WESPAC promotes Economic Justice through promoting fair trade year round and helping to organize the annual Margaret Eberle Fair Trade Festival in White Plains. We also partner with the Wassaic Community Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) http://wassaiccommunityfarm.com. WESPAC is an active member of the Hudson Valley Fair Economy Coalition that meets monthly at the Union Hall in Port Chester, and we have taken a lead role in promoting a public bank for the State of New York. To get involved, please contact the office at 914.449.6514 or by email at [email protected]
Refugees: A Call to Action by the Westchester, Rockland and the Hudson Valley Community
As the tides of refugees from war in the Middle East literally wash ashore in Europe, we are witness to human tragedy of unfathomable proportions. In a world where governments wage wars that result in the displacement of tens of millions of people, we as human beings face a responsibility and a real opportunity to do the right thing. We welcome the tired, the poor the hungry and endangered to our country and community. We cannot be witness and not take action. All around the country, municipalities and local communities are calling for the United States of America to open wide the doors to the refugees, and are ready to welcome refugee families into their communities. We in the Westchester, Rockland and Hudson Valley Community join in the call for action to save and welcome refugees as follows: (more…)
Felice and Yoram Gelman are currently visiting Cuba with Code Pink. Mindy Gershon and Dave Lippman traveled to Cuba in January with a delegation studying the new wave of non-agricultural cooperatives. They bring a multimedia presentation on the promises and challenges of this movement for Cuban society. As background, they examine the difficulties Cuba faces overall on the economic, political, and cultural fronts. Tuesday, May 19th at 6pm at the Mapleton Conference Center at Good Counsel located at 52 North Broadway. Bring a dish to share:
As expected President Obama’s State of the Union and even the Republican rebuttal have made it clear they are full steam ahead on trying to FAST TRACK the TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP the worst trade deal for American Jobs, our environment, and the people from less developed countries since NAFTA.
We NEED and CAN stop this, if we work together.
In Westchester, our job is to ensure we keep the senior congressional votes that we have already confirmed against FAST TRACK & TPP. Those congressional members are Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel. Make no mistake about it they will be pressured to change their votes, we can help stop that.
We are asking all our Unions, Environmental, Faith-based and Community Coalition groups to help ensure these members of congress stand tall and continue to reject FAST TRACK and the TPP.
WE have several activities over the next 76 days that we hope you all will take part in:
Calls to district offices thanking the members of congress for their support against FAST TRACK & TPP and to tell them to hang strong. CWA has paid for toll free numbers that will track these calls for all to use.
Hand written letters from the members of each Coalition group, CWA will gladly work with each group to organize the collection and delivery to track letters and keep a running total for us to gauge our success.
A Lobby Day at their district office with representatives from all coalition groups.
An event in Yonkers during the congressional break (much like our town hall) in which we will invite Eliot Engel to speak (Lowey, Maloney have already appear at events). We will need a panel made up of our coalition partners for this (please response if you like to volunteer)
Our first Urgent Action please give out these numbers today to your members and ask them to make phone calls, these lines will be open for 76 days but please ask calls to be made right away and keep calling.
Here are two different numbers, each is assigned to one of the members of congress and will allow us to keep track of the number of calls we are getting to the congress members offices.
The call will automatically direct you to the Engel or Lowey office. We want to ask members to thank them for standing with us against FAST TRACK and TPP and to stand strong. I will provide the coalition with the numbers of calls we get at the end of each week starting next week. Please remember it is vital they hear from us.
By Sendhil Mullainathan- professor of economics at Harvard
The deaths of African-Americans at the hands of the police in Ferguson, Mo., in Cleveland and on Staten Island have reignited a debate about race. Some argue that these events are isolated and that racism is a thing of the past. Others contend that they are merely the tip of the iceberg, highlighting that skin color still has a huge effect on how people are treated.
Arguments about race are often heated and anecdotal. As a social scientist, I naturally turn to empirical research for answers. As it turns out, an impressive body of research spanning decades addresses just these issues — and leads to some uncomfortable conclusions and makes us look at this debate from a different angle.
The central challenge of such research is isolating the effect of race from other factors. For example, we know African-Americans earn less income, on average, than whites. Maybe that is evidence that employers discriminate against them. But maybe not. We also know African-Americans tend to be stuck in neighborhoods with worse schools, and perhaps that — and not race directly — explains the wage gap. If so, perhaps policy should focus on place rather than race, as some argue.
