links for 2011-07-21

  • "“Aarakshan” – a word that in Hindi means reservation, or quota – is the first major Bollywood film to take on the bitterly opposed move to expand India’s existing affirmative action program. Mr. Jha said he wanted to point out inconsistencies even in the attitudes of people who might think of themselves as having moved beyond the issue of caste. As in the U.S., with racial affirmative action, many Indians couch opposition to 'reservations' in terms of merit–with Indian students echoing white applicants to colleges who complain of being passed over for minority applicants they see as less deserving for having poorer grades.

    "Mr. Jha said he hears people say things like, ‘Would you go to a doctor who has come on a reserved quota?’”

  • "'For communities of color around the country, a 'lagging collapse' may be ahead, said Alan Mallach, a nationally known housing expert who has done extensive on-the-ground research into the foreclosure crisis. Prince George’s county is a case in point. The nation’s wealthiest majority-black county, it has been devastated by the foreclosure crisis. Heavily targeted by subprime lenders in the boom years, the county is now staggering under the weight of abandoned homes and plummeting prices. The county received more than 7,100 notices of intent to foreclose in March.

    “'I think it’s grim. And it’s going to be grim for a while. I’m not sure we’re anywhere near the aftermath yet. We’re still in the middle of the storm,' said Mallach."

  • "This may come as a shock, but people who hail from big cities can be just as provincial and ignorant of other cultures as their counterparts in minor metropolises and tiny burgs. Most people I have encountered in small cities are aware of their homes' limitations. They understand that they will have to look beyond their borders for some things. By contrast, many big city dwellers I've encountered believe everything exists where they are (the smartest people, the best food, the best art, etc.) and that there is no need to look beyond their borders for anything. And so there arises this idea that everything between coastal urban centers is a sea of lack and strangeness. And, for Chicagoans, the same goes for anything beyond the approved (white, wealthy) suburbs of the Windy City…[h]ere's my bottom line: Incuriousness and cultural ignorance don't look any prettier on a Park Slope hipster or Lincoln Park yuppie than on a pick-up truck pushing good ole boy."
  • "Testifying today at a Senate hearing on a bill that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Franken said, 'Mr. Minnery, on page eight of your written testimony, you write, quote, 'Children living … with their own married biological or adoptive mothers and fathers were generally healthier and happier, had better access to health care, less likely to suffer mild or severe emotional problems, did better in school, were protected from physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and almost never live in poverty compared with children in any other family form.’ You cite a Department of Health and Human Services study that I have right here from December 2010 to support this conclusion.

    “'I checked the study out,” Franken said…“and I would like to enter into the record, if I may, that it actually doesn’t say what you said it says. It says, ‘nuclear families,’ not opposite-sex married families, are associated with those positive outcomes.'"