We Are Not Fooled: Californians See Through Big Oil’s Tired Playbook

We Are Not Fooled: Californians See Through Big Oil’s Tired Playbook

Last week my colleagues Miya Yoshitani and Bill Gallegos penned a column that highlights a disturbing yet all too familiar tactic that is being employed by polluters in California – Astroturfing.  This term refers to industry groups, in this case the Western States Petroleum Association and the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, spending millions of dollars to fund front groups in an attempt at deceiving the public with their “sky is falling” messaging.  In public, they claim to want to see AB32 – California’s landmark climate change and clean energy law – succeed, but privately oil companies spent over $10 million in 2012 lobbying to delay and weaken California’s clean…
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Punching at Straw Men on Diversity

Punching at Straw Men on Diversity

A common debating trick is to not attack what your opponent actually says, but instead take aim at a distorted, phony version of it that’s easier to knock down. It’s what’s called a straw man argument, a technique that columnist Victor Davis Hanson shows he knows well in his latest diatribe against diversity. Diversity, in Hanson’s view, is “just picking and choosing people without any rationale other than ensuring lots of different races and ethnic groups.” What nonsense. When Greenlining argues for diversity among bank regulators, for example, it’s not just about race and ethnicity, but also about background and experience, and it’s certainly not about blindly checking boxes for…
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Race, Place and the Life Expectancy Gap

Race, Place and the Life Expectancy Gap

A recent article in the Washington Post generated more than 4,000 reader comments online with a scary truth: U.S. life expectancies are getting longer, but almost exclusively for the rich. While author Michael A. Fletcher’s economic argument is valid, it left out two crucial factors:  place and race. Unfortunately, where you live and your race or ethnicity have a huge impact on your health. Gains (or the lack thereof) in life expectancy are highly correlated in the U.S. with the zip code we live in. Research consistently shows that our zip codes are one of the strongest predictors of our health. Essentially, place matters. The World Health Organization has already…
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What is it About Race that Makes People Crazy?

What is it About Race that Makes People Crazy?

On Monday, Greenlining Chief Operating Officer Preeti Vissa posted a piece on Huffington Post discussing the racial wealth gap — and a recent study from Brandeis University showing that this gap was largely created by government policies and thus will need to be fixed through better policies. For example, for decades, government agencies deliberately promoted housing segregation – effectively limiting families of color to less-desirable neighborhoods where they could build up less equity, putting them at a long-term disadvantage The reaction in the comments section has bordered on the hysterical – sometimes crossing over that border.  For example, though nothing in the piece advocated for new entitlements or welfare of…
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Comments Glitch is Fixed — Join the Conversation

Every new website has teething problems, and ours has been no exception. For a while, many users were getting an error message when they tried to post comments to this blog. Happily, that problem is now fixed. We apologize for any annoyance this caused, and invite you to join the discussion.
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Post-Racial Society? Yeah, Right.

Post-Racial Society? Yeah, Right.

For the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, this past week hasn’t treated us so well. First, this blog post that looks to promote the idea of “Asian privilege” and downplay the “model minority myth,” seems designed to pit communities of color against each other. Then, just earlier this week, Angry Asian Man posted another racist anti-Asian video that found its way onto YouTube.  I say another, because during my senior year at UCLA, I was in the midst of a hostile campus climate as a result of fellow student Alexandra Wallace, whose classic “ching-chong-ling-long-ting-tong” anti-Asian video confession caught national attention. To say the least, these recent events are problematic.…
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Huge Boost for Diverse Businesses

This week the California Public Utilities Commission announced that in 2012, the companies under its watch spent $8.1 billion with businesses owned by people of color, women, and service-disabled veterans.  Verizon, in its California business, did a whopping 50.44% of its business with diverse companies.  Even in an industry where we’re used to dealing in billions, this is a pretty big deal. This represents a huge influx of revenue to businesses owned by groups who are traditionally underrepresented in the marketplace.  These businesses are more likely to hire from their communities, which often creates vital jobs for those who need them the most.  But more long-term than that, businesses owned…
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Media Bias: the Sordid Truth

Media Bias: the Sordid Truth

Everyone talks about media bias. Conservatives regularly rail against “the liberal media,” while folks on the left complain that U.S. mass media are too corporate and pro-business. This is something I know a bit about, having been a reporter for a dozen years before I jumped the fence to nonprofit public relations in 2001. Both sides make some legitimate points, but both miss the big picture. In a world of shrinking attention spans matched by shrinking newsroom staffs and budgets, the news media do have a bias: They’re biased in favor of the familiar, the obvious, and the easy-to-get. Stories that require digging – ferreting out unfamiliar sources or doing…
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Progress in Washington, D.C.!

Progress in Washington, D.C.!

If it seems like all the news from our nation’s capital is about gridlock and dysfunction, we have some good news: In at least one corner of Washington, D.C. today, there was real progress and constructive dialogue. The occasion was Greenlining’s Opportunity Summit, which brought together leaders from government, business and academia to talk about how to bring greater diversity and responsiveness to both the financial industry and the government agencies that oversee it. By all accounts, it was a lively and productive discussion. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who wrote the language in Dodd-Frank financial reform law that created new Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion in the federal agencies…
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Did You Know? It’s National Consumer Protection Week!

Did You Know? It’s National Consumer Protection Week!

Yesterday marked the beginning of a national week of awareness to promote consumer protection and education. Sponsored by a host of federal, state, and local government agencies as well as a number of nonprofit organizations, National Consumer Protection Week seeks to get consumers engaged and informed about their rights, as a way to facilitate smart decision-making. On a personal note, I find the resources offered on different consumer topics to be particularly helpful. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for consumers to be informed about matters ranging from banking to credit to investing. In fact, I didn’t understand the need to build credit until my second year of…
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