger Tribune Staff Writer Jul 1, 2017
From Philly Tribune: Black girls need less nurturing, comfort, they know more about sex and adult topics, and need less protection than their white counterparts, according to a study released last week by the Georgetown University Law Center on Poverty and Inequality.
The study, “Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood,” surveyed adults from different racial, educational and diverse backgrounds across the United States, by examining perceptions that were found in girls from childhood (5-9), early adolescence (10-14) and in teenagers ages 15-19. Seventy-four percent of those sampled were white, and 62 percent were women.
Cheryl Ann Wadlington, executive director of Evoluer House, a Philadelphia non-profit that empowers girls of color ages 13-18 to envision a future devoid of disadvantages and filled with possibilities, said the adults in the report need to be informed if they think Black girls don’t need help.
“Our girls need help and all the data that is out there states that,” she said. “They have been in crises. Everything you can think of is happening to our Black girls and no one is speaking out about it. Our girls are not OK.”
Rebecca Epstein, the executive director for the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, Jamila J. Blake, an associate professor at Texas A&M University and Thalia Gonzalez, an associate professor at Occidental College in California, are authors of the study.
They suggest the biases of Black girls needing less may be the connected to stricter punishment for minor infractions such as dress code violations, disobedience and disruptive behaviors. The perceptions may also lead to fewer mentorship and leadership roles for Black girls in schools.
African American girls are five times more likely to be suspended compared to white girls, noted the report, which sheds a possible connection to the negative outcome in public systems from education to the juvenile justice system and in child welfare.
Additionally, the study found that Black girls are more independent than white girls, need less support, are three times more likely to be referred to the juvenile justice system, are 20 percent more likely to be charged with a crime and to be detained; and are less likely to benefit from prosecutor’s discretion.
And while Black girls make up under 16 percent of the female school population, they account for 28 percent of referrals to law enforcement and 37 percent of arrests.
“What we found is that adults see Black girls as less innocent and less in need of protection as white girls of the same age,” said Epstein in a news release. “This new evidence of what we call the ‘adultification’ of Black girls may help explain why Black girls in America are disciplined much more often and more severely than white girls — across our schools and in our juvenile justice system.”
Gonzalez noted how people made these perceptions in children as young as age 5, when most are entering kindergarten.
“This is when kids are developing and we should be giving all kids that same nurturing and support,” Gonzalez told The Tribune by phone. “These perceptions and attitudes are impacting Black girls. If you look at the study it’s as early as 5 and it increases over time and follows them in high school at age 19. It’s really just quit shocking.”
Advocates said images of young Black women being handcuffed from schools to suggesting that some are prostituting when they may be sex trafficked — all adds to racial trauma that has been going on for years.
“These findings show that pervasive stereotypes of Black women as hypersexualized and combative are reaching into our schools and playgrounds and helping rob girls of the protections other children enjoy,” said Blake in a news statement. “We urge legislators, advocate and policymakers to examine the disparities that exist for Black girls in the education and juvenile justice systems and to pursue reforms that preserve childhood for all.”
The authors hope it will bring about some changes and urges advocates, lawmakers and policymakers to look at the disparities.
“For us, it’s really about making sure that the message is out there,” Gonzalez said.
Wadlington said in the past no one has really shined a light on the challenges Black girls have been facing, including those in the Philadelphia region.
“Historically their issues have been neglected,” she added. “This is a deep dark conversation that nobody wants to hear and have.”
Major Standford Study Finds Black Motorist Are Stopped, Ticketed, Searched, Arrested More Than Any Other Race By Frederick Reese - July 2, 2017
From Atlanta Black Star: ...Starting in 2015, the Stanford Computational Journalism Lab and the Stanford School of Engineering collected and analyzed traffic stop data from 31 states in an attempt to discover bias patterns to the way the police conduct stops based on reasonable suspicion, a term used to indicate the police don’t have enough evidence to arrest an individual but have enough information to inquire and ask questions. The result of this, an analysis of the patrol stops of 20 states, found that there are significant racial disparities. While some of these disparities can be explained away through mitigating circumstances, such as extensive police presence in Black neighborhoods and differences in driving patterns, evidence was found that bias was a major factor. “Implicit bias certainly plays a role in policing and disparate outcomes based on race, but it is not the only cause. Law, policy and practice play a significant role in the negative outcomes on communities of color,” said Glenn Harris, president of Race Forward: the Center for Racial Justice Innovation.“In order to guard against implicit bias, we first have to first accept that it exists.”
The Stanford Open Policing ProjectOn a typical day, more than 50,000 drivers are pulled over by the police in this nation. Road safety constitutes the largest portion of police functions in the modern day; it is more likely you will interact with a police officer while you are behind your steering wheel than in any other scenario.
This is why cases like Castile and Sandra Bland, whose death (which was ruled a suicide) after being locked up in a Texas county jail cell for three days was triggered in part by a pullover for allegedly failing to signal a lane change and dubious claims of assaulting a police officer continue to be troubling. For African-Americans, there is the very real threat that a police stop may escalate into something more than a ticket.
“The reasons behind the discrepancies [in police stop and traffic-related arrest rates between African-American and white drivers] can be a combination of personal or individual bias [conscious or unconscious/implicit] on the part of individual officers and/or institutional racism or bias that manifests itself in traffic stops, tickets, arrests,” Ronnie Dunn, associate professor of urban studies at Cleveland State University, said. “Under aggressive, proactive policing, the police often run the license plates of Blacks and Hispanics with the expectation [expectancy theory] that it will turn up a warrant or suggestion the driver is somehow otherwise legally encumbered, which then justifies a stop and further investigation for drugs, guns or some other type of contraband.”
Fueled by a growing rash of protests, a national conversation has sprung up about the nature of racial bias in policing. For example, many have been forced to consider if Castile and Bland’s cases would have played out differently if they were white. Without clear indications of racism, it is difficult to make claims of institutionalized racism. In New York City, under the administration of Michael Bloomberg, for example, high rates of stop and frisk of Black and Latino males were credited to a heightened police presence in predominately Black and Latino neighborhoods.
