mfioretti: racial issues*

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  1. But the cultural generation gap is also a product of the specific eras during which the different groups were raised and became adults. Conceived during the prosperous post−World War II period, the baby boomers brought a rebellious, progressive sensibility to the country in the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond. With the help of the programs of the Great Society, they became the most well-schooled generation to date and the epitome of America’s largely white, suburban middle class, with which most of today’s adults now identify.

    Yet the baby boomers also came of age at a moment when the United States was becoming more insular than it had been before. Between 1946 and 1964, the years of the baby boom, the immigrant share of the U.S. population shrank to an all-time low (under 5 percent), and the immigrants who did arrive were largely white Europeans. Growing up in mostly white, segregated suburbs, white baby boomers did not have much interaction with people unlike them. Although baby boomers have been interested in righting domestic wrongs, such as racial discrimination, and bursting glass ceilings, they are now joining seniors in voicing sharp resistance to America’s new racial change. A 2011 Pew Research Center poll shows that only 23 percent of baby boomers and seniors regard the country’s growing population of immigrants as a change for the better and that 42 percent see it as a change for the worse. More than one-half of white baby boomers and seniors said that the growing number of newcomers from other countries represents a threat to traditional U.S. values and customs.

    The Pew survey found marked differences between baby boomers and millennials—who are known for their racial inclusiveness—with regard to agreement that the following are changes for the better: that more people of different races are marrying each other (36 percent versus 60 percent), that the population of Hispanics is growing (21 percent versus 33 percent), and that the population of Asians is growing (24 percent versus 43 percent).

    Underpinning the generational divide are shifts in what demographers call old-age dependency and child dependency, which now have a distinct racial dimension. By 2020, the old-age dependency ratio for whites will exceed the child dependency ratio, and for the two decades that follow, white seniors will outnumber white children. That stands in marked contrast to the position of Hispanics, whose youth dependency will remain well above 45 through 2040, even as the old-age dependency ratio inches up to 21.
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  2. Google Photos users upload photos snapped under all kinds of imperfect conditions. Given the number of images in the massive database, a tiny chance of mistaking one type of great ape for another can become a near certainty.

    Google parent Alphabet and the wider tech industry face versions of this problem with even higher stakes, such as with self-driving cars. Together with colleague Baishakhi Ray, an expert in software reliability, Román is probing ways to constrain the possible behaviors of vision systems used in scenarios like self-driving cars. Ray says there has been progress, but it is still unclear how well the limitations of such systems can be managed. “We still don’t know in a very concrete way what these machine learning models are learning,” she says.
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  3. about to experience a dramatic shift

    The demographics of the United States are changing quickly, and there is no simpler way to understand that than to look at the most common age of each race and ethnic group.

    The US Census Bureau recently released its estimates of the US population as of July 2016. Besides an estimate of the total population (325 million), the census also includes estimates of the number of people of every age within each race and ethnicity. For example, the census estimates that, as of July 2016, there were 976,288 Hispanic 15-year-olds in the country.

    Jed Kolko, chief economist of jobs site Indeed, combed through this data and came away with a fascinating insight. He discovered huge variation in the most common age—more technically, the mode—between each major racial group in the US.

    While there are more 57-year-old white people than any other age, the most common age among Asians is 28. For Hispanics, it’s 10. Perhaps most incredibly, the most common age for people in the US identified as mixed race is 0—babies that have not yet reached the age of one.
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  4. “When we’re representing people,” Lopez explains, “we need to make sure we’re mindful and respectful and acknowledge that history of a lack of trust — based on the way that these organizations or communities feel like they’d been treated in the past.”

    For Aaron Mair, who has led one of those distrustful communities and also served as president of the biggest environmental organization in the country, he hopes his tenure as Sierra Club president showed green groups that they could serve their traditional missions while broadening their mandates to address the needs of vulnerable communities.

    “White privilege and racism within the broader environmental movement is existent and pervasive,” Mair says. “The current is not maintainable — we’re becoming a brown nation.

    “It’s not about a one-off,” he adds. “It’s about sustainability.”
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  5. Buchanan wrote a 13-page memo to Nixon, urging him to engage in “heated political warfare, of not cooling off our supporters but of stirring the fires” as they were now “in a contest over the soul of the country” with their liberal enemies in Congress, the press and the universities. “It will be their kind of society or ours; we will prevail or they shall prevail.”

