Showing posts with label race. Show all posts
Showing posts with label race. Show all posts

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Protests and Pandemics: Lessons from History


Watching the developments of the past week were surprising even to me. Were the up swelling of protests over the death of George Floyd and the corona virus pandemic totally unrelated?  Is Trump's generally incompetent leadership a factor?  The mostly peaceful demonstrations have been occurring just as the turbulent restriction from the pandemic are being lifted.  Do people just have more time now to pay attention to the news surrounding Floyd's death?  History may provide some clues.

The late 1910s were a largely forgotten turbulent time in our nation's history.  We had just entered World War I, the battle over women's right to vote was reaching a critical stage, the brutal race riots in Tulsa, OK were happening just as the Ku Klux Klan was becoming a national force, and of course the Spanish Flu epidemic was rampaging globally,  None of these things occurred in a vacuum.  



The Spanish Flu may not have originated in Spain but it was the first country to report on it as the news was censored in the neighboring countries fighting in World War I.  It unknown where the pandemic started but it was first observed in Europe just as U.S. soldiers arrived there in 1918.  Returning soldiers brought it back home with them and it spread quickly.  Worldwide it killed approximately 50 million and in the U.S. the death toll was around 675,000.


While this was going on the suffragettes led by Alice Paul were getting close to the Seneca Falls convention of 1848's goal of achieving votes for women.  Woodrow Wilson eventually was convinced to support the amendment along with the proposed 18th amendment to usher in prohibition.  The suffragettes hoped that prohibiting drinking would curb domestic violence against women. 

Maurice Decaul: Commentary on "Close Ranks" and "Returning Soldiers" by W.E.B. Du Bois from The Gilder Lehrman Institute on Vimeo.


African American's fought in World War I hoping that it would improve their standing in society, it did not.  They came home to the same racism that they had experiences before.  W.E.B. DuBois had supported Wilson but was disappointed when they returned home.  Two years later things exploded when lynchings occurred and the KKK began a resurgence.  Things came to a boiling point when a race riot occurred in 1919 in Chicago and the  deadliest race massacre in U.S. history in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921.  In Johnstown, PA, another racial incident occurred in the Rosedale section when African American and Mexicans were driven out of the city in response to the shooting of police officers.

In addition to these other issues the government was involved in the Palmer raids which were conducted against suspected communists who had just come to power in Russia.  This was a precursor to the McCarthy hearings of the 1950's.  The socialist Presidential candidate Eugene Debs and Alice Paul were briefly imprisoned as a result.

These problems were exacerbated by small economic depression which followed the war.  In response to all of this, Warren G. Harding ran for president where he promised a "return to normalcy" from the turbulence of the last years of Wilson's Presidency.  He won in a landslide with the votes of women who could vote for the first time.  The roaring 20's and the corruption and hypocrisy of prohibition followed.


History does not repeat itself but it does rhyme sometimes.  Many of the same forces at work then are at work now.  Mostly peaceful protests occurred in response to the death of George Floyd as in the video above.  Joe Biden may be successful running as a normalcy president but will he be able to address all of these forces in a way that Trump is unwilling to?

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Saturday, March 7, 2020

Lessons from Super Tuesday: Health Care in the Deep South

The Democratic Presidential race has changed radically since the South Carolina Primary.  As a Bernie Sanders supporter I was so hopeful for him to have a strong showing.  The outcome was very sobering.  I thought I would take a look at the exit poll data from SC and other states from Super Tuesday on the issue of Sanders' Medicare for All (M4A) proposal.

SC
Support
Oppose
AL
Support
Oppose
VA
Support
Oppose
49%
46%
51%
43%
52%
45%
Biden
44%
55%
Biden
50%
76%
Biden
42%
67%
Sanders
29%
12%
Sanders
27%
5%
Sanders
33%
12%
TN
Support
Oppose
NC
Support
Oppose
TX
Support
Oppose
53%
43%
55%
41%
64%
33%
Biden
32%
51%
Biden
34%
54%
Biden
25%
46%
Sanders
38%
9%
Sanders
36%
12%
Sanders
39%
13%

South Carolina and the five southern Super Tuesday states are summarized in the above tables.  The numbers right below "Support" and "Oppose" are the percentage of primary voters who either support or oppose the statement "How do you feel about replacing all private health insurance with a single government plan for everyone?"  

In South Carolina, it was favored by 49% to 46%.  Biden beat Sanders 44% to 29% of those who support M4A.  Biden beat Sanders 55% to 12% among those who oppose M4A.  Similar patterns were found in Alabama and Virginia.  In Tennessee, North Carolina, and Texas, Sanders did slightly better than Biden among those who support M4A and was trounced by Biden among those who did not.  Texas had the strongest support for Sanders proposal but he only bested Biden by 14 points among those who do.

It is also known that older African American voters overwhelmingly supported Biden.  The exit poll does not state whether they were more or less likely to support Medicare for All.  

