Monday, May 4, 2015

Krugman NYT May 4-Revolution

Yesterday, May 3d, I wrote the following:

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.


  1. So let us save every lost, starving, homeless child in the world and then tomorrow there will another billion new babies to save. Bring more africans, syrians to sweden and they bring their problems with them. They are africans, syrians none the less. Contrary to your feeble 83 year old mind, the west cannot save the world by bringing them home with them The africans, syrians need to want to save their own people rather than leaving their problems behind - for their original problems only multiply. Stop your writing campaign to save africans, syrians - actually do something IN africa, syria. Save the lesser ones who are left behind.....

  2. Anonymous, you are a nasty piece of work. One day (you can only hope) you'll be 83. And if you are ever that lucky, perhaps, you can (also only hope), you will be and have the capacity to be passionate about the world and only wish to leave it a better place than when you were here. Alas, people really don't change much. No one will miss your passing.
    Meanwhile, to the blogger, a NYT reader does agree with the idea of eliminating race from the census. It is a class issue. Unfortunately, everyone (except actual black people in the US), assumes all black people are poor, ignorant, jobless, and on welfare. We, just like everyone else have subcultures. The majority of us have jobs (the only black people I've ever met had jobs), education, own businesses (many black people are enterprising and own small businesses - more than anyone knows). As a matter of fact, when businesses started routine drug-testing they found they could hire more black people because the majority of us don't test positive (I know because I help people get jobs). BTW, many of my clients are black. The majority come to me and tell me they just want to work. They will take any job I have available. Announce a job in a black community and you will have people lined out around the corner and back again. Mention a summer programs and black teenagers will come to apply in droves. See, I know, because I’m on the inside, not the outside and blinded by racism and ignorance.
    Nearly everyone in my family owns their own home, have worked since young adult-hood, pay their taxes, etc. etc. I grew up with the idea that woman work. I was told, I was expected to work for what I wanted and needed and always support myself. I was the first to get an advanced degree. Most of our kids attend college and if not have a job. Usually college-educated parents beget children who are intended to achieve higher education. There is no reason for me to think otherwise than my own family will continue upward mobility. That’s how it is supposed to be in America.
    Now, having to deal with the rest of the US and the world and their perceptions when they see the color of my skin and others who share it, that's a different story.
    Anyway, I like your comments and matters dealing with race and I have up voted you.

    1. To two totally different "anonymous" repliers. Sorry I have neglected the blog but from today on I will begin to revive it.
      I am leaving Anonymous May 31 in as an example of the mindset of all too many of my fellow Americans and fellow Swedes. I will also note since he/she wants me to help "them" back home that I regularly send contributions to Edna Adan Hospital in Hargeisa and to Dr. Hawa Abdi in Mogadishu. Both these heroines have programs to provide more midwifes to reduce the horrifying infant and maternal mortality in Somalia. So much for anonymous no. 1

  3. To Anonymous June 11, 2015. Thanks for your reply and the information about yourself and your family. As concerns college education every possible initiative that will place people who can make it in college. Jobs first as you report, then college where appropriate. One of the best things I have experienced here is seeing first 3 Eritrean sisters, now my close friends, come with nothing except a mother and father and then take that giant step to become MD, RN, RN with the RNs up several steps from entry level. Then there are the Somalis and at first I saw none ready to try that next step. Now that is beginnng, with the role model being my friend Shukri, whose family fled to Sweden to begin with. Then brave Shukri went further to graduate from college in Uganda and then become a leader for young Somali women. The more who can do this the better as you realize but as the other Anon apparently cannot even imagine.