On Monday night, at the National Constitution Center, the solemn place where President Obama gave his powerful address on race, Philadelphians will gather for a follow-up dialog: Being White in Philly.
This, of course, refers to the recent magazine cover story by Philadelphia Magazine, which quoted unnamed European Americans about racial fears and beliefs. In it, we learn some whites fear crime, are skeptical that minorities are doing the right things to get ahead, and are unaware that in Philadelphia – a gateway to prosperity – the door is locked for many.
Really, did this come as a surprise to anyone?
When unemployment numbers were released last Friday (March 8), commentators reacted joyfully. Alan Krueger, who heads the White House Council of Economic Advisors, described the creation of 247,000 jobs as a victory because the predictions were that the economy would only generate 170,000 jobs. Unemployment rates went down to 7.7 percent, while predictions were that they would drop to 7.8 percent.
Some might call this good news, but many might wonder who is affected by this good news.
A deeper examination of the unemployment data shows the disappointing reality that African-American unemployment rates remained level, at 13.8 percent. Meanwhile, white unemployment rates fell to 6.8 percent and the rate for white men dropped to 6.3 percent. The racial disparities in unemployment rates are not new, but it is hypocritical to celebrate a drop in white unemployment rages, without noticing or mentioning the stagnation in black unemployment rates.
As long as most of us can remember, African-American communities have taught and believed that a college education is the key to social and economic advancement. But according to a new research and policy brief by Brandeis University scholars, that long-held belief is only one of several factors affecting Black America's ability to build wealth.
After Brandeis University's Institute on Assets and Policies traced 1,700 working Americans households over 25 years, the researchers found that the wealth gap between white and African-American families nearly tripled, increasing from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009. For each dollar in income increase during these years, white wealth grew $5.19 while African-American wealth growth amounted to 69 cents.
The following are truths that I find hard to ignore: Fifteen percent of Americans go to a gym every year. Only 8 percent of those who have purchased contracts use their gym memberships. Yet Americans spend $2.6 billion a year in gym-related fees.
BlueCross® BlueShield® of Tennessee Inc. (BCBST), an independent, not-for-profit, health benefit plan company based in Chattanooga, is keenly aware that Tennessee has a health problem. And Memphis, recently dubbed the fattest city in America, could be considered the poster child for obesity.
With Memphis and other American cities sliding rapidly toward an epidemic, BCBST is standing in the gap, hoping to reduce the obesity rate with its sponsorship of the Healthy Church Challenge 100-day weight loss competition, which launched Feb. 2. This is the second year for the Challenge.
COMMENTARY – I recall almost a decade ago when former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at the height of his powers walked up to me at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and asked, "Can a brother get a good word from you?"
My response was, "Mr. Mayor, give me something good to write about."
Apparently, the mayor was concerned that he wasn't getting favorable press from the media and that journalists like myself and others were too critical of his administration, and thus he needed a break. Yesterday morning, standing in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit waiting for the historic verdict in Kilpatrick's corruption trial, I could not help but recall all of my interactions with the man who once wielded so much power that anyone close to him was to be avoided.
BEIJING – In absolute numbers, China probably has more beautiful women than any other country in the world. But one could never tell that by looking at the squeaky-clean glass display windows in upscale stores in this capital city or in Shanghai, whose architecture has been often compared to London, Paris and Rio.
The classic image of beauty in those stores and elsewhere across China are modeled after the American and European standard of beauty – white, blue-eyed and blond.
That's remarkable in a country that has long considered itself the center of the universe.
March is the official month to "discuss" women and it could not arrive too soon. What is sad about both Black History Month (February) and International Women's Month (March) is that too many of us think that those are the only legitimate times of the year to discuss the issues affecting these respective groups. In either case, attention to the plight of women, in March or any other month, is warranted.
Last year seemed to be the year to attack women. The language of many on the political Right during election season was so phenomenally backward that in a different context you would have wondered whether it was all an act. Suggesting that there are acceptable and unacceptable forms of rape, for instance, once again puts the burden on women for the violence that they experience.