These Eight Charts Show Why Racial Equality Is a Myth in America

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Cover of The Case for ReparationsTa-Nehisi Coates’ cover story at The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations,” published last night — and the subject of this week’s Moyers & Company interview — shows how dramatically the legacy of slavery and centuries of legalized and institutionalized racism have held back our country’s African-American population. In 2014, there still very much exists what in 1967 Martin Luther King described as “two Americas,” one “overflowing with the milk of prosperity and the honey of opportunity,” the other tainted by “a daily ugliness … that constantly transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair.”

Last summer, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and this week marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs. But in 2014, just as in the mid-1960s, which one of Dr. King’s two Americas you live in likely depends on the color of your skin.

These charts show what those two Americas look like.

For the last few decades, the median household income for African-Americans has done little to catch up to that of whites. The comparatively low incomes of Hispanic and black households is made worse by the fact that across races, Americans are making less today than they were in the year 2000.

Median household income is just one measure of a given demographic’s economic wellbeing: as the Urban Institute notes, the racial wealth gap is three times greater than the racial income gap. Wealth is a measure of all the money a family has, as well as assets — such as a house. In 1983, for every dollar held by the average black or Hispanic family, the average white family had five. Rather than shrinking, that gap has increased from the 1980s through today; white families now have nearly six times as much as black families.

(Matt Bruenig does a good job delving further into this gap at Demos’ Policy Shop blog »)

These divides put a far greater proportion of racial minorities below the poverty line than whites. Today, about one in 10 white Americans lives in poverty; compare that with roughly one in four Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans. The Great Recession hit minorities particularly hard, with poverty rising from 24.2 percent to 27.5 percent among African-Americans and 20.6 percent to 25.3 percent among Hispanic-Americans between 2006 and 2011.

Racial poverty figures are even more stark when you look at child poverty. Across racial demographics, children are more likely to live in poverty than adults. But with racial minorities, the numbers are striking: In 2011, 37.4 percent of black children and 34.1 percent of Latino children lived in poverty. That’s more than a third of children in both groups. (In 2011, a family of three was in “poverty” if it made less than $18,530 a year.) Compare that with 12.5 percent of white children living in poverty — which is, of course, still a depressingly high figure.

Research by the Economic Policy Institute, a labor-oriented think tank, shows one of the drivers of the yawning inequalities in the charts above: The unemployment rate among black Americans has remained at least twice as high as that of white Americans for 50 years. Back in 1963, the unemployment rate was 5 percent for whites and 10.9 percent for blacks — or 2.2 times as high for blacks as for whites. In 2012, it was 2.1 times as high (6.6 percent for whites, 14 percent for African-Americans) after 50 years of fluctuating more or less between 2 and 2.5 times as high.

The structural racism behind these economic disparities takes many forms; some can be quantified, and some cannot. One that can is the rate of incarceration.

Across races, a greater share of Americans are imprisoned today than 50 years ago. But the increase has been more dramatic among African-Americans. For every one white man out of 100,000 imprisoned in 1960, 2.6 are imprisoned today. For every one black man out of 100,000 imprisoned in 1960, 3.3 are imprisoned today. Even though, in 1960, there were still US states maintaining “separate but equal” schools, disenfranchising African-Americans and barring interracial marriage, a larger share of the black population is behind bars today. According to the Pew Research Center, for every white man in prison in 2010, 6.4 black men were in prison.

(This, argue many, is the legacy of the War on Drugs. “We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it,” writes Michelle Alexander in her book on the topic, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.)

It’s been 60 years since the Supreme Court struck down the concept of “separate but equal” schools in Brown v. Board of Education, but today, the majority of black students attend schools that are majority non-white. The share of black students attending a majority-non-white school today — 74.1 percent — is little changed from figures from the 1960s. Nearly 40 percent of black children attend schools that are almost entirely (more than 90 percent) non-white.

Housing is another form of segregation with centuries of history in America. Today, it is not always so overt as in the past — such as what Ta-Nehisi Coates documents in mid-century Chicago in “The Case for Reparations” — though, of course, housing-related racism is still ugly and overt often enough (see: Donald Sterling).

But it takes insidious, harder-to-document forms too. The chart above shows one of them: Latinos and African-Americans with good credit receive high interest rate mortgages far more often than whites. These mortgages are supposed to go to risky borrowers; because of their higher rates, houses purchased with these mortgages are harder to pay off, and are more likely to be foreclosed on. This phenomenon — giving higher-rate, or subprime, mortgages to families of color who qualified for more traditional mortgages — was one of the reasons why the housing bubble burst, which, in turn, helped set off the global financial crisis.

