Tag Archives: race
When does THIS become the story?

When does THIS become the story?

Today’s new unemployment numbers were ambiguous enough to give each side of the political debate something to chew on. Overall, payrolls fell by 95,000 jobs, thanks to cuts in local government and federal Census jobs. But private sector hiring actually increased by 64,000 jobs.

But this macro-scale look at the problem obscures the real, continuing, and terrible disparities between and among demographic groups. You can read the details here, but the chart should tell it all:

Week 2: Color Lines — Growing and Accepting Diversity

Week 2: Color Lines — Growing and Accepting Diversity



Thank you for joining us again for Week 2 of the Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club. Your thoughtful and insightful comments last week were extraordinary! (Read all last week’s comments here)

This week’s discussion focuses on Chapter 2 of Uncommon Common Ground, entitled “Color Lines: Growing and Accepting Diversity.” (Read an excerpt here)

Here are some questions to help kick-start the discussion:

1. In the book, we argue the black-white paradigm is the fundamental and defining element in understanding race in America. Do you agree? How does it fit the experience of other people of color — and what does it miss?

2. Given the diversity within Latino and Asian Pacific communities, does it make sense to even use the broad “Latino” and “Asian” categories? What’s gained and what’s lost?

Thank you again for joining.

–Stewart Kwoh

Co-author, Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future

Week 1: Are We Post Racial Yet?

Week 1: Are We Post Racial Yet?


Thank you for taking part in the Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club. We hope this will be an open, honest, constructive conversation on the challenges and opportunities facing our changing nation.

The book club will be based around the structure of Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future, a new book I had the pleasure of writing with Stewart Kwoh and Manuel Pastor. We hope the book will serve as a foundation on which to build a meaningful conversation. (See the full six-week schedule here)

More than anything, though, we want this conversation to be about you — your ideas, your vision, your hope for the future. So, please, watch my short video and read the starter questions.

Then, take to the comments section below, TALK to each other, listen to each other’s stories, learn from each other’s experiences.

(Got questions about how this whole book club thing works? Click here. Weren’t able to get the book? Read an excerpt here)

Today’s starter questions:

Are we post-racial yet? Is “post-racial” even something America should strive for?

In the past year, has America gotten closer to the ideal of racial justice and full inclusion? Or have we slipped further away?

In your work and your day-to-day life, how do you talk about race and racial equity in ways that move both the conversation and policy forward? What are the main challenges you face in this arena?

Please be probing and honest. Enjoy yourself…and I hope we’ll see you back here next week.

–Angela Glover Blackwell

Founder and CEO, PolicyLink

Promise Neighborhood Grantees Announced!

Promise Neighborhood Grantees Announced!

Just moments ago, US Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the winners of $10 million in Promise Neighborhoods federal planning grants for 2010. This is exciting news for all of us working to end the cycle of poverty in America!

Photo via Newberry Math and Science Academy

The grants will help 21 communities plan to build their own Promise Neighborhood – a pipeline of social, educational, and health supports that enable all children to learn, grow, and succeed from birth through college.

The grantees are:

For more than two years, PolicyLink has been working to help bring the Harlem Children’s Zone model to national scale. More than 330 communities from across America – urban, suburban, rural, tribal – applied for this first round of planning grants.

Though only a relatively small group of applicants have received federal funding, the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink will continue to help all neighborhoods that want to create a true community of opportunity of their own. (For more information about the Institute, click here)

While today is a day of joy and excitement for the grantees, we must remember that the future of the Promise Neighborhoods federal program remains in flux.

Tell Congress to fully fund President Obama’s $210 million request for Promise Neighborhoods.

The future of millions of children depends on it.

FAQs on the Race & America’s Future Book Club

The interest in the Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club has been overwhelming. In the flood of responses, we’ve noticed a few recurring questions that we want to address.

(Got other questions? Leave them in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them)

How do I participate?

1. VISIT UncommonCommonGround.org/BookClub every Wednesday through Election Day.

2. WATCH the authors’ intro video and READ the starter questions below the video

3. ENGAGE with your fellow book club members in the comments

4. KEEP UP the conversation throughout the week

What time does it start?

There is no formal start time for the book club. Every Wednesday morning from Sept. 29 to Nov. 3, we will publish a new post by one of the authors of Uncommon Common Ground. The conversation on that week’s topic will start then…but it will continue throughout the week (and even beyond). One of the advantages of a “virtual book club” is that you can participate when it works best for you.

Do I need to register or pay?

No. The book club is free and requires no specific registration. However, to keep the conversation moving, we do ask that all members sign in using your real name. We have enabled it so you can sign in using your Facebook or Twitter accounts, or you can create a new account at Intense Debate, a great new commenting system that helps you track the conversation.

