Category Archives: Podcast

Audio Podcast

White Identity and Economic Dysfunction


This podcast looks at White Identity and Economic Dysfunction. While the NABWMT is a 501c(3) tax exempt organization, and cannot endorse political candidates, it can explore issues in society. So, today we will look at Donald Trump’s supporters. We do this from the lens of statistics from the Census Bureau and our source is the New York Times*.

As an example, The Times asked Trump supporters who their ancestors where and some respondents don’t give a standard answer like “English” or “German.” Instead, they simply answer “American.” They went on to look at current primary demographics and past elections and elections and found that “Trump counties” are places where white identity mixes with leconomic concerns.

So the NABWMT and it’s members I would guess, instinctively would label Trump supporters as racists, but the data is more nuanced than that. I have also published many podcasts on “White Priviledge” but here this concept is not as germain.

Trump has done well in the North and South, liberal and conservative, rural and suburban. So let’s look the data a little further. Yes they are mostly White, with no high school diploma. They also identify as “American” on the census. However, and here is the factoid that may cut across racial boundaries since they were in so called “old economy” jobs like agriculture, construction, manufacturing, or trade. In addition, their labor participation rate was low. (out of a job of given up looking for a job. They have largely missed the transition of the United States away from manufacturing and into higher technical jobs.

Moreover, they missed the traditional “American Dream” of owning a home and “settled” for living in a mobile home. This may be construed as the stereotype of “Trailer trash” but lets move on from that.

This is not just a recent concern, say the damage from the 2008 financial crisis. Rather, the economic problems that line up with strong Trump support have long been in the making, and defy simple fixes.

An then there is the high proportion of whites Trump supporters without a high school diploma has lasting consequences for incomes, for example. The education pay gap starts small when people are early in their careers before widening over the decades of their working lives.

In the Times analysis, surprisingly, it didn’t show a particularly powerful relationship between the racial breakdown of a county and its likelihood of voting for Trump. There are Trump-supporting counties with both very high and very low proportions of African-Americans, for example.

Clearly these American’s are angry at their situation and feel like they are “losing the American way of life”, and that is understandable. But before we get too sympathetic, there are underlying currents of concern. They have a history of voting for segregationists like supporting George Wallace in 1968.

So the take away from this appears to be: we understand why Trump supporters are angry at the political situation but we must be on guard against candidates that by their votes they empower candidates that could produce policies that promote racism, homophobia and income inequality. So, be careful what you wish for. American society is becoming more diverse and policies that embrace that are likely to align with the NA’s statement of purpose.

Brown Lives

brown lives

Since the Black Lives Matter started after a series of outrageous killings of Black men and women by the police, I have often asked: where is the equivalent Latino group. Where is Brown Lives Matter?

It seems that the outspoken people of color should all have the stage, but it seems to be the Black folks that have the headlines. Given the fact that, according to the NAACP, “together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population”

And let’s not forget that some presidential candidates have talked about “rounding up the field hands and the busboys and deporting them southward, and build a wall. But why do Latinos not have the same rage?

Héctor Tobar in todays New York Times offers some suggestions. He says “almost all the Latino students surveyed objected to using Brown Lives Matter on the ground of cultural appropriation. Black people have suffered enough, they said. Let’s not take their slogan, too”.

There is plenty to complains that Latinos can voice on other matters. Deportation by the US of children from Guatemala, the inhumane condition in the deportation centers, the lack of legal representation for undocumented workers and asylum seekers. And prejudice based on last name.

There are many alternative ways of getting Brown rights. Let’s start with the vote. Univision reports that about 11 million Hispanics voted in the 2012 presidential election, fewer than half of those who were eligible. Activists in both major political parties have been trying to increase that number, through voter registration drives and appeals over issues like immigration and wage stagnation on the left, and economic freedom on the right. The real challenge is to convince Latinos to go out and vote, and presidential candidate Donald Trump is doing that. Young voters are getting involved because of Donald Trump. Not because they like Donald Trump, but because they want to vote against him.

In addition all people at the margins can resist racism in their own way. Young students can get good grades. Of course, eloquent voices of leadership can persuade.

Coming Out Story

Ken shares a coming out from NPR’s StoryCorps cast and how it relates to his story.

Here is the transcript:

Titus (DT) and Zeek Taylor (ZT)

DT: I always referred to myself as the invisible gay guy. Because people that I worked with didn’t know I was gay and I heard every gay joke and slur. And, you know it hurt ‘cause these are people I liked.

And, um, in a small town like Fayetteville, everybody would know I was gay and nobody would hire me. So we had two houses. Because I needed a place so people could come after work and have a beer or hang out.

ZT: It kept the Miller Lite cold in the fridge… <<Laughter>> …for when they guys came over.

