I have been back writing comments at the New York Times after a month or longer writing none. I continue to refer to this blog there since the blog provides my Gmail for anyone who might want to contact me directly.
At the Times I have tried every possible formulation concerning a major proposal by former US Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt to make an important and major change in the 2020 Census.
The proposal is to eliminate questions about "race"/ethnicity and replace them with questions concerned with Social and Economic data.
When I first started inserting this in comments I thought I would get replies telling me this is impossible. I was wrong. Not one Times reader has shown the slightest interest. Comments mentioning this proposal get no reader recommendations at all.
I cannot speculate on why this is so, but it does surprise me.
Then today, May 4th Paul Krugman wrote that it is time to discuss issues more generally than in terms of "race"/racism. This was the perfect opening for me to ask Times readers directly about their reaction to Prewitt's proposal. So far, nobody has been willing to respond.
Here are the first paragraphs of Krugman's column with my emphasis added to one paragraph:
The Opinion Pages | OP-ED COLUMNIST
Race, Class and Neglect
MAY 4, 2015
Every time you’re tempted to say that America is moving forward on race — that prejudice is no longer as important as it used to be — along comes an atrocity to puncture your complacency. Almost everyone realizes, I hope, that the Freddie Gray affair wasn’t an isolated incident, that it’s unique only to the extent that for once there seems to be a real possibility that justice may be done.
And the riots in Baltimore, destructive as they are, have served at least one useful purpose: drawing attention to the grotesque inequalities that poison the lives of too many Americans.
Yet I do worry that the centrality of race and racism to this particular story may convey the false impression that debilitating poverty and alienation from society are uniquely black experiences. In fact, much though by no means all of the horror one sees in Baltimore and many other places is really about class, about the devastating effects of extreme and rising inequality.
Take, for example, issues of health and mortality. Many people have pointed out that there are a number of black neighborhoods in Baltimore where life expectancy compares unfavorably with impoverished Third World nations. But what’s really striking on a national basis is the way class disparities in death rates have been soaring even among whites.
Most notably, mortality among white women has increased sharply since the 1990s, with the rise surely concentrated among the poor and poorly educated; life expectancy among less educated whites has been falling at rates reminiscent of the collapse of life expectancy in post-Communist Russia.