You can almost hear the stampede…
There’s a comforting-to-white-people fiction about racism and racial inequality in the United States today: They’re caused by a small, recalcitrant group who cling to their egregiously inaccurate beliefs in the moral, intellectual and economic superiority of white people.
The reality: racism and racial inequality aren’t just supported by old ideas, unfounded group esteem or intentional efforts to mistreat others, said Nancy DiTomaso, author of the new book, The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism. They’re also based on privilege, she said — how it is shared, how opportunities are hoarded and how most white Americans think their career and economic advantages have been entirely earned, not passed down or parceled out.
The way that whites, often unconsciously, hoard and distribute advantage inside their almost all white networks of family and friends is one of the driving reasons that in February just 6.8 percent of white workers remained unemployed while 13.8 percent of black workers and 9.6 percent of Hispanic workers were unable to find jobs, DiTomaso said
DiTomaso concludes, based on her research, that most white Americans engage, at least a few times per year, in the activities that foster inequality. While they may not deliberately discriminate against black and other non-white job seekers, they take actions that make it more likely that white people will be employed — without thinking that what they’re doing amounts to discrimination.
“The vast majority assumed everyone has the same opportunities, and they just somehow tried harder, were smarter,” DiTomaso said of those she interviewed. “Not seeing how whites help other whites as the primary way that inequality gets reproduced today is very helpful. It’s easy on the mind.”
So white Americans tell a neighbor’s son about a job, hire a friend’s daughter, carry the resume of a friend (or, for that matter, a friend’s boyfriend’s sister) into the boss’s office, recommend an old school mate or co-worker for an unadvertised opening, or just say great things about that job applicant whom they happen to know. But since most Americans, white and black, live virtually segregated lives, and since advantages, privileges and economic progress have already accrued in favor of whites, the additional advantages that flow from this help go almost exclusively to whites, DiTomaso said.
DiTomaso’s work does confirm that networks — not just the kind you build over awkward conversations, finger foods and watered-down cocktails but the kind you’re born into — matter, Austin said. It also points to just how different forms of inequality feed one another. Family-and-friends segregation feeds job and income inequality. That in turn feeds neighborhood and school segregation. That then leaves some kids less likely to receive a quality education and escape from the cycle, he said.
It’s not that black workers don’t attempt the same sort of job assists within their own networks, said Deirdre Royster, an economic sociologist at New York University and author of Race and the Invisible Hand: How White Networks Exclude Black Men From Blue Collar Jobs.
African Americans ask neighbors, significant others, the significant others of neighbors, relatives and friends about open jobs, too. But since black unemployment rates were far higher than white rates before, during and after the recession, the number of people in a typical black social network who are in a position to help is far more limited.
According to Royster, there’s an additional twist: When blacks are aware of a job, they describe the job, the boss, the company and its preferences and needs. Then they follow up with a warning.
“They give the person looking for a job all sorts of information and then they say, ‘But don’t tell them I sent you,’” said Royster.
Black workers are aware of something that researchers are still trying to explain: White bosses often worry, lack of statistical evidence aside, that black workers are more likely to sue them or band together in the workplace and try to change things, Royster said. That seems all the more likely if the black workers already know one another, she said. And many white hiring managers still assume, consciously or unconsciously, that black workers bring undesirable workplace habits and qualities, Royster said.
Diane Sawyer: So, have you thought, how many women is enough? How many women [on the Supreme Court] would be enough?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Nine, nine. [Applause.]
Sawyer: Oh! Oh. [Laughs.]
Ginsburg: Well, there’ve been nine men there for a long long time, right? So why not nine women?
RUTH FOR ALL THINGS
Mar 30, 1870: The Fifteenth Amendment is Adopted
On this day in 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was adopted into the Constitution which gave African-American men the right to vote.
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
Nevertheless, many African-American men still faced problems in the voting polls due to strict voter eligibility laws. These include poll taxes and literacy tests.
Sharon Henry, a Black lesbian district attorney of San Mateo, walked into a Bank of America and attempted to deposit a check for $27,000 from her domestic partner’s account into hers and withdraw $1,000. The teller looked up a listing for the partner’s name—Kathleen Wilkinson—but it was a different Kathleen Wilkinson than Henry’s partner, and the listing lacked the notation that Sharon Henry was allowed to make the transaction.
The teller called Wilkinson’s family, who stated they didn’t know Henry and the teller called the police. The police, failing to follow protocol, did not call the phone number on the check, and refused to let Henry make the call, put her under arrest. They locked her up and took away her phone and diabetes medication.
Finally, Henry was released two hours later after her partner arrived at the bank wondering where she had gone.
Henry, a prosecutor, has decided to sue Bank of America for negligence, stating that the bank acted the way it did largely because she was African American. The judge has ruled in BofA’s favor, stating that Henry’s suit is an “unjustified” attempt to violate Bank of America’s free speech. Not only that, but the judge ordered Henry to pay BofA’s $50,000 attorney fees.
Sharon Henry is considering an appeal.
Last night on the show, we talked about the wave of Republicans who’ve seen the light on marriage equality — and that light is a flashing sign that says 2014, 2016.
But some of our Republican friends don’t like to hear that because they contend plenty of Democrats — like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — have “evolved” on gay marriage too.