To address this, researchers at Stanford University filed record requests for traffic-stop data from state patrol officers in all 50 states. Of the 50, 31 replied with the requested information. Twenty states gave enough detailed information to make race-based analysis possible. Of the 19 that did not respond, the excuses given ranged from not collecting the data in electronic form to having state laws that prohibit the sharing of such data to no reply at all in some cases.
A review of the raw data indicated that officers stopped Black drivers at higher rates than white drivers, while Latinos are stopped at similar or lower rates to whites, regardless of age or gender. Once stopped, Blacks and Latinos are ticketed, searched and arrested more often than whites. Black drivers were 20 percent more likely to be ticketed instead of warned than white drivers, while Latino drivers were 30 percent more likely. Black and Latino drivers are twice as likely to be searched than white drivers.
The reality of police stops is that a police officer does not need much justification to pull you over, various Supreme Court decisions have found that suspicion is enough to perform a stop. In reality rationals can be applied after the search is completed. In other words, an officer is allowed to “look for a reason” to justify a stop after the stop is initiated.
This tends to lead to rationales being given that could not be seen from within the patrol car or that are generic, such as a drug search. “Officers often administer a ticket after conducting a pretextual stop to justify their actions,” Dunn said. “My research has shown that Blacks are more likely to be stopped/ticketed for non-moving violations, i.e., driving under suspension or seatbelt violations, both of which are hard to detect, than are whites, who are the majority of the speeders [which is more readily observable] in my study.”
This phenomenon is referred to as “driving while Black.” In many circumstances, the reason for being pulled over is being a Black driver, particularly in areas that are generally perceived to be “non-Black.” While this cannot be vocalized or acknowledged, the sole reason a Black driver was pulled over had nothing to do with his driving.
In a report released by Missouri’s State Attorney General’s office, Black drivers in Missouri were found to be 75 percent more likely than whites to be pulled over in 2016 – the highest level in 17 years. In Ferguson, where Michael Brown was killed by a white officer in 2014, a Black driver was 73 times more likely to be stopped by a police officer than a white driver, in proportion to the state’s racial breakdown. This is fueled by what a 2015 U.S. Department of Justice report called a profit-driven municipal court system that targeted Black drivers and institutionalized racial bias. A quarter of Ferguson’s municipal budget is drawn from traffic fines.
While racism and implicit bias do exist in policing today, what is more likely in most cases is institutionalized racism, or the use of policy to intentionally or coincidentally disadvantage and penalize a race. If a police department emphasizes the number of traffic tickets given out per month, allocates additional personnel to “problematic” nonwhite neighborhoods and trains their officers to pay additional attention to Black and Latino drivers, then the end result would have to be the perception of officer bias. In reality, the racism in place is top-down, destroying the community trust that is essential to policing for financial or ideological gains.
The Nature of Institutionalized RacismFinding viable solutions to solve the policing bias problem may be a challenge. The reasons for that are:
Most people have implicit bias in some form;
To resolve implicit bias, you must make it explicit or recognizable. This is something most people are either unable or unwilling to do, as it is admitting that you have the bias in the first place; and
Implicit biases have been weaponized as a means to gain or retain power in this country since its formation. There are those who are well-served by denying such biases exist and exploiting them covertly.
An example of this was seen in the 2016 presidential election. During a speech, the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, called Donald Trump’s core supporters “a basket of deplorables.” She was referring to the fact that many of Trump’s supporters were explicitly biased, including known white supremacists and members of the Extreme Right. She was hoping that those among Trump’s supporters who may be mildly implicitly biased would be horrified by the extremes of others that follow him and back away.
Trump, who had and has cornerstones in his platforms that reflect extreme views on Muslims and Mexicans, among others, used Clinton’s clumsy language against her, claiming that Clinton just called all Republicans deplorable. At the same time, Trump regularly had rallies begin and end with the crowd chanting “Build that wall!” in reference to a proposed physical barrier along the whole of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Since the 1600s, where the notion of race was first introduced in Virginia to help break the working class’s land claims and quiet threats to the burgeoning plantation system, the notion of “them vs. us” has been used to great effect to justify a host of societal ills, ranging from slavery and the forced removal of Native Americans from ancestral lands to “white flight,” “redlining” and police aggression. In a sense, the biases that plague society today were specifically encouraged and nurtured — via media depictions, by legislation and government-public interactions, and by economic influence — by those who directly benefit from them.
“The Stanford study has revealed what many of us know: that racial profiling is rampant,” Sean J. Young, the legal director of ACLU Georgia, said. “It is our view that racial profiling is a silent nationwide cancer that continuously funnels people of color into the criminal justice system and is the result of 240 years of slavery and 90 years of legalized segregation. Racial profiling is blatantly unconstitutional; it is unconstitutional to target someone for arrest based solely on their race. It is also ineffective, as it breaks trust in the constituency the police is sworn to serve.”
Using the Muslim entry ban and the heightened push for deportations of Mexican undocumented immigrants as examples, Young points out that addressing racial profiling must first start with taking on the “them vs. us” myth head on.
“If you can get away with bullying someone perceived weaker, human nature has shown a propensity to do so,” he said. “The use of discriminatory laws, police bullying, economic funneling from Black neighborhoods to wealthy white ones … these are all tools of racial oppression and facets of the racial legacy we all inherited from slavery.
“Be it the police detaining suspected undocumented immigrants following a police stop to the blocking of Muslims at the border from entry, this is part of a continuous campaign of racial profiling of brown people. It is the demonization of a person solely on the basis of his skin color, and it’s not right.”
Moving ForwardIt is unclear what, if anything, can resolve the question of racial profiling with the police. While sensitivity and de-escalation training have been implemented to some success in many police departments, such as Dallas-Fort Worth, changing the attitude of the patrol officer will not help if the policies he must obey are still biased.
It may be on the people themselves to demand more from their police.
“Communities across the nation are challenging policy and practice of police departments,” Harris said. “Historically, the Department of Justice has played a critical role in holding police departments accountable with reform processes. With the new Administration, the ability and the will of the federal government to play that role are deeply in question.
