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BREAD AND CIRCUSES

Updated: Oct 19, 2019

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Congressional Black Caucus: The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is a caucus made up of most African American members of the United States Congress.

The caucus describes its goals as "positively influencing the course of events pertinent to African-Americans and others of similar experience and situation", and "achieving greater equity for persons of African descent in the design and content of domestic and international programs and services."

The CBC encapsulates these goals in the following priorities: closing the achievement and opportunity gaps in education, assuring quality health care for every American, focusing on employment and economic security, ensuring justice for all, retirement security for all Americans, increasing welfare funds, and increasing equity in foreign policy.

Quite simply, Rep. Cohen will have to accept what the rest of the country will have to accept—there has been an unofficial Congressional White Caucus for over 200 years, and now it's our turn to say who can join 'the club.' He does not, and cannot, meet the membership criteria unless he can change his skin color. Primarily, we are concerned with the needs and concerns of the black population, and we will not allow white America to infringe on those objectives.

Later the same week Representative Tom Tancredo, Republican of Colorado, objected to the continued existence of the CBC as well as the Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Republican Congressional Hispanic Conference arguing that "It is utterly hypocritical for Congress to extol the virtues of a color-blind society while officially sanctioning caucuses that are based solely on race. If we are serious about achieving the goal of a colorblind society, Congress should lead by example and end these divisive, race-based caucuses."

The caucus is sometimes invited to the White House to meet with the president. It requests such a meeting at the beginning of each Congress.


NAACP: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909 as a bi-racial endeavor to advance justice for African Americans by a group including W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington and Moorfield Storey.

The NAACP bestows annual awards to African Americans in two categories: Image Awards are for achievement in the arts and entertainment, and Spingarn Medals are for outstanding achievement of any kind. Its headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland.

As of 2007, the NAACP had approximately 425,000 paying and non-paying members.

To promote equality of rights and to eradicate caste or race prejudice among the citizens of the United States; to advance the interest of colored citizens; to secure for them impartial suffrage; and to increase their opportunities for securing justice in the courts, education for the children, employment according to their ability and complete equality before law.


The Number of Blacks In Sports: Issues related to race and sports have been examined by scholars for a long time. Among these issues are racial discrimination in sports as well as the observation that there are over-representations and under-representations of different races in different sports.

Various individuals, including scholars and sportswriters, have commented on the apparent over-representations and under-representations of different races in different sports. African Americans accounted for 75% of players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) near the end of 2008. According to the latest National Consortium for Academics and Sports equality report card, 65% of National Football League players were African Americans. However, in 2008, about 8.5% of Major League Baseball players were African American (who make up about 13% of the US population, 6.5% male, no women play in MLB), and 29.1% were Hispanics of any race (compared with about 16% of the US population). In 2015, only about 5% of the National Hockey League (NHL) players are black or of mixed black heritage.

Referring to quarterbacks, head coaches, and athletic directors, Kenneth L. Shropshire of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has described the number of African Americans in "positions of power" as "woefully low". In 2000, 78% of players in the NBA were black, but only 33% of NBA officials were minorities. The lack of minorities in positions of leadership has been attributed to racial stereotypes as well "old boy networks" and white administrators networking within their own race. In 2003, the NFL implemented the Rooney Rule, requiring teams searching for a new head coach to interview at least one minority candidate.


Black History Month: It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed unofficially in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated in February in the United States and Canada, while in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom it is observed in October.

If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated. The American Indian left no continuous record. He did not appreciate the value of tradition; and where is he today? The Hebrew keenly appreciated the value of tradition, as is attested by the Bible itself. In spite of worldwide persecution, therefore, he is a great factor in our civilization.

Black History Month was first proposed by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, from January 2, 1970 – February 28, 1970.

Six years later, Black History Month was being celebrated all across the country in educational institutions, centers of Black culture and community centers, both great and small, when President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month, during the celebration of the United States Bicentennial. He urged Americans to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history".


Welfare: A welfare state is a political system wherein the State assumes responsibility for the health, education, and welfare of society. The system of social security in a welfare state provides social services, such as universal medical care, unemployment insurance for workers, financial aid, free post-secondary education for students, subsidized public housing, and pensions (sickness, incapacity, old-age), etc. In 1952, with the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention (nr. 102), the International Labour Organization (ILO) formally defined the social contingencies covered by social security.

Public assistance programs were not called welfare until the early 20th century when the term was quickly adopted to avoid the negative connotations that had become associated with older terms such as charity.

