Showing posts from July, 2010

Shirley Sherrod Walked into a Live Minefield: Conservative Myths About Race and Racism in America

The Shirley Sherrod affair made me think a lot about some powerful myths – historical and contemporary – about race and racism in America. What has been abundantly clear to me about the whole sordid Sherrod affair is just how deeply ingrained in the American psyche is the conservative narrative about race and racism in America. During the last several decades, books and articles written by conservative writers – many of them housed in conservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institute at Stanford, University – have defined much of our racial discourse. Some of their books have become best-sellers. There is not enough space to list them all, but two of the most well-known and successful books are: Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray: Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life Dinesh D'Souza: The End of Racism What is striking about both of these books is that they prom

A Jobless Recovery for the Unskilled and Less Educated

For the last several months, the Obama Administration has been talking a lot about "a jobless economic recovery." The Administration points to statistics showing that the unemployment rate has dropped to about 9.5 percent, down from a peak of 10.1 percent last October, to justify its policies to stimulate the economy. For the millions of Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, or have abandoned the job market out of frustration, however, the talk out of Washington about "a jobless economic recovery" is utter nonsense. In particular, for the long-term unemployed, talk of a jobless recovery must sound like a cruel joke. Let's get real. The proportion of the work force that has been out of work for more than six months is an astonishing 4.4 percent. The more than 46 percent of the unemployed out of work for more than 6 months is twice the previous post-war high set in 1983. Although the long-term unemployment rate was obviously higher during the Great Depres