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Julianne Malveaux

Stories by Julianne

The Boomerang Generation

Counting the Cost

One of the most interesting findings of the data recently released by the Census Bureau is that so many recent college graduates live with their parents. Described as “boomerang” graduates, a third of them occupy a basement, a spare room, their old room, a floor or couch. Blessedly, they have parents with whom to live. And if they are 26 or younger, they have health insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

America needs a raise

Counting the Cost

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been floating at or above the 17,000 mark in the past two months–an all time high.

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Back to school, back to basics

Counting the Cost

Between early August and late September, students are going back to school. Before they go to school, though, they and their parents will hit the malls and stationary stores to prepare for their return. Retailers say that students and their parents will spend $75 billion on back-to-school items, and clothing represents about a third of this spending.

Policing the police

Counting the Cost

Except for the Good Lord, everybody has someone or something to “check” him or her. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has an unresponsive Congress to check him, and Supreme Court to do the same. Elected officials are checked by voters (when they vote), and the Securities and Exchange Commission usually checks corporate crooks

Dogs get more respect than Michael Brown

Counting the Cost

It doesn’t matter if you are a state legislator or an alderman, a journalist or a local leader. If you are in Ferguson, Mo., you won’t get any respect. You can be the uncle of a victim whose body was left to lie on the street for several hours and you will not be allowed to cover your young nephew. Not many would let a dog lay uncovered for several hours. Young Black Michael Brown apparently got less consideration than a dog.

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Working at taking a vacation

Counting the Cost

I don’t do vacations well. I have to be pushed and prodded, just about guilt-tripped, into taking time off. Sure, I’ll take an hour here, an evening there, to read a book or play word games. But it just about takes an act of God to get me to go play.

Economic growth is up; will it trickle down?

counting the Cost

Last quarter’s rate of economic growth is good news, especially after the economy stalled, losing momentum in the first quarter of 2014. Many said it was an aberration caused by bad weather, especially since economic growth in the last half of 2013 was more than three percent.

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Dogs eat better than 1 million children

Counting the Cost

The South African charity Feed A Child (http://www.feedachild.co.za/) chose to highlight child poverty in South Africa by portraying a little Black boy being fed like a dog by a seemingly affluent White woman. In the ad, the boy has his head on the woman’s lap, he’s kneeling at her feet, on his knees, and licking off her fingers. The point, they say? According to the ad’s tagline “The average dog eats better than millions of children.”

Independence? Advertising, support, and African American organizations

Counting the Cost

In the “afterglow” of the Fourth of You Lie, I am flipping through an African American magazine, enjoying the content, but looking for the “bite.” For how can you not bite, when you look at the space in which African American people occupy? Our middle class is growing, but fragile. The level of poverty among African Americans has hardly changed in the past decade. Unemployment rates for African Americans remain high, despite talk of economic “recovery.” But too many of our organizations have little bark, and even less bite.

Ikea does its part to fill the wage gap

Counting the Cost

President Barack Obama would like the national minimum wage to rise to $10.10 an hour. By executive order, he has already raised the minimum wage for federal contractors. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has threatened to sue President Obama for his use of executive order, which he says circumvents Congressional authority.

The face of economic recovery

Counting the Cost

At its June 18-19 meeting, the Federal Reserve is hedging its bets. It says the United States economy is on the mend, but more slowly than expected.

Did the UNCF make a deal with the devil?

Counting the Cost

When the Koch Foundation gave the United Negro College Fund $25 million, it set off a maelstrom of comments in cyberspace and real time. “How dare the UNCF take money from the Koch brothers?,” some asked. “They ought to send it back,” said others. One woman told me she would never give to UNCF again because of the Koch donation. Another said the Koch donation changes her perception of UNCF.

A pledge to keep to our youth

Counting The Cost

As young people graduate from high school, or finish the school year as sophomores and juniors, they begin to search for summer jobs. For the past several summers, the jobs have not been there, and this summer will be no different. It is true that economists are projecting a better employment situation for the college graduates who are entering the labor market now. At the same time, those high school graduates who must save money for college incidentals and other needs will have a hard time finding work.

Remembering Maya Angelou

Counting the Cost

Many people will remember Maya Angelou for her phenomenal career. She was a true renaissance woman–an author, teacher, dancer, performer, radio personality and a producer. I will remember her as a sister friend, and a wise “auntie” who didn’t mind pulling your coat. She was a generous spirit who made time for virtually any who asked, a gentle and kind spirit.

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Dishonoring our vets

Counting the Cost

The last Monday in May, Memorial Day, was designed to honor those who died in service to our country. It is tragically ironic that around the same time we are honoring and remembering the dead, we are learning about deficiencies in the Department of Veteran’s Affairs that negatively affect the quality of life for those who were injured during their term of service.

