Achieving Racial Equity Through Social Work: Introduction to Our New Column – SocialWorker.com

We represent an alliance of thousands of antiracist social workers in the Northeast United States, connected to a national effort to undo structural racism. Why this column? Why is achieving racial equity still an important focus for social work?

Source: Achieving Racial Equity Through Social Work: Introduction to Our New Column – SocialWorker.com

Scholar, google thyself.

Scholar, google thyself….
“We leave bits and pieces of our digital selves all over the place.”
Read what this top researcher and academic says about your electronic footprint online.
Do you have a presentable Google personality?

The Thesis Whisperer

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by a foreign university to provide a written reference for someone I didn’t know.

Usually when I am asked to write a reference I know the person well and can speak to their strengths. In this case, the university in question wanted my expert opinion about the work of one of their staff members. This ‘blind peer review’ of a person – rather than a paper – was a new process for me.

The university sent me a portfolio of ‘stuff’ which I had to review before I wrote the letter. I diligently read this material, but still felt like I didn’t know the person well enough. So I got on the Google machine and did a bit of academic stalking. If you have done anything like this recently you will know just how much information is floating around about you on…

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How public policy by design has led us to ‘Black Stigma’

Interesting article about how American public policy enhanced Black American segregation and attached stigma came to be.

One year after Michael Brown’s killing — Here’s the conversation we should have had by Joshua Holland

The shooting death of Michael Brown a year ago today sparked one of America’s periodic ‘National Conversations About Race’ — and racially discriminatory policing.

How could it not have, when Robert McCulloch, the prosecutor who presented the case against officer Darren Wilson, faced no repercussions after conceding that he had put obvious liars on the stand to corroborate Wilson’s testimony?

Could we have avoided having a conversation about unarmed black men dying at the hands of police when Michael Brown’s death was followed by the killings of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott and so many others?

Could we have avoided that discussion after the Justice Department found that racially discriminatory policing was just part of the fabric of everyday life in Ferguson – when we learned that blacks are routinely hassled for the most minor infractions, and that the city relies on that harassment for a quarter of its revenue. (In 2013, almost 33,000 arrest warrants were issued in a city of 21,000 residents; more than half of the population of Ferguson have been served with non-vehicular citations.)

At least we talked about it, even if it didn’t change much in Ferguson itself. This week,CNN reported that, “a year after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown sparked a firestorm in Ferguson, the city is still pumping out thousands of new arrest warrants and jailing people over minor offenses.”

And it has had some effect. Black Lives Matter activists are no longer allowing themselves to be taken for granted by anyone, including Democrats. Police agencies say they’re under more scrutiny than ever before. A number of white police officers have been indicted for killing unarmed black men over the past year. And, according toGallup, the share of white Americans who say they are “satisfied with the way blacks are treated in the US” has fallen from 67 percent in 2013 to 53 percent today; among Latinos, it’s fallen from 61 percent to 44 percent.

But there was another conversation that we might have had, but didn’t. We could have talked about the ways that discriminatory public policies of the past – legal, institutional racism at the local, state and federal levels – created concentrated pockets of poverty and despair in places like Ferguson.

They exist all across this country, but Ferguson is almost a perfect case-study.

It was actually written up in a detailed report by Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute. In an interview conducted during the unrestthat followed Brown’s death, Rothstein told me, “the segregation that characterizes Ferguson, and that characterizes St. Louis, was the creation of purposeful public policy. We have a segregated nation by design.”

The St. Louis metropolitan area was no different from most metropolitan areas of the country. The ghetto in the central city of St. Louis was redeveloped for universities, and for a number of other uses, and the African American population in the central city was shifted to inner ring suburbs like Ferguson.

It was done primarily with two policies: First, public housing was segregated, purposely, by the federal government, so that what were previously somewhat integrated neighborhoods in urban areas were separated into separate black and white public housing projects.

And then, in the 1950s, as suburbs came to be developed, the federal government subsidized white residents of St. Louis to move to the suburbs, but effectively prohibited black residents from doing so. The federal government subsidized the construction of many, many subdivisions by requiring that bank loans for the builders be made on the condition that no homes be sold to blacks.

Because black housing was so restrictive, there were so few places where African-Americans could live in St. Louis. So what was left of St. Louis’ African-American community became overcrowded. City services were not readily available. The city was zoned so that the industrial or commercial areas were placed in black neighborhoods but not in white neighborhoods. So the industrial areas, where African-Americans lived, became slums.

And then white residents in places like Ferguson came to associate slum conditions with African-Americans, not realizing that this was not a characteristic of the people themselves, but rather it was a creation of public policy.