Until early in the year of 1965, the news media was conveying only whites as living in poverty however that perception had changed to blacks. Some of the influences in this shift could have been the civil rights movement and urban riots from the mid 60s. Welfare had then shifted from being a White issue to a Black issue and during this time frame the war on poverty had already begun. Subsequently, news media portrayed stereotypes of Blacks as lazy, undeserving and welfare queens. These shifts in media don't necessarily establish the population living in poverty decreasing.


Civil Rights Act: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, and racial segregation in schools, employment, and public accommodations.


Protests: In 2016, Black Lives Matter demonstrated against the deaths of numerous African Americans by police actions, including those of Bruce Kelley Jr., Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Joseph Mann, Abdirahman Abdi, Paul O'Neal, Korryn Gaines, Sylville Smith, Terence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott, Alfred Olango, and Deborah Danner, among others.

In January, hundreds of BLM protesters marched in San Francisco to protest the December 2, 2015, shooting death of Mario Woods, who was shot by San Francisco Police officers. The march was held during a Super Bowl event. BLM held protests, community meetings, teach-ins, and direct actions across the country with the goal of "reclaim[ing] the radical legacy of Martin Luther King Jr."

In February, Abdullahi Omar Mohamed, a 17-year-old Somali refugee, was shot and injured by Salt Lake City, Utah, police after allegedly being involved in a confrontation with another person. The shooting led to BLM protests.

In June, members of BLM and Color of Change protested the California conviction and sentencing of Jasmine Richards for a 2015 incident in which she attempted to stop a police officer from arresting another woman. Richards was convicted of "attempting to unlawfully take a person from the lawful custody of a peace officer", a charge that the state penal code had designated as "lynching" until that word was removed two months prior to the incident.

On July 5, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was shot several times at point-blank range while pinned to the ground by two white Baton Rouge Police Department officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On the night of July 5, more than 100 demonstrators in Baton Rouge shouted "no justice, no peace," set off fireworks, and blocked an intersection to protest Sterling's death. On July 6, Black Lives Matter held a candlelight vigil in Baton Rouge, with chants of "We love Baton Rouge" and calls for justice.

On July 6, Philando Castile was fatally shot by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer, after being pulled over in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul. Castile was driving a car with his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter as passengers when he was pulled over by Yanez and another officer. According to his girlfriend, after being asked for his license and registration, Castile told the officer he was licensed to carry a weapon and had one in the car. She stated: "The officer said don't move. As he was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm four or five times." She live-streamed a video on Facebook in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Following the fatal shooting of Castile, BLM protested throughout Minnesota and the United States.

On July 7, a BLM protest was held in Dallas, Texas that was organized to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. At the end of the peaceful protest, Micah Xavier Johnson opened fire in an ambush, killing five police officers and wounding seven others and two civilians. The gunman was then killed by a robot-delivered bomb. Before he died, according to police, Johnson said that "he was upset about Black Lives Matter", and that "he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers." Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and other conservative lawmakers blamed the shootings on the Black Lives Matter movement. The Black Lives Matter network released a statement denouncing the shootings. On July 8, more than 100 people were arrested at Black Lives Matter protests across the United States.

In the first half of July, there were at least 112 protests in 88 American cities. In July 2016, NBA stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade opened the 2016 ESPY Awards with a Black Lives Matter message. On July 26, Black Lives Matter held a protest in Austin, Texas, to mark the third anniversary of the shooting death of Larry Jackson Jr. On July 28, Chicago Police Department officers shot Paul O'Neal in the back and killed him following a car chase. After the shooting, hundred marched in Chicago, Illinois.

In Randallstown, Maryland, near Baltimore, on August 1, 2016, police officers shot and killed Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old African-American woman, also shooting and injuring her son. Gaines' death was protested throughout the country.

In August, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Black Lives Matter protested the death of Bruce Kelley Jr. who was shot after fatally stabbing a police dog while trying to escape from police the previous January.

Beginning in August, several professional athletes have participated in the 2016 U.S. national anthem protests. The protests began in the National Football League (NFL) after Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers sat during the anthem, as opposed to the tradition of standing, before his team's third preseason game of 2016. During a post-game interview he explained his position stating, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder," a protest widely interpreted as in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The protests have generated mixed reactions, and have since spread to other U.S. sports leagues.

