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Commentary: It’s time for progressive white women to do more for racial equality



Commentary: It's time for progressive white women to do more for racial equality

It is now well-known that a narrow majority of white women, once again, voted for Trump this November. There’s a lot to unpack. 

In my Wonder Media Network podcast, White Picket Fence, I do a deep dive into the topic, exploring the many influences on white women’s identities and politics. What I’ve discovered is that moving our national conversation about race, gender, and politics to something more constructive requires more than “hot takes” on exit polls. We should be concerned by the growth of a base ginned up on misinformation and white grievance. But the overwhelming focus on white women who vote Republican shifts some of the responsibility from where it needs to be: on the shoulders of progressive white women. 

I am one of those progressive white women, And the more I’ve examined white women’s identities and politics, the more I’m convinced that building a more just and equitable nation requires more of us. We must go deeper and re-examine some of our own long-held beliefs about our personal politics.

Growing up in a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, my family’s yard was often littered with election signs. We were a family of volunteers, activists, and all-around political junkies. My dad had spent 13 years in a Catholic religious order, and although he left to marry my mom, social justice remained a strong guiding force. My mother was a biology and women’s studies professor. I was the “nerdy” kid who subscribed to Ms. Magazine and dreamed about running for office.  

My interest in presidential politics was piqued when Walter Mondale—former vice president and U.S. senator from Minnesota—chose Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate in 1984. I was ten years old, and I was ecstatic—certain there was about to be a woman in the White House. Inspired by Ferraro, I launched my own campaign that year: for class student council representative. When I won, my teacher announced it as the “official start” of my political career. 

On Election Day, I ran home from school, proudly informing my parents that the Mondale-Ferraro ticket had won a resounding victory in my class’s mock election. I settled in to watch election returns, confident that I was about to witness history in the making.

I did—but not the kind I was expecting. The 1984 election was a landslide for Ronald Reagan. I remember staring in shock at the blue specks of Minnesota and Washington, D.C., amidst a sea of red. It was the first time I realized that my world wasn’t the world.

It was a crushing disappointment for a young kid. But that election instilled something else in me: a sense of political “specialness.”  The story I told myself was that my state, my community, even my family, was different. We believed in the common good. We invested in things like public schools, a social safety net, a clean environment. We were a welcoming state. Racial injustice? That was something that happened in other parts of the country. In Minnesota, we did things “right.”

I grew up, moved away, and built a career in philanthropy and politics. But even as I developed an understanding of how deep and structural the problems facing our nation are, I retained that sense of “specialness.” That by growing up in the place that I did, in the time that I did, I had some unique insight into what “good” politics looked like. 

There wasn’t one moment that permanently disabused me of that notion. But like many of us, 2016 turned my world upside down.

On Election Day, I went to the polls with my then two-year-old son. After casting my vote, I took a selfie holding my son in my arms. We were both beaming at the camera, wearing “I Voted” stickers. Things had come full circle. That night, I was confident that my son would witness the triumph that had eluded me as a child: a woman in the White House. Hillary Clinton as the first woman president. 

But Trump’s election wasn’t the only event of 2016 that made me seriously question my political story. A few months earlier, Philando Castile was killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop. His murder happened about a mile away from my childhood home. And the following year, the officer who shot him was acquitted of all charges.

The truth is, the community of my childhood is plagued by the same injustice that exists everywhere. There was nothing special about us—or our politics. The “good” liberal politics of my Minnesota childhood may have produced many favorable outcomes when it comes to education, health, and quality of life, but it masked deep racial inequality that continues to this day. And the self-aggrandizing political story I constructed obscured my own complicity with the status quo. 

As an adult, I purchased a home close to “good” public school for my son, further solidifying segregated housing patterns forged through decades of redlining and predatory lending practices. I availed myself of financial support from my parents that helped me with a down payment, thereby perpetuating racial privilege and giving my family an unearned leg up. My housing choices have meant that my family spends a good deal of time in predominantly white spaces.

