Weekend Reading

Come get some:

One of the most surprising, and perhaps confounding, facts of charity in America is that the people who can least afford to give are the ones who donate the greatest percentage of their income. In 2011, the wealthiest Americans—those with earnings in the top 20 percent—contributed on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity. By comparison, Americans at the base of the income pyramid—those in the bottom 20 percent—donated 3.2 percent of their income. The relative generosity of lower-income Americans is accentuated by the fact that, unlike middle-class and wealthy donors, most of them cannot take advantage of the charitable tax deduction, because they do not itemize deductions on their income-tax returns.

What happened in Steubenville makes me sick, but we are kidding ourselves if we think that it is not representative of what is happening in basement parties after the homecoming game all across America. Our kids want to talk about it. They need to talk about it. We need to have conversations about consent that are not centered around what should have been done, but are instead centered on what will be done in the future. Our teens can handle it, I promise they can.

A strong understanding of consent as an enthusiastic and unequivocal yes is essential to reversing the culture that our teens have grown up in. The amazing thing is the way my students responded to the conversation. Our students want a better way, it is our responsibility to show it to them, even if it is scary, especially when it might make us uncomfortable.

Goma’s growing significance as a ‘humanitarian space’ also brought about important socio­geographic changes and left a visible imprint on the urban landscape. The city’s development and expansion has to be situated in a context of informality and quasi absence of state authorities in urban planning.The presence and interference of humanitarian agencies only further strengthened the shift towards privatised urban planning and development.

While a massive influx of IDPs resulted in the emergence of new informal districts in the urban periphery that were deprived from any urban infrastructure, water provision, electricity network, schools, health centres or markets, at the same time a gentrification of the central districts could be observed as a consequence of the settlement of international humanitarian organisations.

With its numerous NGO establishments, UN compounds, luxurious residential areas, hotels, bars and rebel headquarters, these central districts gained increasing importance and came to represent modernity, global culture and new lifestyles. Specific demands for housing and working infrastructure as well as economic demands increased the socioeconomic significance of these central districts, and improvements in the overall urban infrastructure (such as electricity, internet, roads and water) turned them into the real ‘quartiers riches’.


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