Comments by Susan Graham

Comments by Susan Graham for Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally)

Fall, 2018 National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations Meeting

November 2, 2018

 

The Casey Foundation’s 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book warns that the 2020 census is mired in challenges that could shortchange the official census count by at least two million kids younger than age 5. This discrepancy would also put hundreds of millions of federal dollars at risk and, in doing so, underfund programs that are critical for family stability and opportunity; essential programs like housing, food, education, and healthcare.

As we all know, the Casey Foundation gets its numbers from the Census Bureau. Federal dollars seem to be the focus, but can we put the money aside for the moment? Yes, it’s important to be counted for the money, redistricting and civil rights enforcement, but it’s also critical to focus on identity. It’s crucial to see your race(s) or the races of your children on news stories, pie charts, forms, data reports, and anywhere other races are included. Also, you can’t keep accurate records if you don’t have an accurate representation of someone, including their racial identity.

Let me give you some reminders about identity. First, when a multiracial person is asked about their identity it sounds like this: What are you? In his book The Lies that Bind, Kwame Appiah makes these observations, “In sum, identities come, first with labels and ideas about why and to whom they should be applied. Second, your identity shapes your thoughts about how you should behave; and third, it affects the way other people treat you. Finally, all these dimensions of identity are contestable, always up for dispute: who’s in, what they’re like, how they should behave and be treated.”

 

One example from the 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book is this:

 

In 2017, 81 percent of African-American,

79 percent of American Indian, 78 percent

of Latino and 60 percent of multiracial

fourth-graders were not proficient in reading,

compared with 54 percent of white and 44

percent of Asian and Pacific Islander students.

 

They used the appropriate, preferable, and respectful term “multiracial.” The Census Bureau calls us “Two or More Races” people. The Casey Foundation counted and published the multiracial numbers. Not all entities do. Why is this important? Just as it’s important to see the African-American, American Indian, Asian, white, and Latino students, it’s crucial that multiracial families and individuals see themselves included in data. Proper racial nomenclature is critical, this has been proven over and over again every time a group, any group, changes its label.

The multiracial community has been invisible to this committee, the Census Bureau, and the government for far too long. We know it and you know it. We can only assume that you are not eager to have people check two or more races because it would benefit your groups to have our numbers. We are not willing to choose single race over multiracial just so your groups can benefit monetarily.

Now we are looking at the 2020 Census and how we can all shore up our numbers. We must all answer this question: how does filling out the race boxes on the census impact our groups? For the multiracial population, it’s really not a matter of money. No one is going to give dollars to feed little multiracial children based on the boxes they check. However, we need to accurately report growth in our numbers and demonstrate that the multiracial population is an important one. WE ARE ASKING TO BE INCLUDED WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT, TALK ABOUT, AND WRITE ABOUT RACES IN AMERICA.   

The multiracial population is, perhaps, the largest of the hard-to-count groups by virtue of the fact that few care if we are counted as multiracial except us. In a recent webinar, census consultant Terri Ann Lowenthal was asked if people have to respond to every question, including race, when filling out their census form online. She answered that they do not. They can “hit submit and it will be accepted.” We would hate to see interracial families and multiracial individuals skip the race question. We need your help to ensure that this does not happen.

This is a time of suspicion, particularly between minorities and government. We can only get past that for the 2020 Census by showing trust. Project RACE has proven that we are a trusted entity for the multiracial population, but this committee, the bureau, and government need to show us that we can trust you. We are open to working with you to ensure that there is not an undercount of the multiracial community. We sincerely hope that you are finally ready to say the same. Thank you.

Susan Graham

President

Project RACE

Website: projectrace.com

Email: susangraham@projectrace.com

New York Times Q & A

This “The Ethicist” column appeared in the Sunday New York Times.

My mother is from Central America. She came to the United States for college and met my American father. I am, therefore, 50 percent Latino genetically, but I don’t identify as Latino. There were (to my regret) no Central American influences in my upbringing — no Spanish language, no Latino relatives, no foods from “the old country.” There was also no discrimination directed at me or my mother (we look “white”). Is it ethical to identify as Latino in social situations and on the census? Name Withheld

Our ethnic and racial categories drape loosely around the realities of our complex lives. I am the son of an English woman and a Ghanaian man. I am an American citizen. Am I a black American? African-American? Anglo-American? Anglo-African? “Latino” is a word that hovers uneasily between a category defined by culture and one defined by descent. The latter conception makes you Latino. The former doesn’t quite. There’s also a notion that ethnicity should be defined by your own sense of identity — by whether you think of yourself as Latino. But whether you think of yourself as Latino is shaped by ideas about culture and descent. There isn’t a single correct view about that. Still, here’s a solution: In cases in which you don’t have the time or space to explain your situation, probably the least confusing thing to say to people in the United States is that your mother is Latina. (As far as forms go, if they permit you to check two boxes, I’d do that. If they don’t, I don’t believe it matters much what you do.)