But we can isolate the effect of race to some degree. A study I conducted in 2003 with Marianne Bertrand, an economist at the University of Chicago, illustrates how. We mailed thousands of résumés to employers with job openings and measured which ones were selected for callbacks for interviews. But before sending them, we randomly used stereotypically African-American names (such as “Jamal”) on some and stereotypically white names (like “Brendan”) on others.
The same résumé was roughly 50 percent more likely to result in callback for an interview if it had a “white” name. Because the résumés were statistically identical, any differences in outcomes could be attributed only to the factor we manipulated: the names.
Other studies have also examined race and employment. In a 2009 study, Devah Pager, Bruce Western and Bart Bonikowski, all now sociologists at Harvard, sent actual people to apply for low-wage jobs. They were given identical résumés and similar interview training. Their sobering finding was that African-American applicants with no criminal record were offered jobs at a rate as low as white applicants who had criminal records.
These kinds of methods have been used in a variety of research, especially in the last 20 years. Here are just some of the general findings:
■ When doctors were shown patient histories and asked to make judgments about heart disease, they were much less likely to recommend cardiac catheterization (a helpful procedure) to black patients — even when their medical files were statistically identical to those of white patients.
■ When whites and blacks were sent to bargain for a used car, blacks were offered initial prices roughly $700 higher, and they received far smaller concessions.
■ Several studies found that sending emails with stereotypically black names in response to apartment-rental ads on Craigslist elicited fewer responses than sending ones with white names. A regularly repeated study by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development sent African-Americans and whites to look at apartments and found that African-Americans were shown fewer apartments to rent and houses for sale.
■ White state legislators were found to be less likely to respond to constituents with African-American names. This was true of legislators in both political parties.
■ Emails sent to faculty members at universities, asking to talk about research opportunities, were more likely to get a reply if a stereotypically white name was used.
■ Even eBay auctions were not immune. When iPods were auctioned on eBay, researchers randomly varied the skin color on the hand holding the iPod. A white hand holding the iPod received 21 percent more offers than a black hand.
The criminal justice system — the focus of current debates — is harder to examine this way. One study, though, found a clever method. The pools of people from which jurors are chosen are effectively random. Analyzing this natural experiment revealed that an all-white jury was 16 percentage points more likely to convict a black defendant than a white one, but when a jury had one black member, it convicted both at the same rate.
I could go on, but hopefully the sheer breadth of these findings impresses you, as it did me.
There are some counterexamples: Data show that some places, like elite colleges, most likely do favor minority applicants. But this evidence underlies that a helping hand in one area does not preclude harmful shoves in many other areas, including ignored résumés, unhelpful faculty members and reluctant landlords.
But this widespread discrimination is not necessarily a sign of widespread conscious prejudice.
When our own résumé study came out, many human-resources managers told us they were stunned. They prized creating diversity in their companies, yet here was evidence that they were doing anything but. How was that possible?
To use the language of the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, we think both fast and slow. When deciding what iPod to buy or which résumé to pursue, we weigh a few factors deliberately (“slow”). But for hundreds of other factors, we must rely on intuitive judgment — and we weigh these unconsciously (“fast”).
Even if, in our slow thinking, we work to avoid discrimination, it can easily creep into our fast thinking. Our snap judgments rely on all the associations we have — from fictional television shows to news reports. They use stereotypes, both the accurate and the inaccurate, both those we would want to use and ones we find repulsive.
We can’t articulate why one seller’s iPod photograph looks better; dozens of factors shape this snap judgment — and we might often be distraught to realize some of them. If we could make a slower, deliberate judgment we would use some of these factors (such as the quality of the photo), but ignore others (such as the color of the hand holding the iPod). But many factors escape our consciousness.
This kind of discrimination — crisply articulated in a 1995 article by the psychologists Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard and Anthony Greenwald of the University of Washington — has been studied by dozens of researchers who have documented implicit bias outside of our awareness.
The key to “fast thinking” discrimination is that we all share it. Good intentions do not guarantee immunity. One study published in 2007 asked subjects in a video-game simulation to shoot at people who were holding a gun. (Some were criminals; some were innocent bystanders.) African-Americans were shot at a higher rate, even those who were not holding guns.
Ugly pockets of conscious bigotry remain in this country, but most discrimination is more insidious. The urge to find and call out the bigot is powerful, and doing so is satisfying. But it is also a way to let ourselves off the hook. Rather than point fingers outward, we should look inward — and examine how, despite best intentions, we discriminate in ways big and small.
Sendhil Mullainathan is a professor of economics at Harvard. Follow him on Twitter at @m_sendhil.