When do we lose our parents?

Parental loss varies by race and socio-economic status.

when do we lose our parentsAs a Census geek and as someone has lost both parents, I was intrigued by a new report about “When do we lose our parents?” It’s called “Parental Mortality is Linked to a Variety of Socio-economic and Demographic Factors.” Here’s the underlying study, Exploring the Link between Socioeconomic Factors and Parental Mortality.

“People lose their fathers earlier in life than their mothers, and the timing of parental loss is linked to factors such as race, educational attainment and poverty status.

“For the first time, the 2014 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) included a series of questions asking respondents whether their parents were still alive.” As you may know, my father died in 2000, my mother in 2011, so my experience is more common.

“For example, among those ages 45 to 49, 26% have lost their mother, while 45% have lost their father. Along these same lines, 7 in 10 of those ages 60 to 64 have a deceased mother, while about 87% have lost their father.” I was 47 when my dad died, 58 when mom passed.

“Among adults ages 25 to 34, about 15% of the white population and Asian population have lost one or both parents. By contrast, about 17% of the Hispanic population and 24% of the black population have experienced the death of a parent.” Fortunately, I am not in this group, but I know many folks who are.

“Among those ages 35 to 44, 43% of those living below the Federal Poverty Level have lost one or both parents, compared to 28% for those living in households with an income-to-poverty ratio of at least 400% of the FPL.

“Parental loss, which varies by race and socio-economic status, is often accompanied by psychological and material consequences. These statistics demonstrate the way these new SIPP data can help assess how socio-economic and demographic characteristics are associated with parental mortality in the United States.”

I suppose this is a bummer of a Mother’s Day post. But my mom always tried to do the right thing by others. My father spent his life addressing inequities. Somehow I don’t think they’d mind.

Should we classify Americans based on race?

Since a 1997 OMB mandate, the ability to choose more than one race on Census and other forms has been available.

A recent Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education (IHARE) article has the provocative title What Race is Meghan Markle? What about Sally Hemmings?

The author, Peter Feinman, notes that “developments in naming black people have been… convoluted.” And not just in the United States – Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela all have similar issues.

“Sally Hemmings was 75% white and 25% black. She had a white father and a biracial mother. She had three white grandparents and six white great-grandparents. These numbers are important because Virginia in the 18th century did not adhere to the one-drop rule. Instead it had the 7/8 or 87.5% rule. That means if seven of your eight great-grandparents were white then you were white legally. Sally Hemmings at six great-grandparents fell short of this standard. However, if she and Thomas Jefferson or any Jefferson had a child, then that child legally would be white… at least under the 18th tury standards. Times would change.”

Of course, white Americans have their own racial confusion, especially after the onslaught of DNA testing. See They Considered Themselves White, But DNA Tests Told a More Complex Story (Washington Post, 2/6/18).

In the US, the term “Asian” is historically inaccurate. About the only people from the continent of Asia who AREN’T considered Asian are the folks from Afghanistan and westward, the very lands conquered by Alexander the Great and dubbed Asia.

Peter Feinman suggests the answer to the title question is Yes. “We know we are going to do it so why pretend otherwise. With DNA testing the answers will become even more precise… Given that we are going to classify people based on race other than human, what races should we use?… We need to do a better job classifying people and we need to do it before the 2020 census confuses the issue even more.”

Well, that conversation, I believe, is already evolving. Since a 1997 OMB mandate, the ability to choose more than one race on Census and other forms has been available. On the 2000 census, 2.4% of people selected two or more races. By 2010, it was up to 2.9%. I will be very interested to see what the 2020 data will show, but given the increase in “mixed” marriages, I suspect the number will be well above 4%. What that will mean societally, I don’t know.

Economic Census, Women’s March, football

Some think NFL ratings are down because of players taking of a knee during the national anthem.

A few items that might not generate a whole post:

I went to New York City on January 16 to visit our center at Pace University. The librarians are divvying up the state to find out how we can serve them better. After that, the center director, Andrew. and I met with some folks from the Census Bureau, led by Andy.

Andy and his colleagues were touting the 2017 Economic Census, which will take place electronically in May 2018. This allows them to generate data that help businesses to make decisions on location, demographic trends and the like.

I was REALLY happy I didn’t go down the following day, because it snowed, not just in Albany, but in NYC. Snow in NYC makes travel dreadful.
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A bunch of folks met at my church to walk down to the Women’s March in Albany on January 20. Some guy commenting on my Times Union blog said there wouldn’t be 10 people at the event. I replied that there would be more than that going just from my church, and that was true.

I’m lousy at crowd size guesstimation, but I heard everything from three to six thousand. In any case, there were so many there, good friends of mine who were present I simply did not see. But there they were all over Facebook.

