Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Immigrant Babies.

According to a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center, an estimated 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the United States in 2008 were the children of undocumented immigrants: As of 2009, Pew reports, 4 million children of undocumented immigrants were American citizens and residing in the United States. Restrictionist outfits like the Center for Immigration Studies have latched on to this analysis as evidence that "anchor babyism" is a widespread problem, but you can't actually draw that conclusion from the information presented. Pew's numbers simply don't tell us that much; outside of basic demographic information, we know nothing about the circumstances of these births. That said, it's still the case that "anchor babies" aren't really a problem; American-born children of undocumented immigrants must be 21 before they can sponsor a parent for citizenship. And while I'm not going to categorically dismiss the possibility of that kind of long-term planning, I don't think it's...

Black College Grads Aren't Doing Too Well.

Ezra Klein posts this graph with the headline "the benefits of a college degree in one graph," and cites Matt Yglesias , who notes that there simply isn't much of an economic crisis among college graduates: Virtually every single member of congress, every senator, every Capitol Hill staffer, every White House advisor, every Fed governor, and every major political reporter is a college graduate. What’s more, we have a large amount of social segregation in the United States—college graduates tend to socialize with each other. And among college graduates, there simply isn’t an economic crisis in the United States . [Emphasis mine] I would actually be a little more careful about making that assertion, since it isn't actually true for all college grads. For most of the recession, the unemployment rate among black college graduates has greatly surpassed the rate for whites: ( Wall Street Journal ) In April, when these statistics were compiled, the unemployment rate for black college...

Things That Matter in Politics.

Not to sound too curmudgeonly, but while yesterday's primaries in Connecticut, Colorado, and Georgia were interesting as pieces of political theater, on the main they don't actually tell us anything about the elections ahead of us. The political world will spend today obsessing over what those elections "meant," but when it comes down to it, you can't divine broader trends from a handful of contests in a few unrepresentative states. So, for example, Sen. Michael Bennet 's win last night in Colorado doesn't actually say anything about the mood of this year's average voter, despite what The New York Times might try to tell you . The boring and unsexy truth is that there isn't much of a "narrative" to this year's elections; voters aren't revolting against President Obama 's "overreach" -- he remains by far one of the most popular politicians in the country -- and they aren't rushing to banish incumbents for the crime of having job experience (otherwise, federal incumbents wouldn't have a...

The Declining Significance of Discrimination.

In a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Harvard economist Roland Fryer finds that discrimination isn't as nearly as important to explaining racial inequality as it once was. He writes: There are large and important differences between blacks and whites in nearly every facet of life -- earnings, unemployment, incarceration, health, and so on. This chapter contains three themes. First, relative to the 20th century, the significance of discrimination as an explanation for racial inequality across economic and social indicators has declined. Racial differences in social and economic outcomes are greatly reduced when one accounts for educational achievement ; therefore, the new challenge is to understand the obstacles undermining the development of skill in black and Hispanic children in primary and secondary school. "Greatly reduced" is a bit of an understatement; if Fryer's analysis is correct, educational achievement and "pre-market skills" account...

All the Small Things.

Of the pro-Senate pieces I've read in the wake of George Packer 's epic takedown of the institution, Jill Lawrence 's Politics Daily piece is probably the best. Lawrence takes a different approach than most; instead of relying on old cliché's -- "the Senate was designed to 'cool' legislation" -- she argues that the Senate's critics are ignoring the chamber's impressive achievements. A few high-profile failures notwithstanding, the 111th Congress has been one of the most productive in decades, and by her lights, it's not clear that the Senate requires anything more than a few minor fixes. It's true that this Congress has passed a few pieces of historic legislation, but when critics rail against obstructionism, they aren't talking about intense legislative battles over high-profile reform bills. More often than not, they're focused on the fact that the Senate has moved to a standstill for nearly everything else . Thanks to the filibuster, as Packer writes in his piece, "three hundred...

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