Author Archives: Anna

DCentric was created to examine the ways race and class interact in Washington, D.C., a city with a vibrant mix of cultures and neighborhoods. Your guides to the changing district are reporters Anna John and Elahe Izadi.

Tasty Morning Bytes – Older and Very Unemployed, Downtown Library Cuts Hours and an Unfestive Fiesta

Good morning, DCentric readers! Happy Tuesday to you.

The Epistemology of Race Talk “Further, I am grateful to live in a time when white Americans are furious about anyone suggesting that they are racist. I much prefer to live in a country and at a moment where the idea of being racist is distasteful rather than commonplace. In many ways the angry reaction about even the suggestion of racial bias is a kind of racial progress.” (

Unemployment: Older Jobless Twice As Likely To Become 99ers “Older workers are less likely to lose their jobs than younger workers, but once they do, they’re more than twice as likely to be out of work for 99 weeks or longer.” (Huffington Post)

Gaurav Gopalan’s DC Murder Remains Unsolved [article with video] “Members of Washington’s gay, lesbian, and transgender community are concerned that Gopalan might have been targeted because of his sexual orientation. A concern heightened by the fact that several transgender people have been attacked recently in Washington, and all the attacks, including the one on Gopolan, have so far gone unsolved.” (WUSA Washington, DC)
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Fraudulent Fundraising for a Good Cause

Flickr: Images_of_Money

Blogger Mari of “In Shaw” alerts us to a possible scam:

There is a scam going on where a youth will knock on the door of a resident and ask for money for…the Eastern Branch Boys & Girls Club, which has been closed for 5 years. As far as I can tell minors are not supposed to do any fundraising of this sort (going door to door, going on the Metro, etc) for the Boys & Girls Club.

Unfortunately there wasn’t any guidance on what to do when one encounters one of these youths.

The Eastern branch has been closed for five years, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Gigi Ransom confirmed on the MPD-5D listserv, an email list hosted by MPD to alert subscribers to news and information for the fifth police district.

“Report it as a crime. Call 311 and report it, like any other crime,” said Sgt. Raul Mendez, public information officer for the police department. He added that having a description of the kids and where they are targeting people for donations would be helpful.

“But when they approach you, ask them for identification, a call-back number, something official” and give the information to police, Mendez said. The documents could be fake, in which case police would consider that fraud.

Tasty Morning Bytes – Black People and Homophobia, Black People and Obama, More DOES Drama

Good morning, DCentric readers! How are you on this fine, gray Friday?

On Black People and Homophobia “The Black community was blamed for Proposition 8‘s failure in California, anti-gay leaders exist and are well publicized, and there is an ongoing discussion of homophobia in hip-hop. Often, it looks like straight Black folks are more homophobic than any other group, especially white people. But, that has rarely been my experience. Inquisitive? Yes. Inappropriate questions at times? Of course…But I don’t think that constitutes a more homophobic community, which is what I take issue with.” (Racialicious)

Texas Executes White Supremacist Convicted Of Racially Motivated Murder “[The victim's] son, Ross, says he doesn’t want Brewer to die for his crime. He tells Reuters an execution won’t solve anything, and that Texas should show Brewer the mercy that his father never received.” (

Obama’s favorability numbers start to drop among African Americans “the decline is tied to the disproportionately high jobless rate faced by African Americans correlates with the drop in their view of Obama’s handling of the economy. In July, only 54 percent of blacks said they thought Obama’s policies were making the economy better compared with 77 percent the previous year.” (The Washington Post)

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Tasty Morning Bytes – Unemployment Fraud, Metrobus Discount Ends and Teacher of the Year

Good morning, DCentric readers. Here are the news stories we’re consuming, right now:

Revealing Sex Crimes Against Black Women Wayne State University professor Danielle L. McGuire: “Between 1940 and 1975, sexual violence and interracial rape became one crucial battleground upon which African Americans sought to destroy white supremacy and gain personal and political autonomy.” (

