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Research gathering for the 2020 Census will soon begin – yeah, already – and Census Bureau researchers are already looking at new ways to determine who’s Hispanic or Latino in the U.S.

The issue they face in gathering this data is the way Latinos and Hispanics prefer to classify themselves. That is, not fitting into one of the Census’ defined racial boxes:

The “some other race” option is not an official federal race category and was intended to be a residual option for a small number of respondents in census surveys. Instead, it has grown to become the third-largest race group counted by the Census Bureau in the past two censuses. This group is mainly Hispanic: In the 2010 census, 97% of those who checked “some other race” and no other race were Hispanic.

Pew Research Center surveys also find that a majority of Hispanics don’t see themselves fitting into the standard race categories offered by the Census Bureau. In addition, when it comes to describing their identity, more Hispanics prefer to use their family’s country of origin rather than the pan-ethnic terms “Hispanic” or “Latino.”

To address concerns about a rising share of “some other race” selections, Census researchers are testing a combined ethnicity question for 2020. People would be offered all the race and Hispanic options in one place, letting them check a box to identify as white, black, Hispanic/Latino/Spanish origin, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander or some other race or origin. The second part of the question would be a line  under each category to supply more detail about their origin, tribe or race. Examples of this include: German, African American, Mexican, Navajo, Asian Indian and Samoan.

Any change in wording must be approved by Congress next year.

 

By now everyone should be familiar with the saga of David Dao, the Chinese doctor who was forcibly removed from a United flight due to overbooking (when it was not overbooked, it was learned later).

Setting aside the egregious and baffling “policy” that the cops were carrying out, and the big lawsuit Dao is likely to win – oh, and let’s not forget how some media outlets are digging up dirt on him, y’know, to provide that “he’s no angel” storyline – the issue of his race is salient.

China is a key market for United, both for Chinese nationals, and for Chinese-Americans. Well, it turns out United has done itself a world of damage among those demographics. Chinese travelers are boycotting United, and it’s based on this quote:

The outrage is China appears to have come from a media quote from a passenger onboard the flight, Tyler Bridges.

“He said, more or less, ‘I’m being selected because I’m Chinese’,” Bridges had told the Washington Post.

It was learned that Dao was chosen at random by computer for his ejection (and beating and dragging). But isn’t it easy to believe, based on the stereotype, that cops took a look around the cabin and thought, ‘hmmm, older Asian man, he shouldn’t put up a fight.’ Whether they did that or not, consider this another stereotype smashed. That might be the only good thing to come out of this incident. Except maybe for the lawsuit Dao could win.

There’s a story in the Washington Post today about how Trump supporters trust him to do the right thing on health care, no matter what the evidence shows them.

Near the end of the story is a telling anecdote that shows how easy it is for whites to blame non-whites for their economic insecurity. It’s a knee-jerk reaction. In this case a mom, Nancy Ware who has helped her 35-year-old son find an insurance plan and complains about the lack of competition in the exchange in Nashville making her premiums too high. Legitimate complaint. But who does she blame? Not the insurance companies or Tennessee’s political leaders who wouldn’t expand Medicaid. She points the finger at… you know.

Ware is a landscaper and often works near Section 8 housing in the Nashville area, and she becomes furious when she sees residents who “drive better cars than I do, they have weaves and hair color better than I can, they have manicures.” As Ware, who is white, waited in line for the rally to start, a group of young African American protesters walked by, and she yelled at them, “Go cash your welfare checks!”

“He gets penalized on his income taxes, while these people that don’t know how to pull their pants up can go get it for free,” said Ware, whose employer covers the full cost of her health care. “Make it even. Make it balanced.”

Anyone remember Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen driving a Cadillac” anecdote? Now that welfare queen has health care and a better manicure than white people, apparently.

We’ve been told again and again how the Trump vote was all about economic insecurity. Perhaps. But the blame for that economic insecurity, as it has been throughout American history, is cast on the most convenient scapegoat. In this case, the welfare queen with the better hair color has stolen a white woman’s health care. Because… just because.

