RSS

The US Senate’s Diversity Problem…

No real surprise here in America’s Last Plantation. Not much has changed since the 70’s when “The Hill” was one of my assigned accounts and I had reason to frequent the Capital and Office buildings.

The invisible folks of color who actually make the physical machinery of the Capital run

The Senate Has Plenty Of Racial Diversity, But Not The Kind You Brag About

High-level Senate staffers are overwhelmingly white. Low-level service workers are overwhelmingly black and Latino.

To a casual observer, the halls of Congress look pretty white. But according to Anthony Thomas, people of color abound there, so long as you know where to find them.

“It’s all black and Hispanic people downstairs,” said Thomas, a 23-year-old African-American from the suburb of New Carrollton, Maryland.

Thomas works as a dishwasher in the Senate cafeteria in the basement of the Dirksen building. His duties include catering special parties held in the Capitol and the Senate office buildings, where lawmakers and staff rub elbows with lobbyists and other power brokers. Though there are exceptions, it’s mostly white people drinking and dining, and people of color like Thomas cleaning up after them, he said.

A report released in December by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that the most influential Senate staffers are disproportionately white. Among senior-level Senate staff — chiefs of staff, legislative directors and other folks who ultimately shape the laws we all live by — a mere 7.1 percent are people of color, researchers found. Yet people of color comprise 36 percent of the U.S. public at large. (There may well be more diversity among mid- and low-level Senate staff, but no such numbers are available.)

So where is all the Senate’s diversity? Apparently, much of it is concentrated at the opposite end of the power structure.

For the past year and a half, a group called Good Jobs Nation, funded by the Change to Win federation of labor unions, has been organizing janitorial and food workers in the Senate offices and the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. The group compiled a database of 160 rank-and-file employees it assumes would be eligible to vote if workers filed for a union election. (SEIU, a member of Change to Win, lost a union election among Senate dining employees three years ago, though the union could file for another election.)

When the group examined demographics, it found the makeup of the service workforce to be the exact opposite of the senior-level Senate staff.

The low-wage workers were almost exclusively people of color — a whopping 97 percent, according to a demographic breakdown Good Jobs Nation provided to The Huffington Post (the breakdown did not identify individual workers). That number shouldn’t be all the surprising, given the demographics of D.C. — a majority of residents are people of color — and the way low-wage food and janitorial jobsalready skew heavily toward minorities in the U.S. at large, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A caveat: This was not a scientific study. The database was compiled through on-the-ground outreach done by the group’s organizers, not through government records or an official survey. And since the group is only organizing rank-and-file employees, the numbers don’t account for middle management, where the workforce appears more mixed. Yet the figures should ring true for anyone who’s taken a close look at the workers cleaning the dishes and mopping the floors in the Senate.

“I think what’s happening at the Capitol reflects a larger trend in our economy — the gap between the knowledge economy workers and the service-sector workers,” said Joseph Geevarghese, director of Good Jobs Nation. “You’ve got a class of workers who are higher paid, and then you have an underclass of service workers who are low-paid and struggling to make ends meet.”…More

A fairly representative sample of the higher level staff, this one from Iowa

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 4, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

DeRay for Mayor!

I think the bright young leaders of the BLM Movement are about to get a lesson in politics, and intractable problems… Einstein once said – “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” I sincerely hope that if DeRay wins, the experience of there being no short term or easy solutions doesn’t end his desire to change…

 

DeRay Mckesson files to run in Baltimore mayoral race

In a surprise move, civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson jumped into the already crowded contest for Baltimore mayor Wednesday night, shaking up the Democratic field minutes before the deadline to file.

“Baltimore is a city of promise and possibility,” the Black Lives Matter member told The Baltimore Sun. “We can’t rely on traditional pathways to politics and the traditional politicians who walk those paths if we want transformational change.”

He said he planned to release a platform within a week. He said it would include a call for internal school system audits to be made public.

