Report: Food Chain Workers Impoverished

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In the report, “The Hands That Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain,”  the Food Chain Workers Alliance points to some alarming facts about the working conditions of food chain workers:

  1. 79% do not have a paid sick day or do not know that they have any paid sick days.
  2. 58% have no health coverage.
  3. 86% earn low, subminimum or poverty wages.
  4. 81% never receive a promotion.
  5. 51% receive no health or safety training from their employers.

To read the full report, click here.

“Where Children Sleep,” A New Book on Poverty and Class

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Dong, 9, shares a room with his sister and parents in Yunnan Provice, China.

James Mollison’s new book shows children’s bedrooms from across the globe and paints an intriguing mosaic of wealth, poverty, and class. Some of the photographs in the book can be seen at the The New York Times website. Click here for more.

More People in U.S. See Conflict Between the Rich and the Poor

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A Pew Research Center survey of 2,048 adults found that about two-thirds of the public (66%) believes there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor—an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009. In the past two years, the proportion of whites who say there are strong conflicts between the rich and the poor grew by 22 percentage points to 65%. That is more than triple the increase among blacks or Hispanics. The result is that the “perceptions gap” between blacks and whites on class conflict has been cut in half, while among Hispanics the difference has disappeared and may have reversed.

To read more, click here.

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth—A Documentary Film

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According to the Village Voice:

[The Pruitt-Igoe Myth] is the painstaking illustration of how racism, classism, and government serving the interests of big business all shaped the now-myth-like horrors of St. Louis’s notorious Pruitt-Igoe housing project.

To read more, click here.

Study: Culture to Blame for Racism, Sexism, Homophobia

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A study led by Paul Verhaeghen, a professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Psychology, found that facets of U.S. culture, such as literature, movies, television, radio and the internet, may contribute to the problem of racism, sexism and other “isms” by exhibiting the same stereotypes that society tries to snuff out. To read the story in Science Daily, click here.

Gross Medical Ethics Violations in 1940’s Syphilis Testing

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According to a White House bioethics panel, the U.S. government and experts at Harvard and other top medical schools approved venereal disease experiments on people in the 1940s, which led to the deliberate infection of Guatemalan prisoners and mental patients with syphilis. What is especially startling is the high level of approval that the experiments received. The Attorney General, Army and Navy medical officials, the president of the American Medical Association, the president of the National Academy of Sciences and experts from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Rochester gave approval. The experiments were a violation of the medical standards of today and of the time the experiments were carried out.

To read the article from the New York Times, click here.

Invisible People Blog

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This and other videos from the Invisible People blog give insights on the lives on homeless people across the U.S. and Canada.

Buoyed by Wall St. Protests, Rallies Sweep the Globe

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Protesters at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange

Protests expressing economic discontent are rising across the globe according to the New York Times. Despite the difference in language, landscape and scale, demonstrations in Europe, Asia, and the Americas were united in frustration with the widening gap between the rich and the poor. To read more, click here.

Poverty and Willpower: The Heavy Burden of Resisting Temptation When You’re Poor

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From the Guardian:

Nobody except the most out-of-touch billionaire needs telling that having less money means making painful sacrifices. But …(research)…suggests a bitter twist: that making those sacrifices makes you less capable of doing the things – saving money, say, or giving up a pricey smoking habit – that could lay the foundations of a life with fewer sacrifices.

To read more click here.

Film: “The End of Poverty?”

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The End of Poverty? asks why today 20% of the planet’s population uses 80% of its resources and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate? To reach the official website, click here.   

New Site on Wealth Inequality

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A new website,, aims to be your portal into all things online related to the income and wealth gaps that so divide us, in the United States and throughout the world. The site abounds with resources, statistics, and topics of interest on wealth inequality. Check out the site by clicking here.

Protesters in Berkely Challenge Anti-Sitting Laws

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Protesters Stage Sit-In to Challenge Anti-Sitting Initiative

Berkeley, California merchants are pushing for a law that would ban sitting on the sidewalk in shopping districts. But homeless advocates are challenging the initiative. To read more, click here.

