The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘Social Sciences

What we mean when we talk about confronting privilege

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Calling someone a racist is more disturbing to the mainstream than actual institutional racism. Short of witnessing a lynching, there is always some way to explain away race bias. So it goes, too, with privilege.

clipped from whattamisaid.blogspot.com
Talking about white privilege is no more racist than talking about the privileges of the able-bodied is ablist or talking about male privilege is sexist. It is a recognition of the social hierarchy that is our culture.
Confronting one’s privilege, whatever sort of privilege it is, means simply this:
– Acknowleging that a quality you possess offers an advantage over others. (That quality is often unearned like race, gender, sexuality, etc., rendering the advantage unfair)
– Recognizing the unique opportunities and successes that your privilege has afforded you
– Exploring how the less privileged are marginalized
– Working to mitigate the marginalization of the less privileged where you can
Confronting privilege is an ongoing exercise, requiring learning, self-reflection and empathy. It is a struggle to be vigilant against something that we are often completely blind to. But isn’t the struggle worth it?
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h/t to Lexica at Clipmarks for finding this gem.

Do take time to read the whole wise post at What Tami Said.  White folks, we need to know this inside and out, because we can’t tell the rain from the false echoes on our culture-acclimated radar.

As Tami said: “There is always some way to explain away race bias.”

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Written by Monte

August 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm

A dramatic graph: income growth by income quintile

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Here’s another great find by the Freakonomics blog.

Dark bars, below, represent income growth across the economic spectrum from 1947-1973.  The least grew the most (br-r-ravo!), and the middle and upper classes did pretty well, too.

The light bars tell a more troubling story.  In recent times (73-05), the smallest incomes grew (as a percentage) the least.  In fact, without exception, the more income a quintile received, the greater was the percent of increase in that quintile’s paycheck. The least (thus), benefited least. The first, the most.

Put another way:  the economy disproportionately rewarded high-income people.  And it hasn’t always been this way.

clipped from freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com

Economic Growth Across the Income Distribution

Yes, we already know the facts — income inequality has been increasing since the 1970’s. But it can be easy to lose sight of just how important this has been. This presentation of the data — by Claudia Goldin and my former thesis advisor Larry Katz, really hits home:

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Note: The figure plots the annual percentage growth rate in mean real family income by quintile and for the top 5 percent of families for 1947 to 1973 and 1973 to 2005. Incomes are converted to constant dollars using the Consumer Price Index Research Series (CPI-U-RS). The income concept used is the official U.S. Census Bureau measure of pre-tax, post-transfer money income.
Read the full Goldin and Katz posting, over at VoxEU, for a deeper understanding of why. (Hint: It’s education.)
[T]hese data remind us that for most of the distribution there hasn’t been much income growth.

Seeing it in graphic form is startling, eh?

Follow the link to the original article to explore the thesis that this all springs from education issues.

Thought-provoking! What’s your take?

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Why we need government to attack poverty, too

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In recessions, when more people need help, most donors have less to give.

Many not-for-profits simply collapse.  Those that remain often move away from long-term indepence-developing programs, crowded by the increase in immediate needs.

Richard Florida, the economic geographer who writes of places, people, and prosperity, described the situation like this:

clipped from www.creativeclass.com
Richard Florida, an American urban studies the...

Image via Wikipedia

I spent this weekend with a friend who’s a retired corporate CEO, has a personal foundation that
supports local and international projects, and is very savvy in business, finance, and nonprofits. He said he’s heard that as many as half of U.S. nonprofits (charities) will go out of business during the current downturn […]

  • Many foundations, having seen their endowments dive with the stock market, are cutting back on large grants. In addition, they’re moving from longer-range capacity-building grants to meeting people’s immediate needs (as one foundation director put it, from philanthropy to charity).
  • Arts organizations are seeing their donations and audiences shrinking. Seasons are being cut back, shows canceled. Some of the weaker players are seeking mergers or takeovers by larger organizations.
  • Safety net organizations like free clinics and food banks are flooded with not only the poor but the formerly middle class.
  • Capital building campaigns are dead in the water.
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    I’m no economist, but I see no means to sustain an attack on poverty without resources that are more stable and more broadly shared than voluntary contributions alone could ever be.

    Do you?


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    Europe mapped by language

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    Fascinating—pondering boundaries, wars, and language groups!
    Click the image for a larger view in its original context.
    clipped from www.bookofjoe.com

    Languages_of_europe
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    Written by Monte

    November 21, 2008 at 1:35 pm