December 16, 2007

extra credit #2

I think the fact that this legislation passed is a big step for our country, but that we have a long way to go in terms of equal rights for everyone. Yes, it’s important that it’s now illegal to discriminate against people because of their sexual identity but it’s also important to make sure that this new law applies to all people, including transexual and transgender individuals. One of the founding values of the United States is that all (wo)men are created equally and that every individual has certain inalienable rights.
It’s a great step that business are no longer allowed to discriminate against people because of their sexual identity, whether it be heterosexualism or homosexualism, but if a new law completely excludes another group of it really that much progress? It’s absolutely ridiculous that people could be turned away from openings in the workforce because of their sexual or gender preference, which is a part of their personal identity. This has nothing to do with the way they perform their job, and therefore should not be taken into account. when being interviewed for the job. It seems that if America is as advanced as it’s supposed to be, this law should have been passed a long time ago. Nancy Pelosi said that ‘small and difficult steps’ are the way to civil rights, and I understand this, but it seems that the steps our country is taking are much too small.

December 11, 2007

extra credit essay #1

Stephen Ohlemacher's article about the income gap between black and white families blew my mind. I knew our country has not overcome racial discrimination, but I didn't know that it was this bad. For a nation whose government is based on equal rights, median black incomes should not be a mere 63% of media white incomes. If black women's incomes hadn't increased over the last several years, this gap would be even bigger. Black women have to fight against racial and gender discrimination, and while it seems like they're making a little headway on gender discrimination, racial discrimination has a long way to go.

Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League says that the disparities are due to inadequate schools in black neighborhoods, workplace discrimination and too many black families with only one parent. Families that have only one parent are going to have a lower level of income, which forces them to live in less affluent neighborhoods. This is a nation where the education system is funded off of property tax, which puts kids from lower-income homes at a dramatic disadvantage. Schools in areas like North Minneapolis are completely different than the ones in Wayzata and Edina, and provide their students with different opportunities. With inadequate education, kids are going to have a harder time advancing in the workplace, and are less likely to attend college. With the lack of higher education, well-paying jobs are going to be hard to come by, which means the income gap between races isn't going to change by itself. Our country needs to do something to provide everyone with equal advantages and opportunites, no matter what their race or financial situation.

Decades have gone by since the civil rights movement and it's ludicrous that this huge income gap should still exist.

December 10, 2007

Black America

“I do not think white America is committed to granting equality to the American Negro... this is a passionately racist country; it will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.?
--Susan Sontag

Are the remnants of prejudice against blacks that existed in the United States from the late 18th Century through the 1980’s still lingering in today’s society? I am afraid so. In Stephen Ohlemacher’s Star Tribune article “Income gap between black and white families grows? he indirectly touches on the controversial subject of inequality in America, a nation based on freedom and individual rights.

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Essay 2: Extra Credit

Stephen Ohlemacher’s article, “Income gap between black and white families grows? exposes and goes into detail why exactly there is a gap between black and white families. We have all probably been aware that there is a rather unfair gap and Ohlemacher describes how the gap has actually been growing as of recently. Ohlemacher starts off by stating that incomes among black men have actually declined in the past 30 years and that they were offset only by gains among black women. One possibility for this is that more women than ever before are in the workforce. With more women in the workforce, that leaves for more opportunities for women to advance and, in turn, receive higher incomes. However, the shocking fact that still today, and for the past three decades, black men’s incomes are declining is enough to question what’s really going on. Ohlemacher spoke with Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, and Morial was quick to say that the playing field between blacks and whites has certainly not leveled; like many think.
Ohlemacher writes, “Morial blamed the disparities on inadequate schools in black neighborhoods, workplace discrimination and too many black families with only one parent?. This takes me back to Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack?, where she exposes the hidden privileges we take on simply by being white. In regard to the issue of “inadequate schools in black neighborhoods? I think back to McIntosh’s statement: “If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I want to live (McIntosh, 2)?. Black neighborhoods tend to not have the highest expectations, regarding both housing and schooling. However, since housing is cheap, it makes it the only possible route for, say, a single black mother, like mentioned in Ohlemacher’s article previously.
This gap between white and black families tends to go unnoticed, especially by white people because it really doesn’t affect them negatively. If it’s not getting recognized, how is anything ever going to get done to change it? If white people continue to not acknowledge the fact that this is still going on, blacks will continue to be at a disadvantage for years to come. Perhaps this study will trigger more studies and, in turn, more media coverage on an issue as pertinent as this; because I think that if we get this issue out and get society educated, things will get done more quickly to resolve it. However, it’s going to require some change; a change in various workforce policies and a chance in the attitude of all.

