Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Class appears to trump sexism in interrupting

How to Get Ahead as a Woman in Tech: Interrupt Men has this observation about the women with the most seniority in the study: "Not only do these three women interrupt everyone, gender- and level-agnostic, they represent three of the four biggest interrupters in the study. Their rates of interruption/hour are, respectively, 35, 34, and 32, with one male colleague in Level E coming in at 34 and literally everyone else in every level showing a lower rate."

ETA: This really isn't a new phenomenon. Anyone who read or saw a good production of Pride and Prejudice should remember Lady Catherine de Burgh, who no one interrupted.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Why #BlackLivesMatter should be #PoorLivesMatter—now with graphics

The Short Take

When you only look at race and ignore class, police killings appear to be very racist. When you include class, the picture changes. If you only follow one link on this page, follow this one: Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings.

Because most people killed by the police are poor, police killings are racially proportionate to US poverty:  twice as many white people as black are in poverty and twice as many white people as black are killed by the police.

When poor white and black people are killed at the same rate, the problem isn't a war on black people. It's war on poor people.

On the Relationship of Poverty and Police Killings in the USA

What I've Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings: "it’s poor people who are killed by police."

Why Are So Many Black Americans Killed By Police?: "a greater proportion of black Americans than white Americans live in poverty. Poverty is positively correlated with certain kinds of crime."

To end police violence, we have to end poverty: "For prison, the difference in lifetime risk of incarceration is something like ten times as great for low-class blacks as it is for high-class blacks. If we assume that the police are generally arresting the same people they interact with generally, then something similar likely holds for police shootings."

The Full Take

A casual glance shows police killings are racially disproportionate to our population — though black people are 13.3% of the US, 25% of people killed by the police are black. But that hides another fact: Police killings are racially proportionate to America’s poor. Which makes sense—though there are exceptions from all races, most people killed by the police are poor.
As I write, The Counted reports a total of 654 people killed by the police in 2016—166 black, 322 white, 107 Hispanic, and 59 Other/Unknown. Here’s what that looks like for white and black victims:

The Kaiser Foundation reports 47,021,300 Americans in poverty in 2014–10,145,200 black, 19,796,700 white, 13,214,100 Hispanic, 3,865,300 Other. Here’s what that looks like for white and black people in poverty:

No, I didn’t use the same chart twice. The black and white racial statistics for police victims and Americans in poverty are perfectly proportional. That 2-to-1 ratio doesn’t change: In 2015, the police killed 581 white people and 306 black people. Over a decade, the police killed 2,151 whites and 1,130 blacks.
Including other races reveals a disproportionality, but it’s not about white and black — Hispanics are under-represented, perhaps because police killings tend to be urban while Hispanic poverty is more rural than white or black poverty.

Under “Other” is a neglected fact: American Indians are the group that’s most likely to be killed by the police. The Counted’s breakdown of people per million killed by police:
5.49 Native American
4.16 Black
1.89 Hispanic/Latino
1.63 White
0.56 Asian/Pacific Islander
The racial list of who is most likely to be killed lines up with racial household income: Native Americans are poorest, followed by blacks, then Hispanics, then non-Hispanic whites, then Asian Americans, who have higher incomes than white Americans. The basic rule for police killings: the richer the group, the less likely its members will be killed by police, and the richer the individual, the less likely that person will be killed by the police.

Focusing on black victims hides similar examples of white and Hispanic people killed under outrageous circumstances, like Robert Cameron Redus, pulled over for speeding and shot after saying sarcastically, “Oh, you’re gonna shoot me?” and Derek Cruice, killed while weaponless and wearing nothing but basketball shorts, and Andy Lopez, whose toy gun was mistaken for a real one, and Christopher Roupe, who answered the door holding a WII controller, and Kristiana Coignard, a bipolar 100-pound teen who entered a police station carrying a knife, and Autumn Mae Steele, killed by a cop who was aiming at her dog, and David Kassick, shot lying facedown in the snow after being stopped for an expired inspection sticker, and Brenda Sewell, whose guards withheld her prescription medicine.
We all know there are racist cops, but statistically, they don’t affect the larger picture. Our police are trained to kill when they feel threatened and have little training for dealing with people who don’t follow orders — which explains why half of the people killed by the police have a disability, which ties into most victims being poor: the disabled are twice as likely to be poor.
Martin Luther King almost certainly would agree with the majority of black folks who prefer #AllLivesMatter to #BlackLivesMatter; he once said, “…there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike.”
He said that to support Basic Income as the best way to end poverty, but Basic Income also offers the fastest way to reduce police violence. In a pilot program for Basic Income in Namibia, crime fell by 42%. By reducing inequality and eliminating desperation, we can make a world where all Americans can see police officers as their friends, and the police can be free to protect and serve everyone.


