THE GREEN JOB VOID
Colorlines' Yvonne Yen Liu sees the failure to create green jobs, as detailed in Monica Potts' cover story ("Green Job Search"), as another instance of government failing communities of color: "Two years ago, the rage was green jobs not jails, a clever framework by the racial justice movement to refocus environmental advocates to think about humans, not just the dolphins and rainforests, in our transition to a post-fossil fuel society.
For communities of color, we need jobs, of any color, be they green or otherwise. Sadly, this is the piece that is missing from policy proposals right now. Even if green jobs are created, chances are that they're not going to people of color and women."
Reader Allan Weiser writes in to share the details of his own quest for a green job: "Although I had not planned on being unemployed, I took it in stride, hav-
ing been through the process several times in my 60-odd-year-old baby-boomer life. I sifted through the 'green' possibilities. I collected and explored dozens of PDFs on green industries. Except for a few very specific areas, these jobs don't exist. I took several months of courses in document imaging, hoping to draft onto the 'green' movement in electronic health documentation. It's slow, so I'm looking to other things."
HOMOPHOBIA, NOT BULLYING
Ann Friedman's column ("Straight Talk") and Gabriel Arana's subsequent Web column ("Giving Bullies a Pass") criticized the way in which homophobic actions are being discussed as regular old bullying -- and sparked an online discussion. The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates sees liberals' worst impulses at work: "I think liberals are sometimes too quick to universalize, too swift to brandish an unearned empathy. At its worst this means avoiding uncomfortable confrontations with a violent, and societal, homophobia, with vague, moist campaigns against 'bullying.' I don't think I've ever encountered a neater villain. Everyone has [been] bullied, but not everyone has felt 'the force of society's homophobia' bearing down on them. I think sometimes, we should accept that we don't understand."
Amanda Marcotte, blogging at Pandagon, notes that bullies aren't the real problem: "It's nice to watch the videos where straight people do good ally work, which is to say they lay into homophobes for promoting the message that gay people aren't good enough. That message -- that this is not just the fault of bullies but also of churches, pundits, authority figures, whoever promotes homophobia -- is necessary. It's not about bullying in schools. It's about homophobia, and bullying is just one expression of that."
Reader David Gilbreth writes that Cord Jefferson's article on racism in Internet memes ("Virtuality Bites") missed an important piece of the story: "The rise of Antoine Dodson is a perfect example of telling only half the story. Yes, Mr. Dodson's ordeal was very real and very scary. His sister was almost raped by an unknown assailant. And yes, his remixed news interview has, as of this writing, been viewed almost 40 million times. But what Mr. Jefferson neglects to mention is that while 'The Bed Intruder Song' has been downloaded from iTunes tens of thousands of times, the authors, the Gregory Brothers, have shared the profits with Mr. Dodson and his family equally. Mr. Dodson then took control of his own meme, selling T-shirts on his website and doing the talk-show circuit. He has made enough money to get his family out of the housing project altogether. By selectively choosing to be outraged at his incomplete tale of Mr. Dodson, Mr. Jefferson is doing for blacks what Mr. Dodson refused to do: playing the victim card."
From the Executive Editor
After yet another wave election, this one bringing more Republicans to power in Congress and state legislatures than were swept out in 2006 and 2008, is there hope for further progress on a progressive agenda? In this issue, rather than jump to conclusions, we walk carefully through some of the biggest hopes from two years ago, take stock of what has been accomplished, and point out opportunities to keep moving forward. And all four of our regular columnists look at the midterm election, the next Congress, and the role of older voters, women, and public ignorance in our political future.
Also in this issue, Tim Fernholz digs into the surprising story of the failure of ShoreBank, the Chicago institution that had long been commended for responsible, modest lending to working families. And in another reminder of the vulnerability of banks, co-editor Robert Kuttner games out the foreclosure crisis. As it becomes apparent that the paperwork underlying millions of mortgages doesn't meet basic legal standards, big banks may eventually have to admit that the mortgage-based derivatives they hold are worthless -- perhaps leading to a real resolution of the banking crisis.
Mass incarceration is the subject of this issue's special report, in which several experts and journalists look at the social and economic consequences of an ever growing prison population. Politicians of both parties are beginning to see that current levels of incarceration are not sustainable, morally or fiscally.
-- Mark Schmitt
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