Sunday, December 21, 2014

Trenin on Ukraine


"You have a country that was essentially put together by the Soviets. You may count the history of Ukraine from the days of Kievan Rus', but the reality is that Ukraine that exists in its Soviet era borders, which are still the official borders of Ukraine recognized by the international community, are exactly the borders that were formed by people like Lenin and Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev."

--Vladimir Trenin,director of the Carnegie Moscow Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Moscow

The ethnic maps of America: "Note for a lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United"


dailymail.co

The ethnic maps of America: Researchers reveal where those with African American, Latino, and European American heritage are most likely to live
Researchers analyzed the genomes of more than 160,000 African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans

Scandinavian ancestry comprises about 10% of ancestry in European Americans in Minnesota and the Dakotas

African Americans in Georgia and South Carolina have the highest average percentage of African ancestry

Study used data from 23andMe, a Google-backed genetic testing firm
By MARK PRIGG FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 19:06 EST, 19 December 2014 | UPDATED: 12:46 EST, 20 December 2014

The United States has long been described as an ethnic melting pot - but researchers have created maps showing how the genetic ancestry of Americans changes from state to state.
The new Harvard study used data from 23andMe, a Google-backed genetic testing firm.
Researchers analyzed the genomes of more than 160,000 African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans, providing novel insights into the subtle differences in genetic ancestry across the United States.  
The map reveals where self identified white Americans with African ancestry are most likely to live
The map reveals where self identified white Americans with African ancestry are most likely to live

HOW THEY DID IT

Researchers analyzed DNA sequence variations called single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the genomes of 5,269 self-described African Americans, 8,663 Latinos, and 148,789 European Americans. 
These individuals actively participate in 23andMe research by submitting saliva samples, consenting for data to be used for research, and completing surveys. 
23andMe is a personal genomics company that provides direct-to-consumer genetic testing and services that include the analysis of DNA samples to generate ancestry-related genetic reports.
'Our study not only reveals the historical underpinnings of regional differences in genetic ancestry but also sheds light on the complex relationships between genetic ancestry and self-identified race and ethnicity,' said lead author Katarzyna Bryc of 23andMe and Harvard Medical School.
Over the past 500 years, North America has been the site of ongoing mixing of Native Americans, European settlers, and Africans. 
Although much of the world has been genetically characterized, the United States has received less attention from population geneticists because of its complex ancestry patterns. 
Moreover, the relationship between genetic ancestry and self-described racial and ethnic identities in each region of the United States has not been deeply characterized.
To address this gap in knowledge, Bryc and her collaborators analyzed DNA sequence variations called single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the genomes of 5,269 self-described African Americans, 8,663 Latinos, and 148,789 European Americans.  
The researchers found that regional ancestry differences reflect historical events such as waves of immigration. 
For example, Scandinavian ancestry is found in trace proportions in most states but comprises about 10% of ancestry in European Americans living in Minnesota and the Dakotas.
They also found that individuals identify roughly with the majority of their genetic ancestry, contrary to expectations under a social 'one-drop rule.'
Indeed, more than six million Americans who self-identify as European might carry African ancestry, and as many as five million self-described European Americans might have at least 1% Native American ancestry.
'These findings suggest that many individuals with partial African and Native American ancestry have 'passed' into the white community, thereby undermining the use of cultural labels that separate individuals into discrete, non-overlapping groups,' Bryc says. 
'Taken together, our results suggest that genetic ancestry can be leveraged to augment historical records and inform cultural processes shaping modern populations.' 
These individuals actively participate in 23andMe research by submitting saliva samples, consenting for data to be used for research, and completing surveys for the study, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, 
23andMe is a personal genomics company that provides direct-to-consumer genetic testing and services that include the analysis of DNA samples to generate ancestry-related genetic reports.
The second map reveals the mean proportion of African Americans Across the Us. African Americans in Georgia and South Carolina have the highest average percentage of African ancestry of African Americans in the US.
The second map reveals the mean proportion of African Americans Across the Us. African Americans in Georgia and South Carolina have the highest average percentage of African ancestry of African Americans in the US.
Among her findings were that about 3.5 percent of self-identified European Americans have at least 1 percent or more African Ancestry. 
It's likely that many of these Americans, who describe themselves as white, may be unaware of their African ancestry, which in many cases goes back between five to ten generations. 
There are also differences regionally — with the highest levels in the South — so that in South Carolina, at least 13 percent of self-identified whites have 1 percent or more African ancestry, while in Louisiana the number is a little more than 12 percent. 
In Georgia and Alabama the number is about 9 percent. 
'The differences perhaps point to different social and cultural histories within the Sout,' 23andMe said.
Kasia's study also found that one in every 20 African Americans have Native American ancestry, while in Oklahoma 14 percent of African Americans carry at least two percent Native American ancestry.

