DCentric » Race http://dcentric.wamu.org Race, Class, The District. Wed, 16 May 2012 20:20:35 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Copyright © WAMU D.C.’s Pay Gap Between Women Of Color And White Men http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/04/d-c-s-pay-gap-between-women-of-color-and-white-men/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/04/d-c-s-pay-gap-between-women-of-color-and-white-men/#comments Fri, 13 Apr 2012 18:06:01 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=15380 Continue reading ]]>

Victor1558 / Flickr

The average woman in D.C. earns less than the average man, but that wage gap varies widely once race is taken into consideration. For example, white women earn 79 cents for every $1 a white, non-Hispanic man earns, but Hispanic women earn 41 cents for every $1 a white, non-Hispanic man earns. These numbers come from the National Women’s Law Center, which released state-specific data on the gender pay gap.

The table below compares how much the average woman earns to how much the average man earns, broken down by race:

Women/Men Black women/white men Hispanic women/white men White women/white men
91 cents/$1 51 cents/$1 41 cents/$1 79 cents/$1

D.C. has one of the lowest overall wage gaps when compared to other states and the national average of 77 cents on the dollar. But comparing D.C. to other states is an apples-and-oranges kind of comparison, so NWLC senior policy analyst Katherine Gallagher Robbins sent us the statistics of nearby cities to get a sense of how the District fares.

The gap in pay between men and women in D.C. is the second smallest among Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Atlanta and New York City (which came in first, with 93 cents on the dollar). But take race into account, and D.C. doesn’t do so well anymore; of the aforementioned cities, only Atlanta has a larger pay gap between minority women and white men. In the Georgia city, black and Hispanic women make about 42 cents for every $1 white men earn.

Increasing college degrees among black and Hispanic women in D.C. could help make a dent in the wage gap — 23 percent of D.C.’s black women hold at least a bachelor’s degree and 35 percent of the city’s Hispanic women hold such degrees, while 86 percent of white men do, according to census estimates. But even the average college-educated woman in D.C earn 12 cents less than the average college-educated man, according to NWLC.

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Marion Barry: Breaking Down Race, Plexiglass And ‘Dirty Shops’ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/04/marion-barry-breaking-down-race-plexiglass-and-dirty-shops/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/04/marion-barry-breaking-down-race-plexiglass-and-dirty-shops/#comments Fri, 06 Apr 2012 17:52:44 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=15228 Continue reading ]]>

dbking / Flickr

Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry

Councilman Marion Barry’s criticisms of Asian-owned stores in Ward 8 set off a whirlwind of criticism and debate Thursday. Here’s the rundown: Barry made some offhanded remarks after he won the contested Ward 8 council seat race, captured by NBC4 Washington: “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops. They ought to go, I’ll just say that right now, you know. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”

On Thursday, Barry’s Twitter account clarified his criticism, aiming it at carry-out joints that sell greasy food and put up plexiglass barriers between customers and employees. And many of such restaurants, he said, are owned by Asians. Barry faced criticism throughout Thursday, including denunciations from Councilman Tommy Wells (Ward 6), Council Chair Kwame Brown and Mayor Vincent Gray. Barry eventually apologized for offending the Asian American community. Barry said he intended to criticize some, not all, Asian-owned businesses, but he remained staunch in his view that Ward 8 deserves better food options and less plexiglass.

Part of Barry’s scourge centers on the feeling that predominately black Ward 8 is often disrespected, and that feeling is at the heart of many issues east of the Anacostia River. By bringing race into the mix, Barry touched upon a history of animosity. In many cities, some view Asian grocers and liquor store owners in predominately black communities as profiting off of customers while not treating them with respect.

In light of Barry’s comments, The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis spoke with Gary Cha, owner of Yes! Organic and past president of Korean-American Grocers Association. Cha, who owns a Ward 8 grocery store, told DeBonis that Barry “shouldn’t have said Asians.” But, Cha added:

Any of those people running a dirty store that have an adverse impact on the community should go. And sometimes I am ashamed some of the Asian business owners don’t spend the time to keep the stores in a respectful manner.

… I do go around and say, look, if you clean your store, your business will probably go up by 65 percent, no-brainer. I’ve probably said that a thousand times to people, but it doesn’t work. … In that sense I am with [Barry], but just like saying things about African-Americans — not all African-Americans do certain things.

Ward 7 faces a similar problem with the lack of sit-down eateries and proliferation of plexiglass, which can make customers feel like they’re being suspected as criminals. Thai Orchid’s Kitchen was originally supposed to open in Ward 7 as a carryout joint, plexiglass and all (co-owner Ramaesh Bhagirat of Guyana has lived in Ward 7 for 20 years). But neighbors reached out to the owners, and D.C officials enforced zoning rules. The restaurant opened sans glass, with chairs.