This phenomenon also helps explain why minorities were hit harder by the Great Recession, and illuminates the modern-day racism that keeps the wealth gap so strikingly wide.

John Light is a writer and journalist sometimes based in New York. He writes a lot about climate policy, both inside and outside of the US. He was a former associate digital producer for Moyers & Company. His work has been supported by grants from The Nation Institute Investigative Fund and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards, and has been included in ProPublica's #MuckReads collection. You can follow him on Twitter at @LightTweeting.
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  • Anonymous

    Amazing how Asians are deleted from all the graphs and discussions except the first one, because they don’t fit the non-white discrimination narrative.

    So if discrimination is the reason why hispanics and blacks do less well than whites, what is the reason why Asians do better than whites?

    Are whites discriminating in favor of Asians but against hispanics?

    OR, are Asians working harder, staying in school, not having children before marriage, not having children from multiple different fathers, etc?

    Nice job trying, again, to whitewash the Asians, many of whom – e.g. Indians – are darker than President Obama.

  • Guest

    You understand, there is a racial hierarchy right? You know, similar scenarios occurred in apartheid south africa. While asians didn’t hold the same position in the social/racial hierarchy as whites, they often were treated with far more dignity than blacks and “other” groups. I also think that these immigrant communities don’t voice their experiences with white supremacy as loudly because they’re typically coming from middle class backgrounds, and highly educated. This isn’t all of the asian (south and east) community right. I mean in many you recognize the “brain drain” effects that leave the working class and poor from their communities where they are, shitting in public trash heaps… in asia.

  • Elayne pallist

    Your questions must be rhetorical, because they don’t address the issues highlighted in the graphs above, which document the current economic problems of Latino and African-Americans, not Asian Americans. And since Asians did better than whites – not equal to whites – the graph still illustrates racial inequality in terms of wealth and income. Nor do your questions incite the reader to engage you in a discussion of economics, history, government policies, or social tensions that run between certain groups. Instead, you seek to perpetuate stereotypes and provoke heated arguments about the merits of one group over another. You call on racist myths, the same ones intoned by opportunistic pundits and politicians who enjoy scapegoating and branding others not like them or their constituents or listeners. Your questions may go over very well in certain circles where bigotry flows free, but people here will hopefully not take the bait.

  • Anonymous

    The graphs coincide with average intelligence and brain sizes of the races. Asians being the highest and Africans the lowest.

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree with the situation so aptly described by these charts. They should be laminated to the bedroom ceiling of every justice of The Supreme Court so that it is the first and last thing they see each day.

    Here in FL the “good ole boy” network has used the war on drugs as an excuse to incarcerate African-American men while growing the judicial and penal system into a lucrative business. They even passed a law that anyone convicted of being found with 5 or more controlled substance painkillers not in a proper prescription bottle will given a mandatory sentence of 15-20 years. Of course the only places that police stop and frisk people is in the black areas of town. I am sure that numerous residents of Lilly-white gated communities are committing this “crime”, but you would be hard-pressed to find even one of them in jail in the whole State of FL. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that none of those convicted will ever get their voting rights back.

  • Anonymous

    Your discussion indicates that you expected people to be discriminated against because they had a good tan. Of course not. The facts speak for themselves — the US is tied with Great Britain for the lowest generational mobility between income classes. So I suppose you are next going to tell me that this is proper because we have done such a good job of already sorting the best from the worst. I would claim that about all we have sorted on is to find the most narcississtic individuals to be CEO’s and politicians. Until we provide proper pre-school and K-12 education for inner cities, we cannot hope to reclaim the wasted talent that resides there. For example, please note that some of the best young chess players in the country are hispanic and black.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent attempt at diversion. When someone points out a hole data picking in the liberal victimology narrative, immediately call the that someone racist. That must be taught in liberal victimology 101, since you all execute it so competently.

    Still, you missed the point. The article is making the leap, and it is a HUGE leap, that the inequality is due to discrimination. Yet, it presents no evidence, whatsoever of that link. It is is something that must be taught in liberal victimology 102 – “if blacks and hispanics do poorly, it must be due to discrimination, to the exclusion of all other reasons”.

