Saturday, February 21, 2009

NUMB3RS

I don't like math because I'm not good at it. Plain and simple. Despite my distaste for graphing calculators and whatever else math people do, I appreciate the powerful ability of numbers to universally communicate a message when words aren't enough.

Below is a list of stats from a book I recently finished, "The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small, The: Charting a Course for the Next Generation" by Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman.

I understand that coming down on the U.S. is easy for other countries and Americans alike because it's the "superpower" or whatever, and blaming the big kid is the quick and easy band-aid when someone gets a black eye. Regardless, these stats point a finger at U.S. legislators (and partly U.S. citizens) for losing sight of the big picture.

Excerpt (p. 93):

"Is this country living its creed and preparing for the future?


How America Ranks Among Industrialized Countries in Investing In and Protecting Children

1st in gross domestic product

1st in number of billionaires in the world

1st in number of persons incarcerated

1st in health expenditures

1st in military technology

1st in defense expenditures

1st in military weapons exports

22nd in low birth weight rates

25th in infant mortality rates

High in relative child poverty

High in the gap between the rich and the poor

High in teen (age 15 - 19) birthrates

Last in protecting children against gun violence

The United States of America and Somalia (which has no legally constituted government) are the only two United Nations members that have failed to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

....

If we compare just black child well-being to children in other nations:

62 nations have lower infant mortality rates, including Sri Lanka.

Over 100 nations have lower birth weight rates, including Algeria, Botswana, and Panama.

Black women in the U.S. are more likely to die from complications of pregnancy or childbirth than women in Turkmenistan."

Interpret the information as you like.

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