Thank you, Alabama!

This is very interesting, considering that the Governor of ALABAMA has joined us by issuing a proclamation for the state to celebrate Multiracial Heritage Week! -Susan

Census shows Alabama growing older, producing fewer babies

Alabama is growing slightly more diverse, while also producing fewer babies, according to a U.S. Census report released this week.

The new figures on age and race within states and counties show that half of Alabamians were older than 37.9 years of age in 2010. That median — or middle mark — is now up to 38.6-years-old as of 2014.

That’s because Alabama saw about 10,000 fewer young children from 2010 to 2014. The Census shows 305,000 children under the age of 5 in 2010. That was down to 295,000 in 2014.

The new report is broken down by race, and the decline can be seen across racial and ethnic groups. White and black, Hispanic and Native American, all saw fewer young children in Alabama in 2014.

There was a slight increase in recent births among the state’s small Asian population. But the only category to see any sizable growth among the youngest members were those reporting as “two or more races.”

That was the fastest growing category for race or ethnicity from 2010 to 2014, climbing from 64,000 Alabamians in 2010 to 75,000 in 2014. Nationwide, about 2.5 percent of Americans now answer as “two or more races.”

Meanwhile, Alabama has seen a steady year-over-year rise in the number of residents over the age of 65. For instance, Alabama had about 77,700 residents over the age of 85 in 2010. That had climbed each year to reach 83,600 residents over 85 in 2014.

The Census report this week shows Maine with the highest median age at 44.2 and Utah as the most youthful state with a median age of 30.5.

Within Alabama, the new numbers on race and ethnicity show that Pickens County saw the largest jump in Hispanic population, climbing 170 percent since 2010. But that’s still fewer than 1,000 residents in the small county.  Most counties saw more modest gains.

Only Barbour, Tallapoosa, Montgomery, Jefferson and Chilton saw a drop in the Hispanic population since 2010. Jefferson County, home to the state’s largest Hispanic population, dropped about 3 percent from about 25,500 Hispanic residents to just under 24,900 in 2014.

Mobile County has the largest Native American population at about 4,000 residents. Jefferson has the state’s largest Asian population at 10,500 residents, followed by Madison County at 9,000.

There were slight changes in terms of white and black demographics.

Macon and Greene counties continue to have the highest percentage of black residents at just over 80 percent, while Winston and Cullman in north Alabama continue to have the highest percentage of white residents at just over 96 percent.

However, all four counties had grown slightly more diverse in the last four years. For instance, Macon County went from 83 to 81 percent black as the county shrank. Winston went from 97 to 96 percent white as the small black population doubled.

The Census released overall population estimates for states, counties, metro areas and cities earlier this year.

Alabama in 2014 had 4.85 million residents. The new report shows about 70 percent are white, 27 percent are black, nearly 2 percent are “two or more” races and 1 percent are Asian. Here’s the racial breakdown and median age for the state’s four most populous counties.

White Black Native American Asian Two or more Median age
Jefferson 54.0% 42.9% 0.3% 1.6% 1.1% 37.5
Madison 60.1% 35.3% 1.0% 2.0% 1.5% 38.3
Mobile 69.4% 24.6% 0.8% 2.6% 2.5% 37.2
Montgomery 38.9% 56.7% 0.3% 2.6% 1.3% 35.6

Updated at 9:45 a.m. on June 28, 2015: Readers have requested data for Hispanic residents. The Census separates race and Hispanic origin. Residents are asked to identify as white and Hispanic, or white and non-Hispanic, black and Hispanic, black and non-Hispanic, etc.

Overall 4.1 percent of Alabamians in 2014 identified as Hispanic, up from 3.8 percent in 2010. Here are the five counties with the largest Hispanic population. Each sits in North Alabama and each is home to the state’s massive chicken industry.

