In-Depth on Inequality #68

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Deepnews Digest #68

In-Depth on Inequality

Editor: Christopher Brennan
In recent weeks this newsletter has delved into angles of how coronavirus is affecting us all, though the truth is that it is affecting different groups of people disproportionately, often based off of inequalities that existed far before anyone heard of COVID-19. With protests against racial injustice in the United States now a global topic, this Digest takes a look at inequality in its many forms.

While many other ways of getting news like to highlight the most shocking information possible to drive you to click, these articles highlighted by the Deepnews Scoring Model want to provide something different, something more in-depth. We hope they can be the basis for further conversation.


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Story Source
Washington Post
In the Minneapolis area, where protests have turned violent in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, the median income for black households is less than half of white ones — $38,200 compared to $85,000.

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Bloomberg
MUMBAI, INDIA – Hospital wards with corpses left unattended in hallways. Patients asked to sleep on the floor until beds open up. A woman with brain damage who died because she was refused medical help until her family could prove she was virus-free.

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The Nation
Birthright citizenship is the foundation of American democracy. The birthright principle, rooted in common law and the Reconstruction era’s 14th Amendment, guarantees citizenship to the children of US citizens and to everyone born within the country’s borders. The grant of citizenship at birth has a powerful egalitarian effect, making every American — at least in theory — an equal stakeholder in the political community. Yet it brings about this desirable result through what can only be described as arbitrary means. One inherits citizenship from one’s parents or acquires it based on the happenstance of one’s place of birth. Our democracy of equal-born citizens is therefore built on a fundamental inequality: the unearned privilege of winning what the scholar Ayelet Shachar has called “the birthright lottery.”

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E&E News
The impacts of floods can exacerbate existing racial and social inequality

Editor’s Note: One of the less commonly explored facets of inequality is how climate disasters affect some groups far more than others because of characteristics such as where they live. Here Thomas Frank reports based on an analysis of U.S. federal flood insurance payments. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Esquire
Often, the people cleaning up here did not seem particularly upset at what happened, or what they now had to do. “Good for business!” said Simon, a contractor sweeping up shattered glass outside G-Star on Prince and Lafayette, and he was only mostly joking. Almost everyone I spoke with was black or Latino, because that’s who often does these jobs—the ones we lately have decided are “essential,” the ones you have to show up every day to do, even in the age of pandemic disease. They will bear the brunt of this now, sweeping glass and removing graffiti and boarding up windows with plywood. There may well be a repeat tomorrow. But they also bear the brunt of the relentless forces of American inequality at the root of all this.

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New York Times
Working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic can be hazardous, but staying home isn’t safe either for the emergency responders, pharmacists, home health aides, grocery clerks and deliverymen who fill River Park Towers in the Bronx.

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Rolling Stone
Artists from Minneapolis and St. Paul talk about the history of racism that led up to George Floyd’s killing by police and the protests that have followed

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CNN
Wuhan was the original epicenter. Then the coronavirus migrated to Europe. New York was the next hotspot, and now world health authorities are worried about South America.

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Washington Post
A global pandemic has now killed more than 100,000 Americans and left 40 million unemployed in its wake. Protests — some of them violent — have once again erupted in spots across the country over police killings of black Americans.

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The Conversation
Vicente Arenas moved to the edge of Denver’s Valverde neighborhood, attracted by low housing prices and proximity to his downtown job just three miles away. The 1-square-mile neighborhood mixes small, ranch-style homes with auto body shops, metal fabricators and industrial supply warehouses, and is hemmed in on its four sides by state highways and interstates. Much of Valverde is devoid of streetlights and wide sidewalks, a fact that Arenas laments. But he immediately felt a strong kinship with the local Hispanic population, which comprises 81% of residents.

Editor’s Note: As mentioned in the note above, inequalities go back for decades, if not centuries. Here two professors at University of Colorado Denver provide helpful maps as they dig into the effects of Home Owner’s Loan Corporation moves in the 1930s. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

The Independent (UK)
Mathieu Kassovitz has grown resentful of the film that made him – 1995’s lean, fierce La Haine. A story of three friends living under the spiked boot of inequality, it’s continued to find an audience both in France and across the globe. “But that’s not because the movie is good,” the director claimed in 2017. “It’s because politicians are f***ing idiots. Listen, listen, if politicians were good, nobody would remember La Haine.”

