Reading List

The theme of today's reading list seems to be "racial disparities across sectors." There's a long article about desegregation efforts in Education Next. Steve Rivkin looks at a complicated series of reports and data:

[A 1987 study] used 16 years of data on enrollments and desegregation program status to study in detail the changes in white enrollment surrounding the implementation of 116 major desegregation plans between 1967 and 1985. Among other findings, they concluded that 1) white enrollment declined much more in the year of plan implementation than in subsequent years, and 2) pairing and clustering, the desegregation technique that involved the joining of schools with initially very different black and white enrollment shares into a single attendance zone, produced the largest average white-enrollment losses surrounding plan implementation in the period of greatest desegregation activity.

I am going to write a longer piece on the resurgence of excitement about school integration efforts. While most discussion about desegregation focuses on the technical details, and how current policy makers might design a better mousetrap, the real issue is behavior in the white community. There is no policy solution for "eradicating racism." Brittany Packnett fired off a series of tweets yesterday that make the point better than I can:

Go back and read her whole feed, as there's more. Unfortunately, education is far from the only sector in which public service provision is segregated. Vann Newkirk has a great piece in The Atlantic looking at segregation in the healthcare sector, even in an era of unprecedented reform:

Segregation is baked into the way people and institutions discuss health care at its most basic levels. Racial differences in almost every health outcome—from infant mortality to life expectancy––are obvious and pronounced, especially between white people and black people ... Although the ACA has undoubtedly succeeded at some of those metrics and is still being evaluated for some others, the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in NFIB v. Sebelius seriously weakened its most key provision. The broad Medicaid expansion to poor people was effectively turned into a state opt-in, and state decisions to expand Medicaid have so far been largely based on ideological grounds. Southern conservative governors and legislatures opposing the ACA on party lines or concerns about expanded federal authority and the costs of the program have formed most of the resistance to the ACA. And many of their states have large black populations. Seven of the ten states with the highest black populations chose not to expand Medicaid. Overall, more than half of the people who are now categorically unable to access any affordable health coverage are people of color. Thirty percent of people without affordable coverage options are black.

Lest you think segregated services and institutional racism are a feature of the public sector alone, the New York Times looks at how racism is infecting the sharing economy:

One message on the web forum asked neighbors to be on the lookout for “two young African Americans, slim, baggy pants, early 20s.” Another warned of a “light skinned black female” walking her dog and talking on her cellphone ... These postings appeared on the Oakland forums of, a website intended to be a virtual neighborhood hangout for the tens of thousands of neighborhoods and hundreds of local police departments that use it to communicate with residents ... as Nextdoor has grown, users have complained that it has become a magnet for racial profiling, leading African-American and Latino residents to be seen as suspects in their own neighborhood.

This profile reinforces a series of reports about racial profiling on AirBnB from last month, which spurned its own hashtag: #AirBnBWhileBlack.

Maureen Kelleher says that schools in Chicago and Illinois need more resources, while Motoko Rich worries that shady online schools may be hoarding them.

Finally, my "tip to other white people of the day": resist the urge to compare anyone to MLK, particularly an old white dude.