The nearby suburb of Kirkwood was developed during this same period. At the time, houses went for an average of $8,000, or twice the median income. Most working people could afford to buy, and many were subsidized to do so through free loans under the GI Bill. Today, those houses are worth around $400,000, on average, or seven times the median income.

But blacks couldn’t buy in Kirkwood. The government wouldn’t guarantee their loans, and realtors risked losing their licenses if they sold a home on a white block to a black family. African Americans were forced into all-black enclaves, with bad municipal services and underfunded schools, and were unable to build up that same equity.

And it wasn’t just housing. The St. Louis metropolitan area saw a massive construction boom during the postwar years, but blacks weren’t allowed to join the construction unions so they missed out. “There are many other examples I could give you,” Rothstein told me. “During the enormous employment boom during World War II, St. Louis was a big center of arms manufacturing. Lots of workers flooded to St. Louis from the Ozarks and other areas, black workers as well as white workers. But the largest ammunition producer would not hire African-Americans until the war was almost over.”

The postwar years brought the “liberal consensus” period that so many progressives remember with great fondness. Prosperity was broadly shared, unions were thriving, CEOs weren’t paid hundreds of times what their workers make and the wealthy paid a big chunk of their incomes in taxes.

We built a thriving middle class during that time, but it was largely a white middle class; blacks were excluded by law and by design.

Today, that kind of broadly shared prosperity is a thing of the past. And the racially discriminatory policies that kept African-Americans from climbing into the middle class during that time are all illegal.

But their legacy continues to limit African-American economic success to this day. These communities continue to have tax bases that can’t support decent schools, and, more importantly, black families never got the same opportunity to build wealth, which is almost a prerequisite for success in today’s highly unequal economy.

Accumulated wealth is the key to a family’s ability to help the next generation get ahead. It allows people to help their kids get started – with college tuition, or a down-payment on a first home or some seed-money to start a business.

According to NYU sociologist Dalton Conley, author of Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth and Social Class in America, there are only two factors that appear to make any difference in terms of kids’ performance in school and future prospects in the job market: Their parents’ level of education and their household wealth. “Nothing else seems to matter,” he told me last year.

Conley found that the average white family has ten times the accumulated wealth as the average black family. Even poor white households — those hovering around the poverty line — have $10,000 or $15,000 in accumulated wealth, according to Conley. But “the typical black family at that income level will have zero net worth, or even negative net worth, which means they’re paying interest on top of all their other bills.”

If we had had this conversation – or if we ever have it – the utter bankruptcy of the charge that blacks are just “dwelling in the past” would be revealed for all to see. Andcalls for reparations would no longer be relegated to the fringe.

The reality is that African-American economic outcomes aren’t hindered by some sort of “culture of poverty” – a crackpot idea that’s remained popular despite having zero empirical support. African-Americans have only enjoyed full citizenship in this country for a half-century, and that’s not nearly enough time to recover from four centuries of slavery and institutional racism. Black lives matter, but so does black opportunity.

Joshua Holland is a contributor to The Nation, and a writing fellow with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. He is also the host of Politics and Reality Radio. Follow him on Twitter.”

Is America in debt? If yes, then to whom?

Answer by Matt Wasserman:

The government of the United States is in debt for about $18 trillion.

About $5 trillion of that is technically owed to itself – intragovernmental debt. Money collected for specific purposes (like Social Security or Medicare) goes into the general fund, and non-transferrable treasury bonds are issued in its place. For example, the Social Security trust funds currently have about $2.6 trillion worth of these bonds, but no cash other than what's been collected in the last 30 days.

While the money is technically owed to the government by the government, it's really owed to the citizens. And while these are not the same bonds being sold in the open market, I think it's a safe bet that defaulting on them would have a significant impact on our credit worthiness.

The other $13 trillion is in the form of treasury bonds, treasury notes, savings bonds, and other forms of government issued debt. $6 trillion of that is held by foreign investors, banks, and creditors. August 2014 numbers from Treasury look like this (in billions)-

China,Mainland    1269.7
Japan    1230.1
Belgium    359.9
Carib Banking Centers    313.9
Oil Exporters    267.5
Brazil    261.7
Switzerland    189.1
Taiwan    172.9
United Kingdom    172.8
Hong Kong    160.5
Luxembourg    150.5
Russia    118.1
Ireland    106.8
Singapore    106.3
Norway    87
India    80.4
Mexico    75.2
Turkey    73.4
Germany    69.4
Canada    64.9
France    59
Korea    56.9
Thailand    40.8
Sweden    36.3
Kazakhstan    36.1
Colombia    34.8
Philippines    34.6
Australia    33.9
Netherlands    33.6
Italy    30.8
Poland    29.4
Chile    27
Israel    26.4
Spain    21.8
Denmark    16.2
Vietnam    14.6
Peru    11.4
South Africa    10.3
All Other    182.3
Grand Total    6066.6

The remaining ~$7 trillion is held by people and entities in the US. The Federal Reserve holds about $2.5 trillion of it. Mutual funds and pension funds hold about $1.6 trillion. State governments hold about $800 billion. Insurance companies, $270 billion. Banks, $380 billion. Savings bonds are about $180 billion. Individuals and other entities hold the rest, about $1.1 trillion.