None of these were intentionally racist acts. But as Prairie View A&M Endowed Professor of Political Science and New York Times columnist Melanye Price told me on the podcast, “The complement of your privilege is my disadvantage.” White women—white people—cannot retain our privilege while fighting for equity.

It can be tempting for progressive white women to pat ourselves on the back and view those “other” white women as the problem. But let’s be clear: voting Donald Trump out of office was the bare minimum of what it requires to move this country forward. We must also interrogate why it’s hard for so many of us to cede the racial privilege that remains our birthright. Do we work to ensure that our own kids’ public schools are well-funded and supported, while not engaging—or even opposing—efforts to equalize school funding across schools or districts? Do we advocate for or against housing zoning changes that would permit multi-family housing in affluent neighborhoods? Do we engage in fights for racial justice consistently, or only sporadically, like this past summer, when the depths of racial injustice and Black suffering become impossible to ignore?

It’s time to shift the white woman story. To make it less about “them” and more about “all of us.” And to step up in the ways that we must, through this continuous political action, alongside and led by communities of color. For it is through this engagement—this ongoing practice that goes well-beyond any one particular election—that progressive white women can own our stake in building a nation that reflects the values we profess to hold. 

Julie Kohler is a fellow in residence at the National Women’s Law Center, a senior advisor to the Democracy Alliance, and the host of the podcast, White Picket Fence. 

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Coinbase’s near-term outlook is ‘still grim’, JPMorgan says, while BofA is more positive about firm’s ability to face crypto winter



Coinbase's near-term outlook is 'still grim', JPMorgan says, while BofA is more positive about firm's ability to face crypto winter

Coinbase is well positioned to successfully navigate this crypto winter and take market share, Bank of America said in a research report Tuesday. It maintained its buy recommendation following the exchange’s second-quarter results.

The results warrant “a muted stock reaction,” the report said. Net revenue of $803 million was below the bank’s and consensus estimates, while its adjusted $151 million loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was better than the street expected. Importantly, the company remains “cautiously optimistic” it can reach its goal of no more than $500 million of adjusted EBITDA loss for the full year, the report added.

Coinbase shares fell almost 8% in premarket trading to $80.74.

Bank of America notes that Coinbase had no counterparty exposure to the crypto insolvencies witnessed in the second quarter. The company also has a “history of no credit losses from financing activities, holds customer assets 1:1, and any lending activity of customer crypto is at the discretion of the customer, with 100%+ collateral required.” These rigorous risk-management practices will be a “positive long-term differentiator” for the stock, the bank said.

JPMorgan said Coinbase had endured another challenging quarter, while noting some positives.

Trading volume and revenue were down materially. Subscription revenue was also lower, but would have been much worse were it not for higher interest rates, it said in a research report Wednesday.

The company is taking steps on expense management, and in addition to the June headcount reductions, is scaling back marketing and pausing some product investments, the note said.

The bank says the company’s near-term outlook is “still grim,” noting that the exchange expects a continued decline in 3Q 2022 monthly transacting users (MTUs) and trading volumes, but says Coinbase could take more “cost actions” if crypto prices fall further.

JPMorgan is less optimistic than Bank of America about the company in the near term, saying pressure on revenue from falling crypto markets will have a negative impact on the stock price. Still, it sees positives including higher interest rates, from which the firm will generate revenue. It also sees opportunities for the exchange to grow its user base, leveraging almost $6 billion of cash. The surge in crypto prices in July, and the forthcoming Ethereum Merge are also seen as positive catalysts, it added.

The bank maintained its neutral rating on the stock and raised its price target to $64 from $61.

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Elon Musk sold $6.9B in Tesla stock in case he’s forced to buy Twitter



Elon Musk sold $6.9B in Tesla stock in case he's forced to buy Twitter

Elon Musk sold $6.9 billion of his shares in Tesla Inc., the billionaire’s biggest sale on record, saying he needed cash in case he is forced to go ahead with his aborted deal to buy Twitter Inc.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” Musk tweeted late Tuesday after the sales were disclosed in a series of regulatory filings. 

