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June 9th, 2014
thesmithian

'…what happens when I meet someone and we want to get married. Then my debt becomes their debt…These are all adult things that I never thought about when I was 18 and agreeing to take on a student loan.”

more.

May 10th, 2014
thesmithian
Students from higher-income families have the luxury of waiting for a job in their fields…but middle- and lower-class students often have to take the first job they’re offered. As a result, a huge part of their income goes to loan payments.
January 24th, 2014
thesmithian
TEDification endows capitalism, globalization and their diverse technologies with a credible spiritual and ethical mission, just as the art of the Renaissance lent to the ruthless bankers of the Italian city states an enduring moral sheen, or the endowing of libraries turned robber barons into the guardians of the common culture.
December 5th, 2013
thesmithian

Racially biased marijuana enforcement…effects extend far beyond the degrading experience of being arrested and jailed. Most serious are the lifelong criminal records produced by a single arrest. Twenty years ago, misdemeanor arrest records were papers stored in dusty file cabinets. Now they are computerized and instantly available for $20 or less from commercial database firms…Employers, landlords, schools, banks and credit card companies rule out applicants on the basis of these now universally available records, which have been aptly described as a “scarlet letter” and a “new Jim Crow.”

more.

Racially biased marijuana enforcement…effects extend far beyond the degrading experience of being arrested and jailed. Most serious are the lifelong criminal records produced by a single arrest. Twenty years ago, misdemeanor arrest records were papers stored in dusty file cabinets. Now they are computerized and instantly available for $20 or less from commercial database firms…Employers, landlords, schools, banks and credit card companies rule out applicants on the basis of these now universally available records, which have been aptly described as a “scarlet letter” and a “new Jim Crow.”

more.

September 25th, 2013
thesmithian

'The foreclosure crisis has had a 2nd set of less visible victims: people who never lost their homes (nor are in danger of it) but who live near others who have. These are the neighbors left behind in communities where seemingly every third house has been abandoned. They're the people who deal with adjacent lawns that never get mowed, with houses visible through their front windows that are decaying by the day. They're the ones left to worry about falling property values and absentee banks. And, fair housing groups allege, these people are disproportionately located in predominantly minority communities across the country.'

more.

August 3rd, 2013
thesmithian

One small bounced check or an overdraft of a few dollars is enough to get you blacklisted, barred from being able to open a bank account…one million lower-income Americans are in exactly this situation. There are companies whose business it is to gather information on the various financial transgressions people commit. The banks pay a fee to subscribe to this information—which was originally being collected to help banks identify serial fraudsters—and if your name comes up, too many banks will simply tell you, thanks, but no thanks, and turn your business away.

more.

July 11th, 2013
thesmithian

Only when the repercussions of Marcos’s 30-year tyranny threatened the Filipino oligarchy itself was he driven from power, leaving the opposition to settle for neocolonialism with a different face or a death squad. And so while her comrades end up body parts on the killing fields, [main character] Soledad serves out an equally dark fate as…the mad prisoner of gothic privilege. If all this seems rather distant from the here and now, one only has to reflect on how our own political institutions have kept us from reckoning with the root causes of the current crisis—in the spring of 2009, Obama famously told the bankers, “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks”—or on the way a kind of neocolonialist rule of law appears to have come home to roost with the War on Terror. Apostol has given us a tour de force tale about late 20th century Manila, but Gun Dealers’ Daughter is also a book for our times.

more.

May 8th, 2013
thesmithian
When it comes to economic gaps between whites and communities of color in the United States, income inequality tells part of the story. But let’s not forget about wealth. Wealth isn’t just money in the bank; its insurance against tough times, tuition to get a better education and a better job, savings to retire on and a springboard into the middle class. In short, wealth translates into opportunity…
April 1st, 2013
thesmithian
…those Asian Americans that say race doesn’t matter anymore bother me the most. Race does matter. Do I want people to be judged by their merit? Of course. But that’s just not the country we live in. Let’s be real here. Race plays a major factor in things like education, health, social economic outcomes, whether you can get a loan from a bank, get a job interview, criminal sentencing, etc. As an Asian American, sometimes it’s just not as oblivious [sic] as it is for other people of color. But they are still there. They are just more subtle. For example, if it was all about merit, wouldn’t it mean that there should be more Asian American politicians, CEOs, and people in positions of leadership in California? Especially when you consider about half the students graduating from the University of California system are Asian/Asian American? Whew. I’m glad I got that off my chest…
February 28th, 2013
thesmithian

The cover stands out for its cast of black and Hispanic caricatures with exaggerated features reminiscent of early 20th century race cartoons. Also, because there are only people of color in it, grabbing greedily for cash. It’s hard to imagine how this one made it through the editorial process. Compounding the…problem with the image is the fact that race has been a key backdrop to the subprime crisis. The narrative of the crash on the right has been the blame-minority-borrowers line, sometimes via dog whistle, often via bullhorn…the record is clear: minorities were disproportionately targeted by predatory lending, which has always gone hand in hand with subprime. Even when they qualified for prime loans that similar-circumstance whites got, they were pushed into higher-interest subprimes…minority borrowers were disproportionately victimized in the bubble. But BusinessWeek here has them on the cover bathing in housing-ATM cash, implying that they’re going to create another bubble.

more, at the Columbia Journalism Review.

The cover stands out for its cast of black and Hispanic caricatures with exaggerated features reminiscent of early 20th century race cartoons. Also, because there are only people of color in it, grabbing greedily for cash. It’s hard to imagine how this one made it through the editorial process. Compounding the…problem with the image is the fact that race has been a key backdrop to the subprime crisis. The narrative of the crash on the right has been the blame-minority-borrowers line, sometimes via dog whistle, often via bullhorn…the record is clear: minorities were disproportionately targeted by predatory lending, which has always gone hand in hand with subprime. Even when they qualified for prime loans that similar-circumstance whites got, they were pushed into higher-interest subprimes…minority borrowers were disproportionately victimized in the bubble. But BusinessWeek here has them on the cover bathing in housing-ATM cash, implying that they’re going to create another bubble.

more, at the Columbia Journalism Review.

November 7th, 2012
thesmithian

…the 2012 election marked a cultural shift as much as a political one. Ballot measures that had failed for years—allowing the marriage of two men or two women in Maine and Maryland; legalizing marijuana in Washington State and Colorado—were voted into law. The nation’s leading champion of bank regulation Elizabeth Warren handily defeated moderate Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and the nation’s first lesbian senator, in Tammy Baldwin, was elected in Wisconsin. Even climate change, which was absent for nearly the entire campaign, came roaring back…These measures were passed, and Obama re-elected, by an American electorate that Republicans had dismissed as a fluke of African-American pride and youth enthusiasm, and which a generation of pundits…wrote off as a fantasy…

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