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Mother Jones
For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones’ newsletters.

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Brookings Institution
This Memorial Day, four Minneapolis police officers fatally injured George Floyd, a Black man, while under their custody. Within hours of the incident, a video surfaced of one officer pressing his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck. Floyd can be heard wheezing out, “I can’t breathe.” A still image from the video of that brutal act has come to symbolize the repression, control, and disregard of Black people and our communities

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Vox
The author of “How to Be an Antiracist” explains how the George Floyd protests are a result of “America’s nightmare.”

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TIME
Longtime activist Sandra Richardson was on a walk with her husband last Monday evening through the Minneapolis neighborhood where she grew up. What she didn’t realize until the next morning was that during her walk, just blocks away, a black man named George Floyd was dying as a police officer knelt on his neck and onlookers pleaded with the officer to get off him.

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The Nation
Ninety percent of US counties with high rates of childhood hunger are rural, a new study finds.

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Reuters
HAVANA – The coronavirus pandemic is highlighting growth in inequality in Communist Cuba as worsening shortages force most citizens to spend hours in line to purchase basic goods while the better-off are shopping online.

Editor’s Note: Coronavirus and the lockdowns have highlighted the huge role that technology can have in inequalities. Here Marc Frank in Havana weaves together issues such as shortages, shipping costs and remittances. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

South China Morning Post
The death of the unarmed black man in Minnesota has prompted Asians not only to demonstrate, but to reflect on their own prejudices too

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The Fulcrum
Responding to the wave of demonstrations against the deaths of black people killed by police, many of these organizations are reaching out to declare unequivocal support for the marchers. But their statements, which grew in volume Monday, are also seeking to connect the furious urgency of the moment to the pursuit of their sometimes more esoteric sounding agenda.

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NBC News
Keisha Blain attended a top program in her field, collaborated with renowned scholars and wrote an award-winning dissertation — all of which she was sure would lead to an immediate and secure academic appointment. But upon graduating from Princeton University with a Ph.D. in history in 2014, she discovered that she had vastly underestimated the number of scholars seeking tenure-track positions. Blain was competing not only against her direct peers, but also against talented scholars who hadn’t been able to find steady work in the aftermath of the 2008 economic recession and had become even more competitive applicants in the intervening years.

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Atlas Obscura
Just north of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, Greenwood once had one of the most successful African-American commercial districts in the country. By 1921, it was home to numerous black-owned businesses — beauty shops, grocery stores, restaurants, and the offices of lawyers, realtors, and doctors.

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The Guardian
In one of the rare expressions of empathy that Donald Trump has displayed during the course of the coronavirus pandemic, he talked earlier this month about the disease claiming so many lives it was “filling up Yankee Stadium with death”.

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Foreign Policy ($)
MINNEAPOLIS — I woke up to the smell of smoke coming through the window. Black clouds billowed into the sky just a few blocks north as the arson that had been concentrated on Lake Street spread throughout the community overnight. Teenagers were looting the corner gas station, and on what was previously forecast to be a sunny spring day, the weather prediction on my phone turned to “smoke.”

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University of Pennsylvania
The capacity of a state and the degree of economic inequality among its residents will determine how successful it is in coping effectively with a pandemic like COVID-19. Whether it is a democracy or a dictatorship matters relatively less, according to recent research by Wharton management professor Mauro Guillen.

Editor’s Note: Devastating diiseases have hit countries of all shapes and sizes before COVID. Here is an explanation of research from Mauro Guillen, based on data that goes back to the 1990s, that says inequality increases the frequency and scale of an epidemic. – Christopher Brennan

Financial Times ($)
The worst civil uprisings in the US in more than half a century are forcing Americans to confront deep-rooted problems of racial inequality and police brutality — all while reeling from a pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 of their fellow citizens and shattered the economy.

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