America’s Widening Wealth Gap: Your Take

Zeal Harris/Flickr

"Grace" Mixed Media on Wood, by Zeal Harris

Earlier today, The Diane Rehm show discussed how the widening wealth gap in America is marginalizing African American and Hispanic families:

That’s the finding of a new study by the Pew Research Center. The median wealth of whites is now 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households. And though the recession cut across all races and ethnicities, Hispanics were especially hard hit. Hispanic families accounted for the largest single decline in wealth in the last few years.

Some listeners took the time to comment on the show’s official site. Commenter
had a request:

Please include in this discussion how the role out of wedlock births and the exploding number of single parent households figure into these wealth gap figures. Single parent households, black 70%, hispanic 50%, white 30%.

The effect of government welfare subsidies that in reality destroy the work ethic of minority groups. Also the cultural disrespect of education.

This Black Voices article from 2010 corroborates those numbers for single-parent households; “Compared to the 72 percent in our communities, 17 percent of Asians, 29 percent of whites, 53 percent of Hispanics and 66 percent of Native Americans were born to unwed mothers in 2008″.
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Funding Diversity Through NPR

Flickr: NC in DC

The mothership, on Mass Ave. WAMU is up in Tenleytown, if you were wondering.

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on H.R. 1076, which would take federal funding away from NPR and prohibit local stations from using such money to acquire ANY programming. While reading this message on WAMU’s website, something else struck me about this issue– how it will impact diversity:

This issue affects a much larger population than only WAMU 88.5 and our Washington community. If H.R. 1076 becomes law, many local public radio stations, particularly those in rural areas, would have difficulty continuing to provide the news and public affairs programs that millions of Americans rely on every day.

Diverse voices are also at stake. This bill would affect the ability of stations to access Native Voice 1, the Native American Radio Service. It would impact the work of the Latino Public Radio Consortium and the African American Public Radio Consortium, which create and distribute programs that showcase those diverse perspectives that mainstream public radio wants and needs to hear.

When I was at Public Media Camp last year, I heard a speaker mention that in some rural areas, public radio is the only source of culturally-diverse or international news and programming. At a time when newspapers around the country are shrinking, if not closing, that’s a sobering thought. If H.R. 1076 passes, who will be silenced? And how would that impact all of us?

Salvadoran Women in D.C. via Metro Connection

Metro Connection: Kate Sheehy

In case you missed it– last Friday’s Metro Connection had a “Visitors” theme and examined everything from D.C.’s Most-Missed Monuments to Temporiums or “pop-up shops”. One story got my attention and might be of interest to DCentric readers: “A New Life: Salvadoran Women in D.C.“.

The D.C. region has the second-largest Salvadoran population in the United States. For the past 30 years, primarily men have been coming over, and sending money to family members back home. That money has helped pay for the education of a number of young women. But these women often have difficulty finding a job in their home country, so many head north, with plans of sticking around long enough to save up and go home. But Kate Sheehy introduces us to women who have come here and stayed, in hopes of improving their lives.

Second-largest! I thought we’d have the largest population in the country. It turns out that distinction belongs to Southern California.

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Tomorrow on Kojo: African American Success Stories

Flickr: National Organization for Women

Julianne Malveaux

Friends and readers of DCentric may want to tune into The Kojo Nnamdi show tomorrow at 12:30 pm:

Whether the American economic system discriminates against minorities is a matter for debate in some circles. What is clear is that one-in-four African Americans currently lives in poverty, compared to only one-in-ten white Americans. We explore how learning about African American economic successes may help non-white Americans more successfully navigate today’s economic landscape.

Kojo’s guest will be Julianne Malveaux, whom Dr. Cornel West once called “the most iconoclastic public intellectual in the country.”

Yesterday’s Kojo Show was so DCentric

In case you missed it– yesterday, Kojo Nnamdi spent an hour talking to Robert Puentes of The Brookings Institution and John McIlwain of the Urban Land Institute about “Growth and Change in Greater Washington”:

Census data are confirming what Washingtonians already know: Our region is booming, with the suburbs becoming more urban and the city luring residents who once fled the metropolis. We’ll explore the trends behind the data and how we should be responding to maintain a high quality of life in both the city and the suburbs.