In September 2016, BLM protested the shooting deaths by police officers of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Charlotte Observer reported "The protesters began to gather as night fell, hours after the shooting. They held signs that said 'Stop Killing Us' and 'Black Lives Matter,' and they chanted 'No justice, no peace.' The scene was sometimes chaotic and tense, with water bottles and stones chucked at police lines, but many protesters called for peace and implored their fellow demonstrators not to act violently." Multiple nights of protests from September to October 2016 were held in El Cajon, California, following the shooting of Alfred Olango.


Hate Crime Laws: A hate crime (also known as a bias-motivated crime or bias crime) is a prejudice-motivated crime which occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of their membership (or perceived membership) in a certain social group or race.

Examples of such groups can include, and are almost exclusively limited to: sex, ethnicity, disability, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. Non-criminal actions that are motivated by these reasons are often called "bias incidents".

"Hate crime" generally refers to criminal acts which are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the social groups listed above, or by bias against their derivatives. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, mate crime or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail).

A hate crime law is a law intended to deter bias-motivated violence. Hate crime laws are distinct from laws against hate speech: hate crime laws enhance the penalties associated with conduct which is already criminal under other laws, while hate speech laws criminalize a category of speech. Hate speech laws exist in many countries. In the United States, hate crime laws have been upheld by both the Supreme Court and lower courts, especially in the case of 'fighting' words and other violent speech, but they are thought by some people to be in conflict with the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, but hate crimes are only regulated through threats of injury or death.


Affirmative Action: Affirmative action describes policies that support members of a disadvantaged group that has previously suffered discrimination in such areas as education, employment, or housing . Historically and internationally, support for affirmative action has sought to achieve goals such as bridging inequalities in employment and pay, increasing access to education, promoting diversity, and redressing apparent past wrongs, harms, or hindrances.

The nature of affirmative action policies varies from region to region. Some countries use a quota system, whereby a certain percentage of government jobs, political positions, and school vacancies must be reserved for members of a certain group; an example of this is the reservation system in India. In some other regions where quotas are not used, minority group members are given preference or special consideration in selection processes. In the United States, affirmative action in employment and education has been the subject of legal and political controversy. In 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States, in Grutter v. Bollinger, held that the University of Michigan Law School could consider race as a plus-factor when evaluating applicants holistically and maintained the prohibition on the use of quotas. In other countries, such as the UK, affirmative action is rendered illegal because it does not treat all races equally. This approach to equal treatment is described as being "color blind". In such countries, the focus tends to be on ensuring equal opportunity and, for example, targeted advertising campaigns to encourage ethnic minority candidates to join the police force. This is sometimes described as "positive action".


The New Deal: While many Americans suffered economically during the Great Depression, African Americans also had to deal with social ills, such as racism, discrimination and segregation. Black workers were especially vulnerable to the economic downturn since most of them worked the most marginal jobs such as unskilled or service-oriented work, therefore they were the first to be discharged and additionally many employers preferred white workers. When jobs were scarce some employers even dismissed black workers to create jobs for white citizens. In the end there were three times more African American workers on public assistance or relief than white workers.

Roosevelt appointed an unprecedented number of African Americans to second-level positions in his administration—these appointees were collectively called the Black Cabinet. The WPA, NYA and CCC relief programs allocated 10% of their budgets to blacks (who comprised about 10% of the total population, and 20% of the poor). They operated separate all-black units with the same pay and conditions as white units. Some leading white New Dealers, especially Eleanor Roosevelt, Harold Ickes and Aubrey Williams, worked to ensure blacks received at least 10% of welfare assistance payments. However, these benefits were small in comparison to the economic and political advantages that whites received. Most unions excluded blacks from joining and enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in the South was virtually impossible, especially since most blacks worked in hospitality and agricultural sectors.

The New Deal programs put millions of Americans immediately back to work or at least helped them to survive. The programs were not specifically targeted to alleviate the much higher unemployment rate of blacks. Some aspects of the programs were even unfavorable to blacks. The Agricultural Adjustment Acts for example helped farmers which were predominantly white, but reduced the need of farmers to hire tenant farmers or sharecroppers which were predominantly black. While the AAA stipulated that a farmer had to share the payments with those who worked the land this policy was never enforced. The Farm Service Agency (FSA), a government relief agency for tenant farmers, created in 1937, made efforts to empower African Americans by appointing them to agency committees in the South. Senator James F. Byrnes of South Carolina raised opposition to the appointments because he stood for white farmers who were threatened by an agency that could organize and empower tenant farmers. Initially, the FSA stood behind their appointments, but after feeling national pressure FSA was forced to release the African Americans of their positions. The goals of the FSA were notoriously liberal and not cohesive with the southern voting elite. Some New Deal measures inadvertently discriminated against harmed blacks. Thousands of blacks were thrown out of work and replaced by whites on jobs where they were paid less than the NRA's wage minimums because some white employers considered the NRA's minimum wage "too much money for Negroes". By August 1933, blacks called the NRA the "Negro Removal Act". An NRA study found that the NIRA put 500,000 African Americans out of work.

