Another Indicator–As If We Needed Confirmation

Time Magazine recently reported on a study of bias in the “sharing” economy.

Users of accommodations-booking site Airbnb that have African-American sounding names are less likely to have their rental requests approved by potential hosts, according to a new report that highlights the difficulties minorities face when taking part in the sharing economy.

The study’s findings probably shouldn’t come as a surprise; we have literally mountains of data demonstrating similar results among job-seekers.

This particular report joins daily news reports of attacks on Mosques and Muslims, pushback against efforts like “Black Lives Matter,” and of course, the increasingly unhinged and unapologetic racism of Donald Trump (which has thus far been met with only tepid condemnation from most of the other GOP candidates).

I doubt that Americans will ever be able to have a truly frank, open discussion of race and racism. Even the eruption of long-suppressed animus in the wake of Obama’s election has been met with denial; the existence of overwhelming, vicious hatred directed at the First Family has been denied, or–if admitted–attributed to Obama’s “leftism” (what a joke that is!) or other personal deficits.

And before I get angry posts to the effect that it is legitimate to disagree with the President’s actions and priorities, of course it is.  Criticisms of policies are perfectly reasonable. No one–certainly not this writer–is suggesting that any President is beyond reproach, or that he, or any other political figure, should not be subject to criticism based upon performance.

But let’s get real.Only the willfully blind can miss the obvious: the extent to which the ferocity of attacks on the President and First Lady are based upon the President’s perceived “otherness.”

Racism has been called “America’s Original Sin.” It’s time we dealt with it.

I certainly don’t have a magic wand, nor do I know how to change a culture that accommodates categorizing people on the basis of religion or skin color or sexual orientation. I do know that we can’t solve problems when we refuse to admit they exist.

And we definitely have a problem.

63 thoughts on “Another Indicator–As If We Needed Confirmation

  1. Ken Burns’ doc on Prohibition clearly documented how racial, ethnic and religious bias infected America’s struggle with alcohol. Black males with a ballot in one hand and a bottle in the other were beyond scary.

  2. I have been surprised by two good friends who whole-heartedly supported Barack Obama throughout his 2008 presidential campaign and the early part of his administration. When he didn’t fulfill every campaign promise and resolve the dung-heap of problems Bush left behind during the first two years; suddenly he no longer had – or deserved – their support and he was a great disappointment to them. One; a political activist in the San Francisco area for more than 50 years, the other an intelligent Black known for years to support the primary issues in Obama’s campaign on a humanitarian basis – not racial. They lost sight of the fact that he is not the Messiah, he was not elected to please their every want, need and point of view. He was and is a man who continues to be undermined at every turn; the covert racism in his own party helped to hold back progress this country needed and continues to need.

    The blatant racism, hidden under party differences by the GOP, admittedly began upon his election when they formed a group which promised to stop every action President Obama attempted to enact to return America to Americans. They have been and continue to be highly successful. Freedom of speech is a valued right in this country which has been and is being abused and bastardized by those who believe this right includes the right to lie, misquote, deny progress, name-call, hold this country hostage with the repeated threats to shut down the government – which they accomplished once in the past as we well know.

    The Constitution gave this government the right to incur debts; this is coupled with the demand that all debts be paid. Majority rules; so the GOP repeatedly holds the threats over our heads, refusing to pay the debts they voted to incur. While the government’s budget is not the same as our personal budgets; it does face the same problems we face in our lives. Ever increasing prices and unexpected expenses takes more money to cover debts. They hold onto that money as if it were their personal property due to their current numbers – NOT due to any right to refuse to HONOR our debts. Repossession doesn’t happen at the government level the way it can and does in our personal lives…maybe it should.

    The GOP will not get my cheers and applause for passing the budget at the last minute – AGAIN – it does get my question as to how they managed it this time. Weeks ago they “borrowed” $150 BILLION from the Social Security Trust Fund (not their money and the second time they have “borrowed” but never repaid) to pay the monthly Disability debt which is their responsibility. Passing the budget includes financial support of public assistance – on the surface a partisan decision but that partisan basis is brought about by gerrymandering – which they see as covertly weeding out on a racial basis to gain votes.

    This country runs on money; money obtained in the form of taxes from all races but with attempts to deny public assistance to those “others” the GOP believes make up the majority of applicants. They overlook the vast number of the white race (the actual majority) – millions of whom are also Republicans – as they allow Americans to go homeless, hungry, poorly educated and with little if any medical care. Those who concentrate on the “otherness” of our twice elected president overlook his intelligence, strength, determination, ability to heal foreign relations with formerly hostile nations while seeking world peace, his acceptance of all recognized and accepted religions in this country and has no interest in their color or sexual orientation in carrying out his sworn duties as President of the United States. I don’t agree with all of his actions and decisions but I support his carrying out an amazing amount of successes again unimaginable odds.

