Category Archives: Discrimination

Why Diversity Programs Fail

Source: Frank Dobbin, Alexandra Kalev, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 94 no.7/8, July–August 2016

….It shouldn’t be surprising that most diversity programs aren’t increasing diversity. Despite a few new bells and whistles, courtesy of big data, companies are basically doubling down on the same approaches they’ve used since the 1960s—which often make things worse, not better. Firms have long relied on diversity training to reduce bias on the job, hiring tests and performance ratings to limit it in recruitment and promotions, and grievance systems to give employees a way to challenge managers. Those tools are designed to preempt lawsuits by policing managers’ thoughts and actions. Yet laboratory studies show that this kind of force-feeding can activate bias rather than stamp it out. As social scientists have found, people often rebel against rules to assert their autonomy. Try to coerce me to do X, Y, or Z, and I’ll do the opposite just to prove that I’m my own person.

In analyzing three decades’ worth of data from more than 800 U.S. firms and interviewing hundreds of line managers and executives at length, we’ve seen that companies get better results when they ease up on the control tactics. It’s more effective to engage managers in solving the problem, increase their on-the-job contact with female and minority workers, and promote social accountability—the desire to look fair-minded. That’s why interventions such as targeted college recruitment, mentoring programs, self-managed teams, and task forces have boosted diversity in businesses. Some of the most effective solutions aren’t even designed with diversity in mind.

Here, we dig into the data, the interviews, and company examples to shed light on what doesn’t work and what does…..

Latino Voters at Risk: Assessing the Impact of Restrictive Voting Changes In Election 2016

Source: NALEO Educational Fund, 2016

The Presidential election of 2016 will take place against a very different legal and political landscape
than existed in 2012. Voters lost the protection of a critical piece of the Voting Rights Act, the
preclearance process, to a 2013 Supreme Court ruling. Whereas in 2012, new voting policies could
not be implemented in the entirety or portions of 16 states until they had cleared anti-discrimination
review, in 2016, approximately eight million Latino voters are vulnerable to restrictive lawmaking
and changes in election administration because they live in jurisdictions that have been freed from
oversight, in spite of their documented histories of adopting practices that discriminate against
minority voters.

Nineteen states created new barriers to Latino participation since 2012:
Nineteen states have enacted or implemented new laws since November 2012 that will make it harder for
Latinos and other voters to cast ballots in 2016. In sum, we estimate these laws could seriously impede more than 875,000 Latinos who are eligible to vote from participating in the 2016 Presidential election.

States have implemented serious obstacles to voter registration:
Some of the restrictive provisions that have been implemented since 2012 make it more difficult to register to vote by adding requirements for documentation or information from potential registrants. Some states have also moved deadlines for registration to dates farther in advance of Election Day, or made it more difficult for community volunteers not affiliated with election officials to help people register.

States have imposed discriminatory restrictions on voting:
State legislatures have also made it more difficult to vote both in-person and by mail. Several states will prohibit people without acceptable photo ID from voting for the first time in a Presidential election, and some states have truncated their early voting periods. Some states have also shortened the window of opportunity for requesting an absentee ballot, or restricted helpers’ ability to deliver absentee ballots for voters who cannot easily send their ballots themselves.

Restrictive laws are likely to have a disproportionate negative effect on Latino voters:
Table 1 sets forth the number and location of Latinos eligible to vote who will face challenges with electoral participation in Election 2016. In addition to the number of Latinos set forth on page 2, hundreds of thousands of additional citizens are likely to be deterred from voting by provisions whose numerical impact we cannot estimate with precision.

Latinos Shaping the Political Landscape as Voters In 2016
Source: NALEO Educational Fund, February 23, 2016

How states’ elections changes imperil the Latino vote
Source: Rebekah Barber, Institute for Southern Studies, Institute Index, July 8, 2016

….Number of Latino voters living in the jurisdictions that lost preclearance: 8 million

Of these 8 million voters, number who are likely to find it more difficult to cast ballots because of state laws implemented since the last presidential election: 875,000

Since that election, number of states that have implemented new laws that make it harder for Latinos to vote: 19

Of the nine states that saw their Latino populations increase by at least 100 percent between 2000 and 2010, number that implemented restrictive new voting changes since 2012: 6

Of those six states, percent in the South: 100*….

Why is it so hard to improve American policing?

Source: Frederic Lemieux, The Conversation, July 8, 2016

….The ideal today is “democratic policing,” a concept developed by scholars like Gary T. Marx at MIT. Broadly, this refers to a police force that is publicly accountable, subject to the rule of law, respectful of human dignity and that intrudes into citizens’ lives only under certain limited circumstances.

Partly in response to this ideal, policing in America has evolved considerably over the past 50 years. There have been changes in hiring, how relations with civilians are managed and what technologies are used.

The 20th century has seen a slow but steady integration of minorities and women within police forces. Different managerial models aimed at improving relations with citizens have also influenced policing over the last 40 years. The most prominent among these are community-oriented policing, problem-oriented policing and intelligence-led policing.

