Doctor doctor

Social mobility in America, whether upwards or downwards, is slight. At current rates of social change, even after 200 years, according to this one study, African-Americans will remain under-represented in medicine:

Starting in the 1970s, Jews began, over all, a decline in social status, while blacks began a corresponding rise, at least as measured by the doctors’ directory. But both trends are very slow. At the current rate, for example, it will be 300 years before Ashkenazi Jews cease to be overrepresented among American doctors, and even 200 years from now the descendants of enslaved African-Americans will still be underrepresented. [link]

 

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Aside

Jonathan Ferrell ran towards police seeking help after a car accident and was given a hail of bullets for his troubles. Renisha McBride went in search of a Good Samaritan after her accident and a shotgun blast answered her knock. Teenager Trayvon Martin walked home with candy and tea and was greeted by the nervous trigger finger wrapped in an adult’s gun. Jordan Davis sat in a car outside a convenience store listening to music and a man who objected to the volume cut his life short with the boom of a firearm. The principal crime all of them committed, like countless others over the centuries, was being black and not sufficiently prostrating themselves to ensure the comfort of others. [link]

 

The blinding whiteness of comic books

“Superhero comics were developed in the cultural context of ’60s America,” he says, “where it was just normal for all the characters to be white. When Stan Lee included a black character, Gabe Jones, in Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos, he actually had to tell the color separators that this character was supposed to be black, because the default assumption was that every character would be white.” Kashtan adds that, “This default assumption of whiteness is no longer acceptable.” [link]

From Noah Berlatsky’s essay “The Incoherent Backlashes to Black Actors Playing ‘White’ Superheroes” in the Atlantic online

The civil war really was about stopping slavery, from the very beginning

James Oakes in "The War of Northern Aggression" at Jacobinmag urges us to rethink the dominant approach to the Civil War

To read what historians have been saying for decades is to conclude that all of these people – the Democrats, the secessionists, the cooperationists, and the slaves – were all wrong. The Northern Democrats were just demagogues. The secessionists were hysterical. And the slaves were, alas, sadly misguided.

Unwilling to take seriously what contemporaries were saying, historians have constructed a narrative of Emancipation and the Civil War that begins with the premise that Republicans came into the war with no intention of attacking slavery – indeed, that they disavowed any antislavery intentions. The narrative is designed to demonstrate the original premise, according to which everyone at the time was mistaken about what the Republicans intended to do. [link]

Americans believe that the civil war was about states rights, not slavery

From Tracy Thompson’s fascinating essay The South still lies about the Civil War”

In the spring of 2011, in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, pollsters at the Pew Research Center asked: “What is your impression of the main cause of the Civil War?” Thirty-eight percent of the respondents said the main cause was the South’s defense of an economic system based on slavery, while nearly half—48 percent—said the nation sacrificed some 650,000 of its fathers, sons, and brothers over a difference of interpretation in constitutional law. White non-Southerners believed this in roughly the same proportion as white Southerners, which was interesting; even more fascinating was the fact that 39 percent of the black respondents, many of them presumably the descendants of slaves, did, too. [link]

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A map of the “best coffee” in Manhattan, by subway stop

The coffeehouses which made the cut were selected based on their equipment, the type/source of beans used, stop proximity, and reviews from both customers and professionals. Unique spots also got priority. In cases of multiple stores, the original or most popular location of that chain was weighted more heavily. Shops which embraced their neighborhoods feel were also favored. Some locations didn’t have great options, and Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks had be chosen. [Click on the image to go to the original source]