  3. Admit things exist ? Why not admit the existence of the N.W.O. Illuminati Globalist movement to a one world government/religion/economy?

  4. JoAnn,

    I might add this little reminder to what you have so accurately stated:

    February 19, 2009
    WASHINGTON (CNN) — In a blunt assessment of race relations in the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday called the American people “essentially a nation of cowards” in failing to openly discuss the issue of race.

    Eric Holder spoke to an overflowing crowd for Black History Month at the Justice Department Wednesday.

    In his first major speech since being confirmed, the nation’s first black attorney general told an overflow crowd celebrating Black History Month at the Justice Department the nation remains “voluntarily socially segregated.”

    “Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” Holder declared.

    Holder urged Americans of all races to use Black History Month as a time to have a forthright national conversation between blacks and whites to discuss aspects of race which are ignored because they are uncomfortable.

    The attorney general said employees across the country “have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace,” but he noted that “certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks at best embarrassment and at worst the questioning of one’s character.”

    “On Saturdays and Sundays, America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago. This is truly sad,” Holder said.

    So, in my estimation, the end game to all of the above results in the cover of this week’s Time Magazine: Person of the Year: Angela Merkel: “Chancellor of the Free World”

    “Let’s blame Obama for this.” YOU MUST BE KIDDING!

  5. I, of course, talk to my family members about race and the civil rights movement; never ceases to amaze me how much the do NOT know – never learned in school what I watched happen on the daily news.

    A young Black woman has been doing my lawncare for five years so we have become friends. She came around six years ago passing out flyers looking for lawn jobs to supplement her income. She is mid-40’s and I talk to her as I do my family, never ceases to amaze me how much she does NOT know- never learned in school, or obviously from her family, what I watched happen in the daily news.

  6. Prof K Says: “I do know that we can’t solve problems when we refuse to admit they exist.”
    When the “R” folks met while the Pres was being sworn in to office and decided then and there to block everything he tried to do, that was pretty clear that the “R” folks were against HIM and not what he did. It was HIM that made them furious. HIM that they must bring down. Trunp is giving clear voice to what has been a Republican policy for 7 years. Oh that is not right, …this has been Republican policy since the Nixon Years. Tea Party, KKK all the same.

  7. Sure, Patmcc, the Republicans are only trying to stop Obama’s policies because of his race. It has nothing to do with the fact they don’t agree with those policies. After all, they fully supported Bill Clinton’s policies and he is white. Wait…they didn’t. In fact, they impeached him.

    Oh, well, it’s so much easier to claim opposition is because of racism.

  8. Paul,

    “After all, they fully supported Bill Clinton’s policies and he’s white.”

    You’re very right. The Clinton’s are very smart people. They avoided the problem with the Far Right by their strategy of “triangulation” the brainchild of Robert Strauss, a disguised Republican. In other words let’s join ’em. Let’s give up.

    Barak Obama couldn’t join ’em, no matter what. Since he’s not white like the Clinton’s.

  9. Complicating the problem of racism is that some folks don’t realize their own bias. I had a neighbor who sincerely believes she is not a racist. She talks graciously with African Americans at public gatherings. But one day I was at her home when a young black man wearing a uniform from the local gas company walked through her back yard
    to find her gas meter and read it. She couldn’t see his uniform through the filter of her bias. She was very scared and wanted to call the police. I had to calm her down and said that he was the meter reader. She watched him very closely until he proceeded to the next yard and even then could not take her eyes off him.

    I tried to make light of her obvious prejudice, but she never got the point. Prejudice can be very opaque.

  10. There is no question that America is rife with racism. It’s a fact of life. It always has been.

    The bigger problem though is Bush.

    There is no arguing that the results of his administration were the worst ever. What’s a party to do?

    Now we are closer to a tractable problem.

    When you’re in the business of selling politicians and are covered with the stink of your previous offering you really only have one alternative (at least for those whose one tool is brand marketing).

    Attack all alternatives through every channel possible.

    Racism may be immoral, dysfunctional and unrealistic but that doesn’t mean that it’s not useful.

    We can see today that the same tool, propaganda, may support racism but also works without it. Consider Hillary.

    I know, I know, sexism is merely a flavor of racism.

    So consider Bernie.