County Total Hispanic Hispanic %
Franklin 31601 5078 16%
DeKalb 71065 10096 14%
Marshall 94636 12254 13%
Blount 57719 5042 9%
Morgan 119607 9496 8%

Medical Monday

Molecular Testing for Cancer Therapy Varies Based on Ethnicity

 

TAKE-HOME MESSAGE

ABSTRACT


I Apologize for Nothing

Why I’ll Never Apologize for My White Male Privilege

Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege

Behind every success, large or small, there is a story, and it isn’t always told by sex or skin color.

There is a phrase that floats around college campuses, Princeton being no exception, that threatens to strike down opinions without regard for their merits, but rather solely on the basis of the person that voiced them. “Check your privilege,” the saying goes, and I have been reprimanded by it several times this year. The phrase, handed down by my moral superiors, descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone, and aims laser-like at my pinkish-peach complexion, my maleness, and the nerve I displayed in offering an opinion rooted in a personal Weltanschauung. “Check your privilege,” they tell me in a command that teeters between an imposition to actually explore how I got where I am, and a reminder that I ought to feel personally apologetic because white males seem to pull most of the strings in the world.

I do not accuse those who “check” me and my perspective of overt racism, although the phrase, which assumes that simply because I belong to a certain ethnic group I should be judged collectively with it, toes that line. But I do condemn them for diminishing everything I have personally accomplished, all the hard work I have done in my life, and for ascribing all the fruit I reap not to the seeds I sow but to some invisible patron saint of white maleness who places it out for me before I even arrive. Furthermore, I condemn them for casting the equal protection clause, indeed the very idea of a meritocracy, as a myth, and for declaring that we are all governed by invisible forces (some would call them “stigmas” or “societal norms”), that our nation runs on racist and sexist conspiracies. Forget “you didn’t build that;” check your privilege and realize that nothing you have accomplished is real.

But they can’t be telling me that everything I’ve done with my life can be credited to the racist patriarchy holding my hand throughout my years of education and eventually guiding me into Princeton. Even that is too extreme. So to find out what they are saying, I decided to take their advice. I actually went and checked the origins of my privileged existence, to empathize with those whose underdog stories I can’t possibly comprehend. I have unearthed some examples of the privilege with which my family was blessed, and now I think I better understand those who assure me that skin color allowed my family and I to flourish today.

Perhaps it’s the privilege my grandfather and his brother had to flee their home as teenagers when the Nazis invaded Poland, leaving their mother and five younger siblings behind, running and running until they reached a Displaced Persons camp in Siberia, where they would do years of hard labor in the bitter cold until World War II ended. Maybe it was the privilege my grandfather had of taking on the local Rabbi’s work in that DP camp, telling him that the spiritual leader shouldn’t do hard work, but should save his energy to pass Jewish tradition along to those who might survive. Perhaps it was the privilege my great-grandmother and those five great-aunts and uncles I never knew had of being shot into an open grave outside their hometown. Maybe that’s my privilege.

Or maybe it’s the privilege my grandmother had of spending weeks upon weeks on a death march through Polish forests in subzero temperatures, one of just a handful to survive, only to be put in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where she would have died but for the Allied forces who liberated her and helped her regain her health when her weight dwindled to barely 80 pounds.

Perhaps my privilege is that those two resilient individuals came to America with no money and no English, obtained citizenship, learned the language and met each other; that my grandfather started a humble wicker basket business with nothing but long hours, an idea, and an iron will—to paraphrase the man I never met: “I escaped Hitler. Some business troubles are going to ruin me?” Maybe my privilege is that they worked hard enough to raise four children, and to send them to Jewish day school and eventually City College.

Perhaps it was my privilege that my own father worked hard enough in City College to earn a spot at a top graduate school, got a good job, and for 25 years got up well before the crack of dawn, sacrificing precious time he wanted to spend with those he valued most—his wife and kids—to earn that living. I can say with certainty there was no legacy involved in any of his accomplishments. The wicker business just isn’t that influential. Now would you say that we’ve been really privileged? That our success has been gift-wrapped?

That’s the problem with calling someone out for the “privilege” which you assume has defined their narrative. You don’t know what their struggles have been, what they may have gone through to be where they are. Assuming they’ve benefitted from “power systems” or other conspiratorial imaginary institutions denies them credit for all they’ve done, things of which you may not even conceive. You don’t know whose father died defending your freedom. You don’t know whose mother escaped oppression. You don’t know who conquered their demons, or may still conquering them now.

