mfioretti: racial issues* + equal opportunities*

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  1. 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,
    http://www.war-times.org/can-restorat...s-look-alternative-mass-incarceration
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  2. 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.
    http://theconversation.com/south-afri...onversationedu+%28The+Conversation%29
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  3. 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
    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/12/opi...3A+rss%2Fedition_us+%28RSS%3A+U.S.%29
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  4. 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.
    http://opensource.com/life/14/1/editing-wikipedia-all-women
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  5. It makes me wonder, in the words of Sandy Grande, the degree to which the #opengov movement is part of the "whitestream"—the assumed and often (for white people at least) unconscious ways that what is "white" also becomes what is "mainstream." On the whole, are #opendata and #opengov yet serving communities of color? Are they fighting oppression, wherever it lies?

    While a few are (and some at the conference were) sincerely working to take this fight on (and many might see themselves as wanting to be part of this fight if the invitation were made and pursued), I think many see improving information about electoral politics or using crime data to make maps about arrests as prime examples of the power of #opendata. Honestly, I see these as working in service of electoral, political, and legal systems that are themselves deeply racist and sexist, deeply oppressive and unjust. While more electoral information is probably a relatively neutral thing, crime data about arrests really serves to further the perspective of law enforcement, not the perspective of communities of color.

    those of us working in #opendata and #opengov need to be thinking about perspectives that are more inclusive. These are often (not always, but most often) very distinct from those of government. And that’s where I think our work should start.

    Only a few of the projects/sessions yesterday approached this work deeply from this angle. There are no positions of neutrality in the fight for equity and justice. So, I advocate for my colleagues and friends in the #opendata and #opengov movement, let us put this data to use in ways that seed change in the status quo, that disrupt it, that call it out, that speak a different sort of truth.
    http://opensource.com/government/13/12/open-data-justice
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  6. not all neighborhoods and racial groups are faring equally" as climate change raises temps in urban areas: "According to the research, blacks, Asians, and Latinos are all significantly more likely to live in high-risk heat-island conditions than white people.
    http://grist.org/cities/climate-chang...vate-heat-islands-for-people-of-color
    Voting 0

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