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African American Wealth & Racism

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When reflecting on the progress African Americans have made, the reality is that when it comes to wealth — according to the paramount indicator of economic security — there has been virtually no progress in the last 50 years.

Based on data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance, the typical black family has only 10 cents for every dollar held by the typical white family.

 

Until the end of legal slavery in the U.S., enslaved people were considered valuable assets and a form of wealth. In the South, entrepreneurs and slave owners took loans out against the collateral value of their property in the form of people to fund new businesses.

The U.S. government has a long history of facilitating wealth for white Americans. From at least the Land Act of 1785, Congress sought to transfer wealth to citizens on terms that were quite favorable.

While the 1866 Homestead Act sought to include blacks specifically in the transfer of public lands to private farmers, discrimination and poor implementation doomed the policy. Black politicians during Reconstruction attempted to use tax policy to force land on the market, but this was met with violent resistance.

While blacks did make gains in wealth acquisition after chattel slavery ended, the pace was slow and started from a base of essentially nothing. Whites could use violence to force blacks from their property via the terrorism of whitecapping, where blacks were literally run out of town and their possessions stolen. This includes the race riots, as in Memphis in 1866 and Tulsa in 1921, which systematically destroyed or stole the wealth blacks had acquired, and lowered the rate of black innovation. Black wealth was tenuous without the rule of law to prevent unlawful seizures.

By 1915, black property owners in the South had less than one-tenth of the wealth of white landowners.

This trend remained stable for the next 50 years. In 1965, 100 years after Emancipation, blacks were more than 10% of the population, but held less than 2% of the wealth in the U.S., and less than 0.1% of the wealth in stocks. Wealth had remained fundamentally unchanged and structurally out of reach of the vast majority of blacks.

These racially exclusionary systems endured well into the 20th century.

A complicit Federal Housing Administration permitted the use of restrictive covenants, which forbade home sales to blacks; redlining, which defined black communities as hazardous areas, directly reducing property values and increasing rates; and general housing and lending discrimination against African-Americans through the 20th and 21st centuries.

Moreover, blacks were largely excluded from the New Deal and World War II public policies, which were responsible for the asset creation of an American middle class.

 

Alabama newspaper editor who urged Klan to ‘ride again’ replaced by African-American woman

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Why is Racism so Violently Prevalent today

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Covert racism is a form of racial discrimination that is disguised and subtle, rather than public or obvious. Concealed in the fabric of society, covert racism discriminates against individuals through often evasive or seemingly passive methods. Covert, racially biased decisions are often hidden or rationalized with an explanation that society is more willing to accept. These racial biases cause a variety of problems that work to empower the suppressors while diminishing the rights and powers of the oppressed. Covert racism often works subliminally, and often much of the discrimination is being done subconsciously

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/08/14/why-are-people-still-racist-what-science-says-about-americas-race-problem/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.eb225b77bced

 

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/2123539/no-chinese-why-anti-china-racism-so-big-japan

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/04/from-the-editor-race-racism-history/

 

Racism & algorthms

 

It has been publicized, the unconscious biases of white developers proliferate on the internet, mapping our social structures and behaviors onto code and repeating the imbalances and injustices that exist in the real world.

There was the case of black people being classified as gorillas; the computer system that rejected an Asian man’s passport photo because it read his eyes as being closed; Earlier this year, the release of Google’s Arts and Culture App, which allows users to match their faces with a historical painting, produced less than nuanced results for Asians, as well as African-Americans. Additionally, a new book, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, argues that search engines themselves are inherently discriminatory.

Installation view of Stephanie Dinkins, “Conversations with Bina48,” 2014-present, at Recess’ Assembly Gallery, Brooklyn, 2017.

Installation view of Stephanie Dinkins, “Conversations with Bina48,” 2014-present, at Recess’ Assembly Gallery, Brooklyn, 2017.

Stephanie Dinkins has since ventured into investigations with the way that culture—particularly the experiences of race and gender—is codified in technology. She has become a strong voice in the effort to sound the alarm about the dangers of minority populations being absent from creations of the computer algorithms that now mold our lives. Her research into these imbalances has taken her on a head-spinning tour of tech companies, conferences, and residencies over the past few years. Dinkins is currently in residence at the tech programs of both Pioneer Works and Eyebeam, nonprofit art centers based in Brooklyn. 

 

Survey Asked Why Black People Talk So Loud?

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According To Recent Study, Women Of Color Feel Unsafe Working In The Science Field.

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Among astronomers, some 28% of women of color reported feeling unsafe in their workplace due to their race, and about 40% reported feeling unsafe because of their gender. Women of color face more harassment than any other group, according to a new study published on Monday.

The online survey of 474 astronomers and planetary scientists found that 28% of the women of color who responded reported feeling unsafe in their workplace due to their race, and that about 40% reported feeling unsafe because of their gender. Women of color were also more likely than men to experience verbal harassment related to their race.

Eighteen percent of women of color — as well as 12% of white women — said they’d skipped at least one class, meeting, fieldwork opportunity, or professional event because they were worried about their safety. Although the number of white women faculty members has increased across science fields, the number of women of color has decreased.

The study also outlined several remedies in addressing the problem, including creating a code of conduct, diversity and cultural awareness training, and hiring many more women of color.

Kathryn Clancy, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois and lead author of the paper, says”You can’t keep putting women of color in the position of being an only, or being in such low numbers that they’re tokenized.”

Clancy also stressed that while professional societies could do a lot to foster culture change and make demands on their memberships, universities need to have swifter consequences for discrimination, and make it easier for victims to discuss these issues both formally and informally.

 

Researchers Study Inequality & Twitter

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Johnnatan Messias at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil and a few pals began the study began by filtering the Twitter stream during the three months to September 2016. In total, they collected 341,457,982 tweets posted by 50,270,310 users.

They filtered this by time zone, geolocation, and those with a profile picture to leave them with 1.6 million users based in the U.S. They then fed the pictures through a state-of-the-art face recognition application called Face++, which reports the sex and race (black, white, or Asian) of each user. The overall makeup  of the group revealed that  53 percent were women and 47 percent men. It also revealed the race breakdown, which was 18 percent Asian, 14 percent black, and 68 percent white. Messias and co began by looking at the ratios of men and women who had the most followers on Twitter. Of the top 1 percent of Twitter users with the most followers, 57 percent were male and 43 percent female. Researchers say inequalities surfaced when the group studied the distribution of races among the most popular Twitter users. “At the highest levels of [Twitter] visibility, users perceived to be White come out on top position.”

The most privileged group turns out to be white males, who are overrepresented by 20 percent among popular Twitter users. White females are also more privileged albeit to much lesser extent, just 3 percent. The most underprivileged groups are Asian females and black females, who are underrepresented by 31 percent.

Moreover, The study reveals that there are significant biases in the way genders and races link to each other. This is an effect known as “homophily”—the tendency of people to seek out others like themselves.  White people tend to follow more white people than expected by a margin of 16 percent. Black people tend to follow more black people than expected by a very significant margin of over 200 percent. However, Asian people tend to follow fewer Asian people than expected by a margin of 10 percent.

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