Asked by followers if he was done selling and would buy Tesla stock again if the $44 billion deal doesn’t close, Musk responded: “Yes.”

Tesla’s chief executive officer offloaded about 7.92 million shares on Aug. 5, according to the new filings. The sale comes just four months after the world’s richest person said he had no further plans to sell Tesla shares after disposing of $8.5 billion of stock in the wake of his initial offer to buy Twitter.  

Musk last month said he was terminating the agreement to buy the social network where he has more than 102 million followers and take it private, claiming the company has made “misleading representations” over the number of spam bots on the service. Twitter has since sued to force Musk to consummate the deal, and a trial in the Delaware Chancery Court has been set for October. 

In May, Musk dropped plans to partially fund the purchase with a margin loan tied to his Tesla stake and increased the size of the equity component of the deal to $33.5 billion. He had previously announced that he secured $7.1 billion of equity commitments from investors including billionaire Larry Ellison, Sequoia Capital, and Binance. 

“I’ll put the odds at 75% that he’s buying Twitter. I’m shocked,” said Gene Munster, a former technology analyst who’s now a managing partner at venture-capital firm Loup Ventures. “This is going to be a headwind for Tesla in the near term. In the long term, all that matters is deliveries and gross margin.”

At the weekend, Musk tweeted that if Twitter provided its method of sampling accounts to determine the number of bots and how they are confirmed to be real, “the deal should proceed on original terms.” 

Musk, 51, has now sold around $32 billion worth of stock in Tesla over the past 10 months. The disposals started in November after Musk, a prolific Twitter user, polled users of the platform on whether he should trim his stake. The purpose of the latest sales wasn’t immediately clear.  

Tesla shares have risen about 35% from recent lows reached in May, though are still down about 20% this year. 

With a $250.2 billion fortune, Musk is the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, but his wealth has fallen around $20 billion this year as Tesla shares declined.    

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The rent is too d*mn high for Gen Z: Younger generations are ‘squeezed the most’ by higher rents, BofA says



The rent is too d*mn high for Gen Z: Younger generations are 'squeezed the most' by higher rents, BofA says

Most of Gen Z is too young to remember the 2010 New York gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan.

But over a decade later, they would probably agree with his signature issue (and catchphrase): the rent is too damn high.

This July, median rent payments were 7.4% higher than during the same period last year, according to a Bank of America report released Tuesday. 

The national median price for a one-bedroom apartment has been hitting new highs nearly every month this summer. It was $1,450 for July, according to rental platform Zumper. In the country’s largest city, New York, average rent exceeded a shocking $5,000 a month for the first time ever in June. 

But inflation in the rental market hasn’t hit each generation equally, and no one is getting squeezed harder by the higher monthly payments as Gen Z. Those born after 1996 have seen their median rent payment go up 16% since last July, compared to just a 3% increase for Baby Boomers, BofA internal data shows. 
“Younger consumers are getting squeezed the most by higher rent inflation,” BofA wrote.

The great rent comeback

Early in the pandemic, landlords slashed rents and gave significant COVID discounts to entice tenants to stay instead of leaving urban areas. Once those deals started expiring in 2021, many landlords suddenly raised payments once again, sometimes asking for over double their pandemic value. 

Young people across the board have been hit hard, and rent burdens compared to age can be seen even within a single generation. Younger millennials had their median rent payment grow 11% from last year, while the median payment for older millennials rose 7%. Gen X experienced a 5% median rent increase, according to BofA. 

It’s not a surprise, then, that Gen Z feels so strapped for cash. The majority of young people, 61%, said they want to receive their wages daily instead of twice a week, a practice typically reserved for workers living paycheck to paycheck, according to a report from the Center for Generational Kinetics, which specializes in research across the generations. Rising rent inflation has even priced nearly a third of Gen Zers out of the apartment search altogether. Around 29% of them have resorted to living at home as a “long-term housing solution,” according to a June survey from personal finance company Credit Karma.

It’s no wonder—the rent really is too high.

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