DS: Even though it had clothes in it, and food. You could open the door and swear I slept there last night but I never did.

ZT: I knew that’s what had to happen. It was pretty easy to run in to people that you worked with at the grocery store or wherever.

DS: Do you remember the things we had to do when somebody came up and talked to me?

ZT: Oh sure. You chose the name “Oscar” as your work name. And when we would go out, if someone said, “Hey Oscar,” I just kept walking like we were strangers. I, I never questioned having to do it. I didn’t like it but it would have been so hard on you if we had lived in the open at that time.

DS: Did you ever feel like I was ashamed of you or embarrassed by you?

ZT: No. I never felt that at all. I felt more that you were ashamed of yourself.

DS: That’s probably pretty true. You know, I’ve never really told you how brave I think you are. You were this openly gay ballet dancer. And, uh, the chameleon. And I think that I took the coward’s way out.

ZT: But I felt, “this is the price we have to pay to be together.”

DS: You know, even though I come across as the strong one you’re really the strong one in our relationship. And I admire you for being your own person all these years.

ZT: I appreciate knowing that, it means a lot to me.

DS: Well, you deserve all that and more. I’ve known you a long time and, uh, you just constantly amaze me.

ZT: Thank you.

Elections are on us

It looks like the election primary season is upon us and at the NA, based on our tax status, we cannot talk about the candidates but can talk about the issues.  And the issues that have kept us together are, amongst others, racism and homophobia.

On the Republican side of the fence it seems obvious that there is a deep mistrust of immigrants. On previous blogs I have tried to argue that this is wrong and racist. There are many reasons to encourage immigration not the least of which is that immigrant rights are black and white rights to.

In addition, Republicans appear fear the loss of “their way of life” family values. These ideas are understandable but do not seem germane to the US in the long run since we are becoming a country with a more diverse make up than before. The concept of conservative politics seems to have been co-opted into prejudice.

As a European immigrant I realized that in England the Conservative party was much more friendly to workers and those struggling, the less educated, the working class and the poor.  And I noticed that the Conservative leader just announced a plan for a more social approach. where government can play a role in rebuilding social capital and in healing some of the traumas fueled by scarcity and family breakdown.

On the Democrats side there is much to agree with their ideas. Both candidates for president oppose prejudice, both want to reduce economic inequality and want change.  The NA members would agree on this, however, how they go about fighting these evils is an issue to think about.

One of the candidates wants to to work on primarily income inequality, the other wants to attack

racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice because they are  powerful forces in their own right.

Paul Krugman in the New York Times* thinks that “the rise of the American hard right was the rise of a coalition, an alliance between an elite seeking low taxes and deregulation and a base of voters motivated by fears of social change and, above all, by hostility toward you-know-who”, read President Obama.

He goes on to say that the American right uses “racial dog whistles, demagogy on abortion and so on would be rolled out during election years, then put back into storage while the Republican Party focused on its real business of enabling shadow banking and cutting top tax rates”.

So whats more important social issues other than income inequality or the latter? The division in politics and our methodology as progressives sets the stage for the way forward. Do we go for a radical change and attack “the root of all evil – money” or hitting hard on a variety of issues and slog through making, gradually, the changes to root out racism and homophobia and other preducies?

It’s a tough call but I am warmed that these issues important to the NA are being voiced by all Democrats in these times. Again all the above is not to endorse a candidate or suggest that the NA favors one approach but to give my opinion. What is yours?




The Oscars, LGBTIQ and POC

This year’s Oscar nominations were more notable for who they left out than those included.

So it included Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, and Mark Ruffalo.

Notably absent from the pool was any actor of color—the second year in a row that the Academy has elected an all-white group of nominees. And and acclaimed Lesbian themed movie Carol, were shut out of the top categories.

Carol was directed by Todd Haynes—one of the most eclectic and accomplished talents of his generation—was snubbed.

Nico Lang* in The A.V. Club reminds us that “a decade after Brokeback Mountain was famously snubbed at the 2006 Oscars—thwarted by Paul Haggis’ Crash in a shocking upset victory—Carol’s snub is just how the Academy does business. To date, a queer-themed movie has still never won Best Picture, and those that do receive any kind of recognition prominently feature queer suffering”.

Only two performers have won an award for playing LGBT characters: who live after the end of the movie: Penelope Cruz won Best Supporting Actress in 2009 for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. In 2006, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman snagged a Best Actor award for playing writer and socialite Truman Capote.

Most queer characters in movies seem to not get the dignity to die outside the camera’s gaze. In Philadelphia, Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) dies of HIV in extreme close-up, as he tells his partner, Miguel: “I’m ready.”
Add The Spider Woman, Boys Don’t Cry, and you can see the Awards love queer misery and struggle.