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

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From the book:

All too often, the economics of poverty gets mistaken for poor economics: Because the poor possess very little, it is assumed that there is nothing interesting about their economic existence. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding severely undermines the fight against global poverty: Simple problems beget simple solutions. The field of anti-poverty policy is littered with the detritus of instant miracles that proved less than miraculous. To progress, we have to abandon the habit of reducing the poor to cartoon characters and take the time to really understand their lives, in all their complexity and richness. For the past fifteen years, we have tried to do just that.

To learn more about the book, click here.

“I Don’t Care If You’re Offended”

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In an article from his blog, Fineness & Accuracy, Scott Madin talks about the difference between saying something that is “offensive,” and saying something that harms others because of racism, sexism, homophobia, and the like. The article adds clarity to the “you’re-being-offensive-too” argument often made when people are rebuked for remarks that reinforce oppression. To read the article, click here.

Push(back) at the Intersections: How About Some -isms with Your Feminism?

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What do Mary Daly, Margaret Sanger, Nellie McClung, Martha Griffiths, Gloria Steinem, Geraldine Ferraro, Julie Bindel, Robin Morgan, Germaine Greer, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Janice Raymond, Sheila Jeffreys, and Beth Elliott have in common? According to s. e. smith, “All of these ‘leading lights’ of the feminist movement are contributors to a long and not very proud history of dragging -isms into the feminist movement.” To read smith’s article, click here.

The United States of Inequality

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Timothy Noah’s series on why the wealth gap has grown so dramatically points out that the usual suspects: race and gender are responsible for non of the wealth gap haunting the U.S.  But what factors are responsible, and why should you care?  The article from Slate Magazine gives intriguing answers. Click here to read more.

What Is Poverty?…How Bad Is it?

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More than one billion people live in extreme poverty. Despite this ongoing disaster, world poverty is often overlooked. The video from the tearfund offers an important reminder.

The Miniature Earth

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If the Earth had only 100 people, this is what it would be like. The haunting video is an important reminder about world poverty and interconnection. To read more about the Miniature Earth Project, click here.

Microaggressions Blog

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Microaggressions are brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities—whether intentional or unintentional—that communicate hostile attitudes, slights, or insults toward members of marginalized groups, including people of color, women, and members of the LGBTI community. The Microagressions blog collects and publishes reader-submitted descriptions of microaggressions and the impact the microaggressions had on the people who endured them.  Here are two examples:

Look at her. That’s no fair. Why do I have to walk? She’s taking advantage.

I’m a wheelchair user in a large museum. I felt like my struggles with accessibility were nothing and the young, able-bodied man who said this expected pity.

* * * * * * *

Excuse me, do you speak English?

—Man at the bus stop. I am an Asian American woman. I was reading Jane Austen. In English.

To read the many posts on the blog and perhaps to submit your own, click here.

Income Inequality in the U.S.

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Mother Jones offers eleven charts that show income disparity in the U.S. Click here to see the charts.

You’re broke! Can you make it through the month? Try PlaySpent to find out.


PlaySpent Opening Question

The online simulation, PlaySpent, helps people understand the challenges faced by those living in poverty. At the beginning of the simulation, you’re unemployed and have only $1,000 left in your bank account. You need to get a low wage job and attend to life’s necessities—food, shelter, childcare, medical fees. The simulation is a useful reminder of the difficulties encountered by the working poor, and is an especially good teaching tool. Go try PlaySpent yourself by clicking here.

Against Oppression Analogy

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The author of this article says, “The discourse of anti-discrimination reinforce a notion that all oppressions are similar. And while I may well agree that different types of oppression are equal, I think that analogising one to another stunts our knowledge of either.” To read more click here.

“Stereotype Threat:” Creating Poor Performance

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Stereotype threat refers to the risk of confirming a negative stereotype about one’s own group. Research shows that stereotype threat causes decreased performance and distancing from the stereotyped group. Click here to go to read more.

Eight Myths About Welfare

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This article inspires thoughtful reflection on societal perceptions of welfare and how those perceptions can be antagonistic to fact. The article contains many reference links for more reading, although some of the links are out of date. Get the article by clicking here.

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