However, since blacks felt the sting of the depression's wrath even more severely than whites they welcomed any help. Until 1936 almost all African Americans (and many whites) shifted from the "Party of Lincoln" to the Democratic Party. This was a sharp realignment from 1932, when most African Americans voted the Republican ticket. New Deal policies helped establish a political alliance between blacks and the Democratic Party that survives into the 21st century.

There was no attempt whatsoever to end segregation, or to increase black rights in the South, and a number of leaders that promoted the New Deal were racist and anti semites.

The wartime Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) executive orders that forbade job discrimination against African Americans, women and ethnic groups was a major breakthrough that brought better jobs and pay to millions of minority Americans. Historians usually treat FEPC as part of the war effort and not part of the New Deal itself.

The New Deal was racially segregated as blacks and whites rarely worked alongside each other in New Deal programs. The largest relief program by far was the WPA—it operated segregated units, as did its youth affiliate the NYA. Blacks were hired by the WPA as supervisors in the North, but of 10,000 WPA supervisors in the South only 11 were black. Historian Anthony Badger argues that "New Deal programs in the South routinely discriminated against blacks and perpetuated segregation". In its first few weeks of operation, CCC camps in the North were integrated. By July 1935, practically all the camps in the United States were segregated, and blacks were strictly limited in the supervisory roles they were assigned. Kinker and Smith argue that "even the most prominent racial liberals in the New Deal did not dare to criticize Jim Crow".


Political Outcome 2019: JANUARY 18, 2019

Blacks have made gains in U.S. political leadership, but gaps remain

Data from the past 50 years reveal the upward yet uneven trajectory of black political leadership in America. In 1965, there were no blacks in the U.S. Senate, nor were there any black governors. And only six members of the House of Representatives were black. As of 2019, there is greater representation in some areas – 52 House members are black, putting the share of black House members (12%) on par with the share of blacks in the U.S. population overall for the first time in history. But in other areas, there has been little change (there are three black senators and no black governors).

The share of blacks serving in a presidential Cabinet was at or above parity with the population during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. But there was only one black Cabinet secretary during Obama’s first term, and the same is true so far in Donald Trump’s administration. https://www.pewresearch.org


Advancement: APRIL 9, 2019 Whether or not they see their race as an obstacle for them personally, about two-thirds of blacks (68%) say being black generally hurts a person’s ability to get ahead in the country; 55% of whites say the same.

Among those who say being black hurts a person’s ability to get ahead, blacks are far more likely than whites to point to racial discrimination, less access to high-paying jobs and less access to good schools as major reasons why this is the case. In turn, whites are more likely than blacks to point to family instability and lack of good role models as major obstacles for black people. The same shares in both groups (22%) say a lack of motivation to work hard is to blame.

There are wide partisan gaps in these views. Most white Democrats who say being black hurts a person’s ability to succeed point to racial discrimination (70%) and less access to good schools (75%) or high-paying jobs (64%) as major reasons for this (among black Democrats, the shares are 86%, 74% and 78%, respectively). By comparison, about a third or fewer white Republicans say these are major obstacles for blacks. White Republicans are more likely than white Democrats to cite family instability, lack of good role models and a lack of motivation to work hard.

Black and white adults have widely different perceptions of how blacks are treated in America, but majorities of both groups say blacks are treated less fairly than whites by the criminal justice system (87% of blacks vs. 61% of whites) and in dealing with police (84% vs. 63%, respectively).

About six-in-ten blacks or more – but fewer than half of whites – say blacks are treated less fairly than whites in hiring, pay and promotions; when applying for a loan or mortgage; in stores or restaurants; when voting in elections; and when seeking medical treatment. In each of these realms, whites tend to say blacks and whites are treated about equally; very small shares say whites are treated less fairly than blacks. https://www.pewresearch.org


'It's a baseball problem': Published 1:58 p.m. ET April 14, 2019

There's a serious dearth of African-American baseball players.

While commemorating Jackie Robinson's 100th birthday this year, MLB has an African-American population of only 7.7% this season. There are 68 African-American players among the total of 882 players on opening-day rosters, injured lists and restricted lists, according to research by USA TODAY Sports.

