By Katie Stanton
Social Media & Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA
Our top five stories this week all have a common theme: understanding. From getting the facts about economic inequality to thinking about how we describe events like rape and trauma, we hope the stories below will both teach you something new and inspire you to share that knowledge with your peers.
Top Five on Friday
1. In a story that was shared quite a bit last week, the Associated Press released exclusive survey data that demonstrated an increasingly globalized economy, a wider gap between the rich and poor, and results of the loss of well-paying manufacturing jobs. It is also worth noting that many of the biggest disparities in education, life expectancy and poverty are due increasingly to economic class position.
Exclusive: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work, by Hope Yen, Associated Press
“As nonwhites approach a numerical majority in the U.S., one question is how public programs to lift the disadvantaged should be best focused — on the affirmative action that historically has tried to eliminate the racial barriers seen as the major impediment to economic equality, or simply on improving socioeconomic status for all, regardless of race.”
2. Research on the effects of poverty on human health has shed a different light on racial differences in longevity. A 2012 study from Princeton showed that socioeconomic factors, not genetics, account for most of the life expectancy difference between whites and African-Americans in the U.S., with the greatest contributor being income.
Status and Stress, by Moises Velasquez-Manoff, The New York Times
“The British epidemiologist Michael Marmot calls the phenomenon ‘status syndrome.’ He’s studied British civil servants who work in a rigid hierarchy for decades, and found that accounting for the usual suspects — smoking, diet and access to health care — won’t completely abolish the effect. There’s a direct relationship among health, well-being and one’s place in the greater scheme. ‘The higher you are in the social hierarchy,’ he says, ‘the better your health.'”
3. This week, we discovered a cool interactive tool from the Economic Policy Institute, which made understanding the reasons behind economic inequality easier than ever. And, as if that weren’t enough, there’s something we can do about this kind of inequality — check out the tool below to find out!
Inequality.is, by the Economic Policy Institute
“If it were up to you, how would you split up the income between the top 10% and the other 90%?”
4. As advocates who are constantly working to prevent rape, assault, violence and trauma, and to protect and empower survivors, we must always be vigilant about language. It is easy to use words that deflect, distract or mask the reality of horrific events, and we’re witnessing this right now in the media.
Winning the Language War, Defeating ‘Military Sexual Trauma’, by Joshua Kors, The Nation
“By using language that masks these violent crimes, the Pentagon can prevent the public from realizing what’s happening to our soldiers and short-circuit any outrage long before it becomes a public relations nightmare.
Which is precisely the purpose of ‘MST.’ There is, after all, no legitimate need for ‘Military Sexual Trauma.’ The euphemism covers a range of crimes we already have words for: rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. As director Dick showed in his documentary, the label Military Sexual Trauma does more than obfuscate the truth. It also pushes civilian police to leave rape cases in the military’s hands. The result: Thousands of violent criminals who would be serving years in prison if they committed their crimes at the local bar end up going scot-free for raping their victims two miles down the road, inside the military base.”
5. Finally, you may think that you understand what it’s like for the underprivileged, but articles like these help us open our eyes to the reality of living under the poverty line.
‘I’m working as hard as I can’: For the poor, the costs of life can be higher, by Hannah Rappleye, NBC News
“‘If you own a home, plus childcare, plus commuting costs you can be well above poverty and still not be able to make ends meet,’ said Professor Scott Allard, an expert in poverty and the social safety net at University of Chicago. ‘You’re not doing anything wrong. You’re playing by the rules but you’re not making it.'”
If you have a story that needs to be shared, let us know! Leave a link in the comments or send us a Tweet at @YWCAUSA.
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