  11. When all Republicans tell me that they “hate” Hillary I always ask why? The answer invariably is Benghazi.


    Is any more evidence of the success of propaganda necessary?

  12. I recall with horror an event that occurred in West Texas shortly after 9-11. A Sikh person was gunned down by a redneck beast thinking he was somehow getting even with terrorist. The killing was repulsive an sad beyond the pale of human depravity. It would have been sad had the misinformed zealot killed a Muslim. A Sikh? Dedicated religion much like the truth Quaker of pacifist ways. A person in the question for universal equality and respect for all others. Paranoid violence is so excremental when it is marshaled by the tongue or a weapon. It can be cured, like polio if people will take the vaccination: what Schweitzer called, “Love for life,” the very philosophy of the Sikh religion.

  13. Marv,

    you are so correct about the Clintons. More rightwing goals were attained under slick Willie than were under the ‘acting’ POTUS . (Nancy)

  14. Where racism enters is the fact that the same is true under Obama. And they still don’t like him.

  15. To JoAnn,
    1) How did POTUS’ own party hold back his “progress”?
    2) GOP did indeed vow to stop every action of POTUS; identical to the way democrats vowed to stop Bush43, but at least they didn’t hang hi in effigy or make a movie about assassinating him.
    3) Do you realize that lies, misquotes, and name-calling are not unique to republicans?
    4) Compromise is not a one-way street as demonstrated by Reagan/O’Neill and Clinton/Gingrich. It takes two both sides to compromise so, in spite of press reports, government shutdowns are the result of both sides not compromising.
    5) You must be aware that there is no Social Security trust fund thanks to democrats decades ago that borrowed to spend immediately?
    6) Gerrymandering has been done since day one and is always abused by both parties when they get the chance. In the 80’s there was a district in North Carolina that ran the entire length of the state about 1/2 mile on either side of I-95. That district was created by democrats, presumable to dilute black influence in Congress.
    7) Could you please provide an example of foreign relations that POTUS has healed? I cannot identify any.
    8) From the perspective of an old white guy, no one has damaged race relations more in my lifetime.

    To Patmcc,
    1) Do you pretend that “D” folks did not have identical meetings during Bush43 inauguration?
    2) Trump does not represent the Republican Party and it was the “D” folks who were KKK members (remember Robert Byrd, YOUR Senate majority leader)?

    Sheila suggested that we are entitled to dissent against any POTUS policy but I have never seen one criticism of anything for which the race card wasn’t played. I opposed further government encroachment into healthcare when FLOTUS Clinton tried to do it (without public scrutiny), I was opposed to Bush43’s drug coverage without funding, and I opposed ACA even before speaker Pelosi insisted on passage without reading it. Every time I have expressed my opposition to ACA publicly, I am immediately lumped together with racists.

  16. One Friday we all went to get paid and a strange new deduction was listed; Medicare. No one knew a thing about it nor did we have a choice. The pattern was set for a national health plan as it had already been partially done under Reagan.

    The insurance companies wrote Obamacare and we see the result.

  17. Typical Republican propaganda:

    “5) You must be aware that there is no Social Security trust fund thanks to democrats decades ago that borrowed to spend immediately?”

    The original Social Security Act requires that the Trust Fund be invested in the world’s safest investment vehicle, US Treasuries. That’s where it is now. Safe until Republicans try to hijack Congress again to not pay our bills.

  18. Paul holds on to the belief that the country was in fine shape in 2008. That belief can only be explained by propaganda.

  19. Paul. The Republicans from the very beginning of the Obama Presidency have made sure that anything he proposed was opposed without offering any reasonable alternatives that they could articulate. The strategy was to do so in order to insure that The President would only serve one term. They have continued, despite a second election, to oppose any policy and obstruct nominations of qualified judicial appointees and administrative nominees, drag the Congress through hours of meaningless and expensive hearings (without any results other than $5 million wasted). The alternative to any initiative or policies has been mostly just to say no.
    Reasonable opposition is something to be respected. Knee-jerk obstruction is unproductive and harmful to the whole country.
    The rhetoric coming out of the Republican Presidential hopefuls has been racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and hysterical. Every problem is blamed on the President and every solution offered by an opponent is rebutted with personal attack and name calling.

    I have no confidence that any Republican currently running would be respected by other world leaders.

    Sending our young people into another war, neglecting those who fight for us and make it home, building a wall so that some future world leader can say to our President, “take down this wall”, stripping people of health care, destroying public school education, promoting theocratic policies, treating women with gross disrespect, proposing to stigmatize a whole religious group, attacking minority populations with threat and intimidation, closing our country to those fleeing violent oppression, all of these present a single abhorrent message. Fear the “other”.