    And another aide, Michael Balzano, urged the president to transmit the following message to disgruntled white voters: “Today, racial minorities are saying that you can’t make it in America. What they really mean is that they refuse to start at the bottom of the ladder the way you did. They want to surpass you … and » they want it handed to them. … You worked the menial jobs to get where you are - let them do it too.” Balzono knew what he was proposing—an intentional rending of American society along racial lines, for political profit. “CAUTION – DANGER,” he wrote. “With respect to the calculated polarization described in this paper, ABSOLUTE SECRECY CANNOT BE OVERSTATED” or “there would be no way of calculating the damage to the Administration.” The capitalization was his.
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-03-28)
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  6. Led by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Apple CEO Tim Cook, Silicon Valley is loudly complaining about homophobic laws passed in Indiana and Arkansas in recent days that allow businesses to refuse service to customers based on religious beliefs.

    A who’s who of leaders from companies such as Yelp, Square, Twitter, Lyft, Airbnb, eBay, PayPal and others signed their names to a petition today urging legislatures to forbid discrimination or denial of services to anyone, saying, “Discrimination is bad for business.” Petition leader Max Levchin, a PayPal co-founder and currently CEO of finance startup Affirm, told Re/code: “I am asking all CEOs to evaluate their relationships and investments in states that do not specifically protect LGBT people from discrimination.”

    That’s great and even admirable, except that here on the home front, Silicon Valley has its own very obvious discrimination problems. Gender is a big one. Race is another. The numbers are so incredibly skewed for the majority — the published diversity numbers in technology are something like 70 percent men, 90 percent white and Asian — that the situation is very often unhealthy for people who don’t or can’t fit in.

    While these are not twin causes, there are obvious parallels, and the inconsistencies between them became all the more evident this week.
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  7. some 2.3 million people are locked up in the United States, the highest incarceration rate in the world. Of these, a disproportionate number are Black and Brown. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three Black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime.

    For young people of color, the data is especially alarming. According to The Sentencing Project, even though African American juveniles are about 16 percent of the youth population, 37 percent of their cases are moved to criminal court and 58 percent of African American youth are sent to adult prisons.

    In “No Place for Kids,” a 2011 Annie E. Casey Foundation report, author Richard A. Mendel writes, “America’s heavy reliance on juvenile incarceration is unique among the world’s developed nations,” pointing to a international comparison that found the U.S locks up children at more than six times the rate of all other developed nations. “A number of nations essentially don’t incarcerate minors at all,” Mendel added. “In other words, mass incarceration of troubled and troublemaking adolescents is nei­ther inevitable nor necessary in a modern society.”

    So what is the solution? Denise Curtis, who coordinates the Restorative Community Conferencing Program at Oakland-based Community Works, talked to War Times about a viable alternative to this country’s mass incarceration of youth.

    “Restorative justice is a different approach to crime,” Curtis explained. “Our current justice system asks: What law was broken? Who broke it? and How should they be punished? Restorative justice asks: Who has been harmed? What needs have arisen because of the harm? and Whose responsibility is it to make things as right as they can?”

    Restorative justice also allows victims to have a voice. “In our current system, the victim is very much left out of things and is nothing more than a witness,
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  8. Because economic conditions allowed looser fiscal constraints, the rapid growth of the new Child Support Grant, a means-tested social grant that now goes to 11m children under the age of 18, reduced poverty greatly. But because the income gains of the poor were lower than those of the black middle class, income gaps amongst blacks widened. The Gini coefficient of 0.66 amongst black people is even higher than Brazil’s.

    Income inequality within the white population also grew, but for quite a different reason. Most white people now also have higher incomes than at the end of apartheid – though high school fees, medical costs and costs of maintaining security eroded these gains, and white incomes are actually growing relatively slowly.

    Poorer and less well-educated whites were the only clear losers. They lost the job protection they had enjoyed under apartheid, while the value of their social pensions and other grants was reduced when grants were equalised. White inequality has therefore also grown.
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  9. Jonathan Guryan, Jens Ludwig: Graduation rates for big urban schools about 50%
    Many believe academic learning not feasible when disadvantaged kids reach teen years
    They say program of small-group tutoring raised kids' performance considerably
    Writers: It worked in Chicago, why not elsewhere? Key is not to give up with teens
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  10. After my initial stint with Wikipedia editing, I increasingly realized that the English version of Wikipedia lacked articles on Indian writers, famous personalities, cultural artefacts, and more. The problem is multi-layered and includes poor coverage of everything relating to non-western societies as well as to women within those societies. Once, I created article on Wikipedia about an Indian, female writer named Bama. She is from the lowest caste community called Dalits in India; and while the author is a celebrated writer of stories on the subject of double oppression (which is oppession of women by people of higher castes and oppression by men within their own communities), Wikipedia almost naturally had no record of her work. Sadly, within minutes of my creation of her article it was nominated for deletion. I then quickly added more references while simultaneously starting a discussion about why it should not be deleted. At that point, another Indian editor jumped in and helped with the explaination; the next day the deletion tag was removed.
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