Jul 12, 2010

Minority Children Face More Obstacles Than White Children, Poll Finds

The findings of the poll described in the article below is of significant interest, even though it reiterates facts already obvious to any casual observer:
Minority children and teenagers have fewer opportunities than their white counterparts to be healthy, obtain a high-quality education, and achieve economic success, a new poll from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation finds.

Conducted by the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan, the poll of more than two thousand adults whose jobs involve children's education, health, and economic well-being found that African-American, Latino, Native-American/Alaska Native, Asian-American/Pacific Islander, and Arab-American children from birth to age 8 and ages 13 to 18 face diminished opportunities that reduce their chances to succeed. Respondents noted several circumstances that are bigger barriers for minority teenagers than for whites in obtaining a diploma, including family financial problems (31 percent) and unfair or inappropriate treatment by law enforcement (25 percent). In addition, 58 percent of respondents said white children in the community where they work have "lots of opportunity" to live and play in healthy environments safe from lead and other toxins, while only 42 percent said the same about African-American children.

The poll also found that 46 percent of respondents believe white teenagers have lots of opportunity to receive quality care for mental health issues, compared to 31 percent and 32 percent who said the same for Latinos and African Americans; 55 percent believe white children have lots of opportunity to access quality health care, compared to 41 percent who said the same for Latino, Arab-American, and American-Indian/Alaska Native children; and 60 percent believe white children have lots of opportunity to grow up in communities that support children, compared to 36 percent who believed this to be true for Arab-American children.

According to the Associated Press, whites comprised 71 percent of the poll's respondents, African Americans 12 percent, Hispanics 7 percent, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders 3 percent, and other racial or ethnic groups the rest.

"This is the first known national assessment of health, educational, and economic opportunities for children, as reported by individuals at the community level who can affect such opportunities through their work," said Gail Christopher, vice president for programs at the Kellogg Foundation. "The results clearly establish that children and teenagers of color face significant disadvantages, many of which are the result of structural racism."

Jul 8, 2010

The ILLUSION of "GLOBALIZATION"

Of all the junk theories that has clouded discourse in the past couple of decades, the theory of globalization has to be the worst of them all. Buoyed by celebratory texts by people whose grasp of global issues was tenuous at best, globalization became a catch-all theory that occluded rather than explained international relations. As with the pseudo science of economics, it extrapolated limited examples into unlimited assumptions that ultimately assisted the West in its ramped up exploitation of the non-Western world. I have already commented on how adherence to this theory by curators who did not think through its implications have now effaced Africans from the site of their own creative endeavors. Similar situations apply in political, economic and cultural spheres of action, where theories of globalization celebrate the existence of a global order that oddly seems to always revert to the West as the locus and engine of globalization. In the past, we used to criticize this attitude as a colonial (or neo-colonial) attitude: in the present, we celebrate it as the triumph of the West at the end of history. This celebration is deluded: go ahead, show me someone who lives in "global" space. Obviously, there is no such thing. This hasn't stopped many false prophets from feeding fat by advocating globalization as the answer to every question, even when it is obvious that it provides no serious answer to the perennial issue of how to create equity in international relations.

Luckily serious scholars are beginning to challenge the assumptions of the globe-trotting proponents of "globalization" for whom this theory has served mainly as a means of enriching themselves. I include a very important criticism of the concept in an article by Ian Fletcher, posted on Huffington Post. It is worth reading in its entirety as an antidote to the irrational exuberance of the proponents of globalization. As national economies go to hell in a handbasket and vast swaths of the midwest in the USA where I live revert to prairie due to collapsing economies, it is worth reflecting on how badly the theory of globalization has crippled intellectual work in all its ramifications.

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THE MYTH OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

Ian Fletcher
Adjunct Fellow at the San Francisco office of the U.S. Business and Industry Council
If there's one thing everyone knows these days, whether they're happy about it or not, it's that we live in a "global" economy. This fact is taken as so obvious that anyone who disputes it is regarded as not so much wrong as simply ignorant -- not even worth arguing with. So it may come as a shock to many that, in reality, the cliche that we live in a borderless global economy does not survive serious examination. The key is to ignore the Thomas Friedmanesque rhetoric the media is flooded with and get down to some hard numbers...
(read the full article here)