MA
Support
Oppose
CA
Support
Oppose
VT
Support
Oppose
50%
45%

55%
36%

73%
23%
Biden
23%
46%
Biden
14%
35%
Biden
14%
42%
Sanders
41%
13%
Sanders
48%
14%
Sanders
62%
25%
Warren
27%
14%


Three of the states outside of the deep south where Sanders fared better against Biden are shown above: Massachusetts, California, and Vermont.  In Massachusetts the 69% who supported M4A favored Sanders over Biden by 41% to 23%.  Warren received 27% among those who do.

In California and Vermont, Sanders had strong support among those who support M4A.  Biden won among those who did not.  The lesson from these primaries and the 2016 and 2008 elections is that it is almost impossible to win the Democratic party nomination for president without substantial African American support.  It would be interesting to look at what role support for M4A plays in this.

**Update**

Biden has now won Mississippi, Michigan, and Missouri.  In Mississippi 60% of voters support M4A but 75% of those voted for Biden.  In the video below, Biden said he would veto any M4A bill that came to his desk as president.  In Missouri and Michigan those supported M4A preferred Sanders.



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Deep South Primaries

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The 'Squad', Trump's Tweet, and Healthcare Campaign Contributions


My last three posts have looked at healthcare campaign donations to freshman democratic members of congress, their ethnic/gender background, and support for medicare for all.  They showed that nonwhite members who support Medicare for All received far less in donations than non white freshman who did not and white freshmen who either did or did not support it. Four of the freshmen, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, have received press for butting heads with Nancy Pelosi and being targeted by Donald Trump in a tweet where he said that they should go back to the "crime infested" countries from which they came.  All four support Medicare for All.








These four congresswomen were included in the data for the analysis.  You can see all of the donations that they received as compiled by Danielle Keeton Olsen at Tarbell here and in the images above.  The first three of the 'squad' were classified as nonwhite according to the US Government's affirmative definition of race/ethnicity in the analysis.  I determined the ethnicity of each freshman democrat based on their Wikipedia page.  The data is listed here.

Congresswoman Tlaib (D-MI) was classified as white by the affirmative action definition.  Whites or Caucasians are defined as "people having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa."  She was also the largest recipient of healthcare campaign dollars among the 'squad' at $172,665.  This is more than the other three squad members combined at $158,903.  This pattern is present in health professionals, hospitals, and pharma but not in HMOs where she received less ($5,019) than the other three combined ($12,841).  

Congreswoman Tlaib may see herself as nonwhite while most donors see her as white.  Her ethnic background in Palestinian who have been oppressed for decades by Israel in the middle east.  I personally see Italians as Latino even though no one else does.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Documentary on African Americans in Johnstown

The late Dr. Bruce Williams, professor of Anthropology at the Pitt Johnstown campus or UPJ as we call it, produced a documentary called We'll Make the Journey on the history of African Americans in Johnstown in 1992.  Seventeen older African Americans in the city were interviewed.


The documentary states that there were two big African American migrations to the city: one in WWI and one in the 1920s.  It also states that there were African Americans here as early as 1870.  According to the US Census they were here as early as 1850.  The video is available above for you to see.

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Why do African Americans live to be 64.8 years in Cambria County?


Last week I posted on how African Americans in Cambria County lag behind other ethnic groups in the County and behind African Americans in the state and the US in life expectancy.  The numbers are summarized in the table below.



Cambria County[1]
Pennsylvania
US
Overall
75.6
78.3
78.6
Caucasian
76.1
78.9
78.5
African-American
64.8
73.4
74.8
Hispanic
87.7
85.3
81.8





[1] Source National Center for Health Statistics - Mortality Files

Looking more closely at the County Health Rankings provides some clues for this result can be seen.  A clue to the reasons for the low life expectancy among African Americans in the county is provided by the rate of child mortality in the county.  The overall county rate was 57 deaths per 100,000 residents.  For African-Americans, the rate was 253/100,000.  For Caucasians in the county, it was 43/100,000, almost six times lower.  The state rate was 49/100,000.  The infant mortality rate was 1% lower than the state rate of 6%.  There were no infant mortality rates by race for the county.  

Other clues can be seen in other health measures that they provide by race.  
  • 15% of African American babies are low birth weight while 10% of Hispanic babies are and 8% of Caucasian babies are.  The state rate is 8%.
  • The teen birth rate was 59 per 1,000 teens age 15-19.  For Hispanics it was 29/1,000 and for Caucasians it was 21/1,000.  The state rate was 20/1,000.
  • 32% of African American medicare enrollees women received Mammography screening.  It was 46% for Hispanics and 37% for Caucasians.  It was 44% for the state.
  • 31% of African Americans received a flu vaccination while 38% of Hispanics and Caucasians did.  50% in the state did.
  • 73% of African American children were in poverty while 69% of Hispanics and 20% of Caucasians were.17% of children in the state were.
  • The median household income for African Americans in the county was $17,230, $36,079 for Hispanics, and $45,940 Caucasians.  It was $59,165 for the state.
There are encouraging signs of people organizing to fix these discrepancies as can be seen in the video below.



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