“This is why it’s more important than ever that individual communities demand that their police departments take proactive steps to address implicit bias and institutional bias in policy and practice.” “The protest and demonstrations that evolved over the past several years in response to police shootings of Blacks has to translate into political power and be used to enact public policies to address these issues. Legislation is needed at the federal, state and local levels prohibiting racial profiling and requiring the collection of racial demographic data on all police initiated stops of citizens, not just those resulting from a traffic stop or ticket,” Dunn, associate professor of urban studies at Cleveland State University concluded.
Racist US Laws Provided Inspiration to the Nazis: An Interview With James Q. Whitman Friday, June 30, 2017 By C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout | Interview
"At the bus station in Durham, North Carolina." May 1940, (Photo: Jack Delano / Library of Congress)
At a time when white supremacist ideas are thriving in the United States, a recently published book by James Q. Whitman, professor of comparative and foreign law at Yale Law School, provides a chilling account of the way US race law provided inspiration for the Nazis, including Hitler himself, in the making of the Nuremberg Laws and their pursuit of a "perfect" racist order. In an exclusive interview for Truthout, Professor Whitman explains the connection between the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime -- the Nuremberg Laws -- and US race law.
C.J. Polychroniou: Professor Whitman, most scholars before you have insisted that there was no direct US influence on Nazi race law, yet Hitler's American Model argues something quite the opposite: that the Nazis not only did not regard the United States as an ideological enemy, but in fact modeled the Nuremberg Laws after US racist legislation. First, can you briefly point out some of the evidence for your thesis, and then explain why others have failed to see a direct connection?
James Q. Whitman: The evidence is pretty much in plain sight. Hitler himself described the United States in Mein Kampf as "the one state" that was making progress toward the creation of a racial order of the kind he hoped to establish in Germany. After the Nazis came to power, German lawyers regularly discussed American models -- not only the model of Jim Crow segregation, but also American immigration law, which targeted Asians and southern and Eastern Europeans; American law establishing second-class citizenship for groups like Filipinos; and American anti-miscegenation statutes. Some of the most dramatic evidence comes from a stenographic transcript of a planning meeting for the Nuremberg Laws in 1934. In the very opening minutes of that meeting, the Nazi minister of justice presented a memorandum on American law, and the participants engaged in detailed discussion of the laws of many American states.
As for why other scholars haven't seen the connections: One reason is that they have focused too much on the question of whether the Nazis were influenced by Jim Crow segregation. The answer, for the most part, is no -- though there were some Nazis, including some especially vicious ones, who did want to bring Jim Crow to Germany. Another reason is that America did not have law [specifically] persecuting Jews. That is true enough, but it did not prevent the Nazis from taking an interest, and sometimes a pretty enthusiastic interest, in the law that America did have. Maybe the biggest reason is that it just seems too awful to be true.
During the 1920s and 1930s, both US and Nazi Germany were keen on eugenics. Is this another example of the influence of American racist culture and legislation on the Nuremberg Laws?
It certainly is, and there's an excellent book by Stefan Kühl that tracks the history down. The Nazis frequently expressed admiration for American eugenics in the 1930s. Still, we have to be a bit cautious in talking about the eugenics connection. Eugenics was an international movement, and one that seemed fairly respectable at the time. Countries like Sweden had eugenics too. The race law of the United States and Nazi Germany was different. Some of it involved eugenics, but a lot of it involved nasty forms of legal degradation like second-class citizenship, and harsh criminal punishment for miscegenation. That kind of hard-edged race law was unusual: There were not many examples outside the US and Nazi Germany.
How did the Nazis work around the fact that US law was not always open about its racist goals? Isn't that a significant enough of a factor not to draw a strong parallelism between US's racist legislation in the Jim Crow era and Nazi efforts toward the creation of a "perfect" racist order?
Well, in some respects America was open about its racist goals. That's especially true of American anti-miscegenation law, which was explicit in naming the various races: not only Blacks and whites, but also Asians and Native Americans. There were anti-miscegenation laws in 30 of the American states, and the Nazis studied them carefully. Precisely because those statutes were open about their racist aims, it was American anti-miscegenation law that had the most direct influence on Nazi policy-makers. You are absolutely right, though, that other aspects of American law were different. The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments guarantee the equal rights of African Americans, at least on paper, which means that American racists had to use various legal subterfuges to achieve goals like suppressing Black voting rights. When it came to those aspects, the Nazis could not have borrowed directly from American statutes. That does not mean that American law did not matter: Even if its law was not "perfect," in Nazi eyes, the fact remained that the United States, the richest and most powerful country in the world, was manifestly a racist power. Inevitably that excited and emboldened Nazi lawyers. That said, we must not forget that there were the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. Thankfully, racism was not all there was to American law.
The Nazis also seemed, you argue in your book, to find the US "common law" approach to jurisprudence perfectly suitable to their own preferred version of a legal culture. Why was that so?
Yes, indeed. In one startling moment, one of the most frightening and brutal Nazi lawyers said that American jurisprudence "would suit us perfectly." What attracted radical Nazis was the open-ended and pragmatic style of American law-making. Traditional German lawmakers believed that the law had to be based on clear and scientifically defensible definitions. That presented problems when it came to the definitions of race. How were you supposed to know whether a person of, say, half-Jewish descent counted as a racial Jew? What was the scientific basis for making such a determination? American courts and legislatures were much less troubled about those sorts of problems. Sometimes they would cheerfully define anyone with one drop of Black blood as Black. Sometimes courts would simply eyeball the people before them, or base their judgment on rumors or public opinion. Radical Nazis, who wanted to implement the Nazi program without worrying about [precision], found that attractive -- though even for radical Nazis, American approaches like the "one-drop" rule seemed to go too far.
How would you describe the United States' place in the international history of racism?
Racism … [has] played a uniquely formative role in the making of the United States. At least there are few parallels among the other traditions I know … what makes America important in the international history of racism is no different from what makes America important in the history of corporate law, or many other areas. When Americans make law, they display a kind of unbridled, and sometimes terrifying, willingness to experiment. We see that terrifying willingness to experiment in contemporary American criminal justice.