WHAT THEY FOUND 

All three groups - African Americans, European Americans and Latinos - have ancestry from Africa, Europe and the Americas.
Approximately 3.5 percent of European Americans have one percent or more African ancestry. 
Many of these European Americans who describe themselves as 'white' may be unaware of their African ancestry since the African ancestor may be five to 10 generations in the past.
European Americans with African ancestry are found at much higher frequencies in southern states than in other parts of the United States. The ancestry proportions point to the different regional impacts of slavery, immigration, migration and colonization within the United States:
The highest levels of African ancestry among self-reported African Americans are found in southern states, especially South Carolina and Georgia.
One in every 20 African Americans carries Native American ancestry.
More than 14 percent of African Americans from Oklahoma carry at least two percent Native American ancestry, likely reflecting the Trail of Tears migration following the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
Among self-reported Latinos in the United States, those from states in the southwest, especially from states bordering Mexico, have the highest levels of Native American ancestry.
Among self-reported Latinos in the US, those from states in the southwest, especially from states bordering Mexico, have the highest levels of Native American ancestry. 
But among Latinos too there were wide regional differences that also likely reflect the history of migration and intermixing. 
For example, some Latinos have no discernible Native American ancestry, while others have as much as 50 percent of their ancestry being Native American.
Latinos in states in the Southwest, bordering Mexico — New Mexico, Texas, California and Arizona — have the greatest percentage of Native American ancestry. 
Latinos in states with the largest proportion of African Americans in their population — South Carolina, Louisiana and Alabama — have the highest percentage of African Ancestry.
All three groups – African Americans, European Americans and Latinos – showed asymmetrical male and female ancestry contributions, with more European male and more Native American and African female ancestors. 
This asymmetry is likely a legacy of slavery, unbalanced sex ratios in frontier settings, as well other social factors. 


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2881198/The-ethnic-map-America-Researchers-reveal-African-Americans-Latinos-European-American-heritage-likely-live.html#ixzz3MYFlW7eI
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Americans increasingly say race is the country’s most important issue: Note for a lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United"


Washington Post
 December 19  
For the first time in more than two decades, more than one in 10 Americans say that race is the most pressing issue facing the country, according to a new Gallup poll.
The poll showed that 13 percent of Americans think that race relations and racism are the most important problems, the same number of people who said the economy, and more than than those who cited unemployment (8 percent), immigration (7 percent) and terrorism (2 percent), among many other things.
In fact, the only thing that more people named as a problem was general dissatisfaction with the government, Congress and politicians, with 15 percent of people citing that.
 
 
 
The surge in concern regarding race is not unexpected, as Americans closely followed widespread protests across the country over unarmed black men who died after encounters with police officers. Public anger and demonstrations have surged in recent months after the deaths of Michael Brown (killed by a police officer) and Eric Garner (who died after being placed in an apparent chokehold) over the summer, and the more recent decisions of grand juries in Missouri and New York not to indict the officers involved.
In addition, protests followed the death of a 12-year-old named Tamir Rice in Ohio. Rice, who was black, was shot and killed by a white police officerwhile playing with a BB gun, an incident that, like Garner’s death, was captured in a graphic video. Rice’s death came two months after a grand jury opted not to indict officers for shooting John Crawford III, who was killed by police at a Wal-Mart near Dayton while holding an air rifle that could fire pellets or BBs.
These deaths and ensuing demonstrations have made race, policing and discrimination topics that are seemingly everywhere, prompting discussions and debate everywhere from Facebook to dinner tables across the country. And this has translated into increased interest in news about the demonstrations against police brutality, too: A recent Pew Research Center survey found that about one in three Americans said they were “very closely” following these protests.
The Gallup poll showed that the number of Americans naming race as the country’s most important problem shows that the concern today pales in comparison to the numbers seen during the 1950s and 1960s, which makes sense. But the surge in concern is noteworthy when you consider that in September, just weeks after the Ferguson protests dominated the news, only 3 percent of people said race was a key issue. Since the Rodney King riots of 1992, when 15 percent of Americans said race was the country’s top issue, that number has never topped 5 percent, Gallup says.
President Obama remarked on this heightened awareness during his end-of-the-year news conference Friday, saying that the recent news has made more people aware of a disconnect minorities have long cited.
“Obviously, how we’re thinking about race relations right now has been colored by Ferguson, the Garner case in New York and a growing awareness in the broader population of what many communities of color have understood for some time,” he said. “And that is there are specific instances, at least where law enforcement doesn’t feel as if it’s being applied in a colorblind fashion.”
During his remarks, Obama pointed to a task force on policing he had created this week, saying that it was meant to provide concrete suggestions that police departments and other law enforcement agencies can use to improve relationships with minority communities.

