Perspectives on Race and the Shutdown

Sorry this is four days into the posting – Imara Jones at Colorlines published a fair rundown on why shutting down the government impacts people of color disproportionately. I think it’s an important read.

Why Race Matters in the Government Shutdown – COLORLINES

As the parts of the government affected by the shutdown disproportionately impact economic opportunity programs for the working poor, historically marginalized communities are likely to the feel the effects of a shutdown acutely as time goes on.

What’s particularly distressing about the shuttering of the government is that it comes at a time when unemployment remains in the double digits for blacks and Latinos. As the Center for American Progress points out, federal, state and local governments since 2008 have eliminated 750,000 public sector jobs. Given unionization and strong anti-discriminatory hiring practices, people of color are more likely to have jobs in the public sector. This is particularly true for African-Americans, and it’s why joblessness remains so stubborn in communities of color.

The truth is that people of color represent a larger proportion of the federal workforce than the workforce overall. According to the Washington Post, 35 percent of federal workers are non-White versus 30 percent of all workers.  This means that a shutdown will only add to the economic woes and employment worries in communities of color.

Equally important, Joan Walsh’s piece at Salon on the Shutdown and GOP race-baiting:

The Real Story of the Shutdown: 50 Years of GOP race-baiting: A House minority from white districts want to destroy the first black president, and the GOP minority abets them. 

The Intro:

On the day the Affordable Care Act takes effect, the U.S. government is shut down, and it may be permanently broken. You’ll read lots of explanations for the dysfunction, but the simple truth is this: It’s the culmination of 50 years of evolving yet consistent Republican strategy to depict government as the enemy, an oppressor that works primarily as the protector of and provider for African-Americans, to the detriment of everyone else. The fact that everything came apart under our first African-American president wasn’t an accident, it was probably inevitable.

3 comments to Perspectives on Race and the Shutdown

  • John Casper

    Thanks PJ.

    Any idea when Democrats will support reparations for the descendants of the slaves?

    “The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks”

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Debt-What-America-Blacks/dp/0452282101

    There’s plenty of legal precedent.

    “Financial compensation for Nazi slave laborers”

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/fin_nazi.htm#

    With DNA testing, isn’t it pretty easy to prove who had slave ancestors?

    “Meet Your Cousin, the First Lady: A Family Story, Long Hidden”

    “…Now, for the first time, the white forebears who have remained hidden in the first lady’s family tree can be identified. And her blood ties are not only to the dead. She has an entire constellation of white distant cousins who live in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas and beyond, who in turn are only now learning of their kinship to her.

    Those relatives include professionals and blue-collar workers, a retired construction worker, an accountant, a dietitian and an insurance claims adjuster, among others, who never imagined they had black relatives. Most had no idea that their ancestors owned slaves.

    Many of them, like Mrs. Tribble, 69, are still grappling with their wrenching connection to the White House. “You really don’t like to face this kind of thing,” said Mrs. Tribble, whose ancestors owned the first lady’s great-great-great-grandmother…”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/us/dna-gives-new-insights-into-michelle-obamas-roots.html?pagewanted=all

    Do you think “ethnicity” is a better word choice than “race?”

    Growing up, I heard stories about how my German grandparents were horrified when their eldest daughter wanted to marry an Irishman. “What about the children?”

       0 likes

  • great post.so much truth.

       0 likes

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