It’s easy to dismiss the rioters as “scum with nothing better to do” but there…
Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman recently conducted an interview with Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, who have embarked upon a fifteen city tour to promote what they call “A Return to Conscience:”
The full transcript is here, but below are the segments I found most interesting.
TAVIS SMILEY: The bottom line is that our body politic—I want to be clear about this—both Republicans and Democrats, both Congress and the White House, and for that matter, all of the American people, have got to take the issue of the poor more seriously. Why? Because the new poor, the new poor, are the former middle class. Obviously, the polls tell these elected officials, these politicians, that you ought to talk about the middle class, that resonates. Well, if the new poor are the former middle class, then this conversation has got to be expanded. We’ve got to have a broader conversation about what’s happening to the poor. And the bottom line for me is this, Amy, with regard to this legislation and all others that are now demonizing, casting aspersion on the poor. There’s always been a connection between the poor and crime, but now—between poverty and crime, but now it’s become a crime, it would seem, to be poor in this country. And I believe this country, one day, is going to get crushed under the weight of its own poverty, if we think we can continue to live in a country where one percent of the people own and control more wealth than 90 percent. That math, long term, Amy, is unsustainable. We’ve got to talk about poverty.[…] Read the Post Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Embark on the Poverty Tour
“African-American women tend to have more chronic illness and disease. So in terms of having…
It seems like some people are constantly wringing their hands about how poor people eat…
by Latoya Peterson
Please note, this is part three of a multi-part series on the Lifting As We Climb: Women of Color and Wealth report released by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. Please carefully read part one and review our comment moderation policy before participating in the comments.
I’m fightin for strength, in the street grindin for cents/
I know I’m ahead of my time but I’m behind on my rent/
Askin Kanye for money just to pay on my gas bill/
He asked me for it back, nigga brush up on your math skills/
Nothin plus zip equals zero; he couldn’t relate/
That nigga ain’t been broke since “H to the Izzo”
–Rhymefest, “Devil’s Pie“
For many of us who grow up lower middle class or in poverty, the issues began before we were born. Parents struggling to make ends meet rarely find that things get easier once a child arrives – in general, already strained resources are required to stretch even further. Economically devastated parents generally do not have the resources to pass on to their children – indeed, the children may be asked to help participate in taking care of the bills, or once another income is flowing, provide funds to take care of other members of the family.
Looking at the chart above, single black and latina female households are hit the hardest by these disparities – but what does it really mean when a household has zero or negative wealth? How does it impact a child’s upbringing and future? Read the Post Women of Color and Wealth – Starting Points and Class Jumping [Part 3]
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.”
by Guest Contributor Tagland, originally published at Tanglad
I am an immigrant woman of the Two-Thirds World, who is living with the One-Third World.
I first came across Esteva and Prakash’s concept of the One Third/Two Thirds World via Chandra Mohanty’s Feminism Without Borders. The concepts recognize the transnational nature of capital, and how policies instituted by people in the One-Third World (middle and upper classes in the North and elites in the South) destabilize the lives of those in the Two-Thirds World, comprised by majority of the world’s population.
And most of the time, those of us in the One-Third World remain unaware of how our actions, well-meaning or otherwise, generate and perpetuate poverty and hardship.
For example, many of us in the One-Third World rarely reflect on our patterns of consumption, on how overconsumption contributes to substandard working conditions in Export Processing Zones around the world. If you’ve ever bought clothes from Nike, the Gap, or purchased products from Walmart and Target, for example, please take a minute to consider why your purchases seem so “affordable.” Ditto with that $2 bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s.
If you want to help those in poverty, take some more time to consider the consequences of top-down assistance programs that are instituted without any input or consultation from the communities themselves. This includes turning a critical eye on programs that present capacity-building and microcredit as solutions to poverty, rather than stopgap measures to systemic problems that are exacerbated by globalization. This means actually listening to the people in communities when they say that they need healthcare and education programs instead of yet another start-up handicraft business. Read the Post Poverty and the One-Third World
by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson
The blog SavvySugar recently posted about a college grad who did an experiment to prove the American Dream – he voluntarily went into “poverty” to see how quickly he could climb out.
Adam Shepard’s experience has – naturally – netted him a book deal. ABC summarizes:
But Shepard’s descent into poverty in the summer of 2006 was no accident. Shortly after graduating from Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., he intentionally left his parents’ home to test the vivacity of the American Dream. His goal: to have a furnished apartment, a car, and $2,500 in savings within a year.
To make his quest even more challenging, he decided not to use any of his previous contacts or mention his education.
During his first 70 days in Charleston, Shepard lived in a shelter and received food stamps. He also made new friends, finding work as a day laborer, which led to a steady job with a moving company.
Ten months into the experiment, he decided to quit after learning of an illness in his family. But by then he had moved into an apartment, bought a pickup truck, and had saved close to $5,000.
The effort, he says, was inspired after reading “Nickel and Dimed,” in which author Barbara Ehrenreich takes on a series of low-paying jobs. Unlike Ms. Ehrenreich, who chronicled the difficulty of advancing beyond the ranks of the working poor, Shepard found he was able to successfully climb out of his self-imposed poverty.
He tells his story in “Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream.” The book, he says, is a testament to what ordinary Americans can achieve.
Fascinating. I mean, everyone loves an American Dream story, don’t they? The interviewer from ABC News was excellent, asking really targeted questions about the validity of the experiment and how Shepard came to the conclusions he outlines in the book. By directly asking about privilege and his upbringing, the interviewer tries to shed some light into the thought process of this young man.