Let’s get real,the stories of LGBT people can be important teachable moments in our nation’s ongoing struggle for equality.

So on to people of color. Example Selma’s David Oyelowo is indicative of how the Academy Awards treat black narratives.

Cara Buckley has a great article in the New York Times**.

“The outcry over the nomination of 20 white actors, and no black ones, for the Academy Awards gained momentum on Monday — Martin Luther King’s Birthday — as the director Spike Lee and the actress Jada Pinkett Smith announced they would not be attending the ceremony”.

Spike Lee’s his latest film, “Chi-Raq,” earned no nominations. He said he was tired of being asked for his opinion about all-white or majority-white Oscar races year after year, he also urged the news media to “ask all the white nominees and studio heads how they feel about another all-white ballot.”

Pinkett Smith has already taken aim at the Academy asking on Facebook and Twitter, “Should people of color refrain from participating all together?” She added, “People can only treat us in the way in which we allow.” Later she said “We can no longer beg for the love, acknowledgment or respect of any group.” Her husband, Will Smith, was a best actor contender for his lead role in “Concussion” but received no nomination.

The American Civil Liberties Union called for a government investigation into potentially discriminatory hiring practices last May. And the Directors Guild of America released a study in December showing that 82 percent of movies from 2013 and 2014 were directed by white men.

So I know you NA members and allies all love entertainment and the movies, but perhaps this is the time to consider a boycott of this years Academy Awards event based on the perceived lack of representation of LGBTQI accolades.

Remember Coretta Scott King’s admonition: “I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation”.

And also: “Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.

White Fear and Racial Identity

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At the NABWMT we have a rich history in understandng and combating racial injustice. In this blog, using research from many sources we continue our series to look at white privilidge, This time, we look at the increasing fear in less educated, white people, that they are loosing “their country”. This reminds us of our charter to provide an understanding of the trends in racism as we see it. Note that this is an “opinion article” and though it rests on peer review, is subject to an open discussion.

As the New York Times points out# the “Republican presidential primary, evolving from one surprise to the next, has revived the debate, but with an important racial coda” and a “narrower question: What’s going on with working-class whites”, and a “battle over the purpose and configuration of the American government”.

According to Pew Research, *The economic status of adults with a bachelor’s degree changed little from 1971 to 2015, meaning that similar shares of these adults were lower-, middle- or upper-income in those two years. Those without a bachelor’s degree tumbled down the income tiers, however. Among the various demographic groups examined, adults with no more than a high school diploma lost the most ground economically”.

Similarly, a Quinnipiac University poll asked ** “Would you say that – Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump has the right kind of experience to be President or not?” and the answer was: Clinton 70% Trump 26%. Their supporters are overwhelmingly white. White non-Hispanics are the only ethnic group that leans Republican, according to a study of party affiliation by the Pew center. White men who have not completed college favor the G.O.P. over the Democratic Party by 54 to 33 percent. In addition, many white Americans are most likely drawn to Mr. Trump’s xenophobic, anti-immigrant message because they agree with it. Race has determined political choices for a long time.

Looking at how racial voters view governments, shows that white Americans mistrust, while nonwhite voters like what the government does.

The economists Alesina, Glaeser and Sacerdote *** wrote that “European countries are much more generous to the poor relative to the US level of generosity. Economic models suggest that redistribution is a function of the variance and skewness of the pre-tax income distribution, the volatility of income (perhaps because of trade shocks), the social costs of taxation and the expected income mobility of the median voter.

None of these factors appear to explain the differences between the US and Europe. Instead, the differences appear to be the result of racial heterogeneity in the US and American political institutions. Racial animosity in the US makes redistribution to the poor, who are disproportionately black, unappealing to many voters. American political institutions limited the growth of a socialist party, and more generally limited the political power of the poor.”

Another writer, William Julius Wilson**** described, two decades ago, how race and economics collided. “Racism has historically been one of the most prominent American cultural frames and has played a major role in determining how whites perceive and act toward blacks”.

Futhermore, looking at the racial divide in education, Julian Betts of the University of California, San Diego and Robert Fairlie of the University of California, Santa Cruz found that for every four immigrants entering public high schools, one native student switched to a private school*****

Now let’s look In Europe, where voters are increasingly drawn to xenophobic politics, driven by fear based on the instinctive realization that the white man’s world in decline.

A few years ago it looked as if the United States — long more tolerant of immigration, with a more fluid sense of national identity that readily allowed for hyphenation — could avoid this turn.

But judging by this year’s political debate, held against the background of improving but still insufficient prosperity, Americans are moving in the same direction. Racial identity and its attendant hostilities appear to be jumping from their longstanding place in the background of American politics to the very center of the stage.