Mckesson was the 13th and final candidate to jump into the primary race. In deep-blue Baltimore, the Democratic primary has long determined the winner of the general election.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has declined to run for re-election. Leading candidates include former Mayor Sheila Dixon, state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, City Councilmen Carl Stokes and Nick J. Mosby, lawyer Elizabeth Embry and businessman David L. Warnock.

Mckesson, 30, a Baltimore native and former public school administrator here and in Minnesota, is part of a team called Campaign Zero, which seeks to end police killings in America. The group wants to end “broken windows” policing, increase community oversight of police and limit use of force, among other goals.

Mckesson has gained widespread attention in the protest movement that began in Ferguson, Mo., and came to Baltimore last year to demonstrate against police brutality after the death of Freddie Gray. He has nearly 300,000 followers on Twitter.

He has met with top White House officials and presidential candidates in recent months to discuss civil rights. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called him a “social media emperor.”

In recent months, Mckesson has been living in North Baltimore.

Dixon, the front-runner in the Democratic primary, said Wednesday she had not heard of Mckesson. She noted there are less than three months to go until the election, and said she wouldn’t be distracted.

“We all want the best for Baltimore,” she said. “There are 84 days left. I’m staying focused.”

Recent polls showed Dixon leading the Democratic primary, followed by Pugh and Stokes.

Mosby, who has been doing well among younger voters, welcomed Mckesson to the race. “I welcome anyone to the race and look forward to the discussion about building a better Baltimore,” he said. “I have seen the best and the worst of Baltimore and so far I am the only candidate for mayor to offer a comprehensive plan to tackle Baltimore’s toughest challenges.”

The crowded Democratic field means a candidate could win the April 26 primary with a small fraction of the vote.

Sean Yoes, the host of the “First Edition” radio show at Morgan State University’s WEAA station, said Mckesson’s candidacy would “represent a departure from business as usual.”

But he added that Mckesson is likely not well-known among the older African-American women who have long decided Baltimore’s elections….More here

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 4, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Distrust of Chicago Police

This article in the Chicago Tribune talks about the Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emmanuel and his inability to fix the Police Department. The real story here though is the shattered relationship between the community and their police department which has failed them at nearly every turn. Wrong question, Trib!

Distrust of Chicago cops helps drive Emanuel’s low approval on crime

…A strong majority of Chicagoans don’t think the city’s cops treat all citizens fairly and believe a cover-up “code of silence” is widespread in the Police Department,…

The survey’s results illustrate a deep-seated distrust of the Chicago Police Department put in stark relief by a series of revelations about the death Laquan McDonald, a black teenager shot 16 times by white Officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. Police dashboard-camera video showed McDonald walking away from police when he was shot, but police reports show six officers claimed the teen had moved or turned threateningly toward them.

Prosecutors eventually charged Van Dyke with murder, but not until 13 months later, hours before the court-ordered release of the shooting footage. The chain of events led to weeks of street protests, calls for the mayor’s resignation and a federal civil rights investigation into the Police Department.

The poll found a dim view of the Police Department across racial and ethnic lines. Only 20 percent of voters said they believe city cops treat all citizens fairly, including just 6 percent of African-Americans surveyed.

Just 3 percent of Chicagoans said they don’t believe cops use a code of silence to protect one another, while nearly two-thirds said they think such a code is a widespread problem…

The new poll backs up that perception of unfairness across racial and ethnic lines. One in 3 white voters thought the police were fair to everyone while 53 percent said they were not. Twenty-three percent of Hispanics thought the police were fair to all, while 69 percent did not. Among African-American voters, only 6 percent said cops treat all citizens fairly while 85 percent said they don’t.

Lonnie Morgan is in the latter group. The 63-year-old retired painter said he too often sees officers pull young black men out of cars as they just try to hang out in his neighborhood, Greater Grand Crossing.