But what happens when such pioneers get robbed? In the case of Thai Orchid’s Kitchen, neighbors rallied around the owners after an armed robbery, spawning regular, large dinners and convinced Bhagirat to stay put.

The psychology of the plexiglass (informally called “bulletproof glass”) is potent, and black proprietors can feel the need to use it, as well. The glass barrier is partially a relic of post-1968 riots D.C., and having plexiglass can make business owners and employees feel safer (despite studies showing that plexiglass is not that much of a crime deterrent). For some proprietors, the decision to balance personal safety with making a show of respect is a painful one to make. Take Olivia’s Cupcakes; when the shop opened in Ward 7, owner Cindy Bullock said, “It broke my heart to do that, but it’s a deterrent.”

As far as Barry’s complaint of unhealthy options and few sit-down eateries: some are trying to change that, too. Earlier this year, District officials led business owners and investors on tours of Ward 8, encouraging them to open up shop and increase culinary choices.

At the end of the day, there a number of factors that contribute to improving Ward 8′s food options. And getting nicer restaurants and stores will take more than telling proprietors to take down plexiglass, whether they’re Asian or not.

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Who Can Claim ‘Native Washingtonian’ Status? http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/who-can-claim-native-washingtonian-status/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/who-can-claim-native-washingtonian-status/#comments Fri, 30 Mar 2012 19:16:20 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=15070 Continue reading ]]>

Mr. T in DC / Flickr

A D.C. flag painted on a planter on gentrified H Street NE.

Most newcomers to D.C. hail from from far-away places, not nearby suburbs, according to newly-released census estimates. More than double the number of people who moved into D.C. from Maryland and Virginia came from outside the region, such as New York and California.

While the nation has seen its population increase because of the rise of racial minorities, D.C.’s population has grown because of whites moving into the city. At the same time, the District’s black community has shrunk. And those leaving D.C. mostly move to places like Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, according to the census estimates.

All of these numbers makes me wonder about what it means to be a “native Washingtonian.” It’s a term that carries plenty of clout in this transient city, and especially in light of gentrification, it’s become code for “non-gentrifier.” But as the city swells with folks who hail from so far away, could local newcomers claim some of that clout, too? Take me, for example: I was born in D.C. and grew up in Maryland. I moved into the District a few years ago, but D.C. news, arts and politics have been a big part of my adult life. At the same time, I acknowledge that my childhood was marked more by rolling, rural hills than by city streets. Am I no different than someone who moved from, say, the Midwest?

Anyway, check out the full list of places from where D.C. newcomers hail and click through our map of movement throughout the D.C. region:

Movement Patterns In The D.C.-Area

*Map and list courtesy of Brendan Sweeney/The Kojo Nnamdi Show. Source: American Community Survey.
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Unemployment Down For Whites, Up for Blacks, Hispanics http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/unemployment-down-for-whites-up-for-blacks-hispanics/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/unemployment-down-for-whites-up-for-blacks-hispanics/#comments Fri, 09 Mar 2012 14:57:54 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=14603 Continue reading ]]>

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Job seekers wait in line to attend a job fair in New York City on Jan. 26.

The national unemployment rate remains unchanged at 8.3 percent, but unemployment dropped slightly for whites while it rose for African Americans and Hispanics, according to data released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment among whites dropped from 7.4 percent in January to 7.3 percent in February. For blacks, it rose from 13.6 to 14.1 percent. The Hispanic unemployment also slightly rose, from 10.5 to 10.7 percent. The bureau doesn’t have seasonally-adjusted unemployment data for Asians. Unemployment among immigrants rose from 9.7 to 10 percent while it dropped for U.S.-born citizens, from 8.2 to 7.8 percent.

Although overall unemployment didn’t change between January and February, the economy did see the addition of 227,000 new jobs. Unemployment didn’t drop largely because more people entered or returned to the labor market after giving up looking for work. The rate measures how many people in the labor market don’t have jobs.

Data on local unemployment rates, including D.C., will be released Tuesday. The latest unemployment figure for D.C. is 10.1 percent, higher than the national average.

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How Racial Stereotypes Changes With Age http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/how-racial-stereotypes-changes-with-age/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/03/how-racial-stereotypes-changes-with-age/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2012 18:01:38 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=14462 Continue reading ]]>

Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

People are more charitable toward young black children than older black children, according to a new study published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science. Researchers examined data from a large, online charity that solicits donations for school projects. Proposals that included photos of older black children — sixth through 12th graders — didn’t get as many donations than proposals with photos of younger black children. For white children, an opposite pattern exists.

“What we show is as you grow toward adulthood, you come to represent your group in a much stronger fashion. People perceive you more in line with your group stereotypes.” says Deborah Small, one of the study’s authors. “Young children, we don’t penalize them by their [group's] stereotypes. Their ‘groupness’ is not fully formed yet.”