We appeal to our members and allies to vote their conscience on these issues and review the facts underlying policies enunciated by our potential leaders.

**** Being Poor, Black, and American: The Impact of Political, Economic, and Cultural Forces, by William Julius Wilson, American Educator, Spring 2011, Vol. 35, No. 1, American Federation of Teachers


Update on NA’s Stop African Homophobia

In a previous blog* the NA has denounced the rampant homophobia
and formed an adhoc committee to follow this. Meanwhile, in the New York Times there has been numerous letters** expanding support for this, and noting some backlash.

All very well, but actions speak louuder than words as the Southern California Chapter of the NA has shown recently. They have invited a gay man from Nigeria to stay and share his experiences with us. His anticipated arrival will be heralded in the noted “Gabfest” series of multimedia events (see We anticipate a great attendance and will keep you all posted.

Meanwhile, some history of this issue.

It is a repeating concern that many African countries have an overt or covert attidude towards LGBTQ relationships and rights. in Uganda, the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014 (previously called the “Kill the Gays bill” in the western mainstream media due to death penalty clauses proposed in the original version) was passed by the Parliament of Uganda with life in prison substituted for the death penalty. The bill was signed into law by the President of Uganda, however, the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled the Act invalid on procedural grounds.

The US has spent more than $700 million to support “gay rights groups and causes” globally. That figure mostly encompasses public health programs that aid a broad range of individuals, including but not limited to L.G.B.T.I. persons.

It has been conjectured that the discriminatory laws adopted in recent years are a reaction to American government pressure. However, since these attitudes existed prior to that, it is unlikely. We wish that all countries assert that people should not be subject to violence or discrimination simply because of who they are. At the same time we must be aware that we should not implement policies that cas harm, directly or indirectly.

It is also true that our interest in this was heightened when American evangelicals like Scott Lively, Rick Warren and Lou Engle preached vitriol against gays, so we must be vigilent in monitoring world wide events and domestic events in LGBTQ atrocities. And the NABWMT should be well equipped to do this based on over 30 years fighting racism and homophobia.
There will always be backlash to activism and we should always be there to counter this.



Margins, Muslims, and Mentors

It’s Christmas and our thoughts are of families and children. However, at the margins life may be tough.
Let’s start with an excerpt from the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Excupery.

“There were terrible seeds on the little prince’s planet… they were baobab seeds. The planet’s soil was infested with them. Now, a baobab, if you set about it too late, you can never get rid of it. It takes up the whole planet. It pierces it with its roots. And if the planet is too small, and if there are too many baobabs, they will make it burst”.

So maybe our boababs are, in part, class and religious differences?

Back to our kids, according to a new Pew Research Study* “In poor families, however, children tend to spend their time at home or with extended family, the survey found. They are more likely to grow up in neighborhoods that their parents say aren’t great for raising children, and their parents worry about them getting shot, beaten up or in trouble with the law” They also go on to find “While bullying is parents’ greatest concern over all, nearly half of low-income parents worry their child will get shot, compared with one-fifth of high-income parents. They are more worried about their children being depressed or anxious”

And I dont need to tell readers of this blog how African American kids are told by their parents to be carefull about enconters with the police.

Also today in the New York Times an article reviewed the answers by Muslim Americans on their kids safety.*** They noted that “A wave of recent attacks by extremists acting in the name of Islam — including in San Bernardino, Calif., this month — has contributed to a rise in anti-Muslim speech in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. We askd our readers who are Muslim how they talk to their children about these difficult times”.
The article illustrates the same problems and other kids at the margin have. The following are some of the strategies that Muslim parents have devised.

  • “work 100 times harder” and “be 100 times kinder.”
  • “be wary of anyone reaching out to them over the Internet andzes claiming to be Muslim. “ISIL is trying to recruit you,”
  • “our Muslim kids personally identify with how the Christian pilgrims came here, cut off from everyone and everything they knew, simply to be able to adore God how they thought fit.
  • “I nevertheless encourage them not to discuss faith with anyone.”

I will finish with a hope that racial and religious intolerance no longer penelizes our children at the margins and our nation.

Happy Holidays.

Podcast AIDS, Black Women and Black Prisoners

Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Women of color are especially affected by HIV infection and AIDS according to the CDC*. HIV infection was the leading cause of death for black women (including African American women) aged 25–34.

Given that condoms are not given out in prison, injectable drugs and tattoos are also present, and after release prisoners are likely to have goo health care and are in “communities of denial” it is very likely that the higher incarceration of people of color will lead to a disproportionate rate of HIV infection in women of color. This is also a function of the fact that men seeking men for sex have no counterpart in women.