And Trump? He’s been doing what race-baiting politicians have always done. Except they used to do it in coded ways, dog whistles like “welfare queen.” The dog whistle is gone. The megaphone is here.

 

It happened again.

It has happened again. In Kent, Washington, a Sikh American was shot on his own driveway by a man who yelled “go back to your country.” This crime echoes the recent murder of two men who had come from India to live and work in Kansas.

Here’s the official statement from the Sikh Coalition:

“While we appreciate the efforts of state and local officials to respond to attacks like this, we need our national leaders to make hate crime prevention a top priority,” said Sikh Coalition Interim Program Manager, Rajdeep Singh. “Tone matters in our political discourse, because this a matter of life or death for millions of Americans who are worried about losing loved ones to hate.”

Here is assessment offered by Jasmit Singh, a leader of the Sikh community in the Seattle region, from CNN:

The Sikh community is shaken and very frustrated at the hate and rhetoric that is being spread today about anyone that looks different, who looks like an immigrant. Based on anecdotal evidence, more and more people are saying inappropriate things to Sikh men, the stigma attached to being a racist has been erased from the community. In the past — in Bush, Obama time — there was swift action and communication saying that this is unacceptable. We aren’t seeing any response from this administration.

The victim in Washington is “out of danger,” after having been wounded in the arm, according to his father. But this won’t be the last such shooting we’ll see in the next few months or weeks, sadly.

It’s Black history month, a time of year we hear from Angry White People about the need to have their own month. Aside from the folly of seeing these racial history months as a zero-sum game, this white grievance has reached a fever pitch since the rise of Trump, someone who gave voice to Angry White People who want to make America white, er, ahem great, again.

Now we see the big divide in who really supports White History Month in the U.S. Nearly half of President Trump’s supporters think there should be a White History Month, according to a  survey released this month by Public Policy Polling. The group reports that 46 percent of pro-Trump voters were in favor of such a celebration while 36 percent were opposed.

The PPP survey also showed that Trump supporters – this shouldn’t surprise you, should it? – are a little hazy on Black history, and on U.S. history generally. The poll asked participants about legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Trump seemed to imply Douglass was alive during some recent remarks: “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.” PPP says less than half, 47 percent, of Trump voters knew Douglass died more than 100 years ago, while 78 percent of Clinton supporters did.

Maybe there should be a U.S. history month instead of a white history month.

You may have suspected this already, but the Southern Poverty Law Center has confirmed it: 2016 was a banner year for hate groups in the U.S.

According to the annual SPLC report, the number of hate groups rose to 917 in 2016, up from 892 in 2015. The report shows that the most dramatic change was the enormous leap in anti-Muslim hate groups, which tripled from 34 organizations in 2015, to 101 in 2016.

Let’s see, what could possibly account for the rise in anti-Muslim groups? Who had the biggest megaphone in 2016? Oh, right.

Much of the increased hate, the report noted, could be attributed to the rhetoric and fear-mongering espoused by President Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.

“Trump’s run for office electrified the radical right, which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man’s country,” wrote Mark Potok, SPLC senior fellow and author of the report. “He kicked off the campaign with a speech vilifying Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. He retweeted white supremacist messages, including one that falsely claimed that black people were responsible for 80 percent of the murders of whites. He credentialed racist media personalities even while barring a serious outlet like The Washington Post, went on a radio show hosted by a rabid conspiracy theorist named Alex Jones, and said that Muslims should be banned from entering the country. He seemed to encourage violence against black protesters at his rallies, suggesting that he would pay the legal fees of anyone charged as a result.”

Elections have consequences. So do campaigns. Surely we can attribute some anti-Muslim sentiment to massacres in Orlando and in San Bernardino, which were carried out by Muslim men (and one wife) who claimed allegiance to ISIS (at least while the attacks were happening, though they had no contact with ISIS before then). But let’s be clear. The rise in anti-Muslim sentiment, and the rise in anti-Muslim hate groups was stoked and encouraged by one political candidate, one who is now President. Recall if you will how George W. Bush, days after the 9-11 attacks made a point of saying Islam is a religion of peace and that the hijackers were worshipping a perverted sham of that faith. He was right to say that, and his comments are credited for keeping a lid on anger and hate crimes against Muslims in the days and months following the attacks.