I did not know that nearly 60 protesters from the J20 anti-Trump march in DC last year are still subject to prosecution, though 129 indictments were dropped.
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I tend to watch football only in the last couple weeks of the season and into the playoffs. The first weekend I saw one game, and watched summaries of the three others online. The next weekend, I saw parts of games. But I recorded the last two games and watched them later. The trick, of course, is NOT to watch live TV, check email or social media. Ignorance in this process IS bliss.

There’s been reports that NFL viewing is down. Some think it’s because of players taking of a knee during the national anthem. Others believe it’s that, with the increased reporting of brain damage from CTE, people are less likely to watch it.

I think it is that the official reviews of every touchdown, almost every play in the last two minutes of each half, plus the coaches’ challenges take FOREVER. Still another reason for watching on tape delay. well, not TAPE…

Go, Philadelphia Eagles!

November rambling #3: The American In Me

A time-honored American political tradition: disavowing racism while promising to enact a broad agenda of discrimination

Australia cut off food and water at an offshore detention camp; asylum seekers there more determined than ever to find freedom

Meet the Teenagers Who Started a Film Production Studio in Their Refugee Camp

Where Brexit Hurts: The Nurses and Doctors Leaving London

From the November 26 lectionary: Matthew 25:44-45 (NIV): They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

When Unpaid Student Loan Bills Mean You Can No Longer Work

The recent tide of apologies by famous men have been ‘awful’

Right-wing troll James O’Keefe fails badly at baiting Washington Post with rape lie

Fear of a Black Princess: Britain’s Royal Racial Problem

Bringing an XX perspective to an XY world of movies

What Latino Film Critics Are Saying About Pixar’s ‘Coco’

I’ve seen a variation of this more than once on Facebook: “If we’re being technical here, Charles Manson isn’t actually a serial killer and never killed anyone that we know of.” I think this is pedantic; encouraging others to kill made him legally culpable

How evidence once thought destroyed helped free a man after 39 years behind bars for murder he didn’t commit

NYT responds to readers’ accusations of normalizing a Nazi sympathizer

Fear of crackdown haunts daily life of undocumented immigrants

Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know Now and Without it in Portugal, mobile internet is bundled like a cable package

Thomas Brunell’s appointment “signals an effort by the administration to politicize” the decennial survey

Supporters backed a time-honored American political tradition, disavowing racism while promising to enact a broad agenda of discrimination

Supporter Says He’d Trust Trump Before Jesus Christ

He Now Says That Wasn’t Him on Access Hollywood Tape

Schroedinger’s Tax Hike

In the Land of Vendettas That Go On Forever

Why the rise of the robots won’t mean the end of work

NOW YOU CAN ENJOY GLUTEN FREE VERSIONS OF FAMOUS ART – As gluten-free options are on the rise in trendy circles, someone had the bright idea to go back into classical art and make it gluten-free too

David Brickman’s Italy photos

#Marie Severin is a Comic-Con Icon Award Recipient

#The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour at 50: The Rise and Fall of a Groundbreaking Variety Show

a few thoughts on bathroom signage

This New York Times Website Comment Is the Single Best Comment of the Year

These Aren’t the Tootsie Rolls You’re Looking For

Lessons from the Worst Food Hack of 2017

The strategically planned implosion of the Georgia Dome, captured by The Weather Channel

MUSIC

The Passenger (Randall Thompson) – Chris Trombley, baritone; Todd Sisley, piano

Simple Gifts (excerpt) – Aaron Copeland

Suite from JFK – John Williams

The American In Me – The Avengers

Abraham, Martin and John – Dion

In My Life – Jose Feliciano and Jools Holland

Obsession – OK Go

R. Stevie Moore

Hero and Leander by Victor Herbert

The True History Of The Traveling Wilburys

Neil Young Launching Online Music Archives December 1

Black with a capital B?

Between 1850 and 1920, the United States census classified those of African descent as black, negro, mulatto, quadroon or octoroon — depending on the visual assessment of the census taker.

Abraham Joshua Heschel walks with Martin Luther King Jr. on civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Courtesy of the American Jewish Archives
Abraham Joshua Heschel walks with Martin Luther King Jr. on civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Courtesy of the American Jewish Archives
Arthur the AmeriNZ sent me an article about the new Speaker of the Nevada state assembly, Ira Hansen, and notes: “This guy obviously endorses the current Republican meme about how the relationship of blacks and the Democratic Party is akin to that of master and slave. I’d love to see your take on that, um, interesting propaganda point.”

Specifically: “[Hansen] wrote that African-Americans are insufficiently grateful for being given their freedom: ‘The lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to.'”
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