Monday Hot Links

Paid Family Leave in the United States and Around the World: “Just 13 percent of U.S. employers offered paid paternity leave in 2008, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), down from 17 percent in 2007. (By comparison, SHRM found that only 15 percent of U.S. employers offer paid maternity leave.) But the news among the 100 Best Companies isn’t all about growth; the number of paid weeks offered to new dads last year averaged three weeks, only a week more than was offered on average five years ago.” (Dads: I really recommend reading this article.)

Dear Lucy: “There will come a night when the phone rings for me to bail you out of jail and I will probably be angry. I will drive to the jail and mull over the possibility of smoking cigarettes again. But I hope that I’ll be able to remember the day you stormed a soccer field to devour the horizon. Because on that day your rebellion made me smile. You reminded me that I am truly inside your bones, testing the limits of what can be done.”

A Mother’s Perspective on Palin, Disability Issues, and Reproductive Rights: “My son Ansel always hated the notion, growing up, that he should hang around with other ‘disabled’ kids. If I tried to hook him up with the other physically challenged boy in his school, or wanted to send him to muscular dystrophy camp, he resisted. ‘Mom,’ he’d complain, ‘Just because I use a wheelchair doesn’t mean I have anything in common with other people in wheelchairs.’ He thought that, even though muscular dystrophy was a genetic illness he had, it was only a very small part of who he was. And I had to rather reluctantly agree.”

Another way of thinking about “racism without racists”: “Allow me the liberty of generalizing here–whites are most concerned about racial bigotry. That is, ‘I don’t believe in interracial marriage’ or ‘I don’t want black people living next to me’ or even ‘I think black people are prone to crime.’ Black folks don’t like racial bigotry, but they’re mostly concerned–not about racism as bigotry–but racism as oppression. That’s a loaded word, I know. But let’s go to the dictionary– ‘an unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power.’ I think job discrimination falls under that category. I think redlining falls under that category… Blacks aren’t so much worried about whether white people like them, they’re worried about the fact that in New York City, their job prospects are about the same as white guy with a record. In that world you can have a guy who isn’t a racist bigot–but in fact is a racist oppressor. It may be ‘racism without racists’ but it’s still ‘racism with racist oppressors.’ Frankly, that terrifies me.”