The Color Barrier for Black Men is Mile High Preventing Equality

New Orleans   An exhaustive study of Census Bureau figures for 20 million people now in their late 30s by researchers from Stanford and Harvard has produced some terrible facts that establish firm proof behind what many have suspected:  race is ubiquitous in oppressing and institutionalizing inequality among African-American men.

As a community organizer, one of the most frightening discoveries of this study is that that this is true in virtually every census track in the country.  In other words, there is no community that is a model.  Among the best might be Silver Springs, Maryland, a Washington suburb, but for the most part the rest of the country discriminates at some level or another constantly in terms of inequality according to the facts of the matter.  Worse, this constant racism reverberates over and over again in other areas as well when it comes to black men.

To draw from the New York Times:

  • Black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds, according to a sweeping new study that traced the lives of millions of children.
  • White boys who grow up rich are likely to remain that way. Black boys raised at the top, however, are more likely to become poor than to stay wealthy in their own adult households.
  • Most white boys raised in wealthy families will stay rich or upper middle class as adults, but black boys raised in similarly rich households will not.
  • Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America. And the gaps only worsen in the kind of neighborhoods that promise low poverty and good schools.
  • Black and white girls from families with comparable earnings attain similar individual incomes as adults.

The results of this discrimination correlate with experiences early in life.  The study also leads to the conclusion that testing does not accurately measure the abilities of black children.  Even when black men were boys they experienced the impact of poverty and discrimination differently than girls.  School discipline is inordinately distributed to black boys and young men rather than other groups.  This level of racism likely impacts employment access as the economy has become more service-based and customer facing than industrial and manufacturing.

The authors of the study believe that the data demands policy solutions that are specifically targeted to the individual and structural racism that impacts black men, and who can disagree.

Professor Kendi of American University nailed the results of this study to the wall, saying, “One of the most popular liberal post-racial ideas is the idea that the fundamental problem is class and not race, and clearly this study explodes that idea.  But for whatever reason, we’re unwilling to stare racism in the face.”

Likely that’s because of racism itself, Professor.


Banks, Too Big to Fail, but Too Small to Regulate, Huh?

Biloxi     Once upon a time in America, and much of the world, there was a reliable way to identify a populist.  The litmus test was their view of banks.  If they saw them as somewhere between a criminal enterprise and a bunch of blood suckers, then the odds were good that they were populists.  If they saw them as pillars of the community and local members of Rotary and supporters of the high school football team, then they were definitely not populists, and most likely were Republicans or members of whatever party claimed to be the voice of small business.

This scorecard no longer seems to helpful at all.

Now a populist in common vernacular is someone who hates immigrant workers, supports Trump, and isn’t sure what to do about the increasing power of women and minorities in public and private life.  A populist also is someone in this distorted definition who is not for the people, but mainly against this, that, and the other, and one of the big things they are against is outsiders, rather than hometowners.   I suspect what blurred every bright-line test was free flowing campaign contributions which are available to local pols in more ways from smaller, so-called community banks, and that don’t trickle down to them much from the big Wall Street and regional behemoth money center banks.  Call me cynical.

Now in an era that has been marked by wild abuses from banks that crashed the real estate market and most of the world’s economy, some of which is still being felt a decade later, politicians are arguing about how they can give banks more breaks.  Now when there is abundant evidence that banks have not only created a credit desert, but are also blatantly discriminating in city after city, community after community, politicians are arguing about how they can relax, rather than reinforce, regulations covering banks.

Reports now indicate a bill before the Senate is gaining support from some Democrats and splitting the caucus, particularly among some red-state Demos facing election, who are claiming that they need to help the smaller, community banks against the consolidating, greedy big banks of Wall Street and its suburbs around the country.  That almost sounds old school populist, until we come to understand that they want to help out about two dozen midsized banks from protective Dodd-Frank rules by raising the regulatory triggers from $50 billion in assets to $250 billion in assets.

I don’t want to seem unsympathetic to local, community financial institutions, but we’re not talking about credit unions here.  Since when is $50 billion in assets not a big bank, wherever it gets its mail?  If you are going to play in the street, even if it’s not Wall Street, you still have to be careful about not bumping into the curb when you make a turn.  Some campaign contributions shouldn’t buy you the ability to just speed on the roads willy-nilly without obeying the rules and remembering that passenger, customer and community safety comes first.


Please enjoy Kacey Musgraves’s Slow Burn. Thanks to KABF.