    Well, why did the author exclude al the data on Asians, which are a huge minority group in this country? Here is a group how is much more easily identified and discriminated than hispanics (which can be or any race and appearance), yet they do tremendously well in America.

    Here is a controlled experiment. A racial group, clearly identifiable, which has suffered such indignities as internment during WWII, and yet does incredibly well. We have many other controlled experiments. Jewish citizens the world over, who are not only discriminated, but were even targeted for extermination, yet, do incredibly well.

    So, discrimination, can NOT be “the reason” for the shortcomings of blacks and hispanics. At least it is not an “automatic” conclusion.

    You will NEVER improve their lot, particularly of inner city black Americans, until and unless you are willing to accept that there is a whole lot more than discrimination causing their current situation.

    But by all means, keep on calling everyone who points out the flaws in the narrative as racist. That will make you feel good and superior. While black Americans continue to suffer. It is cruel, but sounds good.



  • y.slobodinskaya

    Simply put, because unlike Central America, Asia is on the other side of the planet, and unlike Africans, Asians weren’t originally brought here as slaves.

    Asians who do choose to come here are far more likely to be coming from an economically well-off position to begin with. In terms of education, a background in business, etc – or do you think Asians all over the world are better off economically?

    No, there are lots of Asians stuck in poverty, but they tend to be stuck there, way over in Asia.

  • MDoz

    We have a new Michael Harrington. Now let’s move on this.

  • Chris Allen

    Perhaps some of the reason there’s not the same kind of backlash at asians as at other minorities stems from white perceptions being modeled around stereotypes:

    1. “Everyone knows” asian kids are “worked harder to be educated” than other races—see various 80’s documentaries on Japanese schooling that set this particular trope. It tends to get applied to both Japanese and Chinese, but less so to Koreans, Vietnamese, and other asian countries… and certainly not to Indians.

    2. “Asians are high tech, and thus more intelligent/better schooled.” Again, this comes mostly from Japan: Japan’s huge economic success in the 80’s and beyond, mostly tied to domination of the electronics industry, strong presence in some other tech and science fields, and popularity of Japanese cars as “more reliable”, let to a cultural stereotype on the advantages of having Japanese workers. Some Chinese have also benefited from this, as well as a fair number of white people knowing a lot of electronics are now made in China (but *without* them knowing the appalling and hazardous working conditions of the workers).

    In short the stereotype of at least Japanese and Chinese as “brainy, tech and science capable” workers plays a role in jobs they can get here. I think this should be factored in along with some very good points made above on just how many immigrants we get from asian countries (not nearly as many as hispanic), and the possible conditions asians come here under (many come having already secured a job, or as a transfer). Native-born asians may benefit from the stereotype as well.

    However, it should be noted that there *is* a difference in perception in whites between people of Japanese or Chinese descent, and those of other asian countries. White people tend to *expect* Vietnamese, Koreans, Thai, anyone from Polynesia, etc. to be poorer and work poorer paying jobs.

    These perceptions and stereotypes aren’t *all* of it, by any means… but it’s worth noting that they *can* play a role in a person’s employment or housing or educational opportunities.

  • Rollie Smith

    This and the argument around it demonstrates to me that, as Michael Harrington pointed out long ago, we have to understand racism in relation to class division and the injuries done to lower class children (who are predominantly African American because of slavery, Jim Crow, and its aftermath). As long as our economic system builds itself and therefore increases inequality of wealth, we will neither solve the problems of the diminishing middle class nor racism. That’s why Piketty’s new book is so important. The real reparations would be the restructuring of the world economy which is now largely American.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know all the causes – I’m not a researcher or expert on this subject. But I know enough to know that the leap from inequality to it being caused by discrimination is made all the time here and in other liberal publications as if it is an axiom and the only possible cause.

    I can not for example that poverty correlates very heavily with homes with no father present and homes with children from multiple different partners and school drop out rates and teenage pregnancy.

    The fax that the incidence of those in the black population is co much higher than in the white population, which it self is higher than in the Asian population, seems to match the income data much more perfectly than discrimination.

    I’m not saying discrimination doesn’t play a role. But the direct and exclusive causation can’t be assumed by a lean of liberal orthodoxy. Simple as that.

    And we do have clear and convincing data that married black couples with children have 8 times the wealth of unmarried black families.

    So, are you telling me that a married black couple magically suffers from less discrimination and so accumulates 8 times more wealth? Or is the fact that they are married and together to raise their children that accounts for the difference.

