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14/02/14 Black Culture , Black News , featured , ybw #

After Jobless Benefits End, Americans Are Hustling to Make Ends Meet

After Jobless Benefits End, Americans Are Hustling to Make Ends Meet

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Many Americans who are out of luck in so far as jobless benefits go are hustling to ensure that they can make ends meet. The Washington Post reports that “about a third of the people cut off from long-term unemployment benefits will find help from Social Security or other government programs.” So what about the others who are left to go it alone? They’re piecing together a patchwork existence that they’d probably never imagined prior to losing their jobs and accompanying unemployment benefits.

One Maryland woman interviewed by the Post, Wessita McKinley, an Air Force veteran, worked as a private contractor earning a six figure salary prior to the recession. After working a few low paying jobs, McKinley began piecing together an income:

Now that her unemployment benefits are gone, McKinley relies on what she calls “legal hustling” to pay her bills and keep her daughter in college: helping friends’ children fill out financial aid forms, driving friends on errands, entering data for small businesses — all for a fee.

“There’s no shame in my game,” McKinley said. “If you’re not creative in this economy, you’re going to be squashed.”

With recent cuts to food stamps and the ending of long term unemployment benefits, unemployed workers who haven’t recovered since the beginning of the Great Recession are still reeling, with little to grab hold of in this perfect economic storm.

The number of Americans not in the labor force has exploded to an all time high of 91.8 million. In December the civilian labor force dropped from 155.3 million to 154.9 million, a 35 year low.

 

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12/02/14 Black Culture , Black News , ybw #

Kanye West: What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day….

Kanye West: What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day….

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by Yvette Carnell

Not everyone who appears to be crazy is actually crazy, just as everyone who appears to be sane isn’t necessarily so. We should all keep that in mind when assessing people, especially those who we don’t know or have little interaction with. Just take Kanye West for example, if you listen to snippets from his radio interviews, it’s easy to assume that he’s a ranting mess. You could, of course, draw the exact same conclusion from his outbursts at paparazzi.

But, as a Facebook friend pointed out, how many rappers have this sort of insight?

Yeezus, though, was the beginning of me as a new kind of artist. Stepping forward with what I know about architecture, about classicism, about society, about texture, about synesthesia—the ability to see sound—and the way everything is everything and all these things combine, and then starting from scratch with Yeezus … That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t want to use the same formula of starting the album with a track like “Blood on the Leaves,” and having that Nina Simone sample up front that would bring everyone in, using postmodern creativity where you kind of lean on something that people are familiar with and comfortable with to get their attention. I actually think the most uncomfortable sound on Yeezus is the sound that the album starts with, which is the new version of what would have been called radio static.

That quote was taken from a discussion between Kanye West and Steve McQueen for Interview magazine. It may be helpful to revisit how quick many of us take a snapshot of someone’s life and use that glimpse into their lives to paint them with a one dimensional brush. Suspension of judgment is usually superior to rush to judgement.

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27/01/14 Black Culture , Black News , Opinion , ybw #

Jet Magazine Headline: “White Mother Calls Negro Children Embarrassing”

Jet Magazine Headline: “White Mother Calls Negro Children Embarrassing”

by Yvette Carnell

Probably the most insidious aspect of modern racism is its transition from overt to subterranean guerrilla warfare. It is sometimes good to remember that in the war to win over hearts and minds, we haven’t a clue where we are in that battle, since people rarely say what they feel. Except in 1955, one woman said exactly what she meant:

This headline from a 1955 issue of Jet Magazine read, “White Mother Calls Negro Children Embarrassing”:

This is an actual story from the 1955 issue of Jet Magazine.

This is an actual story from the 1955 issue of Jet Magazine.

What does that article mean? Well, for one thing, it means that this idea of a post-racial American is a brand new phenomenon, born of the idea that a black president is payback to Negroes. It’s not. And historically, it’s probably time that African-Americans begin taking the long view, remembering that it wasn’t even a century ago that stories like this were common place.

Over the past few years, I have offered scathing critiques, mostly of Obama, but sometimes of the black community as well. I still agree with most of them, especially where leaders and legislators are concerned, but as I see people ratcheting up blistering smears of black “dead beat dads” and teenaged “twerking” baby mamas, I think it’s important to remember that we’ve only been free in this country for less than a hundred years.

Maybe we should do better, but the question remains, better than what? Fifty years after the March on Washington, African-Americans are largely assimilated into American culture, for better or worse,  and even though systemic racial disparities still exist in this white supremacist structure, we’ve done as good as anyone could have expected, given the historical racial barriers in this country.

But if I’m to guess what ‘doing better’ actually means, I’d first answer in the negative, exploring what ‘doing better’ is not; doing better doesn’t require an excoriation of kids wearing saggy pants.  ‘Doing better’ requires a reassessment of our government’s responsibility in continuing to neutralize racial variance with targeted legislative and executive action.

