Tag Archives: economics

McDonald’s Delusional Blame-the-Victim Budget

[Racialicious Editor's Note: McDonald's has been named one of Fortune's "America's Top 50 Best Companies for Minorities. According to McDonald's, "women and minorities" make up more than 50 percent of the company's workforce.]

By Guest Contributor Jay Livingston, Ph. D.; originally published at Sociological Images

McDonald’s has distributed a pamphlet showing employees how to make a budget and stick to it.  As you can see, the pamphlet is a joint effort by McDonald’s, VISA, and (apparently said with a straight face), Wealth Watchers International.  The “key to your financial freedom,” they say, is keeping a budget journal.

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Here’s the sample budget McDonald’s uses:

Budget 1 pg

The budget is encouraging, to say the least.  With an income of $2060 a month, a 2-earner family can save $100 each month.

But do you notice anything missing?  Food, for example. Presumably, that comes out of the $27 a day in spending money.  Transportation costs? Car payments are included, but not gasoline or upkeep. On an income of $24,000 a year, will this family have a car that needs no maintenance?  And if the two earners have only one car, it’s likely someone will have to take public transportation to work.  Oh, wait  – maybe they both work at the same McDonald’s. And they never buy clothes.

I’m not sure how McDonald’s employees get health insurance for $20.  Or home heating for free.

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Video: PBS Newshour Profiles Family Behind Our Black Year

By Arturo R. García

Watch One Family’s Effort to Buy Black for a Year on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, this report from PBS Newshour is well worth your time, as it retraces the “social experiment” conducted by Maggie and John Anderson while buying exclusively from black-owned businesses for a year, a process Maggie Anderson chronicled in written form in the book Our Black Year.

The project, she told Newshour’s Paul Solman, was borne out of guilt.

“We thought we should be doing more, and we thought we should be doing stuff with the money that we made,” she said. “Make sure that whatever we do, it was with a black company, a black family company, buy a product made from a black company, use black professionals, shop in black communities.”

According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer the Andersons’ search for some basic needs took them far, far out of their comfort zones:

With high hopes of moving the needle, the Andersons transferred their money to a black bank, switched cell phone companies, and fed way more McDonald’s Happy Meals to their girls than optimal–because these black-owned businesses were plentiful.

But fewer own stores selling necessities like diapers, aspirin and fresh food. Maggie often drove for miles, stepping over trash and around winos to enter stores that looked like “post-apocalyptic mini-marts.”

“Are y’all lost?” wisecracks one loiterer.

Exasperated, Maggie overdoes the details of her forays scouring Chicagoland’s food desert. Her rage builds. “Everyone–I mean everyone–we saw on the street and in the stores was black, but not the store owners.”

The video is safe for work, and a transcript of the story can be found here.

No Myths Here: Food Stamps, Food Deserts, and Food Scarcity

By Erika Nicole Kendall, cross-posted from A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss

When I was about 5 or so, I used to go to my grandmother’s house during the day while my Mother went to work. I remember catching the bus and sleeping across my Mom’s lap until we got there, and then her hugging me and heading off to do whatever it was she did all day. (I was five. Clearly, I had no idea.)

Grandma was cool, but there was always a bajillion people at her house. She lived in the projects*, and spent a big portion of her day being “Mama”to everyone even though she was well into her 50s.

I remember, as a kid, how the big thing was for us to run across the street to the convenient store and get a Big Red pop and a bag of chips. All for $0.50. I mean, it was how we spent every afternoon. Because Grandma’s house was full of people, it was never hard for me to get a hold of two quarters – ahhh, two shiny, glorious quarters – so that I could be like the rest of the kids and sit in the middle of the grass and eat my funyuns or my munchos and my Big Red pop.

(I’m from the Midwest. We say pop, thank you very much.)

It wasn’t that I was Grandma’s favorite, but…. well, I was Grandma’s favorite. She invested a lot of time and effort into me. She taught me to read – she’d hand me the newspaper and make me read every page out loud – and she taught me how to be a little lady. She taught me how to love, as a young girl, because outside of that typical adoration that a young girl has for her mother, you learn that that thing that binds you to Grandma emotionally and you understand it even more so once she’s gone. That made her valuable.