Unemployment fraud probe leads to city employee’s firing “Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and aides confirmed Wednesday that the termination was related to the investigation being conducted by the Office of the Inspector General. ‘This was done with speed, let me put it that way,’ Gray said. ‘There was enough there to have someone removed from the job.’ Gray said the allegations surrounded ‘people getting on unemployment that shouldn’t have been there.’” (The Washington Post)

Some Metrobus riders lose fare discount starting Sunday “Since 1991, the District has subsidized bus riders in Anacostia by 50 cents per ride, according to Metro. The discount was created when the Anacostia Metro station opened because bus routes started to turn back at the station, rather than continuing into downtown. That meant riders used to paying a single bus fare had to pay a rail fare, too. The discount went to all Anacostia bus riders.” (Washington Examiner )

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‘You know there are two Twitters, right?’

You know there are two Twitters, right? #REM trending, but the top TT in the US is #youknowyoughetto. (Black Twitter 1, Other Twitter 0.)
J. Freedom du Lac

African Americans make up 25 percent of Twitter users, despite only making up about 12 percent of the general population, according to a 2010 Edison Research study.

Twitter is relatively “blacker” than the United States in part because of how easy it is to access the popular status-updating program via cell phones. Sending a tweet uses nearly the same number of characters — 140 — allowed for text messages. Half of all Twitter users send tweets with their mobile phones, and people of color are more likely to access the Internet using cellphones. So, high-speed internet is wonderful, but unnecessary for using Twitter.

Circling back to the tweet above from Washington Post reporter J. Freedom du Lac, it would behoove us to be mindful that black people may also listen to R.E.M., non-blacks are probably using or reading tweets classified with the “#youknowyoughetto“-hashtag and trending topics are not a zero-sum game. If “Troy Davis” is not trending, that doesn’t mean people aren’t talking about him. It just means more people are talking about “#newfacebook,” or whatever else is popular at any given moment on “black” and “other” Twitter.

Tasty Morning Bytes – Comcast’s Internet Essentials, Taxi Cabs v. Gray, Black and White Journalists

Good morning, DCentric readers! Ready for some links?

FCC chairman applauds Comcast for low-cost Internet program "The plan offers high-speed Internet service for $9.95 and a "netbook-style laptop" computer for $149.99. Only low-income families with school-age children are eligible for the program. Comcast agreed to offer the plan in order to secure regulatory approval of its merger with NBC Universal earlier this year. Genachowsk said poor Internet access hurts children's ability to learn. He cited one example of a girl who had to do her homework in the library parking lot in order to use the library's wireless connection." (

Tax Hike For Wealthy In DC "The tax on the wealthy goes from 8.5 to 8.9 percent. Supporters say the measure should bring in $106 million over four years. The tax will expire after that time. Councilman Jack Evans who opposed the tax increase says it will affect 6,000 individuals and small businesses, costing each one about $5,000 per year." (WUSA Washington, DC)

D.C. cabbies sue Mayor Gray and Taxicab Commission chairman Ron Linton "D.C. cab drivers once strongly supported Gray, but their relationship has soured. They're still upset about the change in fare system from zones to meters, which is partly why they supported Gray over Adrian Fenty in the last mayoral race. 'As soon as he got office, we could not meet with him, contact him, he made every excuse in the world,' said taxi driver Larry Frankel." (

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Kanazawa is Grounded for a Year by LSE

Flickr: indiekidsdontdance

The London School of Economics.

In May of this year, Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics penned a controversial blog post for Psychology Today asking, “Why are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?” Kanazawa was widely condemned for his views and Psychology today removed his post from their site, then fired him.

Meanwhile, students at the London School of Economics called for Kanazawa’s dismissal. According to Racialicious, which published an update to Kanazawa’s situation, the students didn’t get the outcome for which they were hoping:

The LSE has now published the findings of an internal investigation into the affair, ruling that Dr Kanazawa had “brought the school into disrepute” and barring him from publishing in non-peer-reviewed outlets for a year.

The inquiry, details of which were released to staff on 15 September, also concludes that he had “ignored the basic responsibility of a scientific communicator to qualify claims made in proportion to the certainty of the evidence”.