For African Americans, that means teenagers are more likely to be associated with stereotypes of being lazy, thus less deserving of sympathy and charity than young black children or white children, the study’s authors note.

Researchers didn’t have data on the identity of the specific donors, but Small said the online charity’s overall donors tend to be highly-educated, wealthier and living on the east or west coast, which is more liberal.

Researchers also found that people were more charitable toward young black children than young white children. Small said that could be a result of some measure of white guilt, or more likely, that people assume that black kids are more needy than white kids, despite coming from similar economic situations.

The findings on how race and age affect who people think is deserving of sympathy may have implications beyond charities and fundraising, the study notes. For instance, Small speculates they could shed light on juvenile criminal sentencing or other domains “where you’re evaluating the blame-worthiness of a child,” such as adoption, immigration or how the public thinks tax dollars should be spent.

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Photos: What Won’t You Stand For? http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/02/photos-what-wont-you-stand-for/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2012/02/photos-what-wont-you-stand-for/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2012 21:07:02 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=14413 Continue reading ]]> Want to end racism? Why not start with putting it on a T-shirt.

Until 8 p.m. today, a pop-up booth will be in Farrguat Square where people can create T-shirts with customized messages. It’s part of USA Network’s Characters Unite campaign to bring awareness to hate and discrimination.

Passersby can stamp T-shirts that read “I won’t stand for…” with a number of words, including discrimination, intolerance, homophobia, racism, sexism and hate. Some individuals, including D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, told DCentric about what they chose to stand against. Is there anything you won’t stand for? Why?


Mayor Vincent Gray linked his T-shirt message to the fight for D.C. statehood. The District doesn’t have a voting member in Congress.  “We live with injustice every day in the District,” Mayor Gray said. “We live in a city where we can’t even approve our own budget with money we raised on our own. That, to me, is an injustice.” Rebecca McClay, 34 of D.C. said she wouldn’t stand for hate crimes against any variety. “It’s something that’s really appalling,” she said. “It seems to be in the news a lot lately and it seems to be very difficult to stop.” Charles King, 42, lives in Virginia. He said discrimination stood out to him. “I have dealt with it myself, my dad has, going back generations,” he said. “In this millennium, something like that shouldn’t exist.” Cary Hatch, 55, owns an advertising agency near Farragut Square and brought her employees to the booth. “Hate in any form really doesn’t fit in today’s society,” she said. “Whether I see discrimination or just people being marginalized, it’s all a form of hate.” Kennethia Simmons said she wouldn’t stand for violence. “People are getting killed every day over something dumb,” she said. The 20-year-old D.C. resident said her brother was killed last year. Tanya Moore, 36 of Oklahoma, works in a soup kitchen and food pantry. She chose injustice because “it fits pretty much everything we see and deal with on a daily basis.” Erica Hunter, 33 of Maryland said, “I don’t deal well with individuals who can’t tolerate others on any level.” Lanie Liem, 22 and an intern temporarily living in D.C, is originally from California, says she’s an advocate for LGBT, or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. “In California, we had the whole vote on Proposition 8,” she said, referring to a referendum that would outlaw gay marriage. “It’s stressful that we have a vote on our rights.” Althea Edwards, 50 of D.C., said she wouldn’t stand for injustice, particularly as it relates to homelessness and healthcare. “There’s a lot of injustice in America and if we don’t pull together we’re not going to get out of this mess,” she said. ]]>
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Bullying By Race: Which Teens Get Picked On Most http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/11/bullying-by-race-which-teens-get-picked-on-most/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/11/bullying-by-race-which-teens-get-picked-on-most/#comments Mon, 07 Nov 2011 14:17:02 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=12005 Continue reading ]]>

D. / Flickr

Asian American teens are bullied more than youths belonging to any other racial group, according to new data from the U.S. Justice and Education departments.

Teens aged 12 to 18 were interviewed for the study. More than half of the Asian American teens reported being bullied in classrooms, compared to almost one-third of white students. The disparity is even greater when it comes to cyber bullying; 62 percent of Asian Americans surveyed reported being harassed online once or twice monthly, while only 18.1 percent of whites were cyber bullied.

Classroom Bullying By Race

AFP reports on the findings:

Policymakers see a range of reasons for the harassment, including language barriers faced by some Asian American students and a spike in racial abuse following the September 11, 2001 attacks against children perceived as Muslim.

“This data is absolutely unacceptable and it must change. Our children have to be able to go to school free of fear,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Friday during a forum at the Center for American Progress think-tank.

Muslim Americans, many of whom are Asian American, are also facing increased institutionalized profiling by law enforcement since 9/11, recent reports indicate.