There are a staggering 11 teams that don’t have more than a single African-American player on their 25-man roster, including three teams that don’t have one. There are three African-American players on active rosters in the entire National League West.

There were twice as many African-American players in baseball when Griffey broke into the major leagues. There were 15 African-American players alone on the 1989 All-Star team – which didn’t include Griffey – including six who were later inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with All-Star MVP Bo Jackson, the famed two-sport athlete. There were just seven African-Americans in last year’s All-Star Game.

“I don’t think it’s the intent of baseball not to have black ballplayers,’’ Griffey told USA TODAY Sports, “but we have to find a way to get these kids back. We lost them to football. We lost them to basketball. We lost them to golf. People don’t see how cool and exciting this game is. https://www.usatoday.com


The Commercialization of Black History Month: February is Black History Month, which explains the latest national celebration of Frederick Douglass, George Washington Carver, and Harriet Tubman — and not a whole lot else. The commemoration, which began with African-American Carter G. Woodson’s radical 1926 initiative "Negro History Week," has been dulled by TV advertisements and unimaginative public school curricula.

Writing in The New Yorker last year, social critic Doreen St. Félix says the focus on a handful of familiar faces obliterates the view of black history writ large. She and Bob examine the debate around whether the month should exist at all, and why its commercialization is so harmful.

This segment originally aired on February 23, 2018.

It was re-broadcast as part of our February 15th, 2019, episode called Bad Reputation. https://www.wnycstudios.org


We Lost the War on Poverty: Why Welfare Keeps Poor People Poor

Our welfare system discourages work. It discourages families from staying together. And it encourages dependence on government. August 5, 2019

The poverty rate remains mostly unchanged, and tens of millions of Americans are dependent on government assistance.

Currently, the United States spends about a trillion dollars a year on 80 different federal, state, and local welfare programs.

About 40 million Americans are considered poor. If we divided that $1 trillion among those 40 million people, we could give each person approximately $25,000 a year, or $100,000 a year for a family of four.

As the taxpayer became the family breadwinner, that encouraged many men to stop upholding their responsibilities, leaving more and more women as heads of single-parent households.

On the other side of the coin, single mothers were discouraged from marrying the fathers of their children because that reduced their benefits. https://nationalinterest.org


The Civil Rights Act was a victory against racism. But racists also won.

The bill unleashed a poisonous idea: that America had defeated racism.

July 2, 2017 at 3:18 p.m. EDT

But this celebratory history that Americans love has only been part of the story. The other, less popular part of the story is understandably underplayed: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, intended to dismantle racism, also spurred racist progress.

Racial disparities persisted after the law was passed because discriminatory policies persisted under a patina of colorblindness. The legacy of the Civil Rights Act’s failures abound: America is still hemorrhaging from the racism of police bullets, health disparities and environmental catastrophes. The black unemployment rate has been twice the white unemployment rate for 60 years, segregation is on the rise in public schools across America, and an unprecedented number of black and brown bodies have been mass incarcerated as a result of the war on drugs. https://www.washingtonpost.com/


Does protest work?: Jan 9, 2019 - We ask Professor John Chalcraft, PhD candidate Temi Ogunye and undergraduate student Haydon Etherington to reflect on protest and its ...

To protest is “to express disapproval or dissent; to object to something”. This covers an extremely broad range of activities: from the petition objecting to Donald Trump being offered a state visit to the UK, to Trump’s decision to bomb a Syrian military facility in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons. When thinking about whether ‘protest works’, these diverse activities should not all be considered under the same heading.

One distinction worth making is between legal and illegal protest. The former is more likely to achieve the protesters’ objectives in situations where dissent is permitted and the wider community is hospitable to it. A free and fair election is a good example of this. It offers an opportunity to object to a policy, government, or entire political class. We are familiar with the concept of a ‘protest vote’, after all. Illegal protest, on the other hand, may be deemed necessary when the wider community is deaf to the activists’ concerns. As Martin Luther King Jr. said of civil disobedience: “It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.”

Another distinction worth making is between violent and nonviolent protest. Some have argued that campaigns of nonviolent resistance have been more likely to achieve their stated goals than violent ones, and so the latter can rarely be justified on strategic grounds. But, even if you accept this empirical claim, many would still agree that the campaign of sabotage led by Nelson Mandela against Apartheid, for example, was legitimate. This suggests that not all grounds for justifying protest are straightforwardly strategic (and not all violence is the same). Which brings us to ‘work’.