Policing has also been deeply transformed by the rapid integration of new technologies leading to computerization of police forces such as the profiling of crime hotspots, access to a broader range of weapons like tasers and the deployment of surveillance technologies like drones and closed circuit TV.
Some of these changes have been positive, but as recent events show, many problems remain. Why hasn’t more progress been made?….

How Police See Us, and How They Train Us to See Them
Source: Greg Howard, New York Times Magazine, July 8, 2016

….In a vacuum, the United States of America is not a war zone. Falcon Heights, Minn., is not a war zone. Dallas is not a war zone. The nation’s thruways are not war zones. In a vacuum, police officers shouldn’t kill the very citizens they swear to protect. But the police, especially officers who commute to patrol communities not their own, are — or can act very much like — an occupying force…..

A Police Department That’s Embraced Reform
Source: Leon Neyfakh, Slate, July 8, 2016

Under Chief David Brown, the Dallas PD has made tremendous strides in curbing excessive force and reducing officer-involved shootings.

Training to reduce ‘cop macho’ and ‘contempt of cop’ could reduce police violence
Source: Frank Rudy Cooper, The Conversation, December 18, 2015

It must be a terrible burden knowing that you might have to make a quick decision about whether to yell at someone, shock them, or shoot them dead. That is the weight inherent in the job of a police officer. Nonetheless, we appropriately expect cops to maintain a peacekeeping mentality – to remain calm, patient and controlled even in life-or-death situations. Unfortunately, patient and nonaggressive policing will be rare unless we train officers to overcome the rules of what I call cop macho….. While the debate over police abuses has focused on race, I argue we need to consider how the desire to act in ways society deems manly has influenced policing…..

How video can help police – and the public
Source: Mary Angela Bock, The Conversation, July 5, 2016

…..One of the most dramatic ways camera proliferation is changing our lives is in the area of law enforcement. Dashcams have been around for years and are increasingly popular. President Obama called for local departments to start equipping officers with badge cams. Citizens, too, have cameras, usually in their smartphones, but increasingly on their own dashboards. Yet even with all this footage, we are often in the dark about what really happens during police encounters.

For the past three years I’ve been studying the police accountability movement and the role that video has played in fueling activism by citizens concerned about criminal justice policies in their communities. “Cop-watching,” as it’s known informally, cannot be understood without also studying the way the law enforcement community uses video. As a result, my work has taken me to courtrooms, police stations and city streets where citizens and police are watching each other through their camera lenses…..

Police should put away the military gear and build connections with young people
Source: Arthur Romano, The Conversation, August 12, 2015

….While the protests bring awareness to the crisis of police overreach and brutality, thousands of dedicated people are working for greater police accountability and more community involvement in shaping policing practices.

As a researcher and educator in the field of conflict resolution, I witness firsthand these efforts for change. Unfortunately, these positive steps are being squeezed by lack of funding and support and are harmed by a misguided emphasis on militarized policing…..

Collective bargaining language on domestic violence, discrimination, disabilities, and LGBTTI rights

Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), 2015

Domestic violence and the workplace: A bargaining guide
September 29, 2015

Discrimination: A checklist and sample collective agreement language
October 19, 2015

Duty to accommodate: A checklist for collective agreement language
October 19, 2015

Bargaining LGBTTI rights: A checklist for collective agreement language
October 19, 2015

The Substance of Things Hoped for: Faith, Social Action & Passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Source: Jonathan C. Augustine, United Theological Seminary; Southern University Law Center, June 30, 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:

….In supporting the central thesis that faith-based actions led to passage of the Act, this Article is divided into five parts. Part I serves as an introduction, providing an overview of sociopolitical conditions that necessitated the Act’s enactment. Part II builds upon Part I by overviewing the evolution of the Act’s Sections 2 and 5, arguably its most important parts, while also detailing why the two sections were and remain very important. Part III explores how a theology of civil disobedience, motivated by faith and the Judeo-Christian concept of suffering being redemptive, shaped a climate for the Freedom Rides and lunch counter sit-ins of 1961, events that served as a natural preference to Bloody Sunday in 1965, a watershed sociopolitical occurrence that forced President Johnson’s Great Society Initiative to include voting rights along with education reform and poverty eradication. By setting a theological foundation of where faith and social action meet, Part III details some of the chronological events that led to the Act becoming law.

The Article’s Part IV looks at the political reality of how the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder undermines and essentially guts the Act’s practical reach, while somehow leaving it constitutionality intact, with Part V looking at the Act’s future and limited practical application, serving as this Article’s conclusion. Unless those in the post-modern era replicate the actions of the Movement’s faith leaders and demand that the Republican-controlled Congress act in response to the Court’s decision in Shelby County and enact a new and improved Act, its future is arguably very bleak….

