In April, when the Louisiana State Senate voted to put cursive back into the public school curriculum, senators yelled “America!” in celebration, as though learning cursive were a patriotic act.
A month later, Alabama required the teaching of cursive in public schools by the end of third grade by way of “Lexi’s Law,” named for the granddaughter of the state representative Dickie Drake; Mr. Drake believes “cursive writing identifies you as much as your physical features do.” In other words, our script reveals something unique and ineluctable about our inner being.
For most of American history, cursive was supposed to do the opposite. Mastering it was dull, repetitive work, intended to make every student’s handwriting match a standardized model. In the mid-19th century, that model was Spencerian script. It was replaced by the Palmer Method, which was seen as a more muscular and masculine hand suitable for the industrial age — a “plain and rapid style,” as Austin Palmer described it, to replace the more effeminate Spencerian. Students who learned it were taught to become “writing machines,” holding their arms and shoulders in awkward poses for hours to get into shape for writing drills.
It was also believed that mastering the Palmer Method would make students better Christians, immigrants more assimilated Americans (through its “powerful hygienic effect”), “bad” children better (“the initial step in the reform of many a delinquent”) and workers more industrious (because the script had fewer curlicues and strokes than Spencerian).
Our 19th- and 20th-century counterparts grafted their values onto handwriting, just as we do with our conceptions of individualism, patriotism and the unique self. These are projections we make onto squiggles and loops.
We have seen similar debates over the meaning of handwriting during other moments of historic transition. In the early medieval era, monks were told to stop using a Roman-based script because it looked too pagan and to adopt a more Christian-looking one. In the 16th century, Erasmus wrote a dialogue in which characters writing in the Renaissance-infused Humanist script complain about the “barbarous” look of Gothic script which they deem less civilized. They also complain that women have messy, impatient handwriting. (Today, women are perceived as being naturally better at penmanship than men, largely because handwriting is now taught at a younger age, when the fine motor skills of girls are more developed.)
Cursive has no more to do with patriotism than Gothic script did with barbarism, or the Palmer Method with Christianity. Debates over handwriting reveal what a society prizes and fears; they are not really about the virtues or literacy levels of children.
Without Change, African-American and Latino Families Won’t
Match White Wealth for Centuries.
Racial and economic inequality are the most pressing social issues of our time. In the last decade, we have seen the catastrophic economic impact of the Great Recession and an ensuing recovery that has bypassed millions of Americans, especially households of color.
This period of economic turmoil has been punctuated by civil unrest throughout the country in the wake of a series of high-profile African-American deaths at the hands of police. These senseless and violent events have not only given rise to the Black Lives Matter movement, they have also sharpened the nation’s focus on the inequities and structural barriers facing households of color.
However, even when these economic inequities do get attention, the focus is often on a single facet of the issue: income. The new report Ever-Growing Gap, published by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Corporation for Enterprise Development, focuses instead on a related but distinct facet of the issue: the essential role that wealth plays in achieving financial security and opportunity. It examines our country’s growing racial wealth divide and the trajectory of that divide.
This growing wealth divide is no accident. It is the result of public policy designed to widen the economic chasm between white households and households of color and between the wealthy and everyone else. In the absence of significant reforms, the racial wealth divide—and overall wealth inequality—are on track to become even wider in the future.
Over the past 30 years the average wealth of white families has grown by 84%—1.2 times the rate of growth for the Latino population and three times the rate of growth for the black population. If that continues, the next three decades would see the average wealth of white households increase by over $18,000 per year, while Latino and Black households would see their respective wealth increase by only $2,250 and $750 per year.
Over the past 30 years, the wealth of the Forbes 400 richest Americans has grown by an average of 736%—10 times the rate of growth for the Latino population and 27 times the rate of growth for the black population. Today, the wealthiest 100 members of the Forbes list alone own about as much wealth as the entire African American population combined, while the wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the entire Latino population combined. If average Black households had enjoyed the same growth rate as the Forbes 400 over the past 30 years, they would have an extra $475,000 in wealth today. Latino households would have an extra $386,000.
By 2043—the year in which it is projected that people of color will make up a majority of the U.S. population— the wealth divide between white families and Latino and black families will have doubled, on average, from about $500,000 in 2013 to over $1 million.
If average black family wealth continues to grow at the same pace it has over the past three decades, it would take black families 228 years to amass the same amount of wealth white families have today. That’s just 17 years shorter than the 245-year span of slavery in this country. For the average Latino family, it would take 84 years to amass the same amount of wealth White families have today—that’s the year 2097.
Addressing this growing crisis:
Conduct an evidence-based, government-wide audit of federal policies to understand the role current policies play in perpetuating the racial wealth divide
Fix unfair, upside-down tax incentives to ensure households of color also receive support to build wealth
Address the distorting influence of concentrated wealth at the top through the expansion of existing progressive taxes and the exploration of a dedicated wealth tax
I feel like Jean-Luc Picard is a Space paladin, he's diplomatic and kind, but also understands some things require action, though I'd say he's sworn to an ideal rather then a god, thoughts?
Ideal, and reason, I would say. The good captain possesses a dignity rarely matched by beings he encounters that are centuries his senior. I’ll always remember his composure in the face of torture, and other evils. Paladin? Perhaps. Lawful good, certainly.
But I don’t really see it. Picard is fixed point, and the enterprise gravitates around his stability, but he lacks a certain fire I associate with Paladins. Only the Borg seemingly can draw that sort of fire out of him, and that comes across unhealthy more than anything else.
That might have more to do with my feelings towards certain attitudes expressed by federation culture that the captain exhibits as an ambassador of his people, than the man himself.
ok ok. theres this girl and ive had a few dreams abt her and shes so sweet and has soft brown hair w highlights and she has brown eyes, but i remember them being sorta green, she wears mix matched socks and she tap dances (SHE TAPPED TO CENTURIES IM DYING) and she was always joking around w me n teasing me playfully n god i am So far in for this girl n we have the same first name n my friends always joke abt whos gonna change last names n what a mess our wedding would be and. god shes so good.