Monday, July 30, 2001

Unmasking the Poor

The poor are pretty well hidden from everyone except each other in the United States. You won't find them in the same neighborhoods or the same schools as the well-to-do. They're not on television, except for the local crime-casts. And they've vanished from the nation's political discussion.

Hiding the poor has been quite a trick, because there are still millions upon millions of them out here. And despite all the rosy scenarios we've been fed — the end of welfare as we know it, rising tides lifting everybody's yachts — they're not doing very well at all.

This has been made clear in a new report from the Economic Policy Institute in Washington and in Barbara Ehrenreich's latest book, "Nickel and Dimed."

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

ZDNet: Smart Business | What's Next
What's Next
The Editors of Ziff Davis Smart Business, Ziff Davis Smart Business
August 2001
E-business reality check: Barry Diller, Sam Donaldson, Mohan Sawhney, Ted Nugent, and other innovators on the future of the Next Economy—and how to profit from it.,6605,2781480,00.html

Friday, July 13, 2001

Overcome by Slavery
The resonance of the Jefferson- Hemings affair provides a reminder of how much slavery has become part of contemporary politics. Bill Clinton realized this early on; hence the debate over The Apology and his appointment of the Commission on Race and Reconciliation. Congress has also gotten into the act, mandating that Civil War battle sites supervised by the National Park Service address slavery. Disputes over the Confederate flag and Confederate History Month have roiled politics in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Virginia, and California has required insurance companies to divulge if they have ever insured slave property. Finally, there is the matter of reparations, which has found advocates in some of the nation's prominent litigators.

It would be comforting to conclude that recognition of slavery's importance to the development of our economy, politics and culture has driven Americans to a consideration of the past. But there clearly is more to the current interest in slavery. There is a recognition that American racism was founded in slavery, and a general, if inchoate, understanding that any attempt to address race in the present must also address slavery in past.

This attempt has become imperative as American society perceptibly grows more segregated, the benefits of economic growth are unevenly and unfairly distributed among races, and a previous generation's remedies for segregation and inequality are discarded as politically unacceptable.

In short, behind the interest in slavery is the crisis of race. The confluence of the history of slavery and the politics of race reveals that slavery has become a language, a way to talk about race, in a society in which blacks and whites hardly talk to each other at all. In slavery, Americans have found a voice to address some of their deepest hurts and the depressing reality of how much of American life — jobs; housing; schools; access to medical care, to justice and even to a taxi — is controlled by race.
con·cept: July 2001