A Bare Majority of White Voters Are the Only Ones Happy With Trump
by Kali Holloway | June 26, 2017 - 6:31am
From The Smirking Chimp: White Americans remain the only major demographic group in which the percentage of people who think Donald Trump is doing a good job outpaces the number who think he’s doing poorly. That finding comes from Pew Research Center, which polled more than 2,500 adults around the U.S. between June 8-18. While African Americans and Latinos overwhelmingly gave the president’s performance a thumbs-down, 50 percent of white respondents report feeling good about Trump’s presidency. Just 44 percent think that Trump deserves a poor performance review.
Contrast that with people of color who responded to the survey. A staggering 88 percent of black Americans say they disapprove of the Trump administration, while 72 percent of Hispanics are similarly dismayed with the president. That means 12 percent of African Americans and 28 percent of Hispanics believe Trump’s pros outweigh his cons, figures that seem extraordinarily high considering the evidence.
The findings of the Pew survey reveal that Trump’s historically low approval numbers have reached their current depths—just 39 percent of Americans overall applaud the job he's doing—because of voiced dissatisfaction from nonwhites. Despite signing no significant legislation since he took office, spending an extraordinary amount of time golfing, and mounting evidence that he and his team may have colluded with a hostile foreign power, white Americans haven’t yet hit a tipping point of majority outrage. Trump ran on a campaign of racism and xenophobia. Hate crimes against racial and religious minorities, including bias-motivated murders, have increased precipitously under this administration. A recent data analysis by Buzzfeed News found over “50 incidents, across 26 states, in which a K-12 student invoked Trump’s name or message in an apparent effort to harass a classmate during the past school year.” The president has been eerily silent about nearly all of these violent incidents, though he has taken to Twitter to complain to his 32 million followers (nearly half of which are fake accounts) about factual media coverage of his policies, as well as to promote television appearances by his surrogates.
White People Keep Finding New Ways to Segregate Schools
As schools across the country continue to become more segregated, a collection of towns is making the problem even worse. Edwin Rios Jun. 23, 2017 1:58 PM
From Mother Jones: For the pastfew years, residents in the city of Gardendale, Alabama, have been pushing to take over acounty high school, a middle school, and two elementary schools from the greater Jefferson County school system, one of several districts still bound by a federal desegregation order. Residents argue that they want local control. The city’s mayor went so far as to tellthe Washington Post that it was about “keeping our tax dollars here with our kids, rather than sharing them with kids all over Jefferson County.” Opponents of the plan, though, claim the move is mired in racial overtones and the pursuit of a divided system that benefits Gardendale’s families at the expense of others in the county. In April, a federal judge ruled that although the community’s efforts to separate from the countywide district were in fact racially motivated, Gardendale could start its own district of 2,134 students this fall with two elementary schools and could eventually purchase a $55 million high school from Jefferson County, as long as it established a court-approved desegregation plan within three years. That plan, though, is now on hold—both the case’s plaintiffs, who wanted to block the split, and Gardendale’s attorneys, who were upset the judge’s ruling gave them two schools instead of the desired four, opted to appeal the decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Gardendale is just one of many communities—often small, wealthier enclaves—which have attempted to secede from larger school districts across the country over the past 15 years, sparking a nationwide debate about modern segregation.
A report released this week by the education nonprofit EdBuild documents the reach of the movement. Since 2000, researchers find, there have been 71 attempts by communities to secede from larger school districts, and, so far, 47 communities have been successful. Another nine, from Malibu, California, to Daphne, Alabama, are currently considering breaking away. Yet another nine community’s plans have been defeated since 2000. “Wealthier communities can build a wall and take their money with them,” says Rebecca Sibilia, EdBuild’s founder and chief executive. “When they do that, it disproportionately affects the kids left behind.”
Parents and others who support splitting school districts say they want to have more direct control over how their children are educated and where the money to support them goes. But, as the report argues, these secessions could exacerbate racial and socioeconomic segregation, at a time when schools across the country continue to become more and more divided by race and class, and leave the remaining districts with less funding as a result of a fractured tax base.
And while Gardendale is unique in that it needs court approval to form its own district, thanks to the longstanding desegregation order governing Jefferson County, not all communities have the same limitations. Thirty states have laws on the books that permit communities to establish their own districts, and just nine of those states require those communities to assess financial impact. Only six of those states demand that communities take racial and socioeconomic factors into account when deciding to splinter.
“This is not just a story of neighbors divided in a self-interested society,” the report notes. “Rather, it could be better characterized as a story of a broken system of laws that fracture and of policies that have failed to protect the most vulnerable.”
Study confirms that states with higher populations of blacks have more restrictive welfare benefits
By Kelly Macias Monday Jun 12, 2017 · 2:21 PM PDT
From Daily Kos: Recent studies have been useful in confirming bias against black people at structural levels within society. Of course, this is not new—it just validates what blacks have been living and saying for time immemorial. And it’s not surprising, given our nation’s complex history of race relations and fear of the “other” (both real and perceived). But it does help to illuminate the fact that, despite some progress we’ve made, we have a long way to go toward achieving equality and eliminating racial disparities. One new study released this month highlights this gap, particularly with respect to social services. The result of the study’s findings: states with higher populations of black people are more likely to have less generous and more restrictive welfare benefits.
State welfare policies subject all families, regardless of their race, to the same rules.
But the majority of black people live in states with the lowest proportion of families receiving cash assistance. African Americans are at a practical disadvantage as a result of that population distribution, [Heather Hahn, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and co-author of the study said].
“The effects of these policies are not race neutral because we aren’t geographically dispersed evenly by race,” she said.
Individual states get to determine the amount of cash assistance that they provide to families in poverty. And each state has differing approaches and philosophies about how to support needy families. On the surface, this may seem as if its color-blind. But in America, where attitudes about poverty and the poor are most certainly informed by stereotypes about race, nothing could be further from the truth.
The racial differences stem from the fact that cash welfare, when it began in the 1800s as a local responsibility, was essentially limited to white widows, she said.
When the federal government took on the role of providing welfare in the 1960s, it established eligibility rules that opened up access to African American families living in poverty. [...]
“There’s a stereotype that the typical welfare recipient is African American, and the way people think about who is poor and why shapes their thoughts about policies used to address poverty,” Hahn said. “Policies are influenced by people’s racial attitudes.”
