Category Archives: Economics

Suburbs No Refuge for Black Students

By Free Radical

New data show that students of color are subject to discrimination in suburban school districts.

New data show that students of color are subject to discrimination in suburban school districts.

Following World War II, the number of Blacks living in suburban areas skyrocketed. Here they often sought what they hoped would be safer neighborhoods and better opportunities for their children.

However a new study by the federal Civil Rights Data Collection suggests that the suburbs is more of a broken promise than a promised land. Reporting on new data, the USA Today outlined how students of color are more likely to be suspended and less likely to take fewer AP classes than their White classmates. In some suburban districts, Black students are even several grades behind White students.

Student Kennedy Jackson of the Rochester metropolitan area was featured. Jackson was regularly the target of racial epithets. Unfortunately, Jackson was not an anomaly. Bethany Beru had a similarly harrowing story. In the middle of a lesson, her teacher hurled a racial epithet at her. When Beru contacted administrators, nothing was done.

Corrective measures had been proposed by former president Barack Obama’s administration. According to guidelines, school districts could be penalized if they disproportionately target students of color for severe punishments. However, the Trump administration and its education head, Betsy Devos have indicated that they will move to rescind these protections.

For more on the experiences of students of color in the suburbs, click here.

STL Among Naton’s Worst for Child Poverty

By Free Radical

St. Louis has the 12th worst rate of child poverty in the nation.

St. Louis has the 12th worst rate of child poverty in the nation according to newly released census data.

St. Louis has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest rates of child poverty in the nation according to census records. Approximately 40 percent of St. Louis children are impoverished.

This rate places St. Louis as twelfth in the nation. A list of all cities including 200,000 or more residents were assessed. Fremont, California has the lowest rate at 3.9 percent and Detroit has the highest with 54.5 percent.

Though the census study included all children, it is likely that Black children are disproportionately plagued by impoverishment. A recently published equity indicator study by  the City of St. Louis showed stark racial differences throughout the city.

Several areas such as educational attainment, criminal justice, and health indicators were examined. A score of 1 means that an indicator is grossly inequitable and there is a great chasm between Blacks and Whites. A score of 100 means that the indicator is racially equitable.

The city received a score of 29 for the child poverty indicator. The city also received a low score of 17 for children who suffer with food insecurity.

NFL Viewers Return for 2018 Season

Robert Quinn continued anthem protests in 2018 but recognized a lack of media attention to them.

Robert Quinn continued anthem protests in 2018 but recognized a lack of media attention to them.

By Free Radical

NFL viewership increased by 5 percent for the 2018 football season, according to league sources. The NFL had experienced a crisis of confidence the previous year as controversy over player protests resulted in a decline of viewers.

While the average NFL game attracted 15.8 million viewers in 2018, only 14.7 people watched NFL games in 2017. That was a steep drop from the 2016 figure of 16.5 million and the 2015 average of 17.9 million.

One cause for the increased viewership may have been the league and various media outlets’ decision to not focus on league protests as they had done last year.

Before this season, the NFL ruled in May that players would have to stand during the national anthem on the field or remain off of the field until it was over. However, this mandate was suspended as a result of the players’ union complaint that it violated their rights.

This boded well for the league whose many owners constantly expressed their preference to focus on football rather than social justice.

There had been flareups such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones statement that he would defy league policy by requiring his players to stand during the anthem. Also in November, San Francisco 49ers cheerleader Kayla Morris made headlines when she knelt during the anthem.

There have also been several players who have refused to stand during the anthem, either by kneeling, raising their fists, sitting, or remaining in the locker room while it has been played.

Nonetheless, these acts of resistance have received much less media attention than in recent years. Robert Quinn, who once played for the St. Louis Rams but now is on the Miami Dolphins roster, expressed his frustration with the virtual media blackout of player protests. Late last month, he told the Miami Herald, “Y’all ignore it. Because when I gave my first message on trying to bring unity, y’all swept it under the rug. It’s not me. When you don’t give a problematic story, y’all just ran away.”

Quinn may have a point. In 2017, ESPN, the nation’s leading sports network, kept a running tally of all players who protested during the anthem. This year, that list has disappeared. Even in reporting on the league’s increased viewership in 2018, ESPN writer Kevin Seifert curiously made no mention of player protests.

It should be noted that ESPN was in great fear of losing money in 2017 as fewer viewers watched its flagship show Monday Night Football, a show the network pays $1.9 billion annually to broadcast.

Designing Phenom Charles Henry Harrison Transitions

Chuck Henry Harrison with his patented View-Master device.

Chuck Henry Harrison with his patented View-Master device.

By Free Radical

African-American inventing marvel Charles “Chuck” Harrison passed on Wednesday. Harrison is credited with designing a number of modern day conveniences and even toys that have become commonplace in the United States and around the world.

Harrison’s list of inventions is extensive and include the plastic trash can, electronic sewing machine, riding lawnmower, and the View-Master toy among other devices.

Harrison is a native of Louisiana. His father was a professor of industrial arts at Prairie View A&M, an HBCU in Texas. Despite having dyslexia, Charles entered the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Upon graduating, he developed an impressive resume as an industrial engineer. And while working for Robert Podall Associates, he gave the View-Master its sleek design and signature orange color.

In 1961, he became the first ever Black executive in the history of Sears. Ironically, he was denied a position at the company just years later because of his race.

According to Black Enterprise, while at Sears he developed power tools, sewing machines, steam irons, the see-through measuring cup, televisions, toys, baby cribs, radios, and kitchen appliances, including the electric mixer. It was at Sears that he designed the plastic trash can as an alternative to more noisy metal containers. This is his most popular and widely used creation.

Harrison retired from Sears in 1993. Altogether, he worked on more than 700 products for the company. In retirement, he taught courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Columbia College in Chicago.

In 2008, he became the first Black professional to be awarded a Lifetime Achievement National Design Award by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

Harrison is survived by his son Charles and two grandsons. His wife, Janet Eleanor Simpson passed in 1999.