Sometimes music can express the plight of the disadvantaged better than any policy paper full of statistics. And certainly wealth is no guarantee of happiness, as this classic song expresses so well: "Riohard Cory," by Simon and Garfunkel, 1966.
Returning to America in 2017 after eight years away, I felt pride that at least the United States, unlike so many other countries, is attempting to address serious issues like police brutality, racial injustice, poverty and discrimination based on race, class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. In so many other countries of the world, these are taboo topics.... Continue Reading →
Barack Obama's "Dreams of My Father" will probably go down in history as a classic bridge-building book, not just as an autobiography of a president but as a study of what it's like to be black and white in America. Here he reads an excerpt and takes questions at Cambridge Public Library in 1995.
"It turns out that social status is the most powerful determinant of health for a wide range of outcomes including life expectancy, as well as illness and death from cardiovascular, pulmonary, psychiatric, and rheumatologic diseases and some cancers. It’s not only where we find ourselves on the social pyramid that matters, it also matters how that pyramid... Continue Reading →
Among the one million offenders incarcerated as of June 30, 2004, an estimated 576,000 were black males between the ages of 20-30 • For ages 25-29, 12.6% of blacks were in jail, compared to 3.6% of Latinos and 1.75 of whites • Once arrested, blacks are three times more likely to be incarcerated... Continue Reading →
One of the most powerful movies I have seen about a young woman struggling to overcome abject poverty in America was the 2008 film, "Precious." Here are 35 other films with a theme of overcoming poverty. Have you seen any of them? Which are the best? Can you add to the list?
Excerpt from 'We Shall Not Be Moved: 'The Tillary Resettlement Project' "Changes Comes Knocking: The Story of the NC Fund", by Rebecca Cerese and Dr. Steven Channing “FBI-KKK” by Michael Frierson. A preview of the film and details about the film and the filmmaker can be found here. “Family Name,” by Macky Alston. Details and excerpts about the... Continue Reading →
My own (thankfully relatively brief) descent into poverty -- when "between jobs" -- validates these studies: the extraordinary stress and worry of trying to meet one's obligations "cause people to think less clearly, to sleep less well, to contend with distraction and to internalize shame. But it’s the experience of deprivation that leads to the... Continue Reading →
Renters endure a severe housing affordability crisis that will only get worse through 2027, a Harvard study has concluded. "There are simply not enough quality, affordable rental units to house the millions of households paying over half their income in rental costs," the researchers observed. In 2017, about 11 million people are"severely rent burdened," according... Continue Reading →
NYT: "How Homeownership Became the Engine of American Inequality: An enormous entitlement in the tax code props up home prices — and overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy and the upper middle class."