The truth is, though, that I have been exceptionally privileged in my life, albeit not in the way any detractors would have it.
It has been my distinct privilege that my grandparents came to America. First, that there was a place at all that would take them from the ruins of Europe. And second, that such a place was one where they could legally enter, learn the language, and acclimate to a society that ultimately allowed them to flourish.

It was their privilege to come to a country that grants equal protection under the law to its citizens, that cares not about religion or race, but the content of your character.

It was my privilege that my grandfather was blessed with resolve and an entrepreneurial spirit, and that he was lucky enough to come to the place where he could realize the dream of giving his children a better life than he had.

But far more important for me than his attributes was the legacy he sought to pass along, which forms the basis of what detractors call my “privilege,” but which actually should be praised as one of altruism and self-sacrifice. Those who came before us suffered for the sake of giving us a better life. When we similarly sacrifice for our descendents by caring for the planet, it’s called “environmentalism,” and is applauded. But when we do it by passing along property and a set of values, it’s called “privilege.” (And when we do it by raising questions about our crippling national debt, we’re called Tea Party radicals.) Such sacrifice of any form shouldn’t be scorned, but admired.

My exploration did yield some results. I recognize that it was my parents’ privilege and now my own that there is such a thing as an American dream which is attainable even for a penniless Jewish immigrant.

I am privileged that values like faith and education were passed along to me. My grandparents played an active role in my parents’ education, and some of my earliest memories included learning the Hebrew alphabet with my Dad. It’s been made clear to me that education begins in the home, and the importance of parents’ involvement with their kids’ education—from mathematics to morality—cannot be overstated. It’s not a matter of white or black, male or female or any other division which we seek, but a matter of the values we pass along, the legacy we leave, that perpetuates “privilege.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Behind every success, large or small, there is a story, and it isn’t always told by sex or skin color. My appearance certainly doesn’t tell the whole story, and to assume that it does and that I should apologize for it is insulting. While I haven’t done everything for myself up to this point in my life, someone sacrificed themselves so that I can lead a better life. But that is a legacy I am proud of.

I have checked my privilege. And I apologize for nothing.

Tal Fortgang is a freshman from New Rochelle, NY. He plans to major in either History or Politics. He can be reached at talf@princeton.edu. This piece originally appeared on The Princeton Tory.

Source: Time

Photo: Princeton University campus in New Jersey.© Eduardo Munoz—Reuters

Medical Monday

Ethnic Differences in Stem Cell Transplants May Be Narrowing


NEW ORLEANS (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – The gap appears to be narrowing between white European patients and European patients of other ethnicities regarding times to stem cell transplant and ability to find a matched donor, based on a study conducted in the United Kingdom.

In the study, non-white northern European patients were less likely than white northern European patients to have a fully-matched donor available. Transplant was ultimately achieved by 62% of white and 56% of nonwhite patients in a four-center study of 332 leukemia and lymphoma patients treated in the United Kingdom in concert with Anthony Nolan, the United Kingdom’s blood cancer charity and bone marrow register. Non-white patients comprised 25% of the patient population, Dr. Robert Lown reported during a press conference held at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

“The use of cord blood and haploidentical transplants is ‘leveling the playing field’ for non-white patients seeking transplants other than with an HLA-identical sibling,” said Dr. Lown of the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, and of Anthony Nolan.

Just 20% of non-white patients in the study had a fully-matched donor available, while 69% of white northern European patients did. A suitable donor was identified, however, for 96% of the white European patients and 61% of patients of other ethnicities. Ultimately, transplant was achieved by 62% of white and 56% of other ethnicity patients. Average time to transplant was 110 days for white patients and 132 days for patients of other ethnicities, he said.

The results reflect improvements since a Dutch study of patients treated from 1996-2000 found that 32% of nonwhite and 59% of white northern Europeans achieved transplants. Typically, those patients who could not find a donor were either not transplanted or used less suitable donors, an option associated with more complications and poorer prognosis, he said.

The number of donors listed in registries has expanded, and new sources of stem cells, like cord blood and haploidentical transplantation, are available, Dr. Lown said. Few studies before this one have examined how these changes have affected the ability of transplant centers to get patients to transplant.

The trial results may not reflect general clinical experience, however, Dr. Lown said. Anthony Nolan uses an expert graft identification and advisory service to optimize donor selection and determine which patients are unlikely to find suitable donors. This practice allows timely use of cord blood and haploidentical transplants, Dr. Lown said.

The Anthony Nolan Research Institute sponsored the study. Dr. Lown did not disclose any financial conflicts of interest.

 

Source: Practice Update


 

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