Now as nice as it is for me to hear an American conservative mention evolution in a positive sense, I’ve got to tell you, all homophobes are not created equal.
Take, if you will, former President Bill Clinton. Yes, he did sign the Defense of Marriage Act into law back in 1996. Yes, that was a bad homophobic law that once again wrote discrimination into the fabric of our history — and as Tim Gunn might say, parts of that fabric are hideous. Make it work!
But let’s put it in context.
Clinton was the first president to openly court LGBT Americans during his ’92 campaign. His inaugural led to the first-ever LGBT ball. He then put his entire first term on the line fighting to allow gay and lesbian Americans to openly serve in the military.
The GOP had crushed him on that issue, leading to the stupid “don’t ask, don’t tell.” And the GOP did it using absolute nonsense terms like “threat to unit cohesion” to justify a ban on gay soldiers. Because you wouldn’t want gays in the army — that would keep the units from coming together.
And in the midst of an ugly re-election campaign, Bill Clinton did the wrong thing: He signed the Defense of Marriage Act. Absolutely.
But the LGBT community always supported Bill Clinton, in spite of DOMA, because they had seen how hard he fought for them. And most knew that if Clinton had done the right thing and vetoed DOMA in a much more prejudiced society than today, the GOP would have pummeled him with it, and gays and lesbians might have had President Bob Dole sworn in in 1997, who would not have been a friend to the gay community. That’s the irony of the Clinton compromise — by signing this awful law, Clinton arguably helped LGBT rights.
Or take Barack Obama. Any gay person with access to Google knows Barack Obama was on the record supporting marriage equality as far back as 1996.
Once he ran for the White House, he felt it was “between a man and a woman” — hardly admirable, but clearly understandable as a political compromise. This was the president who stopped enforcing DOMA, who got rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell” before he came out in support of gay marriage. And he did it before he ran for re-election.
So what’s the difference? These guys were clearly friends of the gay community long before they supported equality. They didn’t go around demonizing love between two people of the same gender as “a threat to traditional marriage” like so many other GOP politicians you can Google right now.
Take Rob Portman. He didn’t just oppose gay marriage, he wrote the Defense of Marriage Act. He tried to change the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage, tried to ban adoptions by gay couples. Now that someone he actually knows is gay, he’s changed his views, hasn’t apologized for what he did before. And also the fact that 52 percent of his state supported marriage equality might have had something to do with it.
Or Karl Rove, who ran a 2004 national campaign based largely on “protecting traditional marriage,” but who now says he can see the GOP running a pro-marriage equality candidate. Karl once wrote, “Five thousand years of human history should not be overthrown by the acts of a few liberal judges or by the acts of a few local elected officials.” No, Karl, but a steady stream of public opinion polls was enough for you.
So do you see the pattern, my friends? Both sides came around on this issue for votes, yeah. But Democrats generally were longtime friends of the gay community while Republicans generally demonized them. And based on CPAC, a whole lot of them still do.
There’s cowardice and there’s hate — different kinds of homophobia. And it just proves that being gay is natural; hating gay is a lifestyle choice.
By Alyse Shorland, CNN
(CNN) - This week Time Magazine released its 100 Most Influential People in the World list. Among the presidents, CEOs and entertainers was a 27-year-old activist and undocumented Latina, Dulce Matuz.
Matuz has become a public face of undocumented students. She organizes protests and has been arrested. CNN.com profiled Matuz last year as part of its coverage leading up to the documentary “Don’t Fail Me: Education In America.”
Matuz first spoke out as an undocumented student in 2010 in Arizona. In 2008, she founded the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition. As the founder and president, she brings together youth of all backgrounds to campaign on behalf of an estimated 65,000 undocumented students who graduate from high school in the United States each year, according to the Urban Institute.
Matuz found out about a month ago that she would be a part of the Time 100 list, which is chosen by the magazine’s editors. Actor and activist Eva Longoria penned a description of Matuz, writing that she “represents the finest of her generation.”
“It’s been overwhelming. I am happy and honored - but this recognition is not for me, but for all the undocumented students and youth that work with me,” Matuz said.
Right now, she’s working to rally the Latino vote in Arizona.
“There’s lot of responsibility,” Matuz said. “We have 300,000 unregistered Latino voters in Arizona, and we have to let them know that even though I cannot vote, I have a voice.”
Matuz said even though recognition has led to her undocumented status becoming well-known, she’s never been afraid of what might happen to her.
“My mom told me that fear is from the devil, so I am not afraid,” Matuz said. “I just can’t think about it.”
In Time, she said, “We are Americans, and Americans don’t give up.”
This past month, there was much outrage over the fact that General Electric, despite making $14.2 billion in profits, paid zero U.S. taxes in 2010. General Electric actually received tax credits of $3.2 billion from American taxpayers.
At the same time that General Electric was not paying taxes, many undocumented immigrants, who are typically accused of taking advantage of the system while not contributing to it by many on the right, paid $11.2 billion in taxes. A new study by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy shows that undocumented immigrants paid $8.4 billion in sales taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $1.2 billion in personal income taxes last year. The study also estimates that nearly half of all undocumented immigrants pay income taxes.