The Black Disadvantage in the United States
Racial profiling, higher risks of Incarceration, poverty, unemployment, more student debt; these are Just some of the Issues that African Americans face In the united States today. The statistical facts show that African Americans Face an uphill battle compared to White Americans. A good portion of the financial inequality that exists is due to the trickle down of white financial ancestral inheritance which was able to amass overtime unlike the historically disadvantaged, enslaved. nd segregated African American How often do we see news stories about police officers targeting or using xcessive force on a white person?
While it undoubtedly has happened at one point or another, it is hardly a prevailing problem for the white community. In contrast, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “blacks were more likely than whites or Hispanics to experience use or threat of force. (“Use of force,” ) In fact, ever since the Rodney King beating shined a bright spotlight on the use of excessive force against African Americans, these stories of police brutality continue to make their way to the news. “Every tew years an incident occurs in the Black community where a Black man Is handled with excessive force or Is shot to death by police.
The confrontation may be taped or due to the surrounding circumstances the African American community and sometimes the media will rally behind the alleged vlctlm and demand justice. (“Interesting facts about,”) As we move from supposed crime onto actual crime and look at the rates of incarceration, there Is a huge disparity when comparing African Americans and whites, in fact, according to the NAACP, “African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 23 million incarcerated population” and “African