“Too many of these officers look at this neighborhood and say, ‘Oh, these are black people,’ and they just don’t care,” said Morgan, a poll respondent. “They come out and have an attitude. You can look at them and they’ve got a nasty scowl on their face. They look at you like you are dirt.”…

Nine in 10 Chicagoans said they believed there’s a code of silence in the department, with just 3 percent saying it didn’t exist. Overall, 64 percent of voters said the code of silence is a widespread problem, while 26 percent said they believe it’s limited to a handful of bad cops.

Among white voters, half said the code of silence was widespread, while 38 percent called it an isolated problem. Just 16 percent of black voters called the code of silence limited, with 79 percent saying it’s widespread….

 

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 3, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

National Museum of Black History

Almost done! Can’t say I care much for the architecture as it i a starkly modern and out of place as the Native American building is geographically out of place.

The Native American Museum

African American Museum

National Museum of African American History and Culture Scheduled to Open Sept. 24

The Smithsonian Institution has announced that the African-American history museum will open in late September, with the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony led, fittingly, by President Barack Obama.

The long-awaited National Museum of African American History and Culture will open on Sept. 24 in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian Institution announced Monday, the Associated Press reports.

Linda St. Thomas, chief spokeswoman at the Smithsonian, said that President Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, will lead the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

A weeklong celebration is scheduled to follow the opening of the museum, and it will include an outdoor festival and a period in which the museum will remain open for 24 hours.

As AP notes, the museum has built a collection of some 11 exhibits that detail the history of slavery, segregation, civil rights and African Americans’ achievements in the arts, entertainment, sports, military and other aspects of the wider culture. There will also be artifacts on display that are on loan from other institutions, such as the 13th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation, both signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 3, 2016 in Black History

 

Tags: , , , ,

Image

Clown Bus Update – Iowa Pt 2

Rand Paul, Rick Santorum….

 

Rand Daffy

Santorum hell

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 3, 2016 in The Clown Bus

 

Tags: , , , ,

Melissa Harris-Perry Verbally Accosted in Iowa Hotel Lobby

The Trumpazoids are out…

MSNBC Anchor Describes Terrifying Harassment, Racial Threats

“I don’t know if he was there to kill me,” Melissa Harris-Perry wrote about the encounter Monday night in Iowa.

MSNBC anchor and Wake Forest University professor Melissa Harris-Perry was in her Iowa hotel lobby on Monday night when she said a man came dangerously close to her, threatening her incoherently and invoking Nazi Germany.

She traveled to Iowa with a group of 22 Wake Forest students as part of the university’s “Wake the Vote” program. The students were out watching the caucus results unfold.

Harris-Perry said she was glued to the lobby’s TV, only noticing the man when “he was standing right next to me, much closer than is ordinary or comfortable,” she wrote in a post on Wake Forest’s Anna Julia Cooper Center website.

He launched into a series of bizarre questions, asking her what she taught and how she could be “credentialed to be on MSNBC,” she said.

“The hairs on my arm stood on end. I ignored it. Told myself everything was ok,” she wrote.

His voice grew angry, she said.

“I just want you to know why I am doing this,” he told her.

She said she froze in place at that moment, terrified that he was about to reach for a knife, a gun or “worse.”

“I can’t hear all the words,” she wrote. “But I catch ‘Nazi Germany’ and I catch ‘rise to power.’ But I can’t move.”

She finally sprung into action, she said, and moved in order to create some distance between them.

Her friend took stock of what was unfolding, she said.

“Together we raise our voices and make a fuss. He turns. He runs out. He jumps in a car. He drives off.”

“I don’t know if he was there to kill me,” she wrote.

For a full account by Professor Harris-Perry go here.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Clown Bus Update Post Iowa

Huckabee, O’Malley …Done.

Walker Hits Wall

Perry Hits Wall

Webb-Sylvester

Smoked!

Graham Boom

Pataki Crash

Huckabee

 

O'Malley Iowa

Carson Iowa

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 2, 2016 in The Clown Bus

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 225 other followers