Obama and Hawaii: Note for a lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United"


from:

Michelle Obama has said “You can’t really understand Barack until you understand Hawaii.” Well, you can't really understand Hawaii until you understand aloha.

image from 




Saturday, December 20, 2014

Leaders in Glass Countries Shouldn’t Throw Stones


Ferguson, Eric Garner, and why the United States isn’t fit to be the world’s moral authority.
By Stephen M. Walt*
*Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Relations at Harvard University. December 4, 2014–http://www.foreignpolicy.com
Many people probably think the explosive events in Ferguson, Missouri, are a purely domestic issue and have nothing to do with American foreign policy or the U.S. position in the world. That position is understandable, insofar as these events are first and foremost about race relations inside the United States itself, which are largely a product of America’s particular history.
At a minimum, what has been happening in Ferguson (and the proteststhat broke out in New York and elsewhere following yesterday’s news that a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner) reminds us that race remains a deeply problematic issue here — especially in the context of law enforcementand criminal justice. Not surprisingly, most commentators have focused on what this problem says about America and what the United States needs to do to address it.
Barack ObamaBarack Obama’s Failed Domestic Policy
Yet what has been happening in Ferguson — and in race relations in the United States more generally — does have some noteworthy foreign-policy dimensions. That is also unsurprising, because America’s internal condition inevitably affects its image in the world and the influence it can wield. When the U.S. economy is in trouble, it limits what the United States can do on the world stage. If the federal government is gridlocked or hamstrung by pointless political grandstanding (see under: Benghazi) the United States will act with less energy and wisdom abroad. And if minorities in the U.S. population are still marginalized, discriminated against, and treated as less-than-equal, then America’s full potential will be unrealized and its moral authority will be compromised in the eyes of many foreign observers.
With that insight in mind, consider the following connections between Ferguson and foreign policy. For starters, let’s acknowledge that there is a trade-off between ambitious U.S. efforts to transform other parts of the world and the ability of government institutions to improve the lives of Americans here at home. I don’t think more social spending would eliminate racism or solve all the problems in places like Ferguson, but Americans would almost certainly be far better off if we hadn’t wasted $3 trillion+ in our misguided Iraqi and Afghan adventures. For example, spending some of that money on much-needed infrastructure here at home would have created a lot of jobs — including in places like Ferguson — and boosted the overall productivity of the U.S. economy.
Similarly, an unrealistic and overambitious foreign-policy agenda distracts U.S. officials from problems closer to home. When U.S. President Barack Obama has to spend weeks worrying about Ukraine, Syria, the Islamic State (IS), Jerusalem, the Senkaku Islands, Afghanistan, Iraq, T-TIP, Ebola, Boko Haram, South Sudan, etc., etc., it inevitably crowds out time he can devote to crucial domestic issues. Similarly, when the Attorney General has to spend hours, days, and weeks adjudicating fights over NSA law-breaking or the status of Guantánamo, that means less time trying to figure out how to reform a deeply flawed criminal justice system.
This obvious point is not an argument for an isolationist foreign policy. Top U.S. officials should pay attention to world events and use America’s considerable power to protect vital U.S. interests. But we ought to recognize that there is a trade-off between our ambitions abroad and our capacity to build a better nation here at home. Even the President of the Council on Foreign Relations has figured that oneout (though he mostly wants to fix the home front so that America can still wield a big stick abroad). But remember: When a big social issue like Ferguson suddenly appears on your TV screen, it is at least in part because we’ve been devoting so much attention and so many resources to problems in distant lands, instead of focusing first and foremost on the needs and challenges that our fellow citizens still face.
But that’s not all. Ferguson also reminds us that a byproduct of the overblown war on terror has been a steady militarization of local police forces, who’ve been using counter terrorist funding and surplus weapons programs to add firepower to local policing units. The problem, as we saw in Ferguson, is that this sort of equipment — and the tactics that come with it — can be counterproductive when dealing with volatile social situations. The militarization of local policing didn’t create racism or the sort of attitudes you see exhibited in a video likethis one, but they didn’t help either. In other words, we’ve imported the “war on terror” into our own law enforcement institutions, and Ferguson is to some extent one of the consequences.
Ferguson also struck a blow to America’s image as the global standard-bearer for equality, human rights, and opportunity. The treatment of black Americans has long tarnished our national mythology of the “melting pot,” and with it the smug belief that America is the ideal model for the rest of the world. This latest episode reminds us that the country still does not live up to the ideals that it likes to preach to others. Just as the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina and the 2008 financial meltdown showed the world that the United States was not infallible, the Ferguson fiasco reminds others that Washington doesn’t have all the answers when it comes to deep social divisions either.
And Ferguson also provides a valuable (and humbling) lesson on the topic of “nation-building.” Think about it: The United States has been wrestling with the problem of race for over two centuries, and fought a bloody civil war over that very issue. Slavery was abolished 150 years ago, and while significant progress has been made since then, Ferguson is just another sign that the country still has a long way to go.
Yet a little more than 10 years ago, U.S. foreign-policy elites from both political parties blithely assumed that the United States could topple governments in Iraq and Afghanistan and then quickly set up new institutions that would handle deep ethnic, sectarian, or tribal divisions in a just, equitable, and effective manner. And despite how that effort turned out, they repeated the same error in Libya in 2011. What could they have been thinking? The United States hasn’t been able to fix its racial divisions in a century and a half, but we thought we could settle some equally deep divisions in a few years in foreign countries that we barely understood. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the very definition ofhubris.
More than 25 years ago, I wrote that “external conditions impinge on U.S. power; internal conditions generate it.” This is still true today. Because Uncle Sam’s position in the world is still so favorable, and because local powers will do more to contain serious threats if America doesn’t insist on doing most of the work itself, the United States can afford to take a relaxed view of most international developments.
Ironically, one lesson of Ferguson is that the United States might be more secure, more prosperous, and more just — in short, a healthier society — if it paid more attention to events at home and devoted less effort and energy to quixotic crusades abroad.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Multiracial Marriage on the Rise - Note for a Lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United"