ETA: Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings - The New York Times

For people who believe the richest black people are more likely to go to prison than the poorest white people: "...the very wealthiest black youth —  those whose household wealth in 1985 exceeded $69,000 in 2012 dollars — had a better chance of avoiding prison than the poorest white youth. Among black young people in this group, 2.4 percent were incarcerated." That's acknowledged in the badly titled Poor white kids are less likely to go to prison than rich black kids - The Washington Post.

Less-lethal weapon holders make up only about 20% of deadly force victims in the US. Yet the rates of these deaths alone exceed total known deadly force rates in any European county. 
Knife violence is a big problem in England, yet British police have fatally shot only one person wielding a knife since 2008 – a hostage-taker. By comparison, my calculations based on data compiled by fatalencounters.org and the Washington Post show that US police have fatally shot more than 575 people allegedly wielding blades and other such weapons just in the years since 2013. 
...racism alone can’t explain why non-Latino white Americans are 26 times more likely to die by police gunfire than Germans. And racism alone doesn’t explain why states like Montana, West Virginia and Wyoming – where both perpetrators and victims of deadly force are almost always white – exhibit relatively high rates of police lethality.
...according to the Washington Post data, the states with the highest rates of police homicide per million of population are among the whitest in the country: New Mexico averages 6.71 police killings per million; Alaska 5.3 per million; South Dakota 4.69; Arizona and Wyoming 4.2, and Colorado 3.36. It could be possible that the high rates of police killings in those states are concentrated among their very small black populations—New Mexico 2.5%; Alaska 3.9%; South Dakota 1.9%; Arizona 4.6%, Wyoming 1.7%, and Colorado 4.5%. However, with the exception of Colorado—where blacks were 17% of the 29 people killed by police—that does not seem to be the case. Granted, in several of those states the total numbers of people killed by police were very small, in the low single digits. Still, no black people were among those killed by police in South Dakota, Wyoming, or Alaska. In New Mexico, there were no blacks among the 20 people killed by police in 2015, and in Arizona blacks made up just over 2% of the 42 victims of police killing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trump isn't a racist—he's a right-identitarian

When people talk about identitarians, we're usually talking about centrists and leftists who prioritize social identity, the sorts of people who think it's more important to vote for a black or a female neoliberal than for a white male democratic socialist. But the traditional forms of racism and bigotry are also identitarian, and Donald Trump's a fine example.

He's not racist because he likes people of all races from all parts of the planet who enter the US through government channels and are not Muslim.

He's an identitarian because he rails against Muslims rather than terrorists, even though terrorists come from every racial and religious group—for two famous examples, Anders Breivik wanted to promote his form of Christianity and opposed all forms of Islam, and Timothy McVeigh, who committed one of the greatest acts of terrorism on US soil when he bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City, was a white right-wing American Christian.

Mexican-Americans may be the best example of the divide in Trump's identitarianism. He loves Mexican-American citizens, especially if they're Republicans. He reviles people from Mexico who enter illegally in the hope of making a better life for themselves and their families.

Relevant: it's all one thing: Yes, Timothy McVeigh and Anders Breivik were Christian terrorists

Friday, September 16, 2016

Slut-shaming Lt. Uhura, or Feminists in Miniskirts

On Twitter, someone shared this quote by Rod Roddenberry, son of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek:
There was a great quote that D.C. Fontana said about Nichelle Nichols and having a black officer on the bridge and what my father said to that. Apparently, he would get letters from the TV stations in the South saying they won't show Star Trek because there is a black officer, and he'd say, "Fuck off, then."
In response, someone else tweeted,
The blind spot in this colour-blind egalitarian vision: Lt Uhura was a miniskirted receptionist.
Then someone tweeted the link to a post where I shared this bit from BBC Online - Cult - Star Trek - Nichelle Nichols:
How did you feel about your costume. It was very revealing.
So? I was wearing them on the street. What's wrong with wearing them in the air? I wore 'em on airplanes. It was the era of the miniskirt. Everybody wore miniskirts. It amazes me that people still make some remark about 'the revealing'. They revealed nothing. I had long black stockings on and boots up to my knees and the skirts and panties on and a skirt that gave you freedom to move in, - so what? It amazes me because everything is more revealing today on the street than those costumes.
I then tweeted to the person who had called Uhura a "miniskirted receptionist",
Martin Luther King was her fan:
Star Trek's Uhura Reflects On MLK Encounter : NPR
Are you slut-shaming her for liking a costume that was common at the time?

