In the minutes before I drifted off to sleep, I’d think about all the things we’d done together — moving to Buffalo, getting married, buying a house. I’d think about our wedding reception, which we held in a tent in our backyard, with Indian food and submarine sandwiches and beer pumped out of a keg. My friends tried to console me: It will get better, they said. But for me, in the months ahead, it only got worse.
A good first step is to find or create an occasional place of refuge where you can escape the electronic grid that surrounds us. It’s a place without phones or computers — without monitoring of any kind. Stepping back from the grid is especially important if you have small children. They need to discover the possibilities created by their own imaginations. I realize that switching off one’s Twitter feed is highly difficult for some people. But walking alone down a forest path, smelling the wet earth, and watching branches sway in the wind is actually the first step in your act of resistance. You can’t truly hear your own voice until the shouting around you disappears. New ideas and possibilities — our own ideas, our own possibilities — will occur only when we step away from the Virtual Panopticon.
There are numerous factors that help explain why blacks have lower levels of upward mobility, but a surprisingly unpersuasive one is family structure. Conservatives like to tout the research of Raj Chetty and others who find that, “The fraction of children living in single-parent households is the single strongest correlate of upward income mobility among all the variables we explored.” But this observation comes with a caveat — children in two-parent households fare worse in areas with large numbers of single parents. There is reason to believe the causation is reversed. Rather than single-parent households causing low upward mobility, low upward mobility and rampant poverty lead to single-parenthood.
Over the past 30 years, college tuition increased by roughly 1,120 percent and the gap between high- and low-income kids with access to it has widened – from 31 percent to 45 percent. With college students’ biggest worry being their student loan debt, one would think that affordability would factor into U.S. News and World Report’s ranking formula. You would be wrong. Not only are they not considered, but often the ranking methods actually encourage higher college spending in other, less needed areas.