The 60-year journey from segregation

Counting The Cost

Because I was a horribly ill-behaved child, I found myself shipped from San Francisco to Moss Point, Miss. in August 1969. My mother’s plan was that I’d spend my junior year in high school there and live with my schoolteacher aunt, Annie Mae Randall, who was somewhat affectionately known as the “kid breaker.” It was legend that if you did not understand rules she would beat them into you, but her method was unlimited interrogation, not physical correction (much).

‘Nodding’ on Nigeria

Counting The Cost

Years after he stepped down from his presidency, William Jefferson Clinton acknowledged that he should have intervened in the conflict in Rwanda. Hundreds of thousands perished from the genocide that shaped the country. In his zeal for international peace, President Clinton intervened in Ireland, the Middle East and Bosnia. He acknowledged that had the United States intervened in Rwanda at least 300,000 deaths may have been prevented.

Cold Winter or Stalled Recovery?

Counting the Cost

During 2013, the U.S. economy experienced a reasonable level of growth. The 3.4 percent growth rate in the second half of the year represented a solid growth rate, not enough to trickle down to those who live on the periphery of the economy. Those with low or stagnant wages might find that their lives have not improved by 3.4 percent. Indeed, the gains from gross domestic product growth may mostly be captured by the wealthy.

Slamming the door, again

Counting The Cost

The Roberts Supreme Court recently decided that the state of Michigan had the right to vote against affirmative action policies in college admissions. Michigan State is one of many where mediocre White students challenge the fact that African American students, far more qualified than they are, have been admitted to college. This has happened in Texas and California, among other states. These challenges to affirmative action have roots in the 1976 Bakke case, where 38-year-old Alan Bakke sued because his application to medical school was rejected and he felt that he was displaced in favor of a minority student. The Supreme Court ordered Bakke admitted to the University of California at Davis, and also ruled that affirmative action was permissible but not mandatory.

Mental illness: A disease of denial

Counting the Cost

“I’m tired,” my sisterfriend says. “I don’t know how much longer I can hold on.” As I hear her, I have a couple of choices. One is to tell her to get with her pastor and pray; the other is to tell her to get real with her illness. Running her to her pastor takes her to a familiar place. Pushing her to get help takes her out of her comfort zone. When my beloved brothers and sisters share that they are stymied in the way they live their lives, I don’t mind praying and encouraging spiritual counsel, but I do mind ignoring the medicinal help that could assist my sisterfriend.

Is story of Black women struggling financially too ‘unremarkable’ for media?

Counting the Cost

When John and Ann started working on January 1, 2013, John had something of an advantage. Because women earn 77 cents for every dollar John earns, it will take Ann until April 11, 2014 to earn the same amount of money that John earned in the calendar year of 2013. The issue of unequal pay is so pressing that President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act 50 years ago. While we have “come a long way, baby”, the pay gap has remained stubborn. This is why President Barack Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act as soon as he assumed office.

Voter Suppression Continues

Counting the Cost

I love voting. Every time I go into the booth, I see little girl me, pigtails and all, plaid skirt, white blouse and green sweater... part of my Catholic school uniform. Most of my family were democrats, though my grandmother voted Republican a time or two because “Lincoln freed the slaves.” In 1960 I had the privilege of pulling the lever to elect John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the candidate that the nuns at Immaculate Conception Elementary School rhapsodized over.

May I have your attention, please?

Counting the Cost

If you missed the news about the disappearance of Malaysian Flight 370 over the Indian Ocean, you must have been buried in sand. For two weeks we have been bombarded with theories–was it terrorism? Pilot error? Something else?

Firm in My Feminism

Counting The Cost

In a world that is dominated by men, especially White men, feminism is, for me, an empowering concept. It is a movement, which in the United States—according to Wiki, is aimed at “defining, establishing and defending equal social, economic and political rights for women.” It is certainly possible to argue that women have come a long way, but while we out-enroll men in college attendance, we don’t out earn them, no matter our level of education. We don’t out-represent them in elected office, or even in the higher echelons of employment, such as the Fortune 500 corporations. Women are doing better than we ever did and we still have a long way to go.

Black Women’s History is Women’s History Too

Counting The Cost

Since March is Women’s History month, who are the women you are celebrating? Do you know about Elizabeth Keckley? Maggie Lena Walker, Sarann Knight Preddy, Gertrude Pocte Geddes-Willis, Trish Millines Dziko, Addie L. Wyatt or Marie-Therese Metoyer? What about Ernesta Procope, Dr. Sadie Alexander, Or Dr. Phyllis Wallace? What about Bettiann Gardner, Lillian Lambert, or Emma Chappell? What about Ellen Holly, Mary Alice, or Edmonia Lewis? If we knew anything about these women, it might cause all of us, African American men and women, to walk a bit more lightly, hold our heads a bit higher, and revel in the accomplishments of our foremothers and fathers.