These racial attitudes about black people living in poverty may account for why states with higher populations of black people have such restrictive welfare policies.
Vermont has the most generous welfare benefits of all 50 states, with 78 out of every 100 families in poverty receiving cash assistance. In comparison, Louisiana, the least generous state, gives welfare cash assistance to only four out of every 100 poor families.
The disparity does not end there. Vermont offers a maximum monthly benefit of $640 to a family of three, and allows families earning up to $1,053 to qualify for cash assistance. Louisiana only offers a maximum cash benefit of just $240 a month, and families must make less than $360 a month to qualify.
As evidence, let’s look at the numbers. According to the 2014 Census, Vermont is 95.1 percent white and 0.5 percent black while Louisiana is 63 percent white and 32 percent black. It’s also worth noting that the poverty rate in Louisiana is over 19.6 percent, with nearly 1 in 5 residents living in poverty—so that’s a whole lot of needy families that the state is refusing to help. Texas is almost as bad as Louisiana. Texas is 61 percent white and 12 percent black. Only 5 out 100 poor families in Texas receive welfare benefits, the monthly maximum of which for a family of three is $277.
These may seem like coincidences but, sadly, they are not. This is what happens when racist attitudes and stereotypes make their way into policy. Yes, it is true that a greater number of blacks are poorer than whites. But that assessment is incomplete without the analysis of asking critical questions about why that is and examining the structures, past and present, that have contributed to that economic inequality.
Restricting access to assistance programs will only further harm black families in the long run. As it is, a study shows that it will take 228 years for the wealth gap between white and black America to close. And as Republicans look to overhaul (translation: cut) poverty programs, this racial divide will only increase in the future.
Report: Black women are working hard but ‘our country is not working for them’ By Vanessa Williams June 8 at 12:18 PM
From Washington Post: A new report about the nation’s black women paints a familiar portrait of a group that is working hard on many levels to achieve the American Dream but is still falling short.
Black women vote at high rates, have made significant improvement in earning college degrees and are succeeding in opening their own businesses, according to “The Status of Black Women in the United States.” Yet they continue to be underrepresented in elected office, earn less than white men and women and are twice as likely as white women to be incarcerated, the report says.
“They have all the makings of what should be success, yet their contributions are undervalued and under compensated,” states the report, released this week by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The report was prepared by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a nonprofit organization affiliated with George Washington University.
The report’s findings are similar to previous studies on the state of black women in the country, including a widely discussed 2014 paper by the Black Women’s Roundtable titled, “Black Women in the United States, Progress and Challenges.” It also noted that despite high participation in the workforce, educational institutions and the political process, black women are underpaid and underemployed, suffer at a higher rate from major illnesses and are vulnerable to violence at home and in their communities.
Both reports drew largely from data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Here are some of the key findings of the new report:
• More than 6 in 10 black women are in the workforce. But between 2004 and 2014, black women’s median annual earnings declined by 5 percent. As of 2014, black women who worked full-time and year-round had median annual earnings that were 64.6 percent of that of white men, $53,000.
• The number of businesses owned by black women increased 178 percent between 2002 and 2012, the largest increase among all racial groups. In 2012, black women owned 15.4 percent of all women-owned businesses in the United States. Yet nationwide, businesses owned by black women had the lowest average sales per firm, at $27,753.
• The share of black women with at least a bachelor’s degree increased by 23.9 percent between 2004 and 2014. About 22 percent of black women over age 25 had a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree in 2014, a higher level than black men, but lower than other racial and ethnic groups.
• Nearly a quarter of the nation’s black women, 24.6 percent, live in poverty, more than twice the percentage of white women — 10.8 percent — the group with the lowest poverty rate among U.S. women.
• Black women were twice as likely as white women to be imprisoned in 2014 — 109 per 100,000 black women in state and federal prisons vs. 53 per 100,000 white women.
The report calls on government and other institutions, including nonprofit think tanks and philanthropic groups, to develop policies that provide higher wages and paid leave, improve access to health-care services, combat racism and sexism throughout society and push for criminal justice reform, both to protect black women from violence and to reduce their numbers in prison.
The tech industry's problem with funding black women founders (it doesn't do it)
By Kelly Macias Tuesday May 30, 2017 · 4:31 PM PDT
From Daily Kos: Black women are used to being invisible. And yet, we continue to forge ahead in many sectors of industry across the country, despite being ignored and left behind by funders. One such industry is technology—which is missing a huge opportunity to capitalize on investing in black women. Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the country. According to the the 2011 U.S. Census Bureau, we are also the most educated people in the country, the highest percentage of any group enrolled in college and part of the largest and most engaged group of early tech adopters. All of this should make us an easy sell to venture capitalists looking to invest in startups run by black women. But investors simply don’t seem to be interested.
The fact that black women are educated and entrepreneurial yet so underfunded is a confluence of broadening thoughts of diversity, use of technology, and economic policy. The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 increased limits for tax write-offs for startups, such as the ability to deduct cell phone bills and depreciation, and health care costs. This was great news for black women, who tend to be younger when they found their companies, have more debt, and less access to capital. Black women have greater difficulty receiving funding from investors and creditors, and difficulty securing lending due to racial bias.
But tax write-offs don’t make up for the funding gap. When black women are funded, they get the short end of the stick, with the average raise round totaling just $36,000. Compare that figure to the composite of the average white male startup founder, who banks an average of $1.3 million in funding.
As usual, so much of this is about race and gender. White men are understood as the default experts for literally everything (there was even a recent political philosophy journal that published an issue about Black Lives Matter without a single black person’s perspective) so it’s hard for women, and especially black women, to be seen as credible in any field and, particularly, technology. Which is really so unfortunate because this lack of investment in diversity also means a lack of innovation and fresh ideas. And much of this comes down to networks. If a black woman doesn’t have access to networks to fund her idea, it doesn’t matter how great the idea is. Read More
Black Farmer Calls Out Liberal Racism In Powerful Facebook Message “It isn’t Richard Spencer calling the cops on me for farming while Black.”
