Tag Archives: Inequality

The War on Poverty at 50: How Far Have We Come, and Where Are We Going? (A Conference Report)

Tropics of Meta

war-on-poverty-08-story-top

One goal of studying the past is not to be trapped by history but to transcend it.

— Historian Michael B. Katz (1939-2014)

ToM regularly covers disciplinary conferences. Last week, the University of Pennsylvania hosted “The War on Poverty at 50: Its History and Legacy.” Your ToM correspondent spoke at the event while furiously taking notes during all the panels to produce the write-up you have before you. Videos of the event will be up shortly and embedded below. (Panelists, if you’re reading this, let me know if something’s missing or distorted, and I’ll modify this account immediately. I tried to keep these as brief as possible while conveying the major thrusts of the papers.)

The past few years have seen a resurgence of scholarly interest in the War on Poverty: LBJ’s signature polices and programs that addressed a number of spheres, including education, nutritional, health care, and job training…

View original post 5,966 more words

No Apology: A Letter

india kid

Mehreen Kasana

On my way to class, I take the Q train to Manhattan and sit down next to an old white man who recoils a noticeable bit. I assume it’s because I smell odd to him, which doesn’t make sense because I took a shower in the morning. Maybe I’m sitting too liberally the way men do on public transit with their legs a mile apart, I think to myself. That also doesn’t apply since I have my legs crossed. After a few seconds of inspecting any potential offence caused, I realize that it has nothing to do with an imaginary odor or physical space but with the keffiyeh around my neck that my friend gifted me (the Palestinian scarf – an apparently controversial piece of cloth). It is an increasingly cold October in NYC. Sam Harris may not have told you but we Muslims need our homeostasis at a healthy…

View original post 2,295 more words

Coming Out as a Scholarship Student at Columbia: Invisible Labor & Class-Lines

Koko Jaeger

milbank-green

Ever since May 1st, I’ve been thinking a lot about labor.

May 1st is, of course, international workers’ rights day: one day of the year. But our economy is driven by blue collar workers every day of the year, not just on the first day of Spring when those who are willing choose to recognize it for 24 hours.

I am lucky enough to attend a really wonderful undergrad college at a really wonderful university and I am hugely grateful for that and for the opportunities it affords me. Full disclosure, though, I am here on an incredible scholarship, without which I would absolutely not be able to afford tuition to this school.

Here at Barnard, and at the greater Columbia University, the grass is always tidy, the paving stones are always swept and, in the Barnard dorms anyway, the bathrooms are cleaner than any dorm bathrooms have a right…

View original post 1,688 more words

Structured Unrest: The Rumford Act, Proposition 14, and the Systematic Inequality that Created the Watts Riots

Tropics of Meta

fairhousing

 

If “you keep telling people that they are unfairly treated and teach them disrespect for the law,” Chief William Parker told reporters in the aftermath of the Watts Riots, then violence is inevitable. Parker’s commentary, an attempt to deflect his own department’s culpability for the civil unrest veered into increasingly racist territory. In Parker’s worldview, trouble only started “when one person threw a rock, and like monkeys in a zoo, others started throwing rocks.” Calls by assemblyman Mervyn Dymally for a civilian police review board were little more than a “vicious canard,” argued the imperious police chief.[1]

The legacy of the riots, fifty years old next year, has reverberated throughout Los Angeles and Southern California history and its echoes can still be heard today. Undoubtedly, the riots accelerated white flight from communities like Compton, where ironically, black, white, and Latino residents had repelled looters. While discrimination persisted in…

View original post 3,278 more words

Repossession: Reclaimed Slurs & Lexicography

Typewriter

harm·less drudg·ery

[Ed. note: this post contains language that is considered extremely inflammatory. Caveat lector.]

People forward language articles to me all the time–usually the same article multiple times, until my inbox is nothing but language links and plaintive requests from Wine.com to buy more booze, please. But no one forwarded me Talib Kweli’s recent Medium post on language, probably because it was about the history and uses of the word “nigger.” I asked one of my frequent-forwarders if he had seen the post. “I had,” he wrote, “but I figured you’d have already seen it. I was not going to be the one to forward you a post on the n-word.”

The n-word. I think about slurs on a regular basis, in part because I have to explain to people why they’re entered in some of their dictionaries. It’s not unusual for me to open my email in…

View original post 2,004 more words

Not Bowling Alone: How the Holiday Bowl in Crenshaw Became an Integrated Leisure Space

Tropics of Meta

377785513_13a0cf28f0_z-thumb-630x432-58257 Top: The Holiday Bowl sign today. Photo: Your Pal Dave/Flickr/Creative Commons

In May 2000, the New York Times reported the upcoming demolition of the Crenshaw District’s Holiday Bowl. Built by Japanese American investors in 1958, just as Crenshaw and neighboring Leimart Park were reemerging as one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods, the bowling alley served as an integrated leisure space where African, Mexican, and Asian Americans could interact. “It’s like a United Nations in there,” longtime employee Jacqueline Sowell told writer Don Terry. ”Our employees are Hispanic, white, black, Japanese, Thai, Filipino. I’ve served grits to as many Japanese customers as I do black. We’ve learned from each other and given to each other. It’s much more than just a bowling alley. It’s a community resource.”

Even amid the traumatic 1992 riots, numerous patrons, including Rodney G. King, sat outside the alley protecting it from looters telling anyone who…

View original post 2,931 more words

In Memory of Our Voting Rights Martyrs: A Sermon For Kol Nidre 5774

Shalom Rav

I’d like to begin tonight by telling you the stories of three heroes of the civil rights era. I’d wager most Americans have never heard of them – but as far as I’m concerned, they deserve to be at least as well known as Emmett Till, Medger Evers and Rosa Parks.

The first is Jimmie Lee Jackson, an African-American farmer and woodcutter from in Marion, Alabama. Jackson grew up in poverty, but planned to move North for a better life after graduating from high school. After his father’s early death however, he spent his the remainder of his life on his small family farm in Marion, where he lived together with his sister, mother, and grandfather.

Jackson was an army veteran and a deeply faithful man; he became the youngest deacon in the history of Marion’s St. James Baptist Church. He also turned into a political activist at an early…

View original post 3,831 more words

Where No Google Buses Go

Pueblo Lands

For every word written about the gentrification and displacement that is tearing San Francisco apart, there should be ten words written about the the poverty, environmental racism, and financial predation battering the smaller industrial cities of Contra Costa and Alameda counties. In suburban hinterlands north and east of Silicon Valley and San Francisco are the bankrupted municipalities of the Sacramento Delta and Carquinez Straight. We’re talking Stockton and Vallejo. Even closer are other cities devastated by the economic crisis, places like San Pablo, or Richmond from where you can see the rising skyline of San Francisco across the Bay, growing with towers of luxury apartments as it is.

Black and Latino residents have already been pushed to the fringes of San Francisco, both geographically and in the employment ranks of the new tech-centric economy. Fleets of Silicon Valley company buses that clog San Francisco’s streets picking up and dropping off…

View original post 1,554 more words