Julianne Malveaux

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Counting the Cost

Marion Barry: The people’s mayor

Washington, D.C., just lost an icon. In the early morning hours of Nov. 23, D.C.’s “Mayor for Life” succumbed to some of the health challenges that have plagued him for several years. Even in ill health he was, as he had been all his life, an icon to the people, especially those in the poorest part of the city. He distributed turkeys to the poor every year. More importantly, he pushed legislation that would not punish felons when they applied for jobs.

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Twitter sparks debate on White privilege #CrimingWhileWhite

Following the news that New York City officer Daniel Pantaleo, who held unarmed Eric Garner in an against-policy chokehold resulting in his death, would not be indicted, protests broke out around the country in what many called “another total miss” by a grand jury. But what resulted after the outcome of the trial was even more surprising. Scores of White Americans took to Twitter in what may be the largest admission of “White privilege” on record.

The politics of leadership

Counting the Cost

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander will likely become chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Though he has yet to be elected by his Republican peers, he has given several interviews that indicate how he would change the way educational services are delivered in our country. For all his bluster, though, his approach is essentially to privatize and push states rights.

Loretta Lynch deserves swift confirmation

Counting the Cost

African American women were excited about President Barack Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States. Since she has sailed through two Senate confirmations, her current confirmation ought to move quickly and without controversy.

Democrats have no consistent message

Counting the Cost

Pundits are likely to spend the next several weeks attempting to explain the many reasons that Republicans simply kicked the Democrats square in the hind parts to dominate both houses of Congress in ways that had not been expected. With turnout at an abysmal low—33 percent—two thirds of the electorate didn’t think this election important enough to vote. President Obama had it right when he said he heard them.

Counting the Cost

Online colleges flunk common sense

The most common model of college attendance is that a young person who graduates from high school and heads directly to college, perhaps taking a year off in between to work, take a “13th class.” While many students start off right after high school, some of them have breaks in their higher education, dropping out to save money to continue, or to deal with family matters.

Counting the Cost

The ‘Christmas Creep’

Did you notice that some stores are already touting Christmas sales? They are encouraging people to start buying for Christmas now. We’ve been experiencing this “Christmas creep” for years. Some of us are reluctant to call it “Christmas” creep because there is no Christ or Christianity in the profligate spending that accompanies a season that should be defined by gratitude and reflection. The birth of Christ should symbolize rebirth, the symbolism of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, a signal to reflect on African American community building and spirituality.

Ebola knows no borders

Counting the Cost

When it comes to matters of trade and economics, experts are eager to speak of “globalization.” People are keen to talk about the dissolution of borders and the many ways that countries work together across the globe. At least part of every Apple computer purchased in the U.S. was manufactured or assembled in Ireland. Many call centers are located in the Carribean and India. American companies subcontract these jobs to other countries because hourly wages are lower in those countries than at home.

Countering voter suppression moves

Counting the Cost

The Supreme Court recently blocked an appeals court ruling that would have restored seven days of voting in Ohio. In just three sentences, the court reduced voting access for tens of thousands of Ohioans, in yet another effort to suppress the vote.

African Americans less ready to retire

Counting the Cost

When the Federal Reserve Board issued its Survey of Consumer Finance (SCF), its findings were not surprising. The report, which is issued every three years, reflected the improved economic conditions since 2010, when the Great Recession was at its peak. The unemployment rate, though unevenly distributed, has dropped, and income and wealth have increased for some groups, but dropped for those at the bottom. Median wealth of African Americans and Latinos (grouped together by SCF reporting) fell from $21,000 to $18,100 while White wealth grew from $139,900 to $142,000. Just under half of all African Americans own homes, compared to nearly 70 percent of Whites, and housing value represents the largest portion of net worth for middle income families. When some of these SCF findings are combined with what we know about pensions and retirement preparedness, the unfortunate conclusion is that African Americans are less ready to retire than Whites, but better prepared than Latinos.

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