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‘We’re a Culture, Not a Costume:’ Racist Halloween Costumes? http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/10/were-a-culture-not-a-costume-racist-halloween-costumes/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/10/were-a-culture-not-a-costume-racist-halloween-costumes/#comments Mon, 31 Oct 2011 21:27:43 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=11882 Continue reading ]]> Halloween is finally here, and if you plan to dress as a “Mexican” tonight, you may want to reconsider it. That’s according to  a group of Ohio University students, who started the “We’re a culture, not a costume” campaign last week to raise awareness of what they deem to be offensive costumes.

The students are members of the group S.T.A.R.S., and their treasurer Stephanie Sheeley spoke with Colorlines’ reporter Jorge Rivas about some of the criticisms of the campaign. Sheeley told Rivas that its offensive to wear a costume that’s meant to represent a marginalized group rather than dress up as an individual person who happens to be of another ethnicity:

Many of you had a lot to say about the campaign when we wrote about it last week. We also polled readers as to whether it’s racist to dress up in a costume that’s meant to represent an entire race (you can still cast your vote). Most people who responded didn’t have much problem with such costumes:

The “We’re a culture, not a costume” campaign has also spurred an Internet meme, in which people have created their own posters poking fun at the campaign. Sheeley tells Rivas that such spoofs aren’t “that big of a deal if you understand why we’re doing [the campaign] in the first place” and that they can be “funny” and “comical.”

But some spoofs, Sheeley says, can be very offensive, such as one showing a gorilla holding a picture of the African American girl in the original S.T.A.R.S.’ campaign.






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‘We’re a Culture, Not a Costume’ Raises Halloween Debate (Poll) http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/10/we-are-a-culture-not-a-costume-questions-halloween/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/10/we-are-a-culture-not-a-costume-questions-halloween/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2011 11:00:56 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=11828 Continue reading ]]> Ohio University's Students Teaching About Racism in Society has released these posters as part of a Halloween awareness campaign. Ohio University's Students Teaching About Racism in Society has released these posters as part of a Halloween awareness campaign. Ohio University's Students Teaching About Racism in Society has released these posters as part of a Halloween awareness campaign. Ohio University's Students Teaching About Racism in Society has released these posters as part of a Halloween awareness campaign. Ohio University's Students Teaching About Racism in Society has released these posters as part of a Halloween awareness campaign.

Is it racist to dress up as a Mexican for Halloween? Yes, according to a group of Ohio University students who launched the “We’re a culture, not a costume” campaign now gaining national attention.

Sarah Williams, president of the Ohio student group STARS, said on CNN: “During Halloween, we see offensive costumes. We don’t like it, we don’t appreciate it… The best way to get rid of stereotypes and racism is to have a discussion and raise awareness, which is what we want to do with this campaign.”

Why is it problematic to dress up as a Mexican for Halloween? Jelani Cobb, African studies professor at Rutgers University, explains to CNN:

“To treat a character like Batman or Superman as a Halloween costume is one thing, but to treat an entire ethnicity as a costume is something else. It suggests that people conflate the actual broad diversity of a culture with caricatures and characters.

But not everyone agrees; negative comments flooded Melissa Sipin’s blog, which first reported about the campaign on Sunday before national media took note. Critics feel the campaign is a hyper-sensitive reaction to people who simply want to have fun on Halloween, a time to relax and check all the seriousness at the door. Sipin responds to such critics:

This poster campaign isn’t about being overly sensitive to costume choices, it’s about perpetuati­ng prejudices and negative stereotype­s through these choices. All we’re asking people is to stop perpetuating those prejudices and to realize that you’re crossing a line when you strap fake bombs to your chest to portray a Middle Eastern man or if you paint your face black.

What do you think of the question raised by the posters? Take our poll:

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Redskins and Race http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/10/redskins-and-race/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/10/redskins-and-race/#comments Thu, 27 Oct 2011 16:38:30 +0000 Elahe Izadi http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=11791 Continue reading ]]>

Stephen Train / Flickr

Local black sports fans are more likely to support the Redskins than white fans, according to a new Washington Post poll. One explanation: black respondents said they were more interested in the NFL than white respondents. Still, the loyalty contrasts to the Redskins’ tumultuous history with race; the team was the last in the league to integrate.

While the Redskins has overcome its past of racial segregation, some argue the franchise is still racist and far from deserving support. At issue: the team’s name, which has been protested as a slur for decades. A group of Native American activists filed a lawsuit in 1992 to force the renaming of the team. The case almost made its way to the highest court in the land, but in 2009, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Meanwhile, some college teams have voluntarily changed their Native American mascots.

The Redskins team remains one of the most profitable in the league, so the name retains a lot of brand value. And the franchise has to appeal to the black community in order to do well financially; more than 1.4 million African Americans live in the D.C.-area, making up 26 percent of the region’s population. Offending Native Americans, who only make up 0.4 percent of the metro area’s population, will never be as big of a concern for the franchise; they can’t hurt the team’s pocket book enough.

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