"Despite working a full-time job, many low-wage workers still live in poverty. This isn't right." – Rep. George Miller
In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on income inequality in America, most notably with the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has lost much of its momentum. But what might have been lost in that principled attempt to point out the excesses of Wall Street and the growing power of the 1 percent, is the importance of raising the living standards of the working poor through a long overdue raise in the minimum wage.
Now those voices are rising, too.
It's definitely not the first of its kind, but this Cheerios ad featuring an interracial family (black dad, white mom, mixed kid) is definitely rare enough that it's getting noticed. Over at Reddit, it has already sparked a conversation that has cycled through everything from "Finally!" to "Who cares" to "Call me when it's a black woman married to a white man" to "I don't buy products based on their god d*mn social views." And then there's a whole discussion about why Dad wasn't a "stereotypical" black man. Whatever that means.
If you ask us, the quality of discourse around the spot suggests that many Americans need a lesson in racial literacy as much as they need the cholesterol-lowering grains General Mills is pushing.
When James Byrd, a black man, was dragged to his death in Texas in 1998 by a group of men later identified as having white-supremacist tendencies, African Americans were outraged. Most Americans were.
That same year, another horrifying hate crime captured the attention of the nation, when gay student Matthew Shepard was murdered by a group of men in Wyoming. The circumstances of Byrd's and Shepard's tragic deaths perfectly capture the shared challenges that African Americans and gay Americans face in a world in which power is still predominantly held by straight, white males.
Their deaths also perfectly illustrate why the historical tension that has existed between the two communities makes so little sense when a bottom-line reality exists for both: You can be killed for being the wrong color or the wrong sexual orientation.
Miguel has been having a tough time on Twitter lately. First he was immortalized as a meme via countless photoshopped pictures after kicking some fans in the face during the BillBoard Music Awards. Now he's being dragged through the fire after making a blanket statement about black people.
"I'm proud of my heritage," he wrote, "but honestly black people are the most judgmental people in the world." Instantaneously, black people responded in offense and anger. It wasn't immediately evident what sparked Miguel's comment, but it appears to have been brought on by a discussion about religion.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In a casual conversation in what was meant to welcome me to my new city, a white neighbor uncomfortably reminded me of the racial challenges that remain very much intact in the South between white folk and people of color, when he candidly referenced the degree of crime in the city as being the province of the ignorant, uneducated and low income "blacks" in the neighborhood.
No code words were necessary. He expressed concern regarding the racial "other" moving into the white-dominated communities, causing a shifting of geography (white flight) within the city and surrounding areas of Memphis. (Amazingly, he openly discussed these issues with me, as he conveyed that I was an "exception" to other blacks he encounters on a day-to-day basis.)
Many diversity campaigns took a wrong turn because they focused heavily on cultural deficits – what a particular group lacks or needs – rather than cultural strengths – the unique abilities, talents and strengths of these groups.
Instead of breaking down barriers, as we had hoped, often we ended up broadcasting subtle messages that these groups are inferior and not at all like the rest of us.
Today, a new strategy is taking root. Communities are imagining how a diverse city might function, and the role that everyone – rich and poor, black, Hispanic, Asian and white, Muslim and Christian, liberal and conservative – plays in making the economy competitive. Our ultimate diversity challenge is to figure out how to more fully develop talent in America so each person can contribute fully.