A new study from the Pew Research Center is shedding light on the way some U.S. Afro-Latinos identify, and it may surprise you.
According to the survey, of the 24 percent of Latinos in the country who are Afro-Latino, just 18 percent of them identified their race as “Black.” In fact, researchers found that 39 percent of these African-descended Latinos called their race “white,” significantly higher than those who said “Hispanic,” 24 percent, “mixed,” 9 percent, and “American Indian,” 4 percent.
The findings reflect the complexity of Latino identity, which reflects a long history of indigenous, African, Asian and European mixing across the region under Spanish and Portuguese colonialism.
While the study might seem as evidence of Latinos’ push to whiteness as well as the community’s anti-blackness, it reveals as much, or as little, as it doesn’t. Researchers did not, for instance, share what questions were asked, how they were posed or to whom they were asked.
Researchers did, however, identify that most Afro-Latinos in the U.S. live in the South and/or on the East Coast, have Caribbean roots and have lower household incomes and education attainment than other U.S. Latinos, things we’ve known for a long, long time.
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Local Jails Now Profiting from Warehousing Prisoners from Overcrowded State Jails, Expanding Slave LaborBy Elliot Booker — 4 years ago
June 11, 2016 | Posted by Shaundra Selvaggi
The U.S. locks up more people than any other country in the world. A nation that represents just under 5 percent of the world’s population, is home to more than 20 percent of the globe’s prisoners.
America’s mass incarceration problem is not such a big problem at all for the correctional facilities that house the convicted. In fact, it’s a significant source of revenue for state corrections departments across the country and the private corporations they do business with, and a new report by the Prison Policy Initiative suggests local jails have joined in on the money making scheme.
Some state prisons have become so overpopulated that local jails have made a profitable business out of renting out their spaces to them. In Kentucky, more than 45 percent of the beds intended for temporarily detaining individuals awaiting trial are filled with convicted state and federal prisoners. Over in Arkansas, the rate is 40 percent.
“Nationwide, 12 percent of the local jail population is actually there under contract with state or federal authorities,” the report read.
The Massachusetts criminal justice think tank analyzed data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Mortality in Local Jails and State Prisons Series and National Prisoners Statistics Series to calculate the figures.
“We knew that people incarcerated at the state and federal level were counted in local jail data and when we parsed some of that out we realized that this was much bigger problem that we had initially thought,” Peter Wagner, executive director of the Prison Policy Initiative told the Intercept.
But the biggest offender in the nation was by far Louisiana, where more than three-quarters of parish jails are full of state prison inmates. Not a big surprise, as the state has been dubbed the world’s ‘Prison Capital.’ Back in 2012, the Times-Picayune’s award-winning expose shed light on how the state earned its dubious title.
Apparently local sheriffs and wardens stand to make a lot of money by keeping the prisons at maximum capacity and regularly trade inmates between districts to keep facilities full. Some Louisiana wardens spend the better part of the work day making calls to other centers in hopes of acquiring leftover inmates.
According to the Times-Picayune, each inmate is worth $24.39 a day in state money.
The PPI reports this system is not unique to Louisiana. Local sheriffs in Oklahoma make $27 per day, per state inmate and Mississippi state inmates garner $29.74 per day.
Mississippi isn’t too far behind Louisiana, 55 percent of its county jail cots are occupied by state detainees. But Mississippi takes it one step further by forcing local jails to only accept prisoners who will work for free.
The Huffington Post covered the predicament Mississippi law enforcement officials are facing, as prison reforms have led to dwindling jail populations and in turn, shrinking revenue.
Money has become so scarce that legislators are relying on free prison labor to save their increasingly tight budgets and appease taxpayers.
“You’re either gonna go up on everybody’s garbage bill, or you’ve gotta house those inmates,” George County Supervisor Henry Cochran told the Post.
“You’re using that inmate labor, so [taxpayers are] getting a little good out of that inmate for their tax dollars. You either gotta hire a bunch of employees or keep that inmate. It’s like making a deal with the devil,” Cochran added.
In the end, incarcerated felons suffer the most. Unlike larger federal institutions, local jails lack the appropriate resources to rehabilitate inmates, making them more likely to reoffend upon release and end up right back where they started.Post Views: 543
By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
Many folks try to make a dollar out of 15 cents, but African-Americans don’t always take those nickels and dimes to a bank.
More than 18% of African-Americans don’t have traditional bank accounts, compared with 7% of all Americans, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. But where banks don’t fill the bill, communities have created their own solutions, including grass roots traditions and minority-owned banks and credit unions.
“People turn to the alternative forms of financing and credit because they don’t have the same access [to mainstream services],” says Vicki Bogan, associate professor of economics at Cornell University. “And that’s perfectly rational.”
For much of American history, legislation restricted minority access to mainstream financial services. Bogan points to segregation and Jim Crow laws that barred blacks from regular banks and forced them to look for other options.
One informal alternative is called a “sou-sou.” Also known as rotating savings and credit associations, sou-sous can help people save money without using a savings account.
Here’s how they work: Every week or so, the members each contribute a set amount of cash, and one member takes home the pool. This rotates until every member has received a payout. Members won’t see their savings grow, but in the end, the amount paid in equals the amount received. Prevalent in West African and Caribbean immigrant communities in the U.S., sou-sous are used virtually all over the world.
More formally, black-owned banks once flourished, Bogan says: At least 134 were founded in the U.S. between 1888 to 1934. And though there are fewer today, these banks and other nonstandard financing remain relevant.
Nikki Beasley is the executive director of Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services in Richmond, California, a nonprofit that connects low-income families to housing. She worked as a bank manager for 25 years and sees mistrust of banks and subtle cues from bankers as modern-day obstacles for people of color who want to enter the banking system.
“If a person doesn’t look a certain way or isn’t perceived to look [worthy of] service, the level of interaction and engagement tends to shift” on the banker’s part, Beasley says. That lack of engagement can discourage people from opening accounts.
Individual bank employees aren’t the only hurdle. Since 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has fined several banks for illegally denying fair access to credit or overcharging for loans because of customers’ race.
Black-owned banks can ease these worries for customers. Not every community has one, but online and mobile banking have made it easier for potential customers to find alternatives.
Last year, rapper Killer Mike encouraged black Americans to open accounts in minority-owned banks, kicking off the #BankBlack movement. Celebrities including Usher and Solange Knowles have also announced their support for black banks.
But Beasley says that while the internet can help spread awareness of black-owned banks, some consumers might meet a fully virtual experience with skepticism. “They may need an education component” to set up and learn to navigate online tools, she says.
For Maggie Anderson, switching to black-owned Liberty Bank was a matter of supporting her community.
Anderson is the author of “Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy,” a book based on her experience shopping solely at black-owned businesses for 12 months. She was having an anniversary dinner with her husband 10 years ago when something clicked.
“The whole time we were there, we talked about all the crises in our community, the poverty, unemployment…and then the check came and we paid the bill. And that’s when we realized that we are a part of the problem,” Anderson says. “Our people needed that money. Our businesses needed that money. Our community is only as strong as our businesses and banks.”
No matter how you choose to bank, it’s important to do your research, Bogan says. “Make sure you know what type of products and services you’re using, what are the costs, what are the benefits, what are the risks.”Post Views: 539
By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago