Elahe Izadi / DCentric
Dentist Steven Myles shows how he is able to access a patient's medical records during appointments in Bread for the City's new dental clinic.
It’s been more than a decade since Florence Sandridge has been to a dentist. Now, the 80-year-old needs a plate put in her mouth.
“Usually the dentist is so expensive,” she said. That’s why last week she went to the ribbon-cutting of a free dental clinic for low-income D.C. residents.
The Bread for the City single-room clinic — with its green walls, new equipment and a couple of dentist chairs — fills a big gap. There are few options for low-income D.C. residents. Those on Medicare, Medicaid or signed up with D.C. Health Alliance receive some dental coverage. There are also a few other free dental clinics in the city — such as one run by nonprofit So Others Might Eat — and a mobile dental clinic that makes stops throughout the city. “But there just aren’t enough services,” said Kristin Valentine, Bread for the City’s development director. Dental care is consistently the most requested service among the Bread for the City’s clients.
Even those with dental coverage don’t regularly see a dentist; about half of low-income adults with coverage haven’t been to the dentist in at least a year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report. The reasons vary. Some have problems finding dentists who accept Medicaid. Out-of-pocket costs for those under private and public plans may be too expensive for families. Other issues keep low-income adults from getting dental care, such as lack of transportation, child care and work arrangements and cultural barriers, according to the Kaiser report.
Joan Carson, 56, is a Bread for the City client who serves on the nonprofit’s advisory board. She said it’s difficult to find dentists who accept Medicare and Medicaid. Another advisory board member and client, 54-year-old Deborah Branch, said she was thankful for the clinic, which has been a long time coming.
K's GLIMPSES / Flickr
White and Asian couples are the most common pairing of interracial marriages in D.C.
The share of marriages that were interracial reached an all-time high in 2010. A Pew Research Center study released Thursday found that 8.4 percent of married couples were interracial or inter-ethnic, a record number, and 15.1 percent of people who got married in 2010 did so across racial lines.
But the trends aren’t the same for every racial group. Whites were the least likely to marry someone of another race in 2010, while Asians were the most likely to.
The Pew study also found that more than four-in-10 Americans say the rise in interracial marriages has been a good change in society. We’ve previously explored how tolerant D.C. is of interracial couples, and a number of you shared your experiences, both positive and negative. Almost 20 percent of new marriages from 2008 to 2010 in D.C. were interracial. White-black couples are the least prevalent of interracial marriages in D.C., while the District ranks as the “state” with the second highest percentage of white-Asian marriages (Hawaii ranks first).
Here’s the breakdown for D.C.’s newly-wed couples between 2008 and 2010:
Leo Reynolds / Flickr
Last week we wrote about the ongoing debate over whether “black” or “African American” is the preferred term among black Americans born in the United States. A 2011 The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll showed that 42 percent of respondents preferred to be called black, compared to 35 percent who went by African American and 13 percent who said it didn’t matter.
We noted some complexities within this debate — what about African immigrants, non-black Africans and second-generation Americans with roots in Africa? A number of you with similar backgrounds chimed in to offer thoughts on what you preferred to be called, and how you’ve navigated racial identity in America.
Commenter Frenchie wrote she prefers to be called “Haitian-American:”
I prefer not to be called African-American because it doesn’t correctly encompass my history or background. Additionally, there continue to be tensions between “member of the African diaspora, “exotic” blacks and African-Americans “regular” blacks. That often painful and tense history continues to prevent black immigrants from feeling as if African-American can ever be an all-inclusive term and, thus, makes “black” our default.
Some readers were unsure of what to call themselves, such as commenter Cia0912:
Paul J. Richards / AFP/Getty Images
The 2010 Census form had one option for "black, African American or Negro."
What do you say: “black” or “African American?” As someone who regularly writes about race and demographics, I often find myself using both terms interchangeably. But there is no clear on consensus on which term is most accurate or preferred, as Associated Press reporter Jesse Washington writes in a story this week on the debate.
Washington notes that the term “African American,” which came from the black intelligentsia, became popularized after the Rev. Jesse Jackson used it in the 1980s. Jackson told reporters at the time: “Every ethnic group in this country has a reference to some land base, some historical, cultural base. African-Americans have hit that level of cultural maturity.”
But not everyone today prefers to be called African American. According to a January 2011 The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll [PDF], 42 percent of respondents said they preferred to be called black, compared to 35 percent who preferred African American (13 percent said it didn’t matter). From Washington’s story:
Courtesy of Our City Film Festival
"Fly By Light" follows 15 D.C. students as they leave the city for the West Virginia countryside for the first time.
