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August 04, 2009



vely intressting


Barbara, I applaud you for taking on a really tough and relevant discussion.


Is there a middle class of any significant sort, Black or White? I doubt it.


I absolutely love & applaud your commentary on this current racial issue that was hyped up to the highest degree. I read your book, Nickel and Dimed, and related to it in so many ways. And this article voices my fears of being an educated black woman who finds herself still struggling no matter how much I know or can do.
Its a very disconcerting thought.


I think we are in the post-civil rights era, so using race as a way of viewing things 'misses the forest for the trees.' I know a lot of white people who grew up middle-class, but are only able to survive by living with their parents. These white people are in their forties. Our economy has failed. How should it be fixed?


Obama really did do something uniquely good, by bringing gates andc crowley to the white house for a beer, the two met on the tour and their families took the tour together. Then the two find out they had relatives going way back in common bringing out the fact that they really did have something in common. Awkward to the max but telling too. This is America and we all have much in common outside of our working class rivalries even if we look like different races. I am sure obama was scratching his head at how well the gates-crowley re-acquaintancing turned out.


Firefly, your bias is showing. This column was written by TWO people. You slipped into WS by ignoring Mr. Muhammad's contribution.

These old biases are the same ones that will destroy the USA. Some are so focused on bashing Obama and African Americans (due to race, class, greed, power), that you fail to see how pulling together can make the country much stronger.
Other nations are lapping us in education, skill training, while the USa is vested in longing for Jim Crow days.

Alternatives to Marriage Project

Thank you for pointing out one of the many flaws in Kay Hymowitz's claim that marital status and family structure cause poverty in the African-American community. Unfortunately, too many policy-makers have internalized that claim - in fact, promoting marriage has become a central purpose of our main anti-poverty program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. We need more authors and analysts like yourselves to highlight the fallacy over the next 12 months while Congress works on reauthorizing TANF. The Alternatives to Marriage Project is helping build a coalition of experts calling on Congress to stop diverting TANF funds into marriage promotion. Please join us! www.unmarried.org/welfare.html

Jacqueline Homan

"Unfortunately, too many policy-makers have internalized that claim - in fact, promoting marriage has become a central purpose of our main anti-poverty program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. We need more authors and analysts like yourselves to highlight the fallacy over the next 12 months while Congress works on reauthorizing TANF."

Dear AtMP:

I wrote a 352 page book ("Classism For Dimwits") in which I devoted the better part of one chapter that addresses and rebuts the "promotion of marriage." The book addresses the elephant in the room that nobody seems to see: the systemic causes of poverty and classism. Feel free to browse through it at Amazon.

The "teach poor people to get married" was pushed during the past 30 years of "compassionate conservatism" has proferred as a solution to poverty.

The key issue I raised is the fact that when you come from the underclass, from the poverty ranks, marriage is an unattainable luxury and privilege — because poor people with limited to zilch opportunities for upward mobility are not the ones who are seen as viable marriage partners. And the Cinderella story only happens in fairy tales and Hollywood; not in real life for the vast majority.


What about Asians? Was their data on Asians available? They are a minority subjected to white oppression.


In the end the article points out that a country that had 70 percent of its history scarred by Slavery, and another 20 by blacks being second hands citizen has a issue. Blacks will be second class until slavery is truly recognized and answered for... No more hiding behind credit...

Chris S.

If whites are supposed to make reparations the it had better happen since they will be a minority soon and as a whole have less wealth. Do you know what you get when you sue someone that is broke? A whole lot of nothing.

Julie Grimme

I posted this on facebook.
Have we all become crooks???
Is this America?? Militarized, crude, and selfishness. Unable to pass universal health care. Unable to rein in the military. I don't believe in "Pimping" people and if I'm the only one left I'm never doing it. What has happened?

Chris S.

I really want to say no to the above questions but sfter witnessing the nutiness and selfishness on display at the town hall meetings I just can't.


As a "white" person (I have Native American forefathers) I have trouble thinking there is ANY middle class left in America regardless of race. I didn't recover from the 1984 recession (seemed more like a depression to me) before being hit by the 2000-2007 recession.