By Zeba Blay
From Huff Post: A black farmer has the internet talking after posting a powerful message on social media about race relations in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Chris Newman, owner of the Sylvanaqua Farms in Albemarle County, shared his thoughts on a recent “Love Trumps Hate” counter-protest on Saturday. The rally was held in response to white supremacist Richard Spencer leading a protest against the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
“I’d like to appreciate [the Love Trumps Hate rally],” Newman wrote in a Facebook post published on May 17. “But frankly I just don’t.”
Newman went on to call out the subtle racism of his neighbors, who purport to be progressive and inclusive but have yet to acknowledge the fact that Charlottesville is, by his estimation, “the most aggressively segregated place” he’s ever lived in.
The farmer recounted that he’s been racially profiled and questioned by police several times after receiving “strange looks from a passerby.”
“It isn’t Richard Spencer calling the cops on me for farming while Black,” Newman wrote. “It’s nervous White women in yoga pants with ‘I’m with her’ and ‘Coexist’ stickers on their German SUVs.”
The farmer went on to suggest that residents of the town who are interested in racial progress should consider how to effect change in their own everyday lives.
“People are so busy going after that easy fix, going after that Confederate flag, that they’re not doing the hard thing, which is thinking, how did we get here, and how the hell do we dig out of institutional racism,” Newman wrote.
As of Wednesday, Newman’s post has received over 5,000 shares and hundreds of comments from people chiming in with their own thoughts on race in Charlottesville.
In an interview with CBS affiliate Newsplex on Wednesday, Newman said that the racial profiling he receives has gotten so bad that he has stopped doing food deliveries from his farm to wealthier neighborhoods in the area. He told the station that the fact he experiences racism on a day-to-day basis is the main reason he made the Facebook post.
“The thing that bothered me wasn’t so much the protests themselves, but the back-patting after it,” Newman said. “There’s a difference between confronting racists and confronting racism.”
Interracial Marriage Highest It's Ever Been in the U.S.
Newsweek Janice Williams
Fifty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled miscegenation laws--or laws preventing people of different races and ethnicities from getting married--unconstitutional. Decades later, interracial marriage is now the highest its ever been in the United States, up 14 percent compared to what it was in 1967 when the courts ruled in favor of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who were thrown in jail in Virginia for violating the state’s rules against multicultural love.
Only 3 percent of couples in the country had intermarried at the time of the ruling, but by 2015, 17 percent of newlyweds in the U.S. had a spouse from a different racial background, according to U.S. Census Bureau data reviewed by the Pew Research Center in a report released Wednesday. The increase is the highest it’s ever been, with interracial marriages of black people nearly tripling from 5 percent to 18 percent since 1980. White newlyweds with spouses of a different ethnicity have also increased, from 4 percent to 11 percent since 1980.
Interracial marriages aren’t just up for black and white love birds. About three-in-10, or 29 percent, of Asian newlyweds living in the U.S. entered an interracial marriage in 2015, according to the report. Of those marriages, 27 percent included spouses from Hispanic or Latino decent. As for American born Asians, 46 percent married someone from a different race in 2015 while 39 percent of American born Hispanics tied the knot with a person of a different ethnicity in 2015.
Personal views toward interracial relationships and marriage have changed even more dramatically in the U.S. A separate Pew survey recently found 39 percent of adults viewed intermarriage as a “good” thing for society, compared to just 24 percent who advocated for intermarriage in 2010.
Attitudes toward mixed marriages have shifted even more drastically when considering American views on the matter back in 1990, when 63 percent of non-black adults said they would be completely or somewhat opposed to a family member marrying a black person. In 2015, only 14 percent of non-black adults surveyed said they wouldn’t agree with a relative marrying a black person.
Following the Civil War, many states, particularly ones located in the South, still had regulations that made it illegal for a white person to marry anyone other than a white person. Virginia law also prohibited residents from traveling to other states to avoid miscegenation laws, which is exactly what Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Loving, a black and Native American woman, did when they exchanged vows in Washington in 1958.
When the couple was found out by the local sheriff of Central Point, Virginia, where they lived, they chose to move to the country’s capital and later had three children. It wasn’t until they returned to Virginia for a visit in 1967 that they were imprisoned for engaging in an interracial marriage.
Their case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled miscegenation laws violated the Constitution, most evidently the 14th Amendment. And on June 12, 1967, marriage across racial and ethnic lines was deemed federally legal in the U.S. Some states took longer than others to adapt to the ruling. Alabama was the last state to completely lift bans against interracial marriage in 2000.
Which Working Women? From Plantation to Public Sector By Sikivu Hutchinson
From LA Progressive: In the 1705 pro-slavery tract History and Present State of Virginia, planter Robert Beverley wrote that “Sufficient distinction is also made between servants and slaves: for a white woman is rarely put in the ground…and to discourage all planters from using women so. Their law imposes the heaviest taxes upon female-servants working in the ground…whereas it is a common thing to work a woman slave out of doors; nor does the law make any distinction in her taxes whether her work be abroad or at home.”
Beverley argued that the basic condition of black women was one of enslavement. White women indentured servants had temporary servant status (and never slave status) while black women’s bodies produced new slaves, provided the lifeblood for the capitalist plantation economy, and the moral justification for white supremacist sexual exploitation. As Beverley so brutally and vividly framed it, “Slaves are the Negroes and their posterity, following the condition of the Mother, according to the maxim, partus sequitur ventrem [status follows the womb]. They are call’d slaves, in respect of the time of their servitude, because it is for life.”
Centuries later, the insidious shadow of white supremacy’s slave breeder/Mammy/Jezebel trifecta continues to inform representations of black women’s work. From the shiftless lazy welfare queen to the amoral prostitute and the faceless caregiver who cleans up after hapless white folk, caricatures of black women’s work play a key role in propping up income and wealth inequality while reinforcing the myth of American free enterprise. As workers mobilize for May Day and beyond, Trumpist assaults on health care, reproductive justice, environmental protections, voting rights, public education, living wage jobs, unionization and collective bargaining have made the stakes for black women workers even higher.