For example, The Great Recession has been tumultuous for every demographic, but the banks who engineered the housing crisis, from Bank of America to JP Morgan, allegedly targeted African-Americans with sub-prime loans. Some of these banks paid fines, a slap on the wrist here, an apology there, and moved on.

One thing is true: The impact of our government continually allowing blacks to the be the guinea pig du jour for every white boy scam imaginable puts us under heel, back at zero to predictably begin again. Our collective two step toward equality, two steps forward, one step backward, is being orchestrated by hands that aren’t exactly invisible. And it’s certainly not the case that the black community lost the majority of its wealth because girls are twerking and fighting on World Star.

Let me be clear: I’m not promoting twerking or fatherless families, but we have to do a better job of connecting the dots. When you see a black  girl twerking in front of a smartphone, do you see the context? Does she live in the  projects, without any access to capital? What is on the horizon for her? What’s possible? What are her options? Does she have parents who care… a father who cares? And if she doesn’t, why’d dad leave? Did the welfare system show him the door? Did poverty break him down? Or did suffocating poverty force his hand? And is the consequence of that decision that he now languishes in a jail cell for 20 years to life? You can ask those questions. Those are serious questions.

Casting blame on people who are powerless at turning the wheels of government, however,  is a useless exercise. Giving a good verbal thrashing to the twerking girl or the boy with the saggy pants may make you feel superior, but you are whistling in the wind, taking up the mantle of white supremacists everywhere by pathologizing black behavior.

Go to any trailer park in the U.S. and you’ll see much of the same behavior that you see in urban ghettos. In fact, ghettos all around the world have more in common than not. Ghettos are petri dishes for replicating failure, they excel at demonstrating what happens whenever people are left to fight for scraps.

Back to the headline: “White Mother Calls Negro Children Embarrassing.” Now the same article could be written with the headline, “Black Community Calls Negro Children Embarrassing.” That’s not progress. That’s co-opting white supremacy and making it your own.

 

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21/01/14 Black Culture , Black News , ybw #

The Photo of This Little Haitian Girl Brought Me to Tears. You Must See It.

The Photo of This Little Haitian Girl Brought Me to Tears. You Must See It.

This photo of a dead Haitian girl won the 2011 Picture of the Year in Sweden, but the photo was followed by enormous controversy which ethicists are still mulling over.

The teenage girl was reportedly killed by police while looting, but if that weren’t heartbreaking enough, reporters gathered around the dead child to get a good angle to photograph the body. That photo, the one of the photographers, appearing as vultures, surrounding the girl, is still a topic of controversy.

Here’s the backstory according to Politicaysociedad on Tumblr:

In the photo we can see Fabienne, a young Haitian girl of only 14 who was killed by the police after being discovered looting a store and stealing two plastic chairs and some framed artwork after the earthquake that shook Haiti.

 

Now it is known that at the moment of this girl’s death, there were 14 photojournalists present, which has unleashed criticisms and a debate over the ethics of photographers.

 

The controversy began when the photographer Nathan Weber published a photograph where the same image appears as in the winning photograph but from a perspective in which the girl is seen laying on the ground, surrounded by photographers.

While some commenters at the Tumblr page said the scene appeared like a safari, others noted that it often takes emotional photo to move people to action, wondering whether Sweden would have donated as much to the Haitian earthquake relief efforts have it not been for this photo:

Haitian_girl

 

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20/01/14 Black Culture , Black News , featured , ybw #

What This Young Cancer Survivor Is Going Through Will Break Your Heart. What She’s Doing Will Warm It.

What This Young Cancer Survivor Is Going Through Will Break Your Heart. What She’s Doing Will Warm It.

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A young cancer survivor has only one wish; to have a golden retriever like the one who visited her when she was in the hospital. Destiney Warfield recalls warmly her first encounters with a dog named Casper at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, and now all she wants is a Casper of her own.

“I was lying in the bed the whole day crying and stuff, but right when she knocked on my door, she opened the door, all I seen was him and he wasn’t even scared to jump on the bed with me,” Warfield said.

Warfield, 13, who was in treatment due to a malignant tumor that doctors discovered in her abdomen, says Casper made all the difference.

“She would cry because she was in so much pain and she was sad from having to be in the hospital and they don’t feel good from getting chemo,” said the girl’s mother, Debbie Warfield. “But when we would take little walks, she would want to see Casper and Casper came in — she just lit up and you could see the smile on her face.”

Now Destiney wants to help other sick children the way Casper helped her.

“I want my dog to be one of those dogs who goes and visits the sick people in the hospital,” Destiney said.

Destiney needs $1,350 for her new furry friend. You can help her out by donating at : http://www.gofundme.com/624euc.

 

 

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