One way for protest to work is for it to achieve legislative or policy change. But this is not the only way. Protest may aim to express disapproval and nothing more. The 2011 riots in England might be viewed in this way. Protest may seek to change perceptions or challenge a narrative, as a recent campaign objecting to the under- and mis-representation of black people in British film does excellently.

Protest might also intend to rally, inspire, or raise the consciousness of a community, perhaps with a view to building strength for future campaigns. The #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements are potentially good examples here. The general point is that ‘work’ should be understood in a dynamic way: protest can create the conditions for concrete change to take place in the future even though it may not be likely now.

‘Does protest work?’ is too broad and simplistic a question to answer sensibly. Instead we should ask: ‘what kinds of protest work when, and why?’ And more importantly: ‘what do we want this act of protest to do?’. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk


Hate crimes are on the rise. What does it take to get state governments to respond? The El Paso attack comes amid a five-year upward trend in reported hate crimes in the United States, according to the FBI. The spike is marked by particularly shocking killings, including those of nine members of a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015, 49 people at a Latino gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando in 2016, and a counter-protester at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. During a House Judiciary Committee hearing in April, Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) called this rise in hate crimes “an urgent crisis in our country” and blasted law enforcement agencies for failing to take stronger action.


As other researchers have pointed out, enforcing hate crime laws is complex. It requires law enforcement to report, investigate and prosecute crimes as hate crimes. States can decline to do so at any point in that process. What factors, then, influence why some states choose to enforce hate crime laws more stringently than others?


Affirmative Action Doesn’t Work

Rapid change in the status of blacks for several decades followed by a definite slowdown that begins just when affirmative action policies get their start: that story certainly seems to suggest that racial preferences have enjoyed an inflated reputation. “There’s one simple reason to support affirmative action,” an op-ed writer in the New York Times argued in 1995. “It works.” That is the voice of conventional wisdom.

In fact, not only did significant advances pre-date the affirmative action era, but the benefits of race-conscious politics are not clear. Important differences (a slower overall rate of economic growth, most notably) separate the pre-1970 and post-1970 periods, making comparison difficult.

We know only this: some gains are probably attributable to race-conscious educational and employment policies. The number of black college and university professors more than doubled between 1970 and 1990; the number of physicians tripled; the number of engineers almost quadrupled; and the number of attorneys increased more than sixfold. Those numbers undoubtedly do reflect the fact that the nation’s professional schools changed their admissions criteria for black applicants, accepting and often providing financial aid to African-American students whose academic records were much weaker than those of many white and Asian-American applicants whom these schools were turning down. Preferences “worked” for these beneficiaries, in that they were given seats in the classroom that they would not have won in the absence of racial double standards.

On the other hand, these professionals make up a small fraction of the total black middle class. And their numbers would have grown without preferences, the historical record strongly suggests. In addition, the greatest economic gains for African Americans since the early 1960s were in the years 1965 to 1975 and occurred mainly in the South, as economists John J. Donahue III and James Heckman have found. In fact, Donahue and Heckman discovered “virtually no improvement” in the wages of black men relative to those of white men outside of the South over the entire period from 1963 to 1987, and southern gains, they concluded, were mainly due to the powerful nondiscrimination provisions in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

With respect to federal, state, and municipal set-asides, as well, the jury is still out. In 1994 the state of Maryland decided that at least 10 percent of the contracts it awarded would go to minority- and female-owned firms. It more than met its goal. The program therefore “worked” if the goal was merely the narrow one of dispensing cash to a particular, designated group. But how well do these sheltered businesses survive long-term without extraordinary protection from free-market competition? And with almost 30 percent of black families still living in poverty, what is their trickle-down effect? On neither score is the picture reassuring. Programs are often fraudulent, with white contractors offering minority firms 15 percent of the profit with no obligation to do any of the work. Alternatively, set-asides enrich those with the right connections. In Richmond, Virginia, for instance, the main effect of the ordinance was a marriage of political convenience—a working alliance between the economically privileged of both races. The white business elite signed on to a piece-of-the-pie for blacks in order to polish its image as socially conscious and secure support for the downtown revitalization it wanted. Black politicians used the bargain to suggest their own importance to low-income constituents for whom the set-asides actually did little. Neither cared whether the policy in fact provided real economic benefits—which it didn’t. https://www.washingtonpost.com


How the New Deal Left Out African-Americans

During the Great Depression, unemployment among African-Americans was twice that of whites – mostly due to segregation. One rare opportunity came on the Pullman sleeper trains, where most of the porters were black. (1:50) https://www.smithsonianmag.com/

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