Compare and contrast the person in the White House now, who has signed an executive order banning people from 7 predominantly Muslim countries, an order being stalled in the courts, and who is being advised by people like Jeff Bannon, who have a long history of anti-Muslim statements.

Leadership matters.

With a travel ban on predominately Muslim countries – though not those where the President has a financial interest – this would be a good time to revisit what Americans think of Muslims generally.

The latest survey from Pew, conducted in 2014, gives some answers about how America feels generally about this group, which makes up just under one percent of the U.S. population. Pew asked Americans to rate members of eight religious groups on a “feeling thermometer” from 0 to 100, where 0 reflects the coldest, most negative possible rating and 100 the warmest, most positive rating.

Overall, Americans rated Muslims rather coolly – an average of 40, which was comparable to the average rating they gave atheists (41). Americans view the six other religious groups mentioned in the survey (Jews, Catholics, evangelical Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons) more warmly.

Republicans and those who lean toward the Republican Party gave Muslims an average rating of 33, considerably cooler than Democrats’ rating toward Muslims (47).

Pew’s December 2015 survey about Islamic extremism showed some partisan differences as well.  It showed that Republicans also are likely than Democrats to say they are very concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in the world (83% vs. 53%) and in the U.S. (65% vs. 38%). That survey also found that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers (68% vs. 30% of Democrats) and that Muslims should be subject to more scrutiny than people of other religions (49% vs. 20%).

Overall, 61 percent of those surveyed surveyed Muslims should not be subject to additional scrutiny solely because of their religion, while U.S. adults are closely divided on the question of whether Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence.

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While Americans appear to be wary of Muslims, they also display some conflicting views. For example, in a January, 2016 Pew survey, about half of Americans (49%) think at least “some” U.S. Muslims are anti-American, greater than the share who say “just a few” or “none” are anti-American. But the same survey also found that most Americans (59%) believe there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims in the U.S. today, and even more (76%) say discrimination against Muslims in the U.S. is on the rise.

Nearly half of U.S. adults (47%) say they do not personally know a Muslim, while a similar share (52%) do know at least one person who is Muslim.

On this Martin Luther King Day, we have an analysis of a Pew survey about attitudes about race. Only one of the takeaways of this survey was the wealth gap, which is not terribly surprising:

 Blacks lag behind whites in homeownership, household wealth and median income, among other indicators. And these differences remain even when controlling for levels of education.

What’s most interesting to us is this statistic:

About six-in-ten Americans (61%) say more changes are needed to achieve racial equality; 30% say the country has already made enough changes. There’s a big race gap on this question: 88% of blacks and seven-in-ten Hispanics say more changes are needed for blacks to have equal rights with whites compared with 53% of whites. Some 38% of whites say the necessary changes have been made.

About this issue, Blacks are more pessimistic that the U.S. will make the changes needed than are Whites and Hispanics.

Read the rest here.

This article from the Washington Post is another in a long and continuing line of How Did This Happen analyses of the presidential election. This one uses the theory that nostalgia for White Christian America – presumably in the 1950s, whether or not they actually lived through the 50s – drove so many Americans to vote for Trump. Because nothing says nostalgia for a simpler time like a thin-skinned man with a fragile ego who tweets out provocations to foreign countries before he’s inaugurated and dismisses the entire intelligence community. Just like Eisenhower, right?

Sorry. Back to the race issue. White resentment is a real thing, and it’s been reported on in many outlets and researched by Pew and others. But the framing of the article, that all these voters wanted was a return to Andy Griffith America – Andy Griffith was a TV SHOW – sorry – shows that either these people are suffering from the worst case of cognitive dissonance ever, or the author is treating their racism with kid gloves. Here’s a key passage:

Seventy-four percent of white evangelicals believe American culture has mostly changed for the worse since the 1950s — more than any other group of Americans — compared with 56 percent of all whites, according to a 2016 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. In sharp contrast, 62 percent of African Americans and 57 percent of Hispanic Americans think the culture has changed for the better, the survey said.