Do I need to buy the book?

No….but. We will be placing small excerpts from the book on the site to help those who are unable to buy the book. But reading the book will give you a much broader view of the issues and statistics at hand…plus, it’s a darn good read.

What kind of conversation will the book club be?

Open, honest, and forward-looking. The book, Uncommon Common Ground, is all of these…and we hope this conversation will be, too. We want to hear your ideas for how to improve our changing America — and we want you to engage other book club members’ ideas, as well.

Most important, this is YOUR conversation. The book club is a service to help foster a meaningful conversation on these issues. It’s up to you to guide it where you want.

Uncommon Common Ground Co-Authors

"Uncommon Common Ground" Co-Authors Manuel Pastor, Stewart Kwoh, and Angela Glover Blackwell


Who is Really “Hit Hardest” in this Recession?

Who is Really “Hit Hardest” in this Recession?

How upside down have our politics gotten? Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that those making more than $250,000 were “the people who were hit hardest by this recession.”

The absurdity of that claim was highlighted that same day when the US Census Bureau released its new poverty numbers. While the big number everyone’s talking about is that one in seven Americans is now below the poverty level, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Not by a long shot.

If you look deeper at the data, the story of who has actually been “hit hardest” is clear:

  • More than one in four black and Hispanic people are below the poverty line
  • Hispanics saw the biggest jump in poverty (2.1%)
  • Biggest drop in real income was among black people and non-citizens (4.4% and 4.5% drop, respectively)


You can see charts of this on the PolicyLink blog, EquityBlog.

But this is not about numbers. It’s about real people and real suffering.

The community-level consequences of this spike in poverty are stark and dire. Families are facing tight food budgets. Laid-off workers are losing their homes to foreclosure. Fragile community cohesion is fraying. And the vital infrastructure investments that were ignored during the Bush Administration remain bottled up in partisan politics – and millions of job-seekers suffer as a result.

We can see the pain and struggle in the faces of our neighbors, our family members, our children. But with white, college-educated people still facing non-crisis-level unemployment, it has been disturbingly easy for some politicians to ignore the deep and ongoing economic disaster in America.

If Sen. McConnell and his allies need more numbers to be convinced, how about these (click here for charts):

  • Since the recession began, the black unemployment rate has climbed 7.3 percentage points (9.0% in December 2007 to 16.3% today)
  • White unemployment has risen 4.5% and today sits below the pre-recession black unemployment rate (4.4% in December 2007 to 8.9% today)
  • Latino unemployment has nearly doubled during the recession (6.3% in December 2007 to 12.0% today)
  • While white and Latino unemployment has dropped or stabilized since May, black unemployment is actually on the rise (15.5% in May 2010 to 16.3% today)

What do we do about this? Thankfully, a clear path has already been blazed – if we can find the political will to simply walk down it.

The safety net investments made in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act are crucial. Unemployment benefits, temporary worker assistance, food stamps, and state aid all must be extended until this crisis is over.

But we must look beyond just our immediate crisis. We must make sure tomorrow’s workforce is on steady footing. First, Congress must pass President Obama’s $50 billion infrastructure proposal – a solid start to a decades-long solution. Also, Rep. George Miller’s Local Jobs for America Act would stimulate local businesses and immediately put nearly one million Americans back to work. Passing that bill should be a no-brainer.

Tomorrow’s workforce will also need more training than ever. This skills crisis means we may soon face a severe shortage of skilled workers to fill our new jobs building and maintaining infrastructure like electrical grips, transit systems, and bridges. Getting low-income black and Latino youth plugged into our community college system would go a long way to preparing for tomorrow. All our families need support to weather this recession.

The jobs crisis in America is deep – and it is deepest for those who were already in a hole to start with. This recession won’t end until Congress gets serious about who is really “hit hardest.”

Poverty in Black and White (and Latino and Asian)

Poverty in Black and White (and Latino and Asian)

The poverty numbers released today by the US Census Bureau were, to quote a colleague, heart-breaking. While the big number being talked about today is that one in seven Americans is now below the poverty level, that doesn’t tell the whole story.

If you look deeper at the data, the story of who’s hit first and worst is clear. The lowlights:

  • More than one in four blacks, Latinos, and non-citizens is below the poverty line
  • Biggest drop in real income was among blacks and non-citizens (4.4% and 4.5% drop, respectively)
  • Hispanics and non-citizens saw the biggest jump in poverty (2.1 % and 1.8%, respectively)

And those already hit hard are getting hit HARDEST in this recession:

History of White People

Via Ta-Nehisi Coates, here’s a very interesting video of historian Nell Irvin Painter discussing the history of “whiteness” — who is considered white, where, and why. Fascinating discourse on the elasticity of racial labels.