Contrary to popular stereotypes, black women have the highest workforce participation among all women in the U.S.; at 59.2%, compared to 57% of women overall. Despite this reality, black women have the least wealth of any group in the nation. Fulltime black female wage earners make only 60 cents to the dollar of white men and “80% of white women’s weekly earnings”. Wealth—which represents total assets, such as savings, property and investments—is ultimately a far more important measure of economic wellness than income. And the persistent wealth gap between white and black women remains despite the fact that black women have the “highest growth rate of college enrollment” in the nation.
The intersection of racism, sexism, heterosexism and global capitalism drives black women’s “overrepresentation” in the workforce. Post-emancipation, Jim Crow and de facto segregationist suppression of black wages and institutionalized discrimination in employment, housing and education meant that the majority of black women could never stay home out of the paid workforce like many white women. Indeed, the epic resistance of black women civil rights freedom fighters was always connected to achieving self-determination and human rights in the very homes, buses, factories, train stations, schools, churches and plants where black women endured wage and sexual exploitation. Under these conditions, black households depended on two, three and sometimes four or more incomes to stay afloat.
With the post Cold War decline of unionized manufacturing jobs, black women’s wages plummeted even further. In the post-industrial age, disappearing public sector jobs with union protection have undermined black economic mobility as black women are more likely to be employed in the public sector than white women. (African American women have greater representation in public sector employment than both African American men and white women.) As the New York Times noted, “a combination of strong anti-government and anti-tax sentiment in some places has kept down public payrolls.” These factors, coupled with “attempts to curb collective bargaining”, have kneecapped unions.
The Institute for Women’s Policy and Research (IWPR) estimates that the gender wage gap for black women widened from 2004 to 2014: ‘Black women’s real median annual earnings for full-time, year-round work declined by 5.0 percent—more than three times as much as women’s earnings overall.’”
The through line between eighteenth century injunctions against “putting white women in the ground” and contemporary race/gender schisms in wealth and wages could not be clearer. As black communities and black women workers hang in the balance, a socialist redistribution of wealth should be at the center of anti-Trumpist racial and gender justice agendas.
It Was Cultural Anxiety That Drove White, Working-Class Voters to Trump A new study finds that fear of societal change, not economic pressure, motivated votes for the president among non-salaried workers without college degrees.
From The Atlantic: White Americans carried Donald Trump to the White House. He won college-educated white voters by a four-point margin over Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls. But his real victory was among members of the white working class: Twice as many of these voters cast their ballots for the president as for Clinton.
In the wake of Trump’s surprise win, some journalists, scholars, and political strategists argued that economic anxiety drove these Americans to Trump. But new analysis of post-election survey data conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic found something different: Evidence suggests financially troubled voters in the white working class actually preferred Clinton over Trump. Besides partisan affiliation, it was cultural anxiety—feeling like a stranger in America, supporting the deportation of immigrants, and hesitating about educational investment—that best predicted support for Trump.
This data adds to the public’s mosaic-like understanding of the 2016 election. It suggests Trump’s most powerful message, at least among some Americans, was about defending the country’s putative culture. Because this message seems to have resonated so deeply with voters, Trump’s policies, speeches, and eventual reelection may depend on their perception of how well he fulfills it.
In September and October 2016, PRRI and The Atlantic surveyed American voters about how they were feeling about politics. Researchers specifically focused on white, working-class voters—people without college degrees or salaried jobs. This group accounts for one-third of American adults. They make up a bigger share of the population in the Midwest than they do in any other region, and more than half of rural Americans are part of the white working class.
As it turned out, this would become one of the most decisive groups of voters in the election. In November, researchers returned to this group to see how its members had voted and get a sense of why. They found that 64 percent of these voters had chosen Trump, while only 32 percent chose Clinton. While white, non-college-educated voters tend to prefer Republicans, Trump won them by a larger margin than any presidential candidate since 1980, according to the Pew Research Center.
Partisan identification strongly predicted how white, working-class people would vote. Self-described Republicans were 11 times more likely than their non-Republican peers to choose Trump. Researchers found that partisanship is most pronounced among the young: Among white working-class Americans under 30, 57 percent identified as Republican or Republican-leaning, compared to 29 percent who identified as Democratic or Democratic-leaning. By comparison, only slightly more than half of seniors 65 and over were Republicans or Republican-leaning, compared to over one-third who were Democrats or Democratic-leaning.
It may not be surprising that Republicans vote Republican. But the analysis also isolated a handful of other factors that drove white working-class voters—ones that defy post-election tropes. Controlling for other demographic variables, three factors stood out as strong independent predictors of how white working-class people would vote. The first was anxiety about cultural change. Sixty-eight percent of white working-class voters said the American way of life needs to be protected from foreign influence. And nearly half agreed with the statement, “things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country.” Together, these variables were strong indictors of support for Trump: 79 percent of white working-class voters who had these anxieties chose Trump, while only 43 percent of white working-class voters who did not share one or both of these fears cast their vote the same way.
The second factor was immigration. Contrary to popular narratives, only a small portion—just 27 percent—of white working-class voters said they favor a policy of identifying and deporting immigrants who are in the country illegally. Among the people who did share this belief, Trump was wildly popular: 87 percent of them supported the president in the 2016 election.
Finally, 54 percent of white working-class Americans said investing in college education is a risky gamble, including 61 percent of white working-class men. White working-class voters who held this belief were almost twice as likely as their peers to support Trump. “The enduring narrative of the American dream is that if you study and get a college education and work hard, you can get ahead,” said Robert P. Jones, the CEO of PRRI. “The survey shows that many white working-class Americans, especially men, no longer see that path available to them. … It is this sense of economic fatalism, more than just economic hardship, that was the decisive factor in support for Trump among white working-class voters.”
While the analysis pointed to some interesting patterns around economic status, more research is needed to confirm them. The findings contrast with much of the coverage of the election: People who said their finances are only in fair or poor shape were nearly twice as likely to support Clinton compared to those who feel more economically secure.
Although demographic factors like gender, age, geographic region, and religion weren’t statistically significant predictors of who voted for Trump, some of the other information gathered in the survey offers a portrait of how white working-class Americans feel about their status in the world. Nearly two-thirds of the white working class say American culture has gotten worse since the 1950s. Sixty-eight percent say the U.S. is in danger of losing its identity, and 62 percent say America’s growing number of immigrants threaten the country’s culture. More than half say discrimination against whites has become just as problematic as discrimination against minorities.
