Category Archives: Discrimination

Martin Luther King Was Assassinated On This Day in 1968—While Fighting For Unions

Source: Peter Cole, In These Times, Working in These Times blog, April 4, 2106

Today, April 4th, we remember the life and dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for on this day, in 1968, he was murdered by a white supremacist at the age of 39.

King literally died while fighting for a union, murdered in Memphis in 1968 while helping that city’s sanitation workers, a majority of whom were black, organize a local of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). King had repeatedly visited the city in his final months to aid the organizing effort. The city’s elected officials were both racist and anti-union—no coincidence.

Though hardly unknown, King’s deep commitment to unions remains largely left out of the traditional telling of his story. Indeed, many do not know he championed multiple union causes in addition to fighting to end white supremacy. In fact, King devoted a large part of his short life to advocating that workers—whether African American or not—join unions, for one of his foremost goals was eradicating poverty. ….

Beyond North Carolina’s LGBT Battle: States’ War on Cities

Source: Alan Greenblatt, Governing, March 25, 2016

North Carolina’s fight over LGBT protections is part of a larger recent shift in political dynamics: States are thwarting local laws any chance they get — while simultaneously complaining about federal intrusion on their own. ….

….If a state official doesn’t like a city’s policy, there’s little penalty involved in trying to block it. A tax on earnings may be an essential source of revenue for St. Louis, but voting to kill it allows a legislator from outstate to take an anti-tax stand essentially for free. It won’t in any way affect revenues or programs back home. The same pattern of state legislative indifference to urban desires holds true for spending decisions. Consider infrastructure. The percentage of urban roads that have “poor pavement quality” has increased more than 50 percent over the past decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. When it comes to public transit — and light rail in particular — state officials have been abandoning projects pretty decisively in recent months…..
Related:
Growing Southern cities are increasingly targets of state pre-emption
Source: Institute for Southern Studies, April 1, 2016

Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law Requires an Education Campaign, Which the State Hasn’t Funded

Source: Sarah Smith, ProPublica, March 24, 2016

The controversial law is about to get its inaugural use in a major statewide vote, Wisconsin’s April 5th primary.
Related:
Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Voter ID Laws
More than 30 states have enacted some version of voter ID law in recent years. How much do these laws change voting rules and what impact could they have on the general election?

Barriers For Women Today May Be Less Visible, But Not Less Real

Source: Tania Lombrozo, NPR, March 21, 2016

…. In fact, women do continue to be underrepresented in a variety of fields, including many in science and engineering. And the barriers they face are (still) very real. How, then, could anyone believe otherwise? It’s difficult to identify the sources of people’s beliefs and, in this case, they’re likely to be variable and complex. But here are a few reasons why the challenges faced by women today may be less apparent, if no less pervasive, than they were in the past. …..

Strict Voter Identification Laws Advantage Whites – and Skew American Democracy to the Right

Source: Zoltan Hajnal, Nazita Lajevardi, Lindsay Nielson, Scholars Strategy Network, Key Findings, February 2016

From the summary:
Strict voter identification laws are proliferating all around the country. In 2006, only one U.S. state required identification to vote on Election Day. By now, 11 states have this requirement, and 34 states with more than half the nation’s population have some version of voter identification rules. With many states considering stricter laws and the courts actively evaluating the merits of voter identification requirements in a series of landmark cases, the actual consequences of these laws need to be pinned down. Do they distort election outcomes?

Who Values Diversity? Comparing the Effect of Manager Gender Across the Public, Private, and Nonprofit Sectors

Source: Morgen Johansen, Ling Zhu, American Review of Public Administration, Published online before print February 26, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Researchers have focused on the role of managerial gender on attitudes toward diversity issues mainly in either the public or private sector, but there is little research that compares managerial attitudes on diversity across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. This article identifies important distinctions among the sectors that may influence gender differences in managerial priority placed on diversity. Using a national survey of nearly 1,000 top-level managers in public, private, and nonprofit hospitals in the United States, we analyze how managerial gender combined with cross-sector differences shape managerial priority on diversity. We find female managers place a higher priority on diversity than their male counterparts in nonprofit and private organizations compared with managers in public organizations. The differing effects of managerial gender on the priority placed on diversity are shaped by the organizational contexts of the three sectors. This research provides systematic evidence of sector differences in the patterns of managerial priorities regarding diversity.

