links for 2011-01-10

  • "Economists Kerwin Charles, Erik Hurst, and Nikolai Roussanov have taken up this rather sensitive question in a recent unpublished study, "Conspicuous Consumption and Race." Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey for 1986-2002, they find that blacks and Hispanics indeed spend more than whites with comparable incomes on what the authors classify as "visible goods" (clothes, cars, and jewelry). A lot more, in fact—up to an additional 30 percent. The authors provide evidence, however, that this is not because of some inherent weakness on the part of blacks and Hispanics. The disparity, they suggest, is related to the way that all people—black, Hispanic, and white—strive for social status within their respective communities."
  • "Last year, I gathered with some two hundred other Korean Americans for a church wedding. I was perhaps one of three women who arrived without a date and one of two atheists in the entire crowd. The couple to be wed was, of course, Korean American: the groom, a youth pastor I knew from college; the bride, a bubbly woman he had met at church in California. As I lined up to tender my gift and find my seat in the pews, I already felt the chill of alienation."
  • "NPR is not liberal, but it is elitist in some ways, including the Washington centric perspective still evident in some of the coverage. When NPR gets out of the box and hits the road, it is really phenomenal. I found it distressing that News and Notes was stripped of its field reporting budget. More distressing was an incident where News and Notes initiated a grant to NPR from a major foundation, and then the show was cut out of the use of the funds in a blatantly disrespectful way. When I brought that up to management, I was essentially told that the sky was not blue… i.e., that we did not bring in the money… and of course, that we should not complain that although the funder specifically wanted us to use the money for reporting on immigration, that our show could not use any of it."
  • "Nickelodeon, along with Sesame Street workshop which produces “Sesame Street,” has been at the forefront of diverse and responsible storytelling on television. Nickelodeon’s first original live action television series “Hey Dude” included Joe Torres as Danny Lightfoot, a Hopi Indian who was cast after auditioning in Tucson for the role. When the show premiered in 1989 there were no other representation of young American Indians. Even today, twenty-two years after “Hey Dude” premiered there are only a handful of American Indians on television."
  • "[P]eople make pseudo-scientific claims so often that I don't have the energy to get worked up about every one. There was an American Christian minister that said abortions caused the oil leak in the Gulf, a Russian businessman who was firing workers who were living with their partner before marriage because he thought it caused wildfires, a ministry in Samoa that said gays were to blame for climate change. … It's all equally silly. Unfortunately I think one reason why Boobquake was popular was because it happened to poke fun at a Muslim in the Middle East — I wish people realized just as many ridiculous things are said right here, and from their own religious beliefs."