mfioretti: racial issues*

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  1. China is the biggest trading partner across the African continent, as well as Uganda’s largest foreign direct investor. Over the past decade, Beijing has loaned over $3 billion to the government of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who’s been in power for 32 years. These loans have helped foot the bills of Chinese companies constructing the $580 million expressway between the airport and the capital, Kampala, as well as a $2.2 billion dam on the White Nile. They have also funded construction of the president’s office, equipped with Chinese furniture and unveiled by China’s deputy premier at the time.

    With this investment has come an influx of Chinese. Although official figures from the Ugandan government put the number of Chinese living there at 4,473 in 2015, experts have said that the real figure, including undocumented immigrants, is at least twice as high, with some even estimating that up to 50,000 Chinese are living in Uganda.

    What we hustle with is to let the children get a good education. The rest comes naturally.
    - Elly Amani Gamukama, Ugandan man married to a Chinese woman

    Naturally, the boom in Chinese migration has also led to an increase in mixed marriages and partnerships. Although there are no statistics, officials from the Ugandan Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control complained to a parliamentary committee in 2016 that more and more Chinese are marrying Ugandans and taking jobs away from locals. While some are sham unions forged to gain better access to Ugandan citizenship, which makes it easier to do business, many are real. “We have many who are marrying and even re » producing,” one official told the parliamentary committee in English, one of the country’s official languages. “Even our Ugandan women are good at accepting to reproduce with these men.”

    The rise in interracial marriages isn’t confined to Uganda, of course. As the OBOR initiative expands and its investments and companies reach every part of the world, Chinese people are marrying more and more foreigners, raising a new question about China’s national identity: What makes someone Chinese?

    Qiu Yu, who has researched the large African community in China’s southern manufacturing hub Guangzhou, told Sixth Tone that mixed couples and their offspring can add new dimensions to Chinese culture. But such families often face cultural challenges and struggle for recognition in Chinese society, Qiu said. This can even be a problem for children of these unions who were born in China and are recognized as Chinese citizens, like Yuan and Gamukama’s first daughter, Barbara Yihong, who is now 20 and studying at the Beijing Institute of Technology. “It is more a blending of various cultural elements that makes their identity, including their racial identity in China, unique,” Qiu said.

    Mixed-race Chinese who are half white often garner admiration and envy in China, as many Chinese believe Eurasian children are stronger and more beautiful, capable, and intelligent, said Solange Chatelard, a research associate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany who focuses on state formation and China-Africa relations. But biracial Chinese are also criticized for not being “Chinese enough,” she added.

    As the child of parents from France and China, Chatelard said that she has experienced both positive and negative reactions, depending on the place and situation. “There is a perceptible sense of hierarchy between different races one is mixed with,” she said. “Being half white is generally considered more positive or less problematic in China than being half black.”

    Over the years, Yuan and Gamukama have had issues as well, but nothing that couldn’t be solved. Yuan, who wasn’t raised religious, converted to Christianity in 2009. “If we didn’t believe in God, this marriage would have been finished long ago,” she said.
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  2. Since 1990, more than 90 percent of U.S. metro areas have seen a decline in racial stratification, signaling a trend toward a more integrated America. Yet, while areas like Houston and Atlanta have undergone rapid demographic changes, cities like Detroit and Chicago still have large areas dominated by a single racial group.

    Some 50 years ago, policies like the Fair Housing Act and the Voting Rights Act were enacted to increase integration, promote equity, combat discrimination and dismantle the lingering legacy of Jim Crow laws. But a Washington Post analysis shows that some cities remain deeply segregated — even as the country itself becomes more diverse.


    America’s great housing divide: Are you a winner or loser?

    To explore these national changes, The Post analyzed census data from 1990, 2000, 2010 and the latest estimates from the 2016 five-year American Community Survey. Using that data, we generated detailed maps of the United States using six race categories: black, white, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American and multi-race/other for the available years.
    Asian/Pacific Islander
    Native American
    Multi-race and other
    San FranciscoLos AngelesNew YorkMinneapolisD.C.AtlantaHoustonDenverHonoluluAnchorageSeattleSt. LouisChicagoPhoenixMiami

    To calculate diversity, we used what’s called the entropy index, which measures the spatial distribution of race in a given area. The more clustered together a single racial group is, the less diverse that area is. If the group is distributed evenly, then the area is considered more diverse.
    Diversity beyond the city

    Over the past 30 years, suburbs have increasingly become the most racial and ethnically diverse areas in the country. For example, the D.C. metro area saw the Hispanic American population increase by almost 300 percent from 1990 to 2016. The Asian American population increased by 200 percent within the same period.



























    5 MILES
    Asian/Pacific Islander
    Native American
    Multi-race and other

    Suburbs such as Annandale, Va., and Silver Spring, Md., showed large increases in racial ethnic diversity compared with about three decades ago.

    Michael Bader, an assistant professor of sociology at American University in the District, attributes part of suburban diversity to newly built housing.

    “A lot of those areas were developed after the Fair Housing Act was implemented,” he said. “If you’re building housing and you’re subject to the Fair Housing Act, you shouldn’t have, in those particular units, the legacy effects of segregation.”

    He also noted that rental and purchase prices in the suburbs tend to be lower than in cities, offering more opportunities for a diverse population, both in race and income level, to move in.

    Decades of scholarship point to three main reasons for persistent segregation: money, preferences and discrimination. But, to Crowder and Krysan, the answer is more complex.

    “The separation of different racial and ethnic groups into separate social worlds means that members of different racial and ethnic groups have different lived experiences,” Crowder said. “They have different daily rounds. They’re exposed to different neighborhoods on a daily basis. Residential segregation has separated these groups by educational quality and occupational opportunity.“

    That could explain, for example, why a city like Chicago has a diverse mix of racial and ethnic groups that remain in specific parts of the city. Research on residential segregation often points to the discriminatory practices — like “redlining” — that placed specific racial groups in specific parts of the city. But Krysan argues that it goes deeper than that.

    “We don’t have the integrated social networks. We don’t have integrated experiences through the city. It’s baked-in segregation,” Krysan said. Every time someone makes a move, she said, they’re “not making a move that breaks out of that cycle, and making a move that regenerates it.”
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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. “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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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