    The data is out there. This author and most liberals just don’t want to use and show the data that control for other variables. It does not fit the narrative. Just like Asians and Cuban Americans don’t fit the narrative.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I’m not telling you anything. I wanted to know what your point of view was. Thanks for taking the time.

  • Anonymous

    Yet the ethnic group that has the highest level of academic achievement (for the last three years, at least) are African immigrants, who even beat out the Asians. And most African immigrants live in poverty and attend heavily-segregated schools. The only real assets they have going for them are a tremendous gratefulness to be in the U.S. (with all the opportunities that brings), and a cultural background that values education and hard work.

  • Anonymous

    Well, let’s look at this logically:

    1. Almost all measures, there hasn’t been any relative improvement in African-American measures of well being since 1960.
    2. There is significantly less discrimination now than in the 1960s and attitudes about race have improved (enough to elect an African-American President).

    Therefore, discrimination may have little or nothing to do with the present state of African-Americans.

    Note: I don’t believe this argument, but it is the logical one based on the data.

  • fass52

    You forget that America did not want a republican in office anymore because of war. Otherwise Obama would not have been elected. It was an either or situation.

  • fass52

    Asians should not be counted as a minority in the first place. They do not call them self minority, and call them self ‘the other white meat”. They are being used to satisfy government numbers.

  • y.slobodinskaya

    In the interview, Coates uses the analogy of someone who’s neighbor beats them with a tire iron every day. And one day, the beatings finally stop, and that’s great and all, but that doesn’t mean the two are suddenly on equal footing. One is still injured.

    Also, bear in mind he’s not just talking about slavery, but discrimination that happened much more recently, from redlining to the still ongoing gaping disparities in criminal sentences that look an awful lot like racially motivated mass incarceration. That’s still doing brutal damage to entire communities, not to mention the incarcerated themselves.

    I remember a news story recently about how even as 1st and 2nd graders, blacks get suspended from schools at an alarming rate. You might be inclined to argue that it’s probably because they’re being too uppity, but we’re talking about little kids. That’s just crazy, and is likely to do some long-lasting damage, even if the practice itself is abolished.

    So as far as #2 goes, I’d say we still have quite a ways to go, and the fact that Obama excelled, in spite of it all, really doesn’t change that.

    Besides, what’s the alternative? That some races are just innately bad at functioning in American society? You might want to be pretty damn sure you’ve got all the facts before calling that logical.

  • Dude

    Baron I agree that this discussion, in general, needs to move away from rhetoric and toward a more open minded discussion. There seems to be a reflexive dismissal of any viewpoint that challenges the orthodox “liberal” viewpoint here. As I have said many times on this web site, real progress will not come until the left and the right start to appreciate that responsible conservatives and liberals both have some valid points. People on both sides seem to be locked into ideological positions that prohibit real dialog and positive movement toward. This is a very important and complex issue that that merits great attention.

  • Richard France

    Vietnam isn’t the only war we have lost. LBJ’s War on Poverty is every bit as big a failure — and with far greater consequences for the future of this country. GOD HELP AMERICA !!!

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  • Elayne pallist

    You may have a point that we all see what we’re trained to see. But that would include you as well, wouldn’t it? What we are seeing that you aren’t is historical context: Social phenomena, such as slavery, sharecropping, Jim Crow, imperialism and colonialism in both South and North America affected groups of people who disproportionately fall into the bottom range of our collective economic experiences.

    This article does not make the leap that inequality is a result of white discrimination. You made that leap, which is why I pointed out that your argument is riddled with statements that sound like typical race baiting. The article points out systemic and institutional discrimination, and institutes have people of all colors working for them. Are you saying that these institutions are a stand-in for white people?

    You are the one who posed this very provocative question: “OR, are Asians working harder, staying in school, not having children before marriage, not having children from multiple different fathers, etc?” So this must mean you believe Asians are better – or at least more deserving – than the other groups, correct? If so, what evidence of Asian life (this includes North, South, West Asia and the Orient – quite a diversity of countries and cultures mind you) leads you to frame your question this way? Or are you implying that only those who do things like work hard, stay in school and have traditional nuclear families are wealthy, get adequate to superior education, stay out of jail and get low mortgage rates?

    Perhaps you don’t realize that anyone who is African-American and has turned on a TV in the last 60 years has heard this same tired line over and over in reference to how blacks “deserve” the situation outlined in the above article. I’m sure Latin Americans have heard this in some variation as well when discussing their lack of “success”
    Black people have been hearing complaints about how they don’t work hard since slavery when they weren’t picking cotton fast enough in their bondage to satisfy the overseer and the master. So forgive me if I call a duck a duck. Because you certainly did quack.

    The last time I checked, questions about how hard you worked, and whether your children all had the same father were not on any application for a mortgage. Nor do police officers ask people about these things when they are arresting them.

    You also refer to “controlled experiments” as evidence that a group who suffers discrimination can succeed. Social Studies experts will tell you that when it comes to human beings, there’s no such thing as a “controlled experiment”. There are far too many outlying factors in human social relations that our own human biases will always keep us from seeing.

    As far as being “liberal”, if labeling me such makes it easier for you to dismiss what I said, so be it. I never gave myself a political label. Being a “liberal” won’t make what I said any less true. I will say that during college I learned about how people in power use specious arguments to justify maintaining the status quo and to move off the subject when it got too uncomfortable. In fact I learned much about what was covered in this article in African-American Studies 303 – no I wasn’t being sarcastic. I actually went beyond the 100’s (in a major many qualify as being “liberal”) to get a deeper understanding about the history of racism in the Americas and its economic roots, mainly because I wanted to know if people who make statements like the one you did were right – that traditional sanctioned behavior leads to the American Dream of wealth and security regardless of race. Does the myth of merit stand up to the facts in the real world? I learned that it doesn’t, since many people who don’t work hard or get postgraduate degrees or have traditional nuclear families are wealthy and have many other societal advantages.

    I also learned how many people of color – not only blacks – were able to overcome the societal hurdles placed in their way to achieve some measure of success and help others in the same situation overcome their obstacles.

    One thing remained true in all the success stories I’ve ever come across, whether they were about African, Latin or Asian Americans: they had to find the best way to deal with all types of discrimination in this country – systemic, institutional, and white.

  • Bob Anderson

    I’m glad to see someone use graphics to chart the non-progress we’ve made in the past 50 years. Perhaps these charts will help persuade those who think prejudice is a thing of the past, for one of the only practical reasons for such disparity is prejudice/bias/discrimination, unconscious though it may sometimes be.

  • Elayne pallist

    The charts do not claim discrimination is the sole reason for inequality. No one is arguing that many factors go into economic success or failure.

    Again you are making a leap that the author does not. There is data that points to a difference in financial status between married couples and single parent families of all races. Your number of married black couples having 8x the wealth as black single parents is much higher than studies I have seen. I have seen a similar number in relation to white couples versus black families. Perhaps you could share with us the study you are citing. Also, black families with two parents still do not earn as much as a similar white couple.

    Black families’ wealth lies primarily in home equity, and have almost no investments in other financial instruments, unlike white families. Also the wealth in white families is a result of wealth accumulation from prior generations, resulting in better schools, better neighborhoods and more opportunities for their children. On average, Black families don’t have a long history of wealth accumulation, because financial success has been recent for the majority of these families. That wealth is now being eroded in greater proportion among black families since the 2008 market bust. The equity in houses dropped for a significant number of families with subprime mortgages, which black homeowners were much more likely to get (see the chart on mortgages above), causing many who bought houses to have lost what little wealth they gained.

    Instead of reading this all as playing the blame game, it might be better to simply see that inequality by race in our country is the product of many phenomena. But history tells us – though yours may not – that the overwhelming and legally sanctioned discrimination actively practiced against African Americans over the centuries has and continues to cause real measurable disadvantages that cannot be overcome in a generation. If you are denied access to property, jobs, access to home loans(as post WWII black veterans were routinely passed over for affordable mortgages) the right to vote, due process in the justice system and even basic human rights, you are disadvantaged. It will take longer than a generation to overcome practices that have taken centuries to develop and institutionalize. Simply declaring that everyone is now on equal footing and failure is the fault of the people who behave in a certain way completely ignores these facts.

    Whether marriage is higher among Asians, whites or blacks does not prove that the marriage makes them more successful. That’s putting the chicken before the egg. Many studies show that marriage happens more frequently among people who already have economic stability and some financial success. People in poverty are far less likely to get married, since caring for children requires money. And couples who have financial issues are the most likely to get divorced.

  • Birger Skruddusvingen

    “Besides, what’s the alternative? That some races are just innately bad at functioning in American society?”

    Yes, that sounds plausible. Though you might substitute “any civlised” for “American”

  • Birger Skruddusvingen

    “You forget that America did not want a republican in office anymore because of war.”

    And that Obama isn’t really black but half-bred.

  • Birger Skruddusvingen

    “The real reparations would be the restructuring of the world economy which is now largely American.”

    It seems to be restructuring already. How is that going to help “African Americans”?

  • Anonymous

    “So this must mean you believe Asians are better – or at least more deserving – than the other groups, correct?”

    Absolutely not. I never said that, and I don’t believe anyone is better than anyone else. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, myself included.

    But I think it is at least a hypothesis worth investigating. The hypothesis is that, in today’s economy, staying in school, not having kids before marriage, staying married to raise kids, may provide a disproportionate economic advantage. And it may be true that Asian culture and societal norms drive those behaviors more than in other races. Simple as that.

    Your “racism and discrimination” explain it all will fall flat on its face very soon. Here is a controlled experiment.

    Why do 21% of black females have four college degrees, but only 16% of black males do? Why is it that 1/3 of black males have been arrested, but only 1 in 15 black females has been arrested?

    Is racism and discrimination only applicable to black males, but not females? Or is there something normative and cultural discouraging black males from staying in school and committing more crimes?

  • Anonymous

    “Also, black families with two parents still do not earn as much as a similar white couple.”

    The data is freely available from the census bureau and the FED household wealth survey.

    In 2012 a married black family (including those where only one person works) had a median income of $66,000, vs $76,000 for all married families. A difference for sure, but means that a married black family’s income is only 13% lower than the typical married family in the US.

    That is it only a 13% difference.

    Even if ALL the economic difference could be attributed to racism and discrimination, it is only a 13% difference.

    You and the author talk like if it is a monumental difference..

    News Flash for black Americans: Stay married and your income will only be 13% lower than the typical (median) married family in America.

    The issue is that in the US (black and white and hispanic and Asian) only 19.8% of households are headed by a single female. Among blacks it is the figure is 46.3% – over twice more prevalent.

    So I ask you again, what correlates more with low income: being black or raising kids while single?

    Please answer truthfully.

  • Anonymous

    But according to my recent reading, race itself is a myth, a social construct. So how can these graphs mean anything? How do we know what criteria the author used to decide who went into which group?

  • Anonymous

    All the other issues are a result of black neighborhoods. Any attempt to desegregate schools without desegregating neighborhoods is highly counterproductive. Forced bussing has always been a disaster that has ruined neighborhood schools and the whole public education tradition.

  • Mel Brennan

    Triple Package. Read the book.

  • Andres Torres

    Race is real in the sense that we treat it as if it were real, and therefore has real social consequences. Socially speaking, race is a real phenomena. But it is not real biologically speaking, it’s a purely human invention, an idea we came up with, not nature.

  • William Donelson

    Old white men full of fear and hate of those not like themselves. And I am an old white man angry about those b’stards. I want my country back.

  • Elayne pallist

    Since I am not a study, I have no idea how you expect me to answer “truthfully”. Also you remain stuck on one point of white families doing better than black families and taking it out of the context that I put it in: that being married doesn’t dispel racial inequality. Hopefully that’s clear enough. although I’ve already made the point that people who get married are already economically more stable than single people.

    Your need to point out the number of families headed by a single female based on race proves what exactly? There have been so many posts besides mine talking about historical disadvantages passed on through generations and how those disadvantages created the disparities of today, why repeat them? If you don’t want to read the arguments, this is a true waste of time.

    The only thing you have proven is that you want the people who are most disadvantaged in our society to take the blame for what’s wrong in this country because they are single parents.

    You haven’t proven to me or any other poster in the comments section that people should take responsibility for being in a country that barely acknowledges their existence and has already relegated them to oblivion.

    Nor will you. Have a good week.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for responding. But you continue to misunderstand. I’m not blaming anyone. No one has full control of their lives. Things happen. Including having children before marriage. It has nothing to do with blame.

    It has to do with the author jumping to conclusion that “THE REASON” – the only one mentioned – for the differences in income, wealth, etc between blacks and whites is discrimination and racism.

    I’m sampling pointing out two facts.

    1 – The author offered no such evidence. It is simply an automatic jump we all need to take a face value. There is inequality, therefore it is 100% dues to discrimination.

    2 – There are other factors, which, controlled for race, income, etc, explain in large part the inequality. And those are raising kids in a two-parent household, staying in school, etc.

    No one is blaming anyone. But if you ignore the true causes, you will never solve the problem.

    As to your point on historical disadvantages, the facts are completely against you. The number one reason that correlates with poverty is raising kids by single moms. And what do you see in the historical data?

    During jim crow and before civil rights, single black households were in the 20% range. Today it is 72%!!!!

    So, after the end on Jim Crow, after the civil rights acts, after desegregation, that is when black out of wedlock births skyrocketed!!!

    So it is not racism and jim crow and and slavery that caused it. It is after the correction of the most overt discrimination and racism that the breakdown of black families occurred.

    Why? Why did black families break down as the worse of discrimination passed? Why not before?

    In fact, you can say that the passage of the civil rights acts and Brown vs Board decision and the end of Jim Crow correlates with the break down of the black family, trapping them in poverty.

    But the author just wants to spill the race card, blame it all on racism – automatically. That is laze, intellectually flawed, and more importantly, destructive to families of color. They deserve better. They deserve a real conversation and understanding of the true causes. Not a lazy journalist plain, again, an empty race card.



    P.S. I appreciate your comments and some of the very valid points you made.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll make one last comment, since you keep coming back to shaming or blaming single mothers, etc, which is the exact opposite of what I’m for.

    I firmly believe that:

    1 – If we address poverty and the actual (vs “it is all racism”) practical causes of it, we will indirectly address over 80% of the race inequality issues.

    2 – If we acknowledge the practical causes – e.g. dropping out of school or single parenthood – we can design effect programs to address it.

    No, not shaming mothers, but offering effective support to ALL mothers, or at least all poor mothers (and fathers), to rear children. I think universal child care should be made available to all families based on ability to pay. Be it pre-school, after school activities or day care. I want us to design such a program. I also want us to pay kids to finish high school – that is right. Actually cash for every junior/senior in high school based on grades and graduation. That is practical, likely effective, and will actually solve a lot more than playing the lazy race card.


  • Terri

    Nope. I voted for Obama, as did many others, and it wasn’t an either/or, and we wouldn’t have voted for a Republican candidate whether there was war or not. Perhaps that was your rationale for voting, and that’s fine, but don’t project it.

  • fass52


  • wooooozee

    I appreciate you and all abolitionist, justice loving allies!

  • Melancholy Sunshine

    what African immigrant is coming from a place where 100% of the men were interred on plantations followed by 1:3 of the present day men incarcerated?

  • Jim

    Precisely because it is a social construct is what allows us to talk about it in a real, societal sense. To take another example: the value of the dollar, intrinsically, is zero. Its actual purchasing power is a social construct: we agree, in the aggregate, that it is worth whatever.

    In a biological sense, race is indeed a myth: the differences between groups are superficial, and do not have any effect on, say, brain function or the like. But as a social construct — and the term should not be brushed aside as fictitious — it is very real.

  • Anonymous

    Well, there are some cultural differences between ethnic groups such as attitudes towards education (with Asians and East Asians clearly in the lead). These are probably partially due to discrimination but not totally. But there’s more to life than money – which seems to make total sense when talking about individuals but sounds ridiculous when talking about groups. Why is that?

  • Anonymous

    I thought Obama was a great candidate and I voted for him in 08 and 12. I’ve voted about 50/50 between the parties in my lifetime.

  • y.slobodinskaya

    If you’ve got more than enough to live on, it’s an important thing to consider – but that’s not quite the same as telling it to people scraping by in poverty. As a blanket statement that may include both, it’s a bit insensitive, don’t you think?

    Regarding Asians, as I said below, that’s comparing people who already had the wealth to immigrate from Asia, to people who’ve spent generations stuck where they are. Most people don’t have the means to just pick up and move to another continent like that. It’s not surprising that those who do, tend to have advantages.

  • letjusticerolldown

    To what degree are the assumptions of the chart a lie? The assumption that the citizenry of the nation can be separated into a set of race-categories and thereby granting us some information that actually produces something more beautiful, right and just than if we did not bother with the race categorization.

    And while at it–which category defines the future of my children of Blackfoot, Cherokee, English, Norwegian, Swedish and African heritage?

  • Collins31111

    I think the point MCUSA is making is valid. No one denies charts show an inequality, but they do not show the cause. If we all agree racism has at least improved in this country in the last 50 years, then can racism be the sole problem for the disparity? Shouldn’t we have seen “some” close in the gap? Therefore it is logical to assume there is another factor driving this difference. I just don’t think it’s as black & white as the article wants it to be.(I’m bringing puns back!)

  • Michele Hogan

    How is a school that is 50% non-white a segregated school? I sent my kids to NYC public schools that were certainly more than 50% non-white and considered those schools nicely integrated!

  • Betty Eyer

    People self identify on federal forms. That’s how.

  • Anonymous

    most of my public school career was in schools that were less than 50% white, my daughter’s preschool was only 10% white, I never felt disadvantaged or that my daughter was getting a sub par education, I honestly feel that at least in the coastal states there is no such thing as a school that is more than 50% white, however we moved to Nevada the school my daughter starts at in the fall is 70% white , to me it feels strange.

  • Anonymous

    Most African immigrants today are coming from countries where they and their families are being threatened and killed by OTHER African men…sometimes for religious reasons, and sometimes just because they belong to another tribe.

  • Anonymous

    When I went to graduate school at a Jesuit university, I met many African immigrants there. Some priests, some not but also seeking a US education.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you dude, for the GRAPHICS. The words help, the charts SCREAM!

  • Anonymous

    You say you can’t find a job? There are at least 12,000 jobs in North America available right now for long haul truckers. All you need is an AZ License and ambition. Many companies will train you. I look at is as going camping. It’s a great way to see North America.

  • Betty J Rousey

    If the schools were truly desegregated by the numbers in our nation, they would be about 12% black, and over 80% white.

  • Michele Hogan

    I guess it depends on where you live. Those statistics certainly don’t hold true for New York City.

  • Anonymous

    Hello? New England?

  • Melancholy Sunshine

    The tribalism in Africa and Europe continues to account for much loss of life and land. The immigrant is still at a social advantage having been raised on their ancestral soil, as a majority, with their ancestral language and religion and families and communities for the most part intact. When there is violence, there is not the notion that EVERYONE in that ethnic group is a savage, ungovernable, incapable, and rejected by the greater society. Let the Af-Am experience be a cautionary tale to those hastening to jettison the cultural baby with the bathwater of traditions and customs which are regressive. The cohesion and longevity and morals are PRECISELY that which fuels the marvelous success of African immigrants in the land of opportunity.

  • Anonymous

    The incarceration rate chart is a telling one. While blacks have always been incarcerated at a higher rate than other races, and continue to be, the rate has increased for everybody since 1960. This is due to a misguided “war on drugs,” that helps nobody, and privatized prisons, that provide an incentive to find excuses to put people in jail and keep them there. We need major reforms to fix a system that has created the highest rate of incarceration in the US than almost every other country on Earth.

  • Glenford Hynson

    Agreed, someone taught you that as well. Many people are not given the opportunity to learn it.

  • Glenford Hynson

    And how much is the training and licensing, it’s not free. And Arizona us not exactly known as a place welcoming to people of color any color except white

  • VVale

    Well, where have all the mixed race people catagory gone? There are more than ever. I detest the catagory: “Other” on surveys.

  • Anonymous

    Asians are only included in the first chart? Are they suddenly nonexistent elsewhere?

  • Rob Lobster

    they not only don’t fit the narrative — they shatter it!

  • Steven Bell

    So, are you talking about black people? Are you saying that most of them don’t dress, talk, or behave correctly and that’s why their unemployment rate is so high? That impression or opinion is backed up with verified data? How many unemployed black people do you know? Hopefully, you’re not teaching black children or providing “service” to the black community!

  • Chisel

    Sounds like Englewood in Chicago…..

  • Chisel

    Until a caring, two parent, family unit replaces the babies having babies syndrome, all the day-care in the world won’t change anything.

  • Chisel

    Is it “redlining” or Black flight? It seems successful Blacks can’t move fast enough, to get away from a poverty stricken Black area. But if they stay and become role models or mentors in the community, wouldn’t they do a greater service? The fear of being accused of redlining did more to destroy those neighborhoods, as loan companies granted sub par loans to people that should never have been granted loans that they would not qualify for otherwise. The glut of foreclosed homes is staggering, making these areas more undesirable. As far as incarceration,does the criminal sentencing correlate to the crime ratio?

  • Aynne Price Morison

    So, where are the Native numbers??