Extra Credit

In the opening of his article, “Income gap between black and white families grows,? Stephan Ohlemacher states “decades after the civil rights movement, the income gap between black and white families has grown? (Ohlemacher). The reasoning of this gap increase can be an inderect effect of society views.

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December 8, 2007

Income Gap Extra Credit Essay

“The income gap between black and white families has grown? in the past 30 years (Ohlemacher). This is due in large part to the trends of color and class as well as inequality in pay.

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November 28, 2007

Extra Credit

In the article "Income gap between black and white families grow", Stephen Ohlemacher describes the trend of the incomes of black workers rising at a slower rate than those of white workers. It is very startling to learn that "[i]ncomes among black men have actually declined in the past three decades, when adjusted for inflation. They were offset only by gains among black women" (Ohlemacher 1). Indeed, it is also true that "[i]n 2004, a typical black family had an income that was 58 percent of a typical white family's. In 1974, median black incomes were 63 percent those of whites" (Ohlemacher 1). These figures are staggering. It's amazing to think that black incomes are actually declining in the post- civil rights era. Part of the reason that this fact is so unknown is due to inflation. It is easy to see that income levels- both for black workers and white workers- are rising. If one does not take inflation into account, they will not know of the discrepancy. Because of inflation, it is hard to see that white workers' wages rise faster and to a greater degree than black workers' wages. This is a large problem and it is unfortunate that it is so often overlooked by so many.
Ohlemacher explains that the wage inconsistency is due to "...inadequate schools in black neighborhoods, workplace discrimination and too many black families with only one parent" (Ohlemacher 1). These causes, of course, are often overlooked and even when they are recognized they are not fixed. In her article "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack", Peggy McIntosh discussed the difference in mindset between whites and blacks. According to McIntosh, whites can see that blacks are not privileged (for example, they understand workplace discrimination and inadequate educational opportunities extended to blacks). However, they cannot see their own privilege (McIntosh 1). Thus, although policymakers may see that blacks are disadvantaged, they will be unwilling to see themselves as overly advantaged. In trying to correct the problem of wage discrepancy, they will perhaps try and give blacks more privileges but, by not recognizing how white privilege hurts blacks, they will only be solving half of the problem. Because whites will not recognize their additional privileges, blacks will, in the long run, continue to be at a disadvantage.
Indeed, this income discrepancy affects blacks in ways not immediately obvious. Alice Walker describes this in her story "In Search of our Mother's Gardens". According to Walker, such things as creativity and artistic ability can be affected by poverty and oppression. She feels that the world lacks lots of beauty and art because it deprived potential artists of means in which to express themselves. Poor blacks (who, as Ohlemacher's article shows, are now and will continue to be more numerous than poor whites) inevitably lack free time. It is likely that in these families both parents have to work. When the workday ends, it is the matriarch who has to feed the family and clean the house. Thus, black women are especially affected by poverty. Because of this, they do not have the time or energy to be the creative artists that they could have been, if given that privilege. Many find one way of another of expressing themselves creatively (like through gardening or quilting) but many others are forever silenced (Walker 1). This is another way in which the ever-increasing (if veiled) poverty of blacks is detrimental to both the blacks themselves and to society as a whole.

November 19, 2007

For Extra Credit-Essay # 2: Anti-discrimination

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For Extra Credit-Essay #1: The Income Gap between White and Black Families