Apologies if my previous tweet seemed harsh. But '60s miniskirts were seen as liberating.

Many '60s feminists loved miniskirts because they rejected 1950s puritanism.

Here's Angela Davis, who I hope you recognize, in a mini-skirt.

The discussion seems to have ended there. But if you want a picture of another famous feminist in a miniskirt, visit Power Clothes: The Unabashedly Feminist History of the Miniskirt, which has an illustration for this:
...women like Gloria Steinem continued to hold on to the idea that the miniskirt was a transgressive act, wearing them to rallies and speeches, proving that you can be strong and wear feminine clothing at once.

ETA 2: The slut-shamer replied:
I see that you, too, haven't quite grasped my point. Never mind, dear.
I tweeted back:
Your point is that historical context doesn't matter.

But what's possible today is due to what was accomplished in the past.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The problem with charity

On my usual social media sites, I said not long ago,
The purpose of charity is to make the privileged feel good by addressing poverty in ways that do not weaken their privilege or end poverty.
Social media groups people who think similarly, so it was liked—by more people than I expected, in fact. But it was questioned in ways I expected when I tried to make a terse statement about the problem with charity.

The first problem with charity is the word itself makes it hard to know exactly what we're discussing.

• Charity can refer to a philanthropist buying goodwill with a well-publicized payment to an institution like the opera that primarily benefits other rich people.

• Charity can refer to the charity industry. which includes these 10 Highly-Rated Charities with Low Paid CEOs and 11 charity CEOs who were paid over a million dollars in 2013 (Here Are the Most Overpaid Charity CEOs in America).

• Charity can refer to a homeless person sharing the results of the day's begging with another homeless person.

• Charity can refer to a kid giving a toy to poorer kid.

Criticize charity, and people who have not thought about it will ask if you don't believe in helping people. What they miss is that we criticize charity because we care about helping people. If we didn't, we wouldn't mind when hypocrites seek profit or praise in the name of charity or when well-meaning people do inefficient things in the belief they're helping.

If I was writing a proper essay, I would divide charity into these groups:

1. Conspicuous and anonymous charity.
2. Charity intended for emergencies and charity intended for long-term problems.

We have one useful distinction in English; conspicuous charity falls under philanthropy. I'm a bit amused when Christians practice it because Jesus taught,
When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.
Martin Luther King said, "Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary." King was a democratic socialist in a time when socialism was demonized, so he had to speak gently, but he knew the implications of his words: in any system that does not share the wealth, philanthropy is only a benevolent manifestation of injustice.

Since I'm citing Jesus, here's a Jesus quote that capitalists misunderstand in order to feel good about themselves:
For you always have the poor with you...
Jesus was citing Deuteronomy 15:11:
Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”
Jesus was pointing out that when long-term solutions have been solved, there will still be emergencies. How do we know this? By looking at Deuteronomy 15:4-5:
However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today.
So, no, rich people, neither the Old nor the New Testament says we must consign ourselves to a world divided between the rich and the poor.

But that is the world we'll have so long as people think all we need is charity.

Possibly of interest: Maimonides’ Eight Levels of Charity - Mishneh Torah, Laws of Charity, 10:7–14 - Chassidic Thought

Ignorant Christians need to STFU about ‘the poor you will always have with you’ until they can be bothered to understand what Jesus actually said

Why the Rich Don't Give to Charity - The Atlantic.

One of my favorite Jesus stories:
As Jesus was sitting opposite the treasury, he watched the crowd placing money into it. And many rich people put in large amounts. Then one poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amounted to a small fraction of a denarius. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more than all the others into the treasury."

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Leon Trotsky on American racism

"While the romantic numskulls of Nazi Germany are dreaming of restoring the old race of Europe’s Dark Forest to its original purity, or rather its original filth, you Americans, after taking a firm grip on your economic machinery and your culture, will apply genuine scientific methods to the problem of eugenics. Within a century, out of your melting pot of races there will come a new breed of men – the first worthy of the name of Man." —Leon Trotsky, "If America Should Go Communist" (August 1934)