Monday, November 19, 2012
Thursday, November 15, 2012
By Matthew Philips on May 04, 2012 Digging through the demographic data in the latest job numbers, one of the clear winners of the last few months has been black women. Since December, they’ve knocked more than 3 percentage points off their unemployment rate, from 13.9 percent to 10.8 percent. That’s the biggest drop over the last five months for any single demographic group broken out by race, sex, and age by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Education, health care, and retail appear to be factors. All three sectors were among those that posted the largest job gains last month. Unemployment among black men dropped from 15.7 percent in December to 13.6 percent in April. For white women, the rate has essentially remained unchanged at 6.8 percent, which is the same rate as white men. Total white unemployment remains well below total black unemployment, though the gap has narrowed over the past year. In April 2011, white unemployment was exactly half that of black unemployment, 8.1 percent compared with 16.2 percent. Now the difference is 6.8 percent compared with 13 percent. Falling unemployment among black women is not a function of people dropping out of the workforce. The employment participation rate of black women has steadily increased over the last few months, from 53.5 percent in December, to 56.1 percent in April. Employment participation has actually fallen among white women, down nearly a full percentage point since April 2011, from 55.6 percent to 54.8 percent. Employment participation remains low for the total population, about 58 percent. That’s down from the most recent high of 64 percent back in 2000, and basically where it was back in the early 1980s. Back then, the dip was a sudden fall followed by a fairly quick recovery. Today, participation has flattened over the past few years, after plummeting from 62 percent beginning in summer 2008. Philips is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek.
By Peter Coy on September 28, 2012 The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any wealthy nation, with about 2.3 million people behind bars at any given moment. (That’s 730 out of 100,000, vs. just 154 for England and Wales.) There are more people in U.S. prisons than are in the country’s active-duty military. That much is well known. What’s less known is that people who are incarcerated are excluded from most surveys by U.S. statistical agencies. Since young, black men are disproportionately likely to be in jail or prison, the exclusion of penal institutions from the statistics makes the jobs situation of young, black men look better than it really is. That’s the point of a new book, Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress, by Becky Pettit, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington. Pettit spoke on Thursday in a telephone press conference. On the day Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, Pettit said, “there was hope that perhaps the U.S. was becoming a post-racial society.” But it wasn’t true then, and it’s not true now. The gap between blacks and whites remains wide in employment, income, wealth, and health. And as Bloomberg’s David J. Lynch reported earlier this month: “The nation’s first African-American president hasn’t done much for African-Americans.” The unemployment rate and the employment-to-population ratio reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are based on a survey of households—people “who are not inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities and homes for the aged) and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.” The reported figures are bad enough. The employment/population ratio for black males aged 16-24 was 33 percent in August, vs. 52 percent for white males of the same age group. But the black number is skewed upward by the exclusion of jail and prison inmates. The white number is also skewed upward, but less so because a smaller share of young white males are incarcerated. “We’ve developed a distorted idea” of how young, black men are faring, Pettit told reporters on the call, which was hosted by the book’s publisher, the Russell Sage Foundation. The BLS methodology didn’t begin to distort the statistics until the mid-1970s, when the incarceration boom began. I asked Pettit how this problem can be solved. The first thing she recommended was doing more to help young, black men get an education, since there is a strong link between failure in school and a life of crime and imprisonment. A further idea is to reduce the penalties for nonviolent drug crimes, recommended another academic on the call, Ernest Drucker, who is a scholar in residence and senior research associate at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and adjunct professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Imprisoning people for drug offenses can damage their ability to earn a living for the rest of their lives, dooming them to a life of poverty and recidivism, said Drucker, author of A Plague of Prisons. Inimai Chettiar, the third speaker on the conference call, would go a step further and decriminalize acts like “turnstile jumping”—i.e., getting into the subway system without paying. Chettiar is director of the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. The popular “broken windows” theory of policing says that cracking down hard on minor crimes creates an atmosphere of law and order that helps prevent more serious crimes like robbery, rape, and murder. So Chettiar and others are fighting an uphill battle with their decriminalization argument. There’s no question, though, that the plight of young, black men is even worse than the statistics generally show. Coy is Bloomberg Businessweek's economics editor.
AP) WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than half the young black men who graduated from U.S. high schools in 2010 earned their diploma in four years, an improved graduation rate that still lagged behind that of their white counterparts, according to an education group's report released Wednesday. Sponsored Links The Schott Foundation for Public Education, which has tracked graduation rates of black males from U.S. public schools since 2004, said 52 percent of black males who entered high school in the 2006-07 school year graduated in four years. That compared with 78 percent of white, non-Latino males and 58 percent of Latino males. The foundation releases its report every two years. In 2008, the black male graduation rate was 47 percent. The progress among blacks closed the racial divide on graduation rates by 3 percentage points over nine years to a 26 percentage-point gap. The foundation said improving the graduation rates of black and Latino students has become more urgent now that the majority of babies born in the U.S. are minorities. "These outcomes are not evidence of flaws of young men, but evidence of willful neglect by federal, state, local elected policymakers and leaders," said John H. Jackson, president and CEO of the foundation, who is participating in this week's Congressional Black Caucus legislative conference, which includes education access on its agenda. With the release of the report, his organization is calling for a moratorium on school suspensions, which have been shown to be used disproportionately on minority children and children with disabilities. Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. For more information about reprints & permissions, visit our FAQ's. To report corrections and clarifications, contact Standards Editor Brent Jones. For publication consideration in the newspaper, send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include name, phone number, city and state for verification. To view our corrections, go to corrections.usatoday.com.
SOLANGE KNOWLES claims that she was stopped and her afro searched during an airport security check in Florida last night. Knowles, the younger sister of singer Beyoncé, immediately took to her Twitter page to reveal the details of her ordeal. Tweeting a link to a story about a US woman who was also frisked during a similar check, she wrote: “I kid you not. This just happened to me” She went on: “Discrim-FRO-nation. My hair is not a storage drawer. Although, guess I couuld hide a joint up in here. *Blames "Romnesia" (my wigs name)” In September Dallas woman Isis Brantley was headed down an escalator at Hartsfield-Jackson International airport in Atlanta, after she was screened a the initial security checkpoint, when she says two TSA agents came after her asking to check her hair for explosives. Brantley says the agents began patting down her large afro in public as she waited on a train platform. Solange, who is renowned for her extravagant hairstyles, made light of the situation and challenged her Twitter followers to a “little game called: "What did TSA find in Solange's Fro"? One response from user @Remzophilos read: “the good lord, Jesus of nazareth was fount in @Solangeknowles’ fro.” She later tweeted: “Ok. Game over:( Flights taking off. Me and my wig had a lot of good laughs with y'all.” Posted on: 15/11/2012 05:14 PM