Category Archives: unemployment

Gender, Race, And Going To Class: A Call For A Feminist Reading of For-Profit Colleges?

By Guest Contributor Tressie McMillan Cottom, cross-posted from The Feminist Wire

Most of us have seen the ads exhorting us to “call today!” to start on a new future with a college degree. How many of us have noticed the faces in those ads?

The gender, race, and affect of the faces and voices in for-profit college marketing are the kinds of things I  notice in the course of my research about schools like Strayer, Everest, the University of Phoenix and any number of name brands that seem to pop up every month. We know a lot about how much for-profit colleges cost (as much as the most elite college degrees) and we know a little about whom they serve but we do not ask a lot about why they serve whom they serve.

It is difficult for me to not ask that question. I interview for-profit students to ask of them what many of us have asked ourselves when one of those ads pops up at the train station or on late-night TV: why would someone enroll in a for-profit school?

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Meanwhile On TumblR: Come Get The “Accidental Racist” And Wage-Gap Realities For Women Of Color

By Andrea Plaid

Via thenewestrant.com

Via thenewestrant.com

To paraphrase bell hooks, like feminism, allyship is something you do, not who you are. And Racializens gave a lot of love to Shakesville’s Melissa McEwan, who wrote one of the smartest come-get-your-people responses to “Accidental Racist” (and, btw, wrote a great post on allyship itself):

It isn’t a fucking accident for a White man to put on a shirt with a Confederate flag. It isn’t a fucking accident for a White man to say he’s “got a lot to learn BUT.” It isn’t a fucking accident for a White man to whine about “walkin’ on eggshells” and “fightin’ over yesterday,” as if racism is a thing of the past and not something active and present in the here and now. It isn’t a fucking accident for a White man to say “we’re still paying for mistakes / that a bunch of folks made long before we came,” as if White Southerners’ lingering discomfort with slave history is the same fucking thing as the structural effects of slavery that inform the lives of Black USians’ to this very day. It isn’t a fucking accident to compare the Confederate flag to a do-rag or saggy drawers. All of this is thoughtfully conceived and deliberate bullshit.

Marginalized people don’t owe privileged people non-judgment and tolerance and indulgence of their gross redefinition of symbols of oppression in exchange for basic decency. The inherent power imbalance between privilege and marginalization makes the entire idea of an “equal exchange” of good will reprehensibly absurd.

If White people want Black people to trust us, then we should make ourselves fucking trustworthy. That means releasing our stranglehold on a lot of symbols and images and words and practices with racist origins, even if we like them a lot—boo fucking hoo!—instead of trying to argue selective context. Especially when there are always plenty of White folks who still value the embedded racism in those things. Brad Paisley, you are literally expecting Black people to be able to read White people’s minds and magically discern whether this one White guy is wearing a Confederate flag just because he has Southern Pride, ahem, or because he hates the fuck outta Black people.

That wildly unreasonable expectation is no accident, either.

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An American in Birmingham: My Perspective on the London Riots

by Guest Contributor Kadian Pow

Riots

I don’t live in London, so I will not pretend to write the story of what Londoners are feeling. I live in the nation’s second city, Birmingham—a less than two hour drive northwest of London. This is my perspective on London, Birmingham and other parts of the country.

On Thursday, Tottenham (borough of London) resident Mark Duggan was shot and killed by police. He was being investigated by police for some time. Though armed, reports claimed Duggan had surrendered his gun before shots were fired. On Saturday, his family—tired of waiting for answers about the circumstances of his death—marched to a local police station to speak to senior officers. On the way there, other people joined them. Police were slow to respond to the family’s request for information. The crowd became restless and a young girl was reportedly pushed back by police. It was speculation and rumour around this confrontation that sparked the initial rioting in Tottenham. The looting and arson that followed on ensuing nights had nothing to do with getting justice for Mark. His family is outraged at the behaviour and violence that has spread across London and the country.

We’ve been glued to the TV since Sunday morning when we woke up to news of the rioting in Tottenham on Saturday night. We were gobsmacked at the devastation, questioning why this was happening. On Sunday night when we learned that the violence had spread to other areas of London, I had a sinking feeling that the trouble would reach beyond the capital, and we would see it in Birmingham. In fact, I said as much in an email on Monday morning to my best friend in DC.

On Monday evening, we went to a free cinema preview on the edge of Birmingham city centre. In an unusual move, we decided to take the car and go to the nearby Tesco grocery store afterwards. The supermarket’s parking lot was unusually empty. It was 8:30 PM. As we approached the entrance another shopper arriving at his car told us the shop had closed early due to “trouble in town”. I pressed him about the exact location of the trouble, but he did not know. We decided to go to the Tesco Express at the end of our street in the Jewellery Quarter (a desirable residential area near the heart of the city). My sense of unease continued. I stayed outside in the small parking lot of the store to keep watch while my partner went inside to shop. I noticed a youth in dark clothing with his hood up, surreptitiously talking on his phone. I looked to my right and in the distance spotted about 10 other youths in similar dress approaching. I loudly admonished G to “Get the fuck out NOW!” I could feel myself welling up with anger because they dared to bring their violence and bravado to my neighbourhood. I think I had residual anger from having had all three of our bikes nicked by young kids just two weeks before. G did not heed my words, so I had to yell like a mad woman for her to get out. As I turned my back, the youth were just feet away from me. I saw one quickly take off his balaclava (ski mask) and dump it behind the bin near the entrance of the store. To my left two police vans had just arrived. I begged the youths not to bring trouble to my ‘hood then jumped in the car to quickly get away. Later that night from my side window, I could see police in riot gear parading up and down my street. Ours is the only residential building on a street otherwise littered with jewellery shops. It’s important to note that these youth were not rioters. The term “riot” usually implies political purpose. These youth had gathered with the intention to cause damage and steal.