It found that “some of the arguments used…were flawed and not supported by evidence, that an error was made in publishing the blog post” and that Dr Kanazawa had not given “due consideration to his approach or audience”.

In addition to the 12-month ban, he will not teach any compulsory courses this academic year.

Racialicious’ Andrea Plaid characterized this reaction as a “slap on the wrist.” What do you think?

Tasty Morning Bytes – Homing a Homeless Vet, the Newly Poor and Raising D.C. Taxes on Wealthy

Good morning, DCentric readers! And now, for some links:

How the city bought a homeless vet a house “Jackson, an ‘O3-11 grunt,’ or rifleman in the United States Marine Corps in the 1970s…who grew up on the city’s streets and has spent the past two decades scouting apartment basements, vacant buildings and even dump trucks to sleep in, said this was ‘definitely a good spot, one of the better ones.’” (Greater Greater Washington)

Anti-Abortion Billboard Seeks the Help of Black Men “The abortion industry has created a culture of abandonment. Responsibility has become someone else’s concern, and death the solution to ‘unplanned’ pregnancies — the natural result of sexual behavior,” Ryan Bomberger, Black pro-life and adoption advocate…“There’s nothing natural about an industry that generates over $200 million, annually, by killing a child left defenseless by the absence of a father.” ( Blogs)

Some of the faces behind the new US poverty figures; for many it’s first brush with being poor “At a food pantry in a Chicago suburb, a 38-year-old mother of two breaks into tears. She and her husband have been out of work for nearly two years. Their house and car are gone. So is their foothold in the middle class and, at times, their self-esteem. ‘It’s like there is no way out,’ says Kris Fallon.”(The Washington Post)
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Tasty Morning Bytes – Close Read on Poverty, Deepening Racial Inequality and Columbia Heights’ Professional Basketball Team

Good morning, DCentric readers! Why not ease back in to the week with some links?

Coptic Christians torn over Egypt’s future “Over the past 30 years, the area’s Copts — a proud but insular group of about 3,000 Orthodox Christian immigrants from Egypt — have worked hard, educating their children, building quiet, mostly suburban lives, and establishing a solid niche in government and professional work. Close-knit and church-centered, they have clung to an ancient faith and bewailed the suffering of family and friends back in Egypt, where Copts have long been a harassed minority in a nation that is 95 percent Muslim.” (The Washington Post)

Close Read: Are We Poor? “And who are the poor? Disproportionately, they are children: twenty-two per cent of American children live below the poverty line. Does having children make parents poor? Would the balance be different, though the children no less deprived, if Social Security really were dismantled, and their grandparents were poor, too? Those are interesting questions, and there are many more—including the large one of what and who we hope these children will become—but first we have to recognize that we are dealing with a slow-moving crisis that will take a generation to unfold.” (The New Yorker)

Poverty Rate Hits New High As Racial Inequality Deepens Article has infographs, too: “Last year, over 46 million people lived in poverty nationwide…one if five children in the U.S. is living in poverty; many of those are kids of color and the children of immigrants. What’s clear is that racial inequality is deepening at a time when meaningful political discourse on Capitol Hill has all but vanished.” (
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“The Most Racist Thing That Ever Happened to Me”

Writer and cable pundit Touré, whose new book Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? is out now, shares an excerpt from it on It’s a sampling of interviews he did about race with prominent black Americans ranging from cartoonist Aaron McGruder to activist Jesse Jackson. One exchange stood out:

I asked my 105 interviewees, What is the most racist thing that has ever happened to you? The response I received most often was indicative of modern racism: The answer is unknowable. “I imagine it’d be a thing I don’t even know ever happened,” Aaron McGruder said. “It would be that opportunity that never manifested and I’ll never know that it was even possible.” A decision is made in a back room or a high-level office, perhaps by someone you’ll never see, about whether or not you get a job or a home loan or admission to a school. Or perhaps you’ll never be allowed to know that a home in a certain area or a job is available. This is how modern institutional racism functions and it can weigh on and shape a black person differently than the more overt, simplistic racism of the past did.