State governments are in debt for another $1.2 trillion. Some percentage of that should be added to the federal debt because the money is borrowed to fund federal programs.

Local governments are in debt for about $1.9 trillion.

Consumer debt is about $11.6 trillion.

Yes, America is in debt.

Is America in debt? If yes, then to whom?

How is Portugal seen in your country?

Answer by Chris Hawkins:

The above answers are incredibly interesting, given that despite the relatively small size of Portugal in terms of geography and populations, this nation has had one of the greatest impacts on three of the planet's largest continents, viz Africa, Asia and South America.

Before Portugal began its voyages of discovery, the nation was almost the first in Europe to define its borders and class itself as a nation, way before France, Spain, Italy and Germany. As long ago as 1143, following the Treaty of Zamora, the nation was recognised as in independent sovereign state – global opinion network although it took another 100 years to finalise the conquest of the southern most regions of Portugal, viz the Algarve.

The University of Coimbra, ( University of Coimbra ) was founded in 1290, well in advance of Heidelberg and many Italian, German and Spanish centres of learning.

It was Portugal's Voyages of Discovery, Portuguese discoveries, from the middle of the 15th Century onward, that began the projection of the nation onto the world stage. Although its eventual colonisation of swathes of Africa, Brazil and Asia would in the late 20th and 21st Century be considered anathema by much of the world, there is a strong argument for the thesis that the Portuguese were the pioneers of "Globalisation"!

Portugal's Unending Sphere of  Influence

Portuguese maritime technology gave impetus to the subsequent maritime adventures of The Netherlands, England, France and Spain.

Portugal's maritime influence also resulted in major contributions to some of the world major languages and evolution of culinary styles. Portuguese Jesuit priests were the first westerners to penetrate Japan and China.

List of Japanese words of Portuguese origin

There are apocryphal suggestions that the word "Mandarin" used in English to describe putonghua/guoyu originated from the Portuguese phrase "mandar em", – "to send in" which was used by Portuguese envoys to the Chinese Emperor's court to refer to the court officials who were the only ones allowed to enter the presence of the Emperor.

Fast forward five hundred years, and one finds Portugal again "punching above its weight" on the world stage.

Ignoring its ongoing economic crisis, most people are not aware that, almost alone among its former colonial peers, Portugal has managed to maintain and develop extremely strong social, cultural and economic links with the other nations in the CPLP ( Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa ) grouping of  Portuguese speaking nations.

By various rankings, Portuguese is the 4th or 5th most spoken language world-wide.

Português a quarta língua mais falada no mundo

It also handled with aplomb the return of its former colony Macau to Chinese control and used the opportunity to reinforce links with China.

Furthermore, Portuguese technocrats are in key positions in both the Public and Private Sector throughout the world.

José Manuel Barroso – Current President of the EU Commission
António Guterres – Current UN High Commissioner for Refugees
António Horta Osório (banker) – Chief Executive Lloyds Bank, London, United Kingdom
Carlos Tavares — Wikipédia – Former Senior Executive of Renualt and now Chief Executive of PSA (Peugeot – Citroen) – France.

Portugal is blessed with a great resources of well-educated multi-lingual talents at all levels.

Portuguese outward investment is also notable with groups such as Jeronomo Martins, a national retailer, now being the owner and operator of the largest retail operator in Poland, (Biedronka) and now spearheading a similiar effort in Colombia.

EDP Renováveis, a subsididary of national power generator, EDP ( Energias de Portugal ) , is the third-largest generator of wind energy globally with large operations in the use.

Since the economic crisis began 5 years ago, Portugal has used these influences and links to successfully engineer a turnaround in manufactured and service exports attracting substantial foreign investment, (much more than has Greece ) and leveraged its position to be a gateway to three of the countries with some of the biggest growth potential world-wide, namely, Angola, Brazil and Mocambique.

It may be that Portugal, because of its small size and small economic "footprint" is viewed as small and unimportant, but in reality it is currently creating conditions to grow its economy out of recession and continue to be a force in the world.

How does Portugal look from where I live…?

Pretty good, growing and with great potential.

and I haven't mentioned football or NCIS Los Angeles once….:::

How is Portugal seen in your country?