Latoya Peterson

Latoya Peterson is the editrix of, a blog dedicated to exploring the intersection between race and pop culture.

Recent Articles

D.C.'s Digital Rift

D.C. has adopted Obama's push for more broadband access -- but that doesn't translate into a more wired D.C.

Computer classes at a library in San Mateo, California. (Flickr/San Mateo County Library's photostream.)
In this year's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama envisioned a new era of American education and prosperity that comes with being a full participant in the digital age: "Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans. This isn't just about a faster Internet and fewer dropped calls. It's about connecting every part of America to the digital age." In classic Obama style, he referred to a future where rural farmers in states such as Iowa and Alabama could become successful by selling their wares online, where students would be free to enter any classroom, and where patients could have video chats with doctors. Obama wasn't just using a rhetorical flourish -- he was painting an image of the new digital future and how it could impact Americans' everyday lives. But while businesses prosper, an iron-clad gate still bars some Americans from a life online -- the...

Better Farmers Markets

Farmers markets need to do more to tackle the convenience problem.

(Flickr/Natalie Maynor)
"Fresh, farm-made jams and sauces," trumpets a small, hand-lettered sign hanging over a veritable cornucopia of ruby-red salsas, assorted dips, and strawberry preserves. It is the beginning of farmers market season in Washington, D.C., where modest stalls bearing fruits, vegetables, and pastries seem to sprout overnight and take root in small corners of the city. They always attract crowds, most often young, urban professionals. The open-air markets have become a familiar part of the summer landscape, but the shoppers most often browsing the stalls reflect just a tiny, wealthy segment of the city. Why isn't everyone shopping here? In 2005, researchers posed a simple question to low-income families using food stamps: What kept them from fully utilizing farmers markets? The response came back loud and clear: awareness, price, and convenience. Farmers markets have been touted as the next great hope in stemming the obesity epidemic by providing fresh fruits and vegetables to those...

Bridging the Wealth Chasm

Although lawmakers have been focusing on the economy, current policies don't address the deep financial problems facing many women of color.

How far will $5 go toward an unexpected emergency? Or even $100? Sadly, for many women of color, not even a single dollar stands between them and financial destruction. For black women the median wealth (savings and assets minus debit) is only $100, according to a new report. For Hispanic women, it is $120. But the numbers get even worse. For black and Hispanic women ages 36 to 49, the median wealth is $5. For nonwhite women who have never been married, the amount was zero. In the report -- "Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth, and America's Future," the Insight Center for Community Economic Development explores the horrifying financial situation faced by women of color. It shows how lower median wages and a lack of intergenerational wealth reserves contribute to the disparity between women of color and everyone else. The difference amounts to "one penny of wealth for every dollar owned by their male counterparts and a tiny fraction of a penny for every dollar of wealth owned...

The Forgotten Promise of Obama's Race Speech

We thought our first African American president would strengthen our national dialogue on race, but our conversations remain as superficial as before.

(White House/Chuck Kennedy)
On March 18, 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama gave a speech on race in Philadelphia designed to lance the boil of the Jeremiah Wright controversy and provide a thoughtful commentary on the current state of race in our nation. Less than a year later, on Jan. 20, 2009, Obama was inaugurated president. Buoyed by his thoughtful prose and the promise of a progressive approach to race and race relations, he rode a tide of change into the Oval Office. But sadly, the progress hoped for by many in minority communities has not materialized. Instead, our conversations about race and its impact on American life are no more insightful or sophisticated than before, as evidenced by the discomfort we have in discussing racial issues in anything other than a superficial form. The newly appointed attorney general, Eric Holder, attempted to have an honest conversation about race and racism with his colleagues at the Justice Department last February. In his speech, Holder made vitally important points,...

The Quiet Bias

The death of a black police officer at the hands of his white colleague should be a wake-up call for us to explore the role of unconscious racial bias in the police force.

How much do deeply embedded stereotypes play into our decisions? On May 28, undercover officer Omar J. Edwards was shot and killed by fellow officer Andrew Dunton. Edwards was black and Dunton was white. The reports from the scene paint a blurry picture: Edwards was off-duty and in plain clothes with his gun drawn in pursuit of a suspect he believed tried to break into his car. Dunton and two others had arrived on the scene in an unmarked car and had reportedly called out "Police! Stop!" before opening fire. While the autopsy states that the bullet entered through Edwards' back, implying that he had not heard the officers, Dunton and his colleagues claim Edwards had turned to face them weapon in hand. Either way, things progressed so quickly that it was difficult to discern if Dunton gave Edwards enough time to react before pulling the trigger. There is plenty of speculation about how Dunton could have reacted differently, and Dunton is by all accounts extremely remorseful. But the...