BBM messages like these have been sent out to organize people:

“Everyone from all sides of London meet up at the heart of London (central) OXFORD CIRCUS!!, Bare SHOPS are gonna get smashed up so come get some (free stuff!!!) fuck the feds we will send them back with OUR riot! >:O Dead the ends and colour war for now so if you see a brother… SALUT! if you see a fed… SHOOT!”

Interestingly, the message above is also temporarily advocating squashing gang turf wars and racial tensions (“dead the ends and colour wars”) in the name of free stuff. These give you some indication of the motivations of those who organized the violent gangs. Their intentions: rain havoc through any violence possible and get free shit while doing so. This was supposedly their way of showing authorities that they could do whatever they want. And they did. Four nights on, they’re still at it. I must stress that any justification the rioters in Tottenham may have felt they had to rail against authority on Saturday night, cannot be claimed by offenders who spread this to other parts of the country. How shameful that social media has been used for this purpose. Recently, we’ve seen how mediums like Twitter were used to mobilize the people of Egypt (and other countries) in their quest for democracy. Continue reading

Women of Color and Wealth – The Scope of The Problem [Part 1]

by Latoya Peterson

Yesterday, a headline in the Post-Gazette worked its way around Twitter:  Study finds median wealth for single black women at $5. Most outlets qualified the link by calling it “shocking” or mentioning the five dollar figure was not a typo.

I called up a fellow young black professional friend of mine and told her about the findings of the study.  “Is it messed up that I’m kind of glad in a way?” she asked, “I mean, all this time I’ve been wondering why I can’t get my shit together, but it turns out I’m normal.” We both laughed at her small attempt at gallows humor around a situation many of us know a little too intimately – when it comes to our white counterparts, women of color are light years behind in wealth.

The study is a new report from The Insight Center for Community Economic Development, titled “Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth, and America’s Future.”  The report is an in-depth look at the issues in wealth accumulation particular to black women, Latinas, Asian and Native American women.  However, even as this report is one of the most comprehensive I have seen on the subject, the limited data for Asian American and Native American women means that their statistics are limited from entire sections of the report, and discussed in a subsequent section about the need for better stats.  The report’s title is should be a familiar refrain to many black women, but the author of the report, Mariko Chang, kindly includes an explanation of the origin of the phrase:

More than a century ago, the National Association for Colored Women was founded by African American women leaders in response to a vicious attack on the character of African-American women. A few decades distant from the abolition of slavery, the intensification of poverty, discrimination, and segregation impelled these women to action in defense of their race. Their motto was “Lifting as We Climb,” signaling their understanding that no individual woman of color could rise, nor did they want to rise, without the improvement of the whole race. At the top of their agenda were job training, wage equity, and child care: issues that, if addressed, would lift all women, and all people of color.

The lift as we climb refrain was implanted into some of us from birth and a lot of my earliest lessons about black empowerment focused on financial empowerment.  Yet, these adages about saving money, investing in the community, and being a conscious consumer was like propping a footstool against a fifty foot high sheer rock wall.  Continue reading

Latino In America goes out with a whine

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

For a review of Part 1, click here

marta1No way around it: Latino In America was a failure.

At the very least, Thursday’s conclusion, “Chasing The Dream,” seemed equal parts melodrama and bait-and-switch, with the broadcast component weakened by a lack of questions that undercut even its’ more compelling segments.

For instance, in the report on the murder of Luis Mendoza, we got an overview of events in Shenandoah, Penn., leading up to the crime, and of the area’s history with several immigrant populations, but when one individual reported he felt he was being intimidated because of his speaking to CNN, we got no follow-up with local authorities. When it was mentioned that one of the four defendants – who were acquitted of hate-crime accusations – testified the cops told them to get their stories straight, we got no follow-up.
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Is There Any Such Thing As A “Black Issue”?!?

by Guest Contributor Average Bro, originally published at Average Bro

During the campaign season, lots of folks were critical of candidate Obama for not speaking out more vocally about issues that pertain to the African American community. Many saw his race-neutral style as one that largely skirted his ethnicity, and focused perhaps too much on catering to “mainstream America”. In the end, all this panned out. Obama pulled 95% of the black vote, which sounds ultra-impressive, but is more or less in line with what most Democrats running for President have received.

Anyways, Barry is in office now, and going about the bid’ness of saving the world, yet many are still holding his feet to the flame on these “black issues” and exactly what he’s going to do about them.

President Barack Obama should specifically address disparities in black unemployment, foreclosures, education and health care, the National Urban League says in its annual “State of Black America” report.

Despite the progress represented by the election of the first black U.S. president, blacks are twice as likely to be unemployed, three times as likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be incarcerated, says the report, which was being released Wednesday by the civil rights organization.

Obama has said that the way for government to help minorities is by improving things like education, employment and health care for all Americans.

But “we have to be more specific,” said Marc Morial, president and CEO of the 99-year-old Urban League.

“The issue is not only (blacks) doing better, but in closing these persistent gaps in statistics in this country,” Morial told The Associated Press. “Our index shows that the gap in African-American status is about 71 percent that of white Americans. We will not rest until that number is at 100, and there is no gap.”

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