  20. It’s clear that (probably for both parties though my experience more for GOP) there are many whose team allegiance is so strong that no thinking has been invested or is required. Those folks will not be swayed by any facts. It’s only two factors that elect. Turn out and swing voters.

  21. Do any of you personally know any completely swing voters?

    The only ones that I know are my wife and I who are registered Repubs but have swung Democrat for at least until the GOP has recovered. (unless we’re dead by then)

  22. The result of ACA is less doctors, longer waits and younger, healthier, people of modest or better means subsidizing older, less healthy people rich or poor. Higher deductibles and premiums 2-5 times what they were. More people on Medicaid which a University of Oregon study claims is worse than being uninsured. The only gem in the process is that some previously uninsurable people got coverage, but they turned the entire system on its head and hurt 10’s of millions of people at costs ten-fold of they needed to be

  23. Ray Charles could have seen that ANYTHING LESS than mandated contribution, like Medicare, would be disastrous.

  24. I have not personally found there to be fewer doctors since the ACA. Many have reached retirement age and are retiring.

    Longer waits? Haven’t found that to be an issue either. So far, that just seems to be right wing propaganda that got everyone up in arms about potentially having to share “their” doctors.

    A University of Oregon study claiming that being on Medicaid is worse than being uninsured? That is LAUGHABLE! If that study was actually done and those are the results, you can bet it was paid for by right wing extremists who did not want more people insured. If being uninsured is worse than Medicaid then why have so many millions signed up for Medicaid? I actually can’t believe that you really said that.

    Even though Obama campaigned on getting Universal Health Insurance coverage for this country, he had to cave in to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries in order to get anything at all. The ACA is the start of the path to equal coverage for everyone. I believe the pain of higher deductibles will serve to speed up the process of obtaining his goal of universal health insurance.

  25. Nancy,

    you have strong points. Ones which I hope will prevail in the end. I just hope the GOP won’t be able to destroy instead of improve it.

  26. I supported the ACA because I thought it might open the road to single payer, the health care plan of virtually all advanced countries, notably France, with the best health coverage in the world at about half the cost we pay. I knew it was a Romney-like compromise with Big HMO but supported it anyway in the hope that it would lead to coverage for all. The newest compromise on the table is Medicare for All, which I will support, and for the same reason.

    My opinion is that health care insurance is misnamed. Health care should be a right not subject to insurance. All the so-called health care insurers do is skim off 25 to 30 percent of the gross premiums paid for dividends and capital gains opportunities for shareholders and outlandish salaries and bonuses for HMO executives, money which could and should be used for actual medical care. Add to this the gross asymmetry in information between insurer and the insured and the fine print of insuring contracts and you have a recipe for thievery, as we have seen in case after case.

    I think that health coverage from the cradle to the grave for all Americans is an appropriate use of government funding on the same level as funding of defense, education and similarly worthy projects. Who can measure the costs of not having universal coverage in terms of pain, premature death, inefficiencies of lost work time etc. Perhaps the costs of such universal care would be met with increased efficiency of a healthy workforce, but even if not, it is a program we should embrace. Perhaps we can pay for such additional costs to the public treasury (if any) by reducing other costs, such as an incredibly bloated “defense” budget far beyond our needs by any reasonable measure, reformation of a tax code that hands billions over to those who least need relief (the rich) etc. Such savings could be diverted from the Wall Street trough on a one-way trip to Zurich to the public trough of health care, education, infrastructure repair etc.

    Our problem is not wealth but rather its distribution, a process immersed in politics, the quid pro quo of legislation for campaign contributions etc. If all the people rather than a slice of their number are to be served, then it is clear to me that we need to first change politicians in favor of those who will agitate for the public good as fearlessly as those currently agitating for the overrunning coffers of the rich and investment class. One of such public goods is a law establishing health care as a right along with identification of funding vehicles. The process is political, so let’s get on with it.

  27. My Medicare is of course not connected to ACA; nor is my Medicare supplemental but all co-pays are going up again next year. My daughter-in-law was not allowed to apply to ACA; the Indiana state health care system took over six months to respond to her application, till the end of June 2014, with acceptance in a plan for $1,200 per month and a $12,000 annual deductible – she is a janitor. Due to the time frame she had no required health care she was fined $900, this was deducted from her IRS Refund. She returned to her previous health care, the only option through Indianapolis Catholic Diocese, this monthly payment also NOT ACA connected, is being raised $70 per month next year. So; how is ACA causing health care costs to raise?

  28. It is so strange that anyone who has worked for a check would think that changes of administrators are going to matter much at all, unless there’s a big flap that requires extra payments or something to get the person back to answer, Is this your signature?

  29. Sorry, busy day getting my Granddaughter home from college.

    Here’s the thing – how can requiring folks to be fiscally responsible for their own health care costs, subsidizing the vitizens business chooses not to give a living wage to, and providing a marketplace for private health insurance and a requirement for adequate coverage produce all of those effects mentioned?

  30. Pete! Young recent college graduate with first full time job sees health insurance change from 1000 deduct maximum outlay 2500 with 80/month premium jump to 300 per month (250 with subsidy) with 5000/6300 outlays. Little known feature place maximum age 60 premium at 3 times age 25 premium so age 25 must increase or insurance goes bankrupt, hence young subsidize old, in this example with triple the “normal premium.
    Nancy, it must be convenient, when information does not match you perception, to blame another right wing conspiracy

  31. We all know that liberals have much too much integrity to manipulate data and report things inaccurately to support their agenda

  32. JoAnn. The health insurance example is comparing immediately before ACA to immediately after ACA. The fact that ACA set the triple ratio between young and old is straight from the law that no of you representatives bothered to read

  33. By the way, adequate coverage for that recent coverage costs $3000 more so that he can get a “free” annual checkup. What percentage of the under 30 population will ever get to the annual deductible (at least $5,000) so that they can receive benefits from their ACA plan beyond that $3,000 checkup?

  34. And those of you that think health care is not already more scarce, please note that there are two doctors and no hospitals in the Bartolommeo county ACA PLANS

  35. Please stop picking on Ken Glass. I feel sure his statistical data is every bit as accurate as his spelling is.

  36. Effectively no response from the easily misled conservative side of the fence to “how can requiring folks to be fiscally responsible for their own health care costs, subsidizing the citizens business chooses not to give a living wage to, and providing a marketplace for private health insurance and a requirement for adequate coverage produce all of those effects mentioned?

    I don’t blame them. Long ago when company were giving me my health insurance they didn’t tell me the costs that they were writing off (read sharing with the tax payer) to do so.

    But the fact remains that capitalism in the absence of competition is a license to steal. That’s why business has dumped the whole mess on the tax payer, both the ever escalating costs and paying the bills, as well as propagandizing their license to steal in order to get support from the conservatives of the country.

    Conservatives love scapegoats and there’s none better than Obama, he who rubs Bush’s worst performance ever by a Presidential Administration, in their faces every day just by being the best.

  37. Ken is worried about the under-30s buying an ACA plan which cross-subsidizes the over-60s? You do realize that employer plans do this to an even greater extent, and have (under federal law) for decades? A single healthy male in his 20s pays the exact same premium in his group employer plan as the single male nearing retirement. An employee with spouse and one child pays the same premium as an employee with spouse and seven children. A male employee pays the same premium as a female employee. A person with a chronic expensive medical condition pays the same premium as one who uses health care infrequently. Since the employer (in most cases) is picking up the larger part of the premium, much of this cross-subsidization is invisible to the employees, but it has already been baked into the system that covers most people in this country. All the ACA did is to somewhat equalize the burden among the much smaller number of people who do not have access to an employer group plan, those who were previously ill-served (or outright rejected) by the insurance providers.

  38. Ken:
    Cherry-picking one particular county at one point in time tells us nothing about trends. Can you also tell us what type of individual insurance plans were available in this county prior to 2014? What providers did they cover?

  39. Also, Ken is ignoring those under-30s who are earning at the lower end of the spectrum (150% of poverty line) – who are eligible to purchase silver plans with very low deductibles and co-pays. And then there are the young people who reach adulthood already having a serious problem like type 1 diabetes or a history of epilepsy or childhood cancer. Tell me Ken, what options for individual insurance did these people have prior to the ACA, and what would they have cost?

  40. Mary, you no doubt cherry picked your own particular experience to assume medical care is as convenient as it was before. I thought you should know that the experience in Bartholew county might be different. Those who suggest subsidies by younger healthier employees with smaller families for the opposite in group plans are correct. However, what that fact ignores is that the strength of the group pricing, coupled with the frequent contributions from employers made the coverage less costly than individual coverage. The individual options before ACA were rather limited but more plentiful than after passage.

  41. Ken: My experience with health care is not the issue here. You made a particular claim about a particular county, but you haven’t shown any evidence that people in that county had MORE options in the past.

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