UrbaNERD: What You Missed While Kanye Was Talking

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Thomas Good, Metro Centric, Anthony Lanzilote, Pablo029, Atomische, DIana Robinson/Mayor's Office

Punishment discrimination against minority males has received a lot of national attention lately, as well it should. But that doesn’t mean that the issues facing black females are any less disturbing.

The African American Policy Forum and Columbia Law School have released a report that found black female students in NYC schools are punished 10 times more often than their white female peers. “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected” highlights an issue often overlooked. “The disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates for black girls reflect an overlooked crisis that affects not only their life chances, but also the well-being of their families, their communities, and society as a whole,” the report found.

The report’s detailed call to action includes suggestions that we, “Develop the public will to address the challenges facing black girls and other girls of color through elevating their experiences and engaging stakeholders to become actively involved in their welfare.”

Other news you may have missed this week whilst “respecting artistry”:

Subway germs are your friends: Last week came the announcement that a recent study shows the bubonic plague and all other diseases coat every inch of the subway system. However, the tiniest bit of further investigation has revealed that, in fact, the traces of these diseases are almost harmless and that a chemical found in hand sanitizers can actually be more detrimental to your health. It is unclear what effect Skittles, Famous Amos Cookies, or Welch’s Fruit Snacks (which are two for a dollar) have against either the plague or killer hand-sanitizer, but the important thing is I am selling them to do something positive and put some money in my pocket.

Fashion Week beats the Super Bowl: A sudden influx of tourists on the streets is never an exciting prospect for native city dwellers, but we might rethink our groans and sighs when we take a look at the numbers. New York’s two fashion weeks (one of which began on Wednesday and runs through February 19) reportedly earn the city an average of $887 million per year. So for the small portion of New Yorkers who feel that the fashion industry holds no value and clothes are a waste of concern, resist wishing the fashionistas away so quickly. A few click-clacking socialites on the sidewalk for eighth days might be worth a Super Bowl’s worth of revenue pumped into the city each year.

Millennials can’t win: Guess what, mom and dad? Twenty-five- to 30-year-olds living with their parents is not as uncommon as it used to be. Research and analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggests that higher youth employment rates can actually hurt the independence of recent graduates by shooting up housing costs, forcing more and more kids to stay nest-bound. Add this to the list of catch-22s facing young adults, along with unpaid internships you can’t afford to turn down, crushing college costs you’ve got to shoulder or else … and, of course, the fact that we’re all going to live to be 100 but have to work until we’re 99.

Tax reforms for suckers: It’s high time we, as a country, accept that some of our rules were made up by our great-great-great grandfathers who just didn’t get us. The tax system that we function under is outdated and based on an economic structure that differs widely from the one in which we work. Government officials throw around the phrase “tax reform” because it sounds like it has meaning. ‘Cept it doesn’t.

Langston Hughes knew the score: Harlem poet and activist Langston Hughes is being celebrated with the Tuesday release of The Selected Letters of Langston Hughes, edited by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel. Hughes’ letters spanned the length of his New York City life and explore his struggles with poverty and writing. One line that resonates: “I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.”