Are you living under a rock?


This article has somehow been compromised on the NYTimes.com site. Check out the comments on this goodle group



Q : Black unemployment is now at 14.7 percent, compared to 8.7 for whites.

A: Can you try explain the difference using the difference in education? And NO, I am NOT interested in more GOVERNMENT subsidy in making LARGER college loans because it has been SHOWN to NOT reduce college cost - it increases it.

PS: Please see what happened to Acorn? Yes, the Baltimore, DC, and Brooklyn office? And no they are NOT OK because they are "poor" and "uneducated" - it was government money used for corrupt practices. Please do not quote me with Iraq BS - two wrong does NOT make one right, Barb.

You failed.


I can only think that your Op-Ed is a PR tactic for your new book, otherwise I can't imagine why you've printed such ridiculous sentiments. Whites and blacks - most Americans - overextended themselves b/c credit was easy and they simply wanted ... more! Buying furniture on credit? Signing mortgage loans you don't understand? And now looking for someone to blame? It's black and white, and simply ridiculous.


Thank you for your commentary.I have a question about this problem.Where are the better cities or areas for african americans in your country ?


"Where are the better cities or areas for african americans in your country ?"

Have you ever heard of Detroit, my young black friend?

Dan Farrell

Why do you really care since you've killed two of your own children by having them cut up inside you and flushed into a bucket?

Hat Wever

Oooo, lookit Dan, folks. Isn't he clever?

Ok, Dan:

1) How is that at all relevant to the post?

2) How is it any business of yours?

You know the old saying.. the first person to mention Hitler in an argument is the loser. Same goes for a MAN mentioning abortion...automatic LOSER!

Steve Blank

Back to the point...
Barbara is right on, as usual. I know from personal experience that African Americans are being disproportionately effected by this recession/depression. An entire family, dear friends of mine, are on the streets. My wife and I have paid for the mother to obtain her CNA license in Florida, and now we're putting her up in a hotel and sending her money for food and transportation. But it won't last forever. She and I speak daily as I search online for places she can apply for work. She does so, but it seems hopeless because nobody is hiring. Thank you, Barbara, for this necessary insight.


Someone needs to do a motivation poster with the title "Education" showing someone in a graduation gown working behind the counter in a coffee shop. The caption can read "So you can pronounce all the silly names for our drinks while you wonder how you will pay off your loans."


Times are hard for almost everyone but whites don't get rejected for employment as often or for the same reasons blacks do. You have to live in the black skin to see your resume evaluated one way when you are not seen and another way they come face to face with you.


Are people seriously trying to say, after what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, that there is no racism in this country and that black people are not disproportionately disadvantaged?


I would LOVE to live in your world. No wait, I wouldn't. I have poor drug tolerance.

I apologize for any lower-class whites who post here complaining about how hard they have it, therefore there is no racism. Take a black person and a white person each making $15k a year with one kid to raise and tell me who'd have it worse. I promise you it will be the black person, 9/10ths of the time.

I come from rural Louisiana, I've seen the poor areas. The "black" part of town is ALWAYS worse.

And I'll weigh in to say that no matter what race you are, the government offering marriage as a solution to poverty is downright insulting. Ms. Homan has it absolutely right. I'm about ready to take down my OKCupid ad, in fact, because I know I have nothing to offer. I'm female, but that doesn't matter--if we're after a gender-equitable world, women have to pull our weight too. Unfortunately it's a bit more difficult than if you're a man, and doubly so if you're a woman with one or more children. Unmarried too? Forget it. Even if I could get married, every asset I gained from then til the divorce (if there were one) would be divided in half. If he and I never improved our economic lot, taxes owed on nothing + nothing are the same as taxes owed on nothing: a big fat zero. Whatever "protections" marriage might offer do not extend to finances.

Irene Grumman

Last year in my area a younger black man faced with foreclosure killed his entire family and himself. To have his children grow up in the poverty he thought he had escaped seems to have been too much for him. That's how bad it is.


Seems like you are a true specialist. Did ya study about the theme? hrhr

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