Politics, Moderate



Low-Income, 'First-Gen' College Students Benefit From an Extra Boost

CHICAGO -- Though we like to think of a college degree as an unqualified good, it isn't always. Maybe even especially not so for those who are seen to be the greatest beneficiaries of a socioeconomic-boosting credential: low-income young people.

Researchers from the University of Georgia's College of Family and Consumer Sciences analyzed a 13-...Read more

The Art of Persevering With Patience

CHICAGO -- Almost everyone has an old parental saw about patience. My husband tells our sons that, in his day, when you wanted to buy something that wasn't available at your local store, you had to order through the mail and it would take six to eight weeks for delivery.

Unfortunately, my parents' attempts to instill patience in me didn't take ...Read more

Having the Tough Talk About How We Wish to Die

CHICAGO -- There's no better time than now to talk about dying. And if the best-seller lists are any indication, it's a really hot topic these days.

You've got "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End" by Atul Gawande, "Gratitude" by Oliver Sacks and "When Breath Becomes Air" by Paul Kalanithi.

What these titles have in common is ...Read more

My Family's Boycott of a Favorite Cookie

CHICAGO -- My youngest son -- a picky eater who has only a handful of foods he's willing to consume, much less enjoy -- is the chief cookie consumer in our household, and his preferences are limited to Oreos and Chips Ahoys.

When I broke the news to him that our household was going to boycott Oreo cookies, his eyes bugged out in alarm. He asked...Read more

Don't Expect Less of Low-Income Minority Students and Their Families

CHICAGO -- We've heard for years that when it comes to African-Americans, Hispanics and low-income minority communities in general, expectations for academic achievement are low.

Indeed, the Center for American Progress found in 2014 that 10th-grade teachers thought that African-American students were 47 percent, and Hispanic students were 42 ...Read more

The Disappointing Benefit of 'Whitening' a Resume

CHICAGO -- If a person of color takes steps to "whiten" his or her resume when applying for a certain job, is it a savvy move of self-marketing? And how helpful is it to minorities when employers claim in a job posting to be pro-diversity?

In a recent paper, "Whitened Resumes: Race and Self-Presentation in the Labor Market," researchers from ...Read more

Revised Nutrition Labeling Isn't Enough to Improve Our Diets

CHICAGO -- The journal Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently published a policy brief about the latest federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans, introduced with this succinct observation: "Nutrition is a relatively young science and dispensing good nutritional advice to an entire population is not easy."

Understatement ...Read more

A Mother's Cry for More Compassion From the Police

CHICAGO -- When it comes to the epidemic of African-Americans dying at the hands of police, people who are asked to consider the issue often get stuck on whether or not the person in question had it coming.

What was he or she doing at the time? Running away? Resisting arrest? And if so, doesn't that prove that he or she was guilty of something?...Read more

A Deliciously Revolting Takedown of Our Internet-Obsessed Way of Life

CHICAGO -- Perhaps the popularity of zombies has arisen because many people are so sickened by the way we live today that they have become infatuated with the idea of its end.

"How long has it been since any of us really NEEDED something that we WANTED?" ask the back covers of Robert Kirkman's "The Walking Dead" graphic novels. "The world of ...Read more

The 'Monolithic Latino Voting Bloc' Myth is Cracking

CHICAGO -- I would like to personally thank Charlie Rose, the wonky, late-night talk show host, for saying these words on broadcast TV last week: "13 million Hispanics are expected to vote in the 2016 presidential election, but as we saw in Tuesday's primaries, they won't all say the same thing. Lumping Latinos into one monolithic voting bloc is...Read more

Cultivating Empathy is No Cure-All

CHICAGO -- Empathy, the ability to actively understand and share the feelings of others, is the hot new thing. As if each of us doesn't have enough discomfort in our lives, it's now incumbent on us to take on others' in order to make us better -- take your pick -- employees, CEOs, students or political candidates.

Much like the medical myth of ...Read more

Stop Treating Poor Whites as Drug-Addicted Mongrels

CHICAGO -- We live in a country where it's considered out of bounds to put down African-Americans and other ethnic and racial minorities, LGBTs, unlawfully present immigrants and many other special interest groups.

But, as has long been the case, poor white people are simply another story.

Derogatory names such as "redneck" and "hillbilly" ...Read more

A Trailblazing Latina Who Fell Short of Expectations

CHICAGO -- It must be just awful to be a "first" in a high-profile job. To have to live up to the high standards of people with only a second-hand understanding of your position, the circumstances under which you attempt to do it and the expectations of the group you represent.

You wouldn't wish that on your worst enemy, and you can imagine how...Read more

Trump's Carnival of Anger

CHICAGO -- Donald Trump, victim of the shutting down of free speech, after he had to cancel a Chicago rally over security concerns. Or should we say: Donald Trump, PR genius who garnered even more breathless headlines over the weekend than anyone could have expected?

Either way, all the people biting their knuckles about the coming waves of ...Read more

A Dream Come True for Low-Income Parents

CHICAGO -- Rebeca Nieland had the highest educational aspirations for her daughter and two sons. But what she heard from her peers in their low-income Phoenix neighborhood was disheartening: College is too expensive, unattainable -- you'd better get those kids ready to work.

This is the harsh reality for people like Rebeca and her husband ...Read more

Hispanics are Melting Into the Pot

CHICAGO -- Last month, my son brought home a note from the "Sociedad de Latinos" -- the Hispanic student organization at his high school -- asking if he'd like to attend an upcoming informational meeting.

He gave me the slip of paper and told me, in no uncertain terms, that he did not want to (and he did the air quotes thing with his fingers) "...Read more

Put the 'Rock Star' Teacher Myth to Rest

CHICAGO -- Last summer a Comedy Central spoof about the career moves of star educators went viral.

Two SportsCenter-like anchors did play-by-play on multimillion-dollar-salary offers for high-performing teachers and astronomical cash incentives for near-perfect test results, complete with screen crawls comparing competing school SAT scores on ...Read more

Where Are the Good Jobs For Those Without College Degrees?

CHICAGO -- In communities of color, it has been common knowledge that African-American and Hispanic students do not fare well when burdened with student debt.

We tend to think of this as affecting mostly low-income students. Yet, according to Marshall Steinbaum and Kavya Vaghul, researchers at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, it ...Read more

For 'Infinite Jest,' Believe the Hype

CHICAGO -- By sheer coincidence, I found myself deep into a second back-to-back reading of David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest" during the celebration of its 20th anniversary.

The irony being -- as you know if you've completed its 1,079 pages and 388 footnotes -- that this book, which is partially about an entertainment so entertaining that ...Read more

Hollywood's Diversity Problem is Not Just Black-and-White

CHICAGO -- The #OscarsSoWhite quasi-campaign to shame the Academy Awards for the lack of diversity in its top nominations has issues.

It, effectively, disses 62 percent of the U.S. population, which is not really the best way to argue for inclusion. Worse, it leaves out a specific call for better representation of all minorities in the ...Read more

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Steve Breen Darrin Bell Gary Varvel Steve Benson Lisa Benson Mike Luckovich