Barbara Ehrenreich and Dedrick Muhammad have an op-ed in this morning’s New York Times in which they make the case, which I have explored previously, that the recession has been especially hard on black families.

In their essay, entitled “The Recession’s Racial Divide,” the authors are scrupulously fair towards those whites who, they argue, are engaged in “racial resentment, loosely disguised as a populist revolt” against what they perceive as unfair bias towards blacks and a socialist president hell-bent on implementing stealth reparations for slavery. As they say:

When you’re going down, as the white middle class has been doing for several years now, it’s all too easy to imagine that it’s because someone else is climbing up over your back.

In fact, however, black Americans have not gained any unfair advantage in recent decades, nor are they at risk of doing so now. Far from it. As Ehrenreich and Muhammad point out, “blacks are the ones who are taking the brunt of the recession.”

Click here to read the rest of this entry

My cousin Tom DeWolf has an essay up on his blog about race and health care. Tom is discussing health care reform this week, and this essay examines racial disparities in health care and health outcomes.

Tom reports that on average, white Americans are healthier and live longer than black Americans. They also receive considerably more health care, even when factors like income or health insurance are taken into account. Tom acknowledges that the causes are complicated, but he makes a powerful argument that when it comes to health and health care, race still matters in our society.

Check it out.

The lead story in this morning’s L.A. Times provides another stark illustration of how the cumulative weight of centuries of racial discrimination continue to profoundly impact the lives of millions of black Americans.

The story, “Blacks lose ground in job slump,” reports that in February, while the national unemployment rate was 8.1%, for blacks that figure was 13.4% … and for black males, 16.3%.

Click here to read the rest of this entry

Inspired by a recent exchange of views on another post on this blog, I’d like to offer a few statistics about race and criminal behavior in the U.S.

Click here to read the rest of this entry

Benjamin Elijah Mays Memorial, Morehouse CollegeApparently, historically black colleges and universities are being disproportionately affected by the current economic recession, because they tend to have smaller endowments and a higher proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Some of these hard-hit institutions include Morris Brown College, Clark Atlanta University, and Spelman College in Atlanta; Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; and Tennessee State University in Nashville. Howard University, in Washington, D.C, is the wealthiest of these institutions, but even Howard has recently been forced to devote more funds to scholarships for its students.

It seems to me that two very different conclusions could be drawn from this development.

Click here to read the rest of this entry

On Monday, I gave a series of four lectures on slavery and race in New Bedford and Fall River, Mass.

Local newspaper stories about the talks have appeared in the Fall River Herald News (“Descendant of slave trader talks at BCC“) and in the New Bedford Standard-Times (“19th century tycoon’s descendants tell of North’s role in slavery“).

Click here to read the rest of this entry

I’m writing to highlight a book by Ron Peden, entitled Notes on the State of America: Black to the Future, or White from the Past? (Cambridge, Mass.: OAU Publishing, 2008).

Ron is a writer and activist here in the Boston area, and he has graciously taken the time to comment on this blog regarding his concerns over the DeWolf family and Traces of the Trade.

In Notes on the State of America, Ron writes powerfully and eloquently about the impact of our history of slavery and discrimination on racial inequality today.

Click here to read the rest of this entry

A new study suggests that even in the aftermath of the welfare reform of the 1990s and the resulting disappearance of welfare as a hot-button political issue tied to race, attitudes of white Americans towards welfare are still heavily influenced by negative stereotypes about blacks.

Click here to read the rest of this entry

Tuskegee Syphilis StudyI’m often asked to discuss whether there are distinctive attitudes within the “black community” in such areas as education, medical care, and the government. The question can take a relatively benign form, wondering where such attitudes might have originated and how they might be addressed. At other times, I’m told angrily that blacks are responsible for their own problems, and that our history of race is irrelevant, because blacks supposedly do not value education or hard work, or that they fail to exhibit constructive attitudes towards authority figures in such areas as law enforcement, the justice system, the medical community, and education.

There are difficult issues involved in this topic: are there, in fact, distinctive attitudes among black Americans towards civic or community values and institutions which are held in high esteem by most white Americans? If so, how widespread are these attitudes? Where and how might these attitudes have originated? Is there a connection to our long history of slavery and racial discrimination? What steps might be taken to begin to address this situation?

On the first issue, there is a new study available in the February issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine which suggests a significantly higher degree of mistrust among black Americans towards medical research than among whites.

Click here to read the rest of this entry

Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North will be re-broadcast in the Boston area on Sunday, February 1 at 9:00pm on WGBX (known locally as PBS channel 44).

Next Page »