Hospitals rationing drugs behind closed doors: a civil rights issue

Source: Wendy F. Hensel, Leslie E. Wolf, The Conversation, February 23, 2016

The United States is facing a shortage of prescription drugs, ranging from antibiotics to cancer treatments. These shortages are putting the medical profession in the frequent position of deciding who will get the drugs that are in short supply and, more importantly, who will not. … According to the article, the decision-making process varies considerably across institutions. For instance, in some hospitals formal ethics committees make these decisions. At others, these decisions are made by individual physicians, pharmacists or even drug company executives. And, as the article also reports, patients typically are not told of the shortage and have no idea that their choice of treatment has been limited, even though the decision may delay their recovery, increase their pain or, in some cases, potentially accelerate their death. As legal experts in medical ethics and disability law who have conducted research on the allocation of medical resources, we were struck by the general lack of awareness of the law evident in the article. The fact is, there are civil rights laws and state laws governing informed consent that apply to such decisions, even in times of public health emergencies and medical shortages. These laws constrain physician decision-making and must be taken into account on the front end in making treatment or distribution decisions for all patients and in particular, we would argue, for patients with disabilities….
Related:
Drug Shortages Forcing Hard Decisions on Rationing Treatments
Source: Sheri Fink, New York Times, January 29, 2016

Such shortages are the new normal in American medicine. But the rationing that results has been largely hidden from patients and the public.

Separate and Unequal in the Labor Market: Human Capital and the Jim Crow Wage Gap

Source: Celeste K. Carruthers, Marianne Wanamaker, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w21947, January 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The gap between black and white earnings is a longstanding feature of the United States labor market. Competing explanations attribute different weight to wage discrimination and access to human capital. Using new data on local school quality, we find that human capital played a predominant role in determining 1940 wage and occupational status gaps in the South despite the effective disenfranchisement of blacks, entrenched racial discrimination in civic life, and lack of federal employment protections. The 1940 conditional black-white wage gap coincides with the higher end of the range of estimates from the post-Civil Rights era. We estimate that a truly “separate but equal” school system would have reduced wage inequality by 40-51 percent.

Who’s funding voter suppression?

Source: Amadou Diallo, February 12, 2016

Web of conservative funding groups lines up behind key voting rights Supreme Court case.

This is part three of a three-part series explaining why conservatives are pushing more restrictive voting laws and how such efforts disenfranchise minority voters. Part one looks at the myth of rampant in-person voting fraud. Part two looks at the partisan strategy of voter suppression.

Voter Identification Laws and the Suppression of Minority Votes

Source: Zoltan Hajnal, Nazita Lajevardi, Lindsay Nielson, University of California – San Diego, [2016]

From the abstract:
The proliferation of increasingly strict voter identification laws around the country has raised concerns about voter suppression and inequality. Although there are lots of reasons to suspect that these laws could harm groups like racial minorities and the poor, existing studies have generally failed to demonstrate a link between voter ID laws and voter turnout among these groups. We question these null effects. We argue that because most of the studies occurred before states enacted the strictest photo identification requirements, they tend to uncover few effects. Focusing on the validated vote in recent elections using the Cooperative Congressional lection Study we are able to offer a more definitive test. The analysis shows that strict photo identification laws have a differentially negative impact on the turnout of Hispanics, Blacks, and mixed-race Americans in primaries and general elections. Voter ID laws skew democracy in favor of whites and those on the political right.
Related:
Voting Rights Challenges In the Wake of Shelby County
Source: Naila Awan, Dēmos, Policy Shop blog, February 4, 2016

In the summer of 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 margin, struck down one of the most significant provisions of civil rights law ever enacted.