This concept will surely come up in our Race & America’s Future Virtual Book Club starting Sept. 29.

Click here to tell us what other topics we should hit on.

Race & America’s Future Book Club Release

Contact:

Janet A. Dickerson, Press Secretary

(510) 421-4157

Janet@policylink.org

NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS LAUNCH VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB EXPLORING RACE AND AMERICA’S FUTURE

Six-week online book club will join opinion leaders, equity advocates, and ordinary Americans in a national conversation on race and other critical issues facing our country today

September 8, 2010 – New York, NY – Today, three national civil rights leaders announced the launch of the “Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club,” a six-week online book club exploring the challenges and opportunities facing our changing nation – and what we can do about them.

Inspired by the new book Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future (written by PolicyLink Founder & CEO Angela Glover Blackwell, USC Professor Manuel Pastor, and Asian-American civil rights leader Stewart Kwoh), the virtual book club will engage people from all ethnic, cultural, social and political backgrounds in an open, honest, and meaningful discussion on race.

“By 2050 people of color will be the majority in our country – and yet there remains so much work ahead to fix the deep-seated, inequities that persist in our economy, our institutions, our schools, and our communities,” said Angela Glover Blackwell. “America needs a national dialogue on race and, although this virtual book club won’t carry that weight by itself, we do hope it will spark real discussion across the nation and in our communities.”

Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 29th (and every Wednesday through Election Day),  this online conversation will explore crucial issues facing the country today, as America pushes towards 2050, when people of color will comprise a majority in America. The weekly topical discussions will include:

Sept. 29: Are We Post-Racial Yet?

Oct. 6:      Color Lines: Growing and Accepting Diversity

Oct. 13:    Race and the Economy

Oct. 20:  Urgent Challenges: Immigration, Incarceration, and Climate Change

Oct. 27:  New Leadership for now and 2050

Nov. 3:    Equity is the Superior Growth Model

Each topic will be accompanied by key questions from the authors, helping guide the conversation – but not limiting it.

Hosted through EquityBlog, these discussions will be critical as the November elections approach, and America’s leaders work towards a more equitable and inclusive recovery for all people.

“A successful recovery requires that we all engage and work towards pragmatic solutions that make it possible for all people to participate in America’s resurgence. I encourage you to join us and be a part of this critical dialogue on race our nation so greatly needs,” said Angela Glover Blackwell.

“Race can be an incredibly difficult subject to talk about – which is exactly why we must do so as openly and frankly as possible,” said Manuel Pastor. “Having these conversations in a way that is personal and candid — but with a focus on the policy agenda that follows — will help lay the groundwork for a national agenda that leads with equity. We hope that the ‘Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club’ will be a useful step towards pushing this conversation in the right direction, and helping us all reach common ground on today’s most divisive issues.”

“Before we can develop policy frameworks that address the many struggles disparately impacting people of color — high unemployment, impoverished communities, poor health and schools — we must deeply understand why race is a common denominator, and is a key to find real and lasting solution to these growing disparities,” said Stewart Kwoh.

For more information on Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future, and the “Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club,” please visit EquityBlog.org.

Finally, a National Conversation on Race!

Finally, a National Conversation on Race!

For years, we’ve all been lamenting the lack of a real, meaningful national discussion on race. Starting September 29, we hope you’ll join us to fix that.

We are very excited to announce today the “Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club” – a six-week, online book club exploring the challenges and opportunities facing our changing nation.

The club will be based around the structure of our new book, Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future. (Note: None of us profit from these book sales. All proceeds go to the publisher.)

Every Wednesday right here on EquityBlog starting September 29, we will host an online conversation looking at crucial issues facing America as we push toward 2050 and our inevitable future as a nation with no majority ethnic or racial group.

Uncommon Common Ground Book CoverSept. 29: Are We Post-Racial Yet?
Oct. 6:
Color Lines: Growing and Accepting Diversity
Oct. 13:
Race and the Economy
Oct. 20:
Urgent Challenges: Immigration, Incarceration, and Climate Change
Oct. 27:
New Leadership for now and 2050
Nov. 3: Equity is the Superior Growth Model

We want to hear from you, though. Tell us what issues you want to talk about in this conversation.

We hope you will join us – and lead the national dialogue we need.

Thank you,
Angela Glover Blackwell, Stewart Kwoh, and Manuel Pastor
Co-authors, Uncommon Common Ground

Uncommon Common Ground Co-Authors

"Uncommon Common Ground" Co-Authors Manuel Pastor, Stewart Kwoh, and Angela Glover Blackwell

For more on the authors, please visit www.UncommonCommonGround.org