Thursday Reading List: Pre-K Results in NYC, Diversifying the Equal Pay Coalition, and Tough Talk for White Activists

Christine Veiga of Chalkbeat looks at early results from New York City's expansion of pre-K:

The launch of Pre-K for All led to improved health outcomes for low-income children. That’s according to researchers at New York University who analyzed Medicaid data for New York City children who were eligible to enroll in free pre-K versus those who just missed the cutoff because of their age. In a report released this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research, using data from 2013 through 2016, researchers found that the children eligible for pre-K were more likely than their peers to be diagnosed with asthma or vision problems after the rollout of Pre-K for All. They were also more likely to have received immunizations or be screened for infectious diseases, both of which are requirements for enrolling in the city’s program.

Veiga points out that hearing and vision problems can have significant negative effects on academic performance; screening for these issues early is a great way to cultivate stronger schooling performance later in childhood.

Brittany Packnett is in New York, arguing that the fight for equal pay needs to be more expansive:

The most common statistic cited on Equal Pay Day is that women make 80 cents for every man’s dollar. But that’s not true. White women do. Black women make 65 cents. Latina women make 58 cents. And Asian-American, Pacific Islander, and Native women are often not even considered “statistically significant” enough to be calculated. And yet, the fight for equal pay seems most concerned with the women at the top of the pay scale. Every time we perpetuate the myth that all women simply need two more dimes per dollar to win, the message is sent to women of color that we are in the way — and could cause us to lose.

Packnett recounts the uneasy historical relationship between the respective fights for racial justice and women's rights. Contemporary activists often ignore, or outright deny, the lessons to be gleaned from that history. Hastening sweeping change requires the sustenance of a broad coalition, which can only be accomplished, in this case, by making the equal pay coalition more diverse and inclusive. That said, broadening the tent will require listening to the perspectives of a wider range of women, and shifting both strategy and tactics to incorporate those views.

Speaking of activism, DiDi Delgado, writing at Medium, offers a critique of White groups tackling racial justice:

I’ve never told anyone not to collaborate with white-led anti-racism groups. I’ve worked with many, and will probably continue to do so (assuming I don’t alienate them all). I do, however, insist that today’s white anti-racism initiatives stay in their lane, and do not co-opt POC movements or center themselves in any way. This work was being done long before them, and will continue long after they’ve grown tired of dabbling in the waters of thankless atonement. There are no perfect individuals or organizations, and I think SURJ and similar outlets need to acknowledge that from the onset. If they believe there’s a “right” way to perform whiteness within a white supremacy they’re sadly mistaken. You cannot be a member of an oppressive group without inflicting harm on those you oppress. The objective for allies should be to inflict as little harm as possible. And the way to do this is through accountability. But who are white-led anti-racism groups accountable to? And what does that accountability look like?

Delgado makes important points, all of which are good reminders to White people engaged in racial justice work. The point about accountability is critical; while many people who come from privileged backgrounds are biased towards "leadership," racial justice work requires those folks to become followers who are accountable to the communities seeking liberation.

Finally today, Alexandra Petri, writing in The Washington Post, satirizes the "let's track down disappointed Trump voters" genre of think pieces:

In the corner, under a picture of George Washington that is cracked and broken and stained with tobacco juice, lies Herm Slabornik. Herm is encased in a cryogenic tube which will be unplugged if Trump gets his way. According to a note on his cryotube, he knows what Trump said about unplugging tubes but he does not think Trump would unplug him personally. He will vote for Trump again in 2020, provided he is not unplugged. Also, he hates Obamacare.

Have a great day!