However, I must admit. If there’s one thing I don’t remember, it’s going to a grocery store with Grandma. We just.. we never went together. At least, we didn’t go to a grocery store as I know a grocery store to be today. The only store I ever saw her go to was the convenient store across the street.

And now that I think about it, there’s a lot of things I don’t remember about that time with Grandma.

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The Racialicious Review of If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, Part 1

By Arturo R. García

The best, most brutal thing about Spike Lee’s If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise is how it flows, showing us not just how the various residents and systems in New Orleans are connected, but how the breakdown of help for it and the state of Louisiana in the wake of both Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill has infected the community on a variety of levels.

To do this, Lee brings back many of the residents viewers met in his last foray to the Crescent City, When The Levees Broke; Phyllis Montana-Leblanc (who also appears in Treme) opens the film with the eponymous poem seen above. From there, Lee veers into what might have been used as a “happy ending” for another film: a look at the local celebration of the New Orlean Saints’ Super Bowl win. From there, the bloom off the rose starts falling, and the reality of the situation is brought home by local activist M. Endesha Jukali: “After the Superbowl on that Sunday,” he tells us. “I was gonna have to get up and figure out how I was gonna eat the next morning, how I was gonna pay my bills, how I was gonna be able to survive. I’m not a who dat. I’m a who is that?”

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DeBeers: Exploitation is Forever

by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said

Diamond purveyor DeBeers wants you to get your Africa-inspired bling on. The September issue of Elle magazine (originally spotted on Jezebel) features the company’s diamond pendants shaped like tribal masks. Hmm, let’s see…what part of this is most vomitously offensive?

The fact that Cecil Rhodes, DeBeers’ founder was a colonialist and white supremacist, who disdained non-Anglo culture and eagerly participated in the rape of the African continent throughout his lifetime? Wikipedia says:

Rhodes wanted to expand the British Empire because he believed that the Anglo-Saxon race was destined to greatness. In his last will and testament, Rhodes said of the British, “I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race.” Continue reading

Has Class Trumped Race? Part 2 – Interpreting Privilege

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

So, exactly what is privilege? It really depends on your perspective and definition. Let’s revisit my answers to the privilege checklist:

When you were in college:

If your father went to college, take a step forward.
If your father finished college
If your mother went to college
If your mother finished college
If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
If you were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
If you had a computer at home
If you had your own computer at home
If you had more than 50 books at home
If you had more than 500 books at home
If were read children’s books by a parent
If you ever had lessons of any kind
If you had more than two kinds of lessons
If the people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
If you had a credit card with your name on it
If you have less than $5000 in student loans

If you have no student loans
If you went to a private high school
If you went to summer camp
If you had a private tutor
If you have been to Europe
If your family vacations involved staying at hotels
If all of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall
If your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
If there was original art in your house
If you had a phone in your room
If you lived in a single family house
If your parent own their own house or apartment
If you had your own room
If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
If you had your own cell phone in High School
If you had your own TV in your room in High School
If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline
If you ever went on a cruise with your family
If your parents took you to museums and art galleries
If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

Many of these items have a class based assumption backing them. However, as other critics of the study have shown, it is fairly easy to have one of these things and not have it be a hallmark of privilege.

If you had your own computer at home.

My mother made sure that we acquired a computer. While we had no software on it (typing papers on Wordpad before there was spell check), my mother had gotten the impression that computers were the future. Also, a computer was a justifiable expense as it could be used for work, school work, and entertainment. We did without other luxuries, like cable TV.

If you had more than fifty books at home.

As others have pointed out, the assumption behind this one is that purchasing books (or having books in the home) is a mark of privilege, presumably because books are expensive items or because people in the lower class have poor reading skills. I am not sure which of those two scenarios the creators of the exercise used. However, books are also a very cheap form of entertainment. My sister and I were avid users of our local library, which also sold used books for a dime a piece when we were growing up. Within a few years, my sister and I had amassed a sizeable collection of children’s books for a very small amount of money – less than the cost of a brand new hardback. Continue reading