The Obama Legacy

Counting the Cost

President Barack Obama has announced My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative to help young Black and Brown men succeed in the east wing of the White House. Many present described the announcement of this initiative as “an emotional moment” for President Obama and for many of the others gathered there.

Who should be afraid?

Counting the Cost

In the years after enslavement ended, Southern Whites did all they could to return to a manner of slavery. No White person “owned” a Black person, but many behaved as if they did.

Clarence Thomas lacks institutional memory

Counting the Cost

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is at it again. Whenever he opens his mouth about race, he displays a surprising myopia for a 65-year-old African American man who was raised in the Deep South during a segregated era.

Monetizing a Massacre

Counting the Cost

Had he not massacred Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman would be an average White man holding down a mediocre job, living under the radar, and aspiring for a law enforcement job. He and his wife would probably be divorcing (as they are now) on account of his brutality (she cites his beatings in her divorce proceedings). Nobody, but nobody, would know his name or give a hoot about him.

Counting the Cost

Children—Collateral Damage in the War on Women

In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union (SOU) address, he appealed to our nation’s employers to raise wages from the current minimum of $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour.

Hypocrisy, Hip-Hopcrisy, and the Real Meaning of the Dream

Counting the Cost

Mid-January is the time when Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday is commemorated. Cities, towns, and colleges across the country lift their voices and rise up the language of Dr. King’s dream that people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

The War on Poverty - Part Two

Counting the Cost

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Baines Johnson declared a war on poverty. Appalled by the way too many Americans lived, he empowered federal workers to develop and implement programs that created jobs, health care, housing and legal assistance. Some of the funds were given to states, and some were given to cities. In any case, President Johnson was committed to closing income gaps, and up to a point he was successful.

Wishes for the New Year

Happy New Year! January first and second are the days when most think of the “new” year, yet with the first Monday in January falling on Jan. 6, that’s probably when most people will return to their desks with focused energy and ready to go. Post-its and scrawled notebook paper will trumpet “new” resolutions.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the biased lens of history

Counting the Cost

Theoretically, Thanksgiving celebrates the breaking of bread between Native Americans and Pilgrims, who might have starved were it not for the generosity of those who first occupied this country.

Wages, not welfare

Counting the Cost

For the past year, an organization called OUR Walmart, has protested, raised questions and asked their employer, one of the nation’s largest, to treat them fairly.

Who will defend Black women?

Counting the Cost

All Renisha McBride wanted to do was to go home. She had been in a car accident, her cell phone was dead and she needed help.