What: Our City Film Festival.
When: Saturday and Sunday. Check the festival’s website for exact times.
Where: The Goethe Institute, 812 7 St. NW.
Cost: Tickets cost $10 per film.
Why you should go: The film festival screens films that take place in the District, showcasing the diversity of D.C. DCentric readers may be interested in seeing: “The Vigil,” which follows a Pakastani classical dancer who returns to her homeland from her adopted home in D.C.; “A Monument for Martin Luther King, Jr.,” a video essay on the King memorial and the role of memorials; and “Fly By Light,” a documentary-in-progress following 15 D.C. students who, for the first time, leave the city for the countryside of West Virginia.
Other events to consider: The National Park Service is celebrating the birthday of Frederick Douglass, who lived in D.C., with a full program of speeches and music. The free event takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at his home (now the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site) at 1411 W St. SE.
Most of the D.C.-metro area’s poor live in the suburbs, but the city is home to nearly all of the region’s “dangerously high-poverty” neighborhoods. That’s according to the Urban Institute, which developed this interactive map (seen below) showing concentrations of poverty by race throughout the region. Neighborhoods where poverty rates are 30 percent or higher are considered “high-poverty.”
Poor whites and Latinos are more likely to live in the D.C.’s suburbs than poor blacks. The researchers note:
High-poverty neighborhoods — like those east of the Anacostia River in DC — didn’t occur “naturally” nor do they reflect the “choices” of poor families about where to live. Instead, these places represent the legacy of decades of racial discrimination, legally sanctioned segregation, and public housing policies. And our map shows just how stubborn this legacy is; despite dramatic demographic and economic changes sweeping the Washington region over the past two decades, poor Black families have remained highly concentrated in DC neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River.
You can zoom in to see poverty in the region or in the city, and use the slider to see how it changes over time:
Geoffrey Fairchild / Flickr
How likely you are to be married may depend on your economic stability and income. Marriage rates today differ depending on class, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution. Here are five facts behind the marriage gap:
There’s an association between marriage status and poverty.
Children born into single-parent households are more likely to live in poverty. That’s obviously not the case for everyone, but it’s more difficult to make ends meet for those who don’t have another breadwinner in the house.
In D.C., 3.8 percent of married couples with children live in poverty. But 42.3 percent of female-headed households with children live in poverty, according to census estimates. The median income for single women with families is $33,485; for single men with families, it’s $46,670; and for married couples with families, it’s $133,338.
It’s not all bad: declining marriage rates among women are partly due to increased independence.
Women are waiting longer to get married than 40 years ago. They have more freedom to pursue careers outside of the home, more control over when they want to have children and have “the ability to be more selective when choosing a spouse,” researchers noted. In 1970, 44 percent of middle aged women had no independent earnings. Today, only 25 percent don’t make their own money.
Josh / Flickr
When planning affordable housing, the major consideration is whether residents will be able to make rent. Housing is considered affordable when you’re spending 30 percent of your income on it. But paying rent is only one part of affordable living; you still have to spend money to eat and get around.
GOOD reports that, in the long run, factors such as transportation, grocery options and other costs can make some affordable housing developments more expensive than others. For instance, the difference in living costs between some of Chicago’s affordable housing developments was high as $3,000 a year per family, depending on location.
That’s relevant to D.C., where 55 percent of the population doesn’t make enough money to afford rent (the average household would have to earn $28.10 an hour to be able to afford housing). Transportation costs differ neighborhood to neighborhood — Tenleytown residents are paying $1,003 a year on transportation, while those in Columbia Heights are paying about $200 less. It may only be a couple of hundred of dollars, but the difference in transportation costs could big for families on limited budgets.
Gentrification takes place when middle and upper-income people move into low-income communities, which ushers in economic change, reinvestment and development. Jumping back a few weeks ago, a discussion took place on DCentric when we pondered a more specific kind of gentrification: gentefication, which is when low-income, immigrant Latino neighborhoods are gentrified by second-generation, well-to-do Latinos.
So we wondered: is gentrification much different when gentrifiers aren’t white, so much so that it requires its own term?
Alex Baca tweeted that having a separate word for this kind of gentrification is unnecessary:
It's class-based. Don't need fancy names. RT @ On gentrification & rhetoric when non-whites are gentrifiers http://t.co/IrO6Et65
But others argued that gentrification by non-whites does have different implications for neighborhoods. Commenter Gente Negra, wrote: