Century Marks

Century Marks


Islamville, South Carolina, is less a town than a cluster of houses. All of its approximately 300 residents are U.S.-born African-American Muslims. The town, founded by the Muslims of America organization 34 years ago, is located in a wooded region in the northern part of the state. The nearest city is York, and the road from Islamville to York is lined with Protestant churches. Ramadan Saeed Shakir, the 36-year-old mayor of Islamville, who has lived nearly his whole life in the town, admits that its residents feel uncomfortable with the Islamophobic rhetoric in the presidential campaign. Islamville has sister towns around the country, including Islamberg in upstate New York, site of the headquarters of the Muslims of America (Guardian, February 18).

Game-day violence

Reports of sexual violence at universities with Division I football teams increase 41 percent on game day for home games and 15 percent for away games. An upset victory results in even greater number of reports of sexual assault. Binge drinking associated with football games is a contributing factor. Many of these incidents are perpetrated by strangers. “The bottom line . . . is somewhere between 253 and 770 additional rapes per year seem to be occurring at colleges with Division I football teams on days the college team is playing” (NPR, February 17).

Slave wages

The practice of paying restaurant servers a lower wage with the expectation that customers will give them a tip has roots in slavery. In the post-slavery era, white people considered it condescending to tip other whites, but African Americans could be expected to work for tips only. The national minimum hourly wage for restaurant workers, set 20 years ago, is $2.13. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for servers is $9.01, with an annual salary of $18,730 (Quartz, February 9).

Hard times

The life of a refugee fleeing war in the Middle East is much harder for women than for men. Men tend to look out for themselves. The women have to care for their children, a never-ending task. Women are much more susceptible to robbery and sexual assault and are reticent about talking about rape for fear of bringing shame on themselves and their family. “On the road, you don’t know what to expect. You don’t know who you can trust,” said an 18-year-old girl from Syria. Amnesty International says host countries in Europe are failing to look out for women (Al Jazeera, February 15).

Metered giving

Parking meters in downtown Detroit are being repurposed to collect donations for nonprofit organizations that work with homeless people. Appeals are also being made to corporations to contribute to the homeless fund. The city council’s Homelessness Task Force will decide which agencies or churches receive the donations. The parking meters were repainted by Detroit graffiti artist Antonio “Shades” Agee, who spent most of his twenties living on the streets. Similar efforts have been successful in other cities, including Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, and Denver (AP).