A Multi-Level Bayesian Analysis of Racial Bias in Police Shootings at the County-Level in the United States, 2011–2014

Source: Cody T. Ross, PLoS ONE, November 5, 2015

From the abstract:
A geographically-resolved, multi-level Bayesian model is used to analyze the data presented in the U.S. Police-Shooting Database (USPSD) in order to investigate the extent of racial bias in the shooting of American civilians by police officers in recent years. In contrast to previous work that relied on the FBI’s Supplemental Homicide Reports that were constructed from self-reported cases of police-involved homicide, this data set is less likely to be biased by police reporting practices. County-specific relative risk outcomes of being shot by police are estimated as a function of the interaction of: 1) whether suspects/civilians were armed or unarmed, and 2) the race/ethnicity of the suspects/civilians. The results provide evidence of a significant bias in the killing of unarmed black Americans relative to unarmed white Americans, in that the probability of being {black, unarmed, and shot by police} is about 3.49 times the probability of being {white, unarmed, and shot by police} on average. Furthermore, the results of multi-level modeling show that there exists significant heterogeneity across counties in the extent of racial bias in police shootings, with some counties showing relative risk ratios of 20 to 1 or more. Finally, analysis of police shooting data as a function of county-level predictors suggests that racial bias in police shootings is most likely to emerge in police departments in larger metropolitan counties with low median incomes and a sizable portion of black residents, especially when there is high financial inequality in that county. There is no relationship between county-level racial bias in police shootings and crime rates (even race-specific crime rates), meaning that the racial bias observed in police shootings in this data set is not explainable as a response to local-level crime rates.

Immigrant laborers have a new tool to fight back against rampant wage theft in the US

Source: Kate Groetzinger, Frida Garza, Quartz, June 30, 2016

….The Jornalero app has three main functions: First, it allows day laborers to record the hours they work. Second, it allows them to file a wage theft report directly to a workers’ center from their phone. Third, it allows them to send out an alert when they experience wage theft, to warn other day laborers with the app about nonpaying employers in the area.

Most day laborers have smartphones, according to Ligia Guallpa, executive director of the Worker’s Justice Project, a center in Brooklyn, New York. But one of the biggest impediments to fighting wage theft is the misconception among day laborers that they are not protected by US labor laws if they violate immigration law….

Leer en español.

Twin Threats: How Disappearing Public Pensions Hurt Black Workers

Source: Robert Hiltonsmith, Dēmos, 2016

From the introduction:
….As important as public employment is to the black middle class, the pensions provided by public employment are perhaps even more crucial to the retirement security of black workers. This brief uses data from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement to examine the importance of public pensions to black retirement security, and why the twin threats to public pensions—cuts to state pension benefits and the decline in public employment over the past two decades—particularly threaten the retirement security of African American workers. We find that public pensions are vital to ensuring a decent standard of living for black retirees: the poverty rate among black retirees without public pensions is nearly 20 percent higher than the poverty rate among black retirees with public pensions—almost double the difference in poverty rates between all retirees with and without public pensions. These figures show that if the twin threats to public pensions continue, African American retirees may lose much of the retirement security they’ve gained over the past half-century…..

How public campaign finance can address growing inequality

Source: Alex Kotch, Institute for Southern Studies, Facing South, June 24, 2016

Numerous studies have shown that those giving the most to political campaigns are predominantly white, male, older and wealthy. For example, an Institute for Southern Studies report found that 95 percent of the biggest donors to a number of key federal races in the 2014 and 2016 election cycles were non-Hispanic whites. Other recent studies, such as Demos’ “Stacked Deck” and Every Voice’s “Color of Money“, discovered that most large donations to federal candidates came from wealthy, majority-white areas.

A homogeneous political donor class affects public policy. A 2014 paper by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page found that the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans — mostly white — were 15 times more likely than the general population to have their policy preferences enacted.

Two new reports offer insights into how campaign finance reform can reduce the power of these big donors and elect lawmakers more responsive to the needs of their constituents, thereby reducing inequality.

Released this month, a report from Demos and the Brennan Center titled “A Civil Rights Perspective on Money In Politics” and another from the Brennan Center called “Breaking Down Barriers: The Faces of Small Donor Public Financing” explain that, unlike the major donors who dominate our political system, small donors are more representative of the electorate in terms of race, income, education levels and other measures. And public financing systems — including small-donor matching programs, block grants dependent on candidates raising a required amount of small donations, tax credits and vouchers — encourage more diverse and less affluent and well-connected candidates to run for office. By emphasizing small donations, public financing also encourages candidates to engage with more potential constituents….
INSTITUTE INDEX: Why an eviscerated Voting Rights Act matters in this year’s election
Source: Sue Sturgis, Institute for Southern Studies, Facing South, June 24, 2016

Why Did White Workers Leave the Democratic Party?

Source: Judith Stein, Jacobin, June 20, 2016

A labor historian debunks liberal myths about racism, the New Deal, and why the Democrats moved right. …. Contrary to today’s liberals, Stein argues that it wasn’t the racism of white workers that forced the Democratic Party to the right on economics. It was powerful political and business elites, who chose to abandon organized labor and turn the Party of Roosevelt into the Party of Clinton….