If you support racist systems, guess what? You’re kinda racist.

David Horsey, LA Times

American Dream Game, by David Horsey, LA Times

It’s Time for Whites to Accept Responsibility for Racist Systems | TIME.

Powerful essay from Jim Wallis on Time.com.

To my white brothers and sisters: you can’t continue to say you are not racist when you continue to accept and support systems that are.

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

One of the things I’ve wondered, as I watch more and more black people leave newsrooms (getting pushed out because of racism, shoved to the side and then fired, being laid offeffectively marginalized or disrespected and then canned) is this: What do white male journalists think?

I single out white men because they run ish overwhelmingly hold the  majority of the key, decision-making roles in most newsrooms. Don’t believe me, check this out.

If I were in, say, a 5K and I took first place only to realize that a good number of runners weren’t allowed to register, my victory would feel hollow. How could I say I was number 1 when the game was rigged?

How does it feel to know that whatever success you have is based, at least in part, on racist systems that mean people of color don’t get to compete with you? Continue reading

Get schooled (literally) on inequality in Memphis

I’m co-teaching a class on economic inequality in Memphis at the University of Memphis next spring. So if you’re a junior or senior and you want to explore how to translate sociological research using digital storytelling tools for a lay audience, come join us. Enrollment is by permit only. Deets on the flyer. 4904 Public Sociology Seminar FlyerSOCI 4904 Inequality in Memphis flyer JPEG final

The Memphis Flyer: Husband Wanted. Unemployed Need Not Apply.

My most recent column in The Memphis Flyer, on the shortage of marriageable men in Memphis:

If you want to destroy a community, someone once told me, take away the men’s jobs. To make a man’s job search nearly impossible, burden him with a criminal record…

In a recent Pew Research Center survey, never-married women were asked what they wanted most in a spouse. Nearly 80 percent answered that tops on their list was a partner with a steady job. But in the Memphis metro area, there are only 59 employed young men for every 100 young single women, making this one of the worst places to find a marriageable (read: employed) man.

Since the criminal justice system disproportionately ensnares black men, it has an outsized effect on a predominately African-American metro area such as Memphis. The causes of the area’s endemic poverty are many, but employment for ex-offenders is essential to the metro area’s success.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Gwen Guthrie diddy, “Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent,” check out the YouTube video above. No romance without finance, y’all.

Representative democracy? White men STILL STAY WINNING

The “Who Leads Us?” project released a telling report Wednesday on the representation in this here democracy. The headline: It’s still disproportionately white and male. America is 37 percent people of color but 90 percent of elected officials are white.

The short version in Memphis and Shelby County:

White folks are over-represented everywhere.

Women (not shown in the graphs below, but there’s just one white woman on the county commission and two black women on the city council) are under-represented everywhere.

Shelby Countyshelby county commissionBlacks under-represented on City Council

White men way overrepresented on city council