From: brookings.edu

William H. Frey

One consequence of America’s diversity explosion is a rise in multiracial marriages. In 1960, before immigration levels to the United States started to rise, multiracial marriages constituted only 0.4 percent of all U.S. marriages. That figure increased to 8.4 percent in 2010 and for recent newlyweds, 15 percent. 
Not surprisingly the prevalence of out-marriage is high for new minorities, Hispanics and Asians, in light of the large pool of potential partners who are of different origins. More than four in ten new marriages of each group marry someone of a different race—with whites the most likely partners.  
Additionally, the vast majority of marriages involving American Indians are multiracial marriages. Many of these marriages involve spouses who identify as multiracial persons, signaling an extensive blurring that has already occurred among American Indian and white populations.
While multiracial marriages involving blacks are the least likely among major racial groups, the recent rise in such marriages is significant, as black-white marriages were prohibited in 16 states until 1967. The fact that nearly three in 10 new black marriages are multiracial with most of them to white spouses reflects an important shift toward blurring a long-held color line in the United States.
Material adapted from Diversity Explosion: How Racial Demographics Are Remaking America by William H. Frey, 2014.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Two Cheers for the USG


One of my most enjoyable pastimes is to go jogging in Rock Creek Park (actually, when a neighbor saw me strolling along, he said, without a hint of irony, "enjoy your walk").

In the Park -- the "largest urban park in the national park system" -- there is an area called Peirce Mill which accommodates picknickers: there's a grill, clean bathroom facilities, an open green space where informal, and small-scale sports can be played, often by children. The area has four large trash containers (usually full by the end of the week) and a recycling bin with three separate sections for aluminum, glass, and plastic.

I run by Peirce Mill almost daily and noticed that the recycling bin was not being emptied by the National Park Service, which is in charge of the area. After about three weeks, the bin was so full that trash could no longer be disposed into it.

image from

I decided to take action and called the National Park Service, National Capital Region around 10:00 am today, December 17. I left a message explaining the trash issue. Some two hours later, I got a call from a very polite National Park Service employee informing me that the recycling bin had been emptied. When I asked why cleaning out the bin had been neglected for so long, she apologetically explained (I am paraphrasing) that it was a problem that unfortunately had been overlooked.

Well, nobody's perfect. But I was very impressed by the quick response of the National Park Service. Somehow I could not help thinking, "two cheers for the USG." For all its faults, on occasion our government does respond to citizens' even minor concerns, and does its best to do things right.