The thoughtful trio discussed issues that would be of extreme interest to DCentric readers, including:

- Diversity without integration

- How D.C.’s height limit limits D.C. (taller buildings accommodate more people, increase tax base)

- Complaints from the ‘burbs about Hispanic immigrants who are renters, with multiple people in one home

- How the 30-year, fixed mortgage built the suburbs

- Whether Generation Y will be able to afford homes– could it lead to a major shift in home ownership nationally?

Interesting, right? Go here, to listen at your leisure.

Tomorrow on Kojo: Organic Food


Organic Onions at Whole Foods. Not to be confused with Organic Funyuns.

For those of you who are passionate about Organic food or examining issues like privilege, access and health– make sure you listen to tomorrow’s edition of The Kojo Nnamdi Show, which will “explore where chains like Walmart and Whole Foods fit into the healthy food movement and how their strategies compare with government efforts”.

The first hour of the show is devoted to “The Walmart Diet”; panelists include WaPo Reporter Lyndsey Layton and Corby Kummer, a Senior editor at The Atlantic.

After writing two posts about how Organic Food is often out of reach for many Americans, I’m looking forward to Kojo’s thoughtful take on the politics of buying pesticide-free food.

If you are outside of the D.C. area or you can’t tune in to hear the discussion live at Noon, look for the “Listen” link here, and enjoy it whenever.

One Station, Many Voices


Today’s WAMU commentary is from Joel Carela, who is part of WAMU’s Youth Voices program in partnership with Youth Radio and D.C’s Latin American Youth Center.

I’ve always been put off by TV shows and movies that glorify casual sex. Like the “American Pie” movies, whose main characters are always in search of a quick and easy hook-up. They make the guys who can separate sex and emotions seem normal and emasculate the ones who develop feelings beyond the mattress.

As an emotional person, I never liked that message — but I guess somehow it seeped into my brain.

Last fall, I started college and moved into a dorm with more than 100 other hormonal teenagers. Suddenly, we had easy access to all sorts of things that were out of reach back home: alcohol, drugs and each other.

It wasn’t long before I started to connect really well with a guy in my international politics class, who also happened to live across the hall. We shared an affinity for baroque-era choral music and an interest in the British monarchy.

You can listen to it, here.
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Kojo on Tucson, Guns and Volatile Political Discourse

WAMU 88.5

Kojo Nnamdi

I was lucky enough to see WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi when I was at the station this morning; I asked him what he thought of the tragic shooting this weekend in Tucson. His take:

It seems to me that there are two political battles we are trying to fight: one is whether or not we can lower the volatility of our political discourse and the other is whether we can limit access to handguns and weapons of deadly force.

I don’t have a great deal of optimism that either battle can be won. In the short term, the battle to lower the decibel levels of our political discourse may seem to succeed, but in the final analysis, talk radio is a for-profit business and volatility seems to drive the profitability.

In the second instance, gun manufacturers and the NRA seem to have congress in a headlock, to mix metaphors. Hence my lack of optimism.

Oh, we’re unique all right…


If you were loitering outside the studio and around @FrontDeskAmy, you'd see this picture of Kojo!

I’m listening to snippets of The Kojo Nnamdi show right now. The theme? “The D.C. Area’s Unique (?) Cultural Identity“. Panelists include WaPo’s Tim Carman and Blake Gopnik, TBD Editor Sommer Mathis and Lynn C. French (who was once a Senior Adviser to Mayor Anthony A. Williams). Despite the inevitable comparisons to New York that such a show must engage in (comparing D.C. to NYC is a pet peeve of mine– the two are different. Period.), it’s an extra-interesting show, on many levels. I’m sad I was in a meeting for the beginning of it. I’m definitely going to listen to the whole thing later, because either I heard a comparison between bricks and kente cloth or I hallucinated it. Other snippets:

“I think the transients (Ed note: transients = people who live here for two years and leave) may be coming to an end…”

“I have had a hard time embracing the sports teams here…”

“A lot of our ethnic neighborhoods are more vibrant in the suburbs”

See? Even better Kojo-show than usual!