Counting the Cost

The NAACP needs a woman leader

The NAACP needs a woman leader. I'm not the one. I love the NAACP. I’ve been a member since I was 10 years old. I sizzle at the history and at the historic leaders (W.E.B. DuBois, Walter White, James Weldon Johnson, Medgar Evers, Ida B. Wells, and so many others). With its 30-year campaign to stop lynching to its more contemporary work in voting registration, the NAACP has always been involved in the struggle for justice and equality. Once upon a time, the NAACP was considered so “subversive” that southern teachers who belonged to the organization were fired. Today, many consider the NAACP “respectable,” forgetting that different times call for different tactics. Thus, when I first heard that the presidency of the NAACP was available, I was excited. After all, which civil rights leader, policy activist, speaker and writer would not want to lead our nations’ oldest and premier civil rights organization. As if I was playing with a Rubik’s cube, I was twisting the squares to make them fit. They don’t. The NAACP leadership would have been a perfect job for me 10 years ago, or even five. Right now, I am playing to my “sweet spot,” lecturing, writing and empowering young people. People I don’t even know have asked me if I’ll be the next president of the NAACP. They don’t understand process. There’s a search firm, hundreds of applications on file, criteria that have not been shared. Could I compete? Absolutely. Do I want to compete? No. Why would I not consider taking the helm of a beloved and historic organization? In addition to talking and writing, NAACP leadership includes fundraising. Ben Jealous set a high bar by raising tens of millions of dollars to move the organization forward. That’s a record it will be difficult to top. The person to improve on the Jealous record will be a sister with indefatigable energy, fundraising acumen, board management skills and more. Daily, I ask my higher power that my steps are ordered in ways that serve the least and the left out and that nourish me. I will write until I cannot hold a pen, talk until I cannot embrace a microphone. And, as I have been given the gift of mentorship, I will always do whatever I can do to help young people, and especially young women reach and exceed their goals. If it is meant for me to find other ways to serve, I will embrace that opportunity. My wish for the NAACP is that they will find a mature, well-prepared and solidly grounded woman who is a great fundraiser, an eloquent speaker, and an efficient manager. She should be willing and able to commit at least 10 years to the organization. She should be a sister with a steep learning curve. And she must love people and abhor injustice with a passion. Economic justice is still a subversive concept. While the economy is in the doldrums and unemployment rates stuck above seven percent, our Congress prefers to subsidize agriculture and cut food stamps, not examining the injustice that will affect between 3 and 4 million people. While banks are bailed out, those they cheated with subprime lending have lost their homes with no bailout. While the blue-chip status of U.S. bonds faced a downgrade thanks to the government shutdown, those with low credit scores face employment discrimination because of those low scores. There are administrative assistants who pay a higher rate of taxes than their bosses because of tax loopholes. Economic justice? Not with these rules. Poverty stifles economic growth. Forty-five years after Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign, some of the same challenges face the contemporary poor. One in eight Americans, and more than one in four African Americans and Latinos live in poverty. Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty of the sixties has become a war on poor people in the 21st century. Elected officials regularly excoriate poor people as being “lazy,” and efforts to raise the minimum wage are often dismissed. From my perspective, however, the poor are some of the hardest working people I know. Most inequity issues, ranging from inequality in education, to inequality in incarceration, are economic issues. These are the issues the contemporary civil rights movement must tackle. One of those leaders will be the woman who will lead the NAACP. She deserves our enthusiastic support! Julianne Malveaux is a D.C.-based economist and writer and president emerita of Bennett College for Women. DISCLAIMER: The beliefs and viewpoints expressed in opinion pieces, letters to the editor, by columnists and/or contributing writers are not necessarily those of OurWeekly.

The masks we wear: trick, treat, and tragedy

Counting the Cost

In 1896, “Lyrics of Lowly Life,” a collection of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poetry was published. Although his poem was specifically focused on African American people, in this 21st century, it is apropos to many.

‘Lazy’ and crazy

Voter suppression is alive and well, especially in the state of North Carolina, where a Republican official, Don Yelton, proved himself to be at best intellectually limited, and at worse, downright crazy.

Stop the slavery comparisons

Counting the Cost

The brilliant surgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson, is out of order and out of control when he compares the Affordable Care Act to slavery. As a physician, he must know how many people lack healthcare, and how much work this administration has done to right that wrong.

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Detroit bankruptcy: undemocratic, fiscally imprudent

Counting the Cost

You don’t have to be from Detroit to be angry at what is happening there. And you don’t have to be from Detroit to lend your voice to an injustice that not only affects Detroit, but also the rest of the nation. If you agree with the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition on this matter, please go to change.org, search for Detroit bankruptcy, and sign the Rainbow/PUSH-sponsored petition.

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Nice house, kid in college

While some members of Congress are foregoing pay as long as other government workers are shut out of their offices, Republican Congressman Lee Terry (R-Neb.) says he won’t be giving his up.

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Budgetary brinkmanship

As I write this column, I have no idea whether Congress finally evaded the government shutdown that would happen on Oct. 1. (It did not).

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Cuts in SNAP: no food for the hungry

Steven and Laurie, a White married couple who live near Richmond, Va., work at a big box store. She as a cashier; he in the storeroom.

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What does limited action mean?

President Barack Obama stepped on a big limb when he threatened “limited action” against Syria because the country allegedly used chemical weapons against their own people.

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After the March on Washington

Counting the Cost

The 1963 March on Washington was a pivotal moment for African Americans, a day when people joined to fight for jobs, peace and justice. More than 250,000 people traveled to Washington, coming by busses, trains, and occasionally planes.

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Russell Simmons, Harriet Tubman and the history of myopia

Every time I hear the voice of Russell Simmons, I hear a cool, clean, clear meditative voice, especially on Twitter where he drops his yoga knowledge in a reflective way. I guess he wasn’t folding his legs and saying a centered “Om” when he decided to ridicule an African woman.

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Dropping the baton

Research shows that this generation of young people, no matter their race, are likely to do less well than their parents did. Shackled by a trillion dollars worth of student loans and a flat labor market, the New York-based Demos organization says the student loan burden prevents young people from buying homes and amassing wealth.

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What is a living wage?

Counting the Cost

Workers at fast food restaurants recently demonstrated outside their places of employment, highlighting the low wages they receive and demanding more. They say twice as much, or $15 an hour, will provide them with a living wage.

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Student loan resolution—better than nothing?

The United States Senate finally stepped up to ensure that student loan rates would not double, as might have happened.

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