Commentary

Do Uber and Lyft merely provide an app, or a driver? For consumers, ordering car service — or lately, house cleaning, lunch delivery or dry-cleaning pickup — can be as simple as touching an icon on a smartphone. But when the people who actually do the work show up, are they merely independent contractors matched to consumers by a software company, or are they employees?

Forty-seven years after the Poor People’s Campaign ended, political discussion in liberal activist circles has bifurcated in unnecessary ways. There are separate economic and racial justice movements, and as my Salon colleague Joan Walsh points out, political leaders too often speak to only one or the other. But these movements are different facets of one fight; if black lives matter, surely their economic lives matter too.

Jeff Jacoby ends his June 29 op-ed column “Cochran’s voting-rights victory” by asserting that black citizens’ right to vote “is no longer endangered anywhere in America.” What America is he talking about?

Voting matters. Though many Americans believe that voting is either useless or merely a civic duty, in reality it carries huge consequences for the decisions of politicians.

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Hillary Clinton told supporters on Thursday that if elected she will appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Citizens United, according to a Washington Post report. This is good news for our democracy—but the Court’s role in helping wealthy interests dominate politics goes far deeper than one bad case. 

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson vowed that no student wishing to attend college would "be turned away because his family is poor."
 
Half a century later, a shift in the way college is funded and the declining fortunes of minorities and poor families since the recession have created a college-debt system that the left-leaning think tank Demos calls "deeply biased along class and racial lines."
 
Because college is increasingly financed by debt taken on by students, it's creating a system that's impacting differen
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The nation’s yawning wealth gap is a major reason why minority students end up borrowing more for college. Structural racism has created disparities in home ownership rates, income and other wealth-building vehicles, providing minority borrowers with fewer resources to tap to pay for college, on average.

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If only it were as easy as "leaning in." Unfortunately, for most American women, cracking the glass ceiling on the way to the executive suite is as relevant to their lives as a fairy tale. Instead, they face challenges much more fundamental, such as earning a living wage, providing for their children, and, if there's anything left over, trying to save for retirement.

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Black culture and the role racism plays in black American history are discussed at length in the national dialogue around race relations. We regularly debate use of the “n-word,” for example, and the impact of historical racism on outcomes for black Americans.

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