Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
Steven Thrasher, staff writer for the Village Voice, goes through his list of the 100 most powerless New Yorkers, featured in the Village Voice.
I didn't finish going through his list, but haven't found blind people yet. There are just too few of us to have any rights. None of our city agencies ever even heard of the ADA requirements for "effective communication." when it comes to access to information and forms and paperwork, etc. When I ask, I just get laughed at. We got a couple of dozen audible traffic signals so out of thousands of crossings, there are now 24 places we can get information about when the lights change, while the city somehow found money to put in purely visual countdown walk signals to help protect the lives of our sighted neighbors who could already access the signals we already had but who hate to wait. Only one of many such access gaps, but that one makes me the angriest, because it's a clear message about what our lives are worth to the people who run this city.
People who have learning disabilities. (Ex. Can't read)
I would propose for your most powerless New Yorkers the adjunct faculties of NY. Adjunct faculties have very limited or no work rights and benefits with annual payments less than janitors of NYC. These faculties became an underclass of the educated strata in order to allow universities to pay big bucks to top administrators. It worth remembering that more than 50% of courses taught in American universities are the work of this underclass specialists. This is what a money-driven university system produces at the end of the day.
Those renters who tried to stop a new building ( and failed) from being built within a few feet of one's apartment windows which would block out light and throw their apartments into permanent darkness.
Comment about Romney's notions on inequality - sure, it would be nice to be rich, or more to the point to simply NOT have to worry about money, about retirement, about whether I'll have work next month or next year. But envy absolutely does not drive my concern about inequality. I try very hard never to form opinions about public policy issues based on how they might affect my pocket (so I support higher gas taxes, I oppose the mortgage interest deductions, I oppose proposed transport investments that would increase my home's value because they would not reduce car use, and so on). I think back to what little I learned in a college philosophy course, about deciding how we would want society to be organized if we wouldn't know which position we'd hold in it. And that makes me want an equitable society.
What's more - re Romney's notion that inequity is not a political issue - he is MAD! The glaring increase in inequity in the US is a result of public policies that have been introduced since the Reagan administration - tax policy, campaign finance rules, and all kinds of other rules that enable the rich to get and stay richer while the poor are increasingly unable to improve their positions or those of their children. This sounds like WASPy "oh, don't talk about money dear, it's not NICE!" I don't care what's nice, thirty years of US policy to make the rich get richer and screw everyone else deserve to be talked about loud and clear in the election debates.
This would be a good day to go over powerlessness as 'the modern enslaved'. And yes, agreeing with other commenters, illegal immigrants are slaves in plain sight.
He might want to add the Village Voice among the most powerless!
Teen agers in the foster system - they have no one saving for a college education, no one really making sure they get educated at all, no one bailing them out if they get into trouble, and when they get too old for the system, no parent's couch to crash on, what we, the people do, we who have been responsible for them as minors, is give them a few hundred dollars and a pass to a homeless shelter.
The Late-Night Subway Rider, especially if from Brooklyn.
A LOT of "service changes" happen without notice. For example, last night at 7PM: stations below 14th st. were closed--WITHOUT NOTICE.
Thus, Brooklyn Riders had no way to change to the F from DOWNTOWN ONLY Bleecker St.
I got on at Grand Central; the change was announced _during_ the ride. Had I known at GCT, I could have simply walked to the F at 42nd and 6th instead. Now I was thoroughly STUCK.
drug users are the least powerful New Yorkers. it is illegal to discriminate against gays women, blacks ect, but it is ok to discriminate against drug users.
First-year NYC public school teachers. They are being observed constantly, have no tenure, and are basically in a position where they have no power to determine decisions about their job.
I am an immigrant who work full time as a busboy and study a masters in sciences at CCNY-CUNY. I would say, people who work in restaurants are among the powerless in NYC. I hate the people who squeeze the country applying for welfare benefits then go to smoke marihuana and hit their wife and children.
Teenagers living in group homes are among the most powerless. As a social worker formerly employed in NYC, the kids with whom I worked had no privacy, no say over where they were living, little consistency in terms of guidance for their education, relationships, careers and futures. They have little freedom in the group home setting, and no parenting once they age out of the system. Additionally, they are stigmatized, further limiting their prospects in a difficult economic era.
Ex-offenders trying to stay out of prison.
Delta Airlines flight attendants who have voted to become unionized three times but failed to get a majority each time due to Delta's overwhelming propaganda and interference with the process.
Are artists and other creative professionals on the list? I mean in proportion to what they contribute to the city and the community. I don't mean the top tier of artists who are famous and can therefore dictate their own price and terms, but the majority who are at the mercy of the tastes and whims gallery owners, critics, patrons and public.
I recall that George Bush, standing on the debris of the fallen Trade Center towers, saying that the bombing was the result of envy. I am surprised that no news person has raised this point.
As a new mom, I would add the NYC pregnant woman AND the new NYC mom. I felt powerless while pregnant and feel powerless at times now as a nursing mother. Life is tough when you're a mom in NYC
distinguish between envy and jealousy they are not the same - groups: women in general despite their climbs into better economic professions - minorities it's still the women who are the most powerless, children older women who grew up in a generation where their roles were circumscribed and see the obits - no women reflecting their subordinate positions even today
#6 "Registered Republicans": boo-hoo!
I didn't have time ot read all 100, but I'd think that anyone, rich or poor, sitting on a crowded, stalled subway in a tunnel for 45 minutes feels pretty powerless.
Well unless I don't understand this I'd say I'm one of the most powerless New Yorkers! Ahhh aren't most of New Yorkers among the most powerless?
Add to list: Most over 50 yrs old. Most under 25.
Most powerless (I don't know who else is on the list already) - illegal immigrants.
Just curious and I can't get it out of my head, is there a difference between the "most powerless" New Yorkers and the "least powerful" New Yorker? Something in my head says they are very different but I can't figure it out. I may have a small brain.
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and PRI, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.