To understand racism in America, one must first disabuse themselves of the idea that race is a social construct—an idea that has been created and accepted by the people in a society.
“At the heart of Edward Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told is the claim that the profits and accumulations of slavery contributed to the formation of contemporary capitalism. Like Beckert, he turns to the history of the cotton industry, though he focuses on the United States from the colonial era to the end of the Civil War. Yet if Beckert’s story is the world the slave owners made, Baptist’s is the world made by the slave. “Enslaved African Americans built the modern United States,” he declares, “and indeed the entire modern world, in ways both obvious and hidden.” We know the claim that enslaved African Americans built the modern United States is not new. This “half” has, in fact, been told—multiple times and more often than not by black writers, some of whom are fleetingly mentioned in Baptist’s footnotes. But the claim that African Americans built the world is simply wrong. Baptist’s book is marked by such rhetorical excesses, which lend themselves to a blinkered and narcissistic American exceptionalism. The result is an oversimplified view of capitalism and slavery that ignores the historical contributions to modernity of Africans in the Caribbean and in Africa itself.”
The deep and persistent racial wealth divide will not close without bold, structural reform. It has been created and held in place by public policies that have evolved with time including slavery, Jim Crow, red lining, mass incarceration, among many others. The racial wealth divide is greater today than it was nearly four decades ago and trends point to its continued widening.
All sorts of bad things happen when bankruptcy is out of reach for people, as we showed in a series of stories. People turn to unscrupulous operators who file phony bankruptcy cases, as happens often in Los Angeles. Particularly in the South, they turn to a form of bankruptcy that features a payment plan and that often ends in failure, leaving debtors worse off than when they filed. (African Americans are especially prone to that problem.) And finally, many people don’t file at all — and just hope that a debt collector doesn’t seize their wages.
“Unless they are too brazen or clumsy, very rich tax cheats with very good lawyers get to deal with their tax offenses behind closed doors. As a criminal tax defense lawyer once told me, “I get paid to save people from indictments for their tax crimes by settling cases before their names go into the public record.”
Racism Knocking at the Door: the Use of Criminal Background Checks in Rental Housing
In 2016, after decades of appearing to encourage local public housing providers to adopt harsh policies barring applicants with criminal records, the Office of General Counsel for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) issued guidance instructing public and private housing providers to take in to account the potentially disparate effects of such policies on racial minorities (the “HUD Guidance”). Recognizing that African Americans and Latinos are “arrested, convicted and incarcerated at rates disproportionate to their share of the general population,” HUD advised that any policy that “restricts access to housing on the basis of criminal history” may have an unlawful disparate impact based on race.
Baby Bonds: A Plan for Black/White Wealth Equality Conservatives Could Love?
Darrick Hamilton calls for spreading the benefits of asset-ownership to all Americans.
Although the Southern Poverty Law Center says it has alerted Amazon to sellers who sell hate group material, the company has not always been receptive to completely eliminating these sellers.
Amazon is enabling and profiting from hate groups and ideologies, according to a damning report released on Friday.
The report, “Delivering Hate: How Amazon’s Platforms Are Used to Spread White Supremacy, Anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia,” details a variety of ways that hate groups take advance of Amazon’s massive platforms and inconsistently enforced policies. Two advocacy groups ― Partnership for Working Families and Action Center on Race and the Economy ― compiled the study.
When asked about the report, Amazon referred HuffPost to its official guidelines, which prohibit the selling of “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.”
But critics say that this policy often doesn’t reflect reality.
Amazon’s approximately 300 million active customers can encounter products that feature hate symbols and hateful language on Amazon Marketplace, which has allowed racist, Islamophobic, anti-LGBTQ and anti-Semitic groups to sell merchandise.
The report found items for sale that included a costume of a lynching victim, a hangman’s noose decal, Nazi memorabilia and children’s toys featuring alt-right symbol Pepe the Frog.
OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham
“A Black Political Future”
December 3, 2016 :: LIVE ::10 pm EST
Guest: Pascal Robert The Thought Merchant Blog, Contributor, The Black Agenda Report
Against Fortress LiberalismFor forty years, liberals have accepted defeat and called it “incremental progress.” Bernie Sanders offers a different way forward.by Matt KarpBernie Sanders in the South Bronx on March 31, 2016. Michael Vadon / Flickr628Our next issue, “Between the Risings,” is out this month. To celebrate its release, international subscriptions are $25 off.The primary campaign between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders has produced the most direct ideological battle the Democratic Party has seen in a generation. It’s not just the policy differences that separate Sanders’s blunt social-democratic platform from Clinton’s neoliberal grab bag. The two candidates embody clashing theories of politics — alternative visions of how to achieve progressive goals within the American political system.The Bernie Sanders model of change has all the subtlety of an index finger raised high above a debate podium. Lay out a bold, unapologetic vision of reform that speaks directly to people’s basic needs. Connect that vision to existing popular struggles, while mobilizing a broad and passionate coalition to support it (#NotMeUs). Ride this wave of democratic energy to overwhelm right-wing opposition and enact major structural reforms.The Hillary Clinton model of change, on the other hand, begins not with policy or people but with a politician. Choose an experienced, practical leader who explicitly rejects unrealistic goals. Rally around that leader’s personal qualifications, while defending past achievements and stressing the value of party loyalty (#ImWithHer). Draw on the leader’s expertise to grind away at Congress and accumulate incremental victories that add up to significant reform.For most of the Left, Clinton-style “incrementalism” is just a code word to disguise what is effectively a right-wing retrenchment. Nevertheless many self-identified progressives have backed Clinton’s “theory of politics” as the most realistic path to achieve Sanders’s objectives.“As a temperamentally moderate figure,” the liberal Boston Globe argued, Clinton is best positioned to “take concrete steps to get relevant legislation enacted.”Other editorial boards, corporate legal bloggers, and billionaires in the back seats of limousines have likewise endorsed the Clinton model as the only serious form of politics in a polarized republic. But they struggle to identify a major progressive victory that Clinton-style incrementalism has won in the past half-century.Clinton’s eight-year term in the Senate produced bills to regulate video game violence and flag burning, both of which died in committee.Bill Clinton’s eight-year term in the White House gave us the Earned Income Tax Credit and a small children’s health insurance program — but also NAFTA, the 1994 crime bill, welfare reform, the Defense of Marriage Act, financial deregulation, and a grand bargain to gut Social Security that was only thwarted by a timely sex scandal.The pragmatic, piecemeal, and irreproachably moderate achievements of Jimmy Carter are still more dispiriting. Even judged by the charitable standards of American liberalism, the forty-year balance sheet of “incremental progress” is decidedly negative.Beltway pundits scoff at Sanders’s model of change, meanwhile, as if the Vermont senator thinks he can defeat a Republican Congress by getting a few hundred protestors to yell slogans outside Capitol Hill.They naturally fail to mention that as a matter of historical record, the Sanders model happened to produce Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, and Medicaid.The simple truth is that virtually every significant and lasting progressive achievement of the past hundred years was achieved not by patient, responsible gradualism, but through brief flurries of bold action. The Second New Deal in 1935–36 and Civil Rights and the Great Society in 1964–65 are the outstanding examples, but the more ambiguous victories of the Obama era fit the pattern, too.These reforms came in a larger political environment characterized by intense popular mobilization — the more intense the mobilization, the more meaningful the reform. And each of them was overseen by an unapologetically liberal president who hawked a sweeping agenda and rode it all the way to a landslide victory against a weakened right-wing opposition.All three bursts of reform, of course, were shaped by the need to deal with opponents in Congress — including conservative Democrats — who imposed their own conditions. And even the New Deal and the Great Society, of course, were profoundly compromised in ways that no one on the Left is likely to forget.Nevertheless these were real victories. None of them was won in the name of moderation, incrementalism, or the sober-minded rejection of ambitious goals.At the 1936 Democratic convention, Franklin Roosevelt famously called for a “rendezvous with destiny,” not a rendezvous with tax credits for small businesses. Roosevelt took it as hi