With his promise to “Make America Great Again,” Trump appealed directly to this sense of dispossession, and 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for him, according to exit polls.

Make America Great Again is about racism. Say it, Washington Post. Well, the writer sort of gets real with some fact-based history about the town The Andy Griffith Show was supposedly based on, Mount Airy, North Carolina:

Not everyone is nostalgic for the 1950s.

Ron Jessup, 68, who grew up in Mount Airy during that era, found the place generally friendly then, he said — as long as he and other blacks obeyed the racist laws and social mores of the time.

If African Americans went to the theater, they sat upstairs, he said. If they went to the restaurants, they avoided the counter. “We understood what was considered our place,” said Jessup, who is retired from his job as a high school principal in nearby Winston-Salem. Even now, all five Surry County commissioners are white.

Fictional Mayberry only represented part of the Mount Airy story because it only portrayed a white America, Jessup said.

And the article is still skirting the glaring truth: many of these voters don’t care just about the Bible or gay marriage or lower taxes, they want a White dominant America.

They’re not going to get it. It’s simply not possible. And they’re going to be very angry if and when they realize this.

A new report by the independent Economic Cycle Research Institute, covers a lot of economic ground with it statistics on employment and economics over the past nine years. But this sentence in the report stands out:

Whites actually have fewer jobs than nine years ago, while Hispanics, Blacks and Asians together gained all of the net jobs added, and more.

This editorial in the New York Times suggests that these statistics, the lopsided job gains that benefitted Americans of color over the past nine years, had an impact on the recent election. You know that Angry White Working Class voter? Turns out he had something to be angry about:

Despite accounting for less than 15 percent of the labor force, Hispanics got more than half of the net additional jobs. Blacks and Asians also gained millions more jobs than they lost. But whites, who account for 78 percent of the labor force, lost more than 700,000 net jobs over the nine years.

By the numbers, from November 2007 to November 2016:

- The U.S. economy has gained net 9 million jobs.

-  Whites experienced a net job reduction of more than 700,000 jobs.

-  Asian Americans gained close to 2.5 million jobs.

- Blacks gained a little over 2 millions.

- Latinos  gained almost 5 million net jobs.

Taking age into account, the numbers are even more shocking. Looking only at those of prime working age—25 to 54 years old—whites suffered a net job loss of 6.5 million. For Latinos, Asians, and blacks in the same age cohort, the net job gains were 3 million, 1.5 million, and 1 million respectively.

Part of it had to do with where the new jobs are concentrated vs. where the white people are concentrated, according to ECRI:

Part of the reason may be that these jobs, predominantly in services, were created in metropolitan areas, rather than in rural areas and small towns where factories were shuttered as the manufacturing jobs disappeared. There is little reason to expect that those jobs are coming back to those areas away from the urban centers.

Metropolitan areas gained jobs over the past nine years, while the rest of the country shed 2 percent. Trump won white working class voters decisively, which made the difference in heavily rural states and in non-urban areas of swing states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Overall, among whites without a college degree, Trump won by 39 points. More importantly, he outperformed Mitt Romney by 14 points among that group.

A couple of things to point out:

- The data don’t show that, despite some ugly race-baiting, that non-whites “took white people’s jobs.”

- The data don’t suggest that things are great for most Americans of color.

- The data do not show that we hat we don’t need more investment in urban or metropolitan areas.

- The data do not show that all or most of the jobs gained were good, well-paying jobs.

What the data do suggest is that white resentment is based on some actual numbers. Though these working class (generally) whites didn’t have this study to go on, they have been perceiving the situation accurately  - that they have been left behind economically. This anger over this can take many unproductive forms, which we have seen. This can be lashing out with racism, a rise in opioid drug use, or, though we can disagree on this, voting for a “change candidate,” without much concern over whether that change candidate will deliver what they want, or just blow the whole system up.

Politically, both parties should pay attention to these numbers.