This analysis provides only a surface look at the concerns and anxieties of America’s white working class. Polling is a notoriously clumsy instrument for understanding people’s lives, and provides only a sketch of who they are. But it’s useful for debunking myths and narratives—particularly the ubiquitous idea that economic anxiety drove white working-class voters to support Trump. When these voters hear messages from their president, they’re listening with ears attuned to cultural change and anxiety about America’s multicultural future. It would be a mistake to use this insight to create yet another caricature of the Trump voter. But perhaps it will complicate the stereotypes about destitute factory landscapes and poor folks who had nowhere to turn but right.
What’s wrong with white teachers?
Closing the performance gap between black and white teachers means talking about racism
by Andre Perry
From Hechinger Report: In recent years, an outburst of national studies and exposés has shown that black teachers produce better academic and behavioral outcomes for black students compared to their white counterparts. This has led to numerous articles calling for the recruitment of more black teachers and/or asking where all the black teachers have gone. But the flipside to those studies isn’t making as many headlines. What’s wrong with white teachers? How do we close the black-white teaching performance gap?
Extolling the need for more black teachers is not the same as demanding white teachers be less racist. Naming what’s wrong with white people’s teaching skills must begin with calling out racism. We certainly need more black teachers, but recruitment isn’t a solution for the racism students and teachers of color face everyday.
The research is overwhelming.
Black teachers on average are better for black students (and in some cases for white students too) and white teachers on average are worse for black students. Black primary-school students who are matched to a same-race teacher performed better on standardized tests and face more favorable teacher perceptions according to recent findings from the German economic research group Institute of Labor Economics. Some of the same researchers found in a separate study published by Johns Hopkins University that low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are significantly more likely to graduate from high school and consider attending college.
Is it because black teachers are better educators? Not necessarily, although research suggests that may be part of it. A study by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development found that students of color and white students viewed minority teachers more highly than white teachers. But one of the key reasons black students tend to perform better with black teachers has to do with expectations.
Black teachers are more likely to place high-achieving black students in programs for gifted students. Black teachers suspend and expel black students at lower rates. Singling out recruitment recuses our responsibilities to address the racism that afflicts white teachers and creates conditions that push black teachers out of the profession at an alarming rate. Trying to convince more black teachers to enter a profession they’re likely to abandon after a couple years is not even half a solution.
There’s much at stake for white teachers who represent more than 80 percent of the profession. Research shows that “African American students and white students with the same level of prior achievement make comparable academic progress when they are assigned to teachers of comparable effectiveness.” We need the majority of teachers of this country to improve their practice. An effective teacher must be defined as a teacher who is not racist and who acts on the high expectations she has for every child.
The unconscious bias, racial anxieties and stereotypes that contribute to the criminalization of black people, improper medical diagnoses and employment discrimination also lend themselves to lower expectations of black students and no-tolerance discipline policies in schools.
We can’t put the burden on fixing racist expectations on black teachers. Black teachers are tired of being typecast as disciplinarians. The research shows they are more effective, but expecting them to single-handedly combat the racism prevalent in schools is one of the reasons so many leave the profession early. For these reasons, others have rightly recommended changing the conditions that push teachers of color out the profession.
Focusing on black recruitment insidiously shields white educators from scrutiny and downplays how important it is to provide teachers an anti-racist education before and after they enter the profession. This transcends school type. Charter schools and regular schools alike are implicated in the problem. However, there’s a particular irony in the white reformers who descended upon cities like New Orleans, Newark and Philadelphia to close achievement gaps with an army of young white teachers. If they don’t take seriously the way racism undermines their efforts, they’re the ones who need to be disrupted, taken over and reformed.
Black educators have been focused on the problems associated with racism and bias for generations, but have not had reform systems built around their ideas. A recent offering came from Columbia Teachers College professor Christopher Emdin’s 2016 book “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … and the Rest of Y’all.” Emdin channels the work of University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Gloria Ladson-Billings, who, in her groundbreaking 1994 book “The Dreamkeepers: Successful teaching for African-American students,” coined the term culturally relevant teaching, which Ladson-Billings writes “empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes.”
There are many others who train white teachers to be less racist, including Sonia Nieto, professor emerita at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Travis J. Bristol, assistant professor at Boston University and Shaun Harper, professor at the University of Southern California.
But the outpouring of articles on recruiting black teachers has drowned out the scholars who aren’t afraid to name racism as the main reason black students aren’t as successful as they should be in school. Make no mistake: All students benefit from having black teachers. Black children just have the additional benefit of seeing themselves represented in positions of leadership and to learn from someone who isn’t just visiting their culture— if they even make the attempt.
Still, white teachers aren’t going anywhere, which means that black students need for white teachers to stop being racist as much as they need new, effective black teachers.
Whiteness can no longer be a hall pass.
The Black American Experience
Michael Eric Dyson:The problem is you do not want to know anything different from what you think you know. Your knowledge of black life, of the hardships we face, yes, those we sometimes create, those we most often endure, don’t concern you much. You think we have been handed everything because we have fought your selfish insistence that the world, all of it — all its resources, all its riches, all its bounty, all its grace — should be yours first, and foremost, and if there’s anything left, why then we can have some, but only if we ask politely and behave gratefully.
So you demand the Supreme Court give you back what was taken from you: more space in college classrooms that you dominate; better access to jobs in fire departments and police forces that you control. All the while your resentment builds, and your slow hate gathers steam. Your whiteness has become a burden too heavy for you to carry, so you outsource it to a vile political figure who amplifies your most detestable private thoughts.
Whiteness is blindness. It is the wish not to see what it will not know.
If you do not know us, you also refuse to hear us because you do not believe what we say. You have decided that enough is enough. If the cops must kill us for no good reason, then so be it because most of us are guilty anyway. If the black person that they kill turns out to be innocent, it is an acceptable death, a sacrificial one. ----------------------------------------------------------
Democratic underground Bill Russell on keeping his hands up during a traffic stop.