Should African American women marry more men who are not African American? In his controversial new book, Is Marriage for White People?, Stanford Law Professor Ralph Richard Banks says yes. Banks explains that the declining rate of marriage among blacks over the past 50 years largely boils down to a simple problem of supply and demand. Nowadays, about 7 in 10 black women are unmarried. In fact, successful black women marry men who are less educated and of a lower social class about 50% of the time—a rate higher than for any other racial group of women in the country. For every two black women to graduate from college, only one black man graduates, and this disparity greatly contributes to a shortage of black men of similar status eligible for marriage. With successful black men in high demand, Banks argues, these men tend to be less faithful and balk at the idea of settling down because of the array of choices before them. Banks says black men often dictate the terms of a relationship to their black partners, which psychologically affects black women and changes the compositions of families. It is a kind of “loyalty” to the black men and the betterment of the race, Banks explains, that makes black women hesitant to marry members of other races. With many black men plagued by unemployment, a lack of opportunity for education, and prison sentences, marriage outside the race may seem like abandonment to many women who want to help their community succeed. Banks writes that if more successful black women marry men of other races, the supply of black women available to men of similar social statuses will decrease, eventually limiting the bounty that black men perceive and fostering greater commitment—and thus, more black marriages—in the future. Does more black women marrying men who aren’t black better the race as a whole? With the rise of women in the last half-century, there are many more women graduating from universities than men—could women of all races be facing the same supply problem as well in the near future? What might that mean for our conception of loving relationships and familial composition in the future?
After 9/11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks, the frightening possibility that enemies could wage a “biological war” on the U.S. became real, and led to astounding changes in the nation’s public health system. Many health agencies had been thrown into disarray after being targeted for massive budget cuts in the ‘80s, when their success in preventing common diseases rendered their high staff numbers “unnecessary,” and the effects were still evident in the Institute of Medicine’s grim prognosis for the efficiency of the public health system in 2002. But increasing concerns about national security that year led to agreements between the CDC, the Health Resources and Services Administration, states, territories, and a few big cities over the introduction of new health infrastructure. State and local health systems received a billion dollars annually to improve their ability to respond to nation emergencies through “preparedness” programs, while health officials joined first responders like firefighters and police officers in rescues. The NIH got research funds to study and develop defensive vaccines, while the U.S. Department of Homeland security developed a network of sensors within EPA filters designed to detect and assess dangerous particles. It seems clear that progress toward an America safe from biowarfare has been made, but recent disasters have revealed that problems with the way public agencies respond to emergencies remain. The U.S. response to the H1N1 epidemic showed that American scientists could quickly develop vaccines to combat the disease, but demonstrated the difficulty of quick vaccine distribution and the relative inefficiency of America’s outdated, egg-based procedure of vaccine production. Hurricane Katrina’s devastation was amplified by slow decision-making and confusion over the responsibilities of various government agencies, while the surge of injured people challenged hospitals and health care providers along the stricken coast. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill provided economic challenges to those who had managed to partially rebuild their lives after Katrina, reminding us of the need to involve public health agencies early in any large-scale crisis. Have we learned our lesson from the anthrax attacks and instituted substantive safety measures since then? Or have our recent emergencies shown that we haven’t changed quickly enough?
The August jobs report comes out tomorrow and while analysts are predicting some new jobs will have been added to the economy the pace could drop below July and is nowhere near the number of jobs needed to bring the unemployment rate under 9 percent. Goldman Sachs issued a memo to its clients today that predicted as much as $1 trillion in capital may be needed to shore up European banks; that small businesses in the U.S. are badly languishing; that as few as 25,000 jobs were added in August. Global manufacturers are pulling back production, anticipating slowing to nonexistent economic growth in economies across the world. The drumbeat of bad news continues unabated and it’s starting to have more than just a psychological affect on the American economy—people’s expectations of things like raises, appreciating home values, expanded medical benefits, available loans from banks, and in millions of cases the simple possession of a job is rapidly sinking. When that raise at your job, or even getting a job, becomes increasingly unattainable then your behavior shifts, your outlook darkens, you stop spending, you stop hoping for better things for your children. The pessimism is tangible: in a CNN poll out on Wednesday only 28 percent of people questioned say things are going well in the country today. We take a look at the economic psychology of the U.S. today and ask if it’s time to downgrade the American Dream into something much less grand than it used to be.
Broadcasting live from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, we check up on how President Obama's speech checks out. And Hollywood's been at the DNC – actors Richard Schiff and Beau Bridges riff on that enduring connection. Also, Comedy Congress’ big wrapup in Charlotte – Diane Sawyer talks about her age and Mike Dukakis talks about what ifs.
It’s old home day at the Democratic Convention... that is, if your home is California. The Golden State’s Attorney General Kamala Harris, southern California Congresswoman Judy Chu, and actor Richard Schiff, he is of "The West Wing" and a new political show called "Chasing the Hill." Plus, a post game analysis of former President Bill Clinton’s address to the Democratic troops.
Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more.
Reviews of the week's new movies, interviews with filmmakers, and discussion.
A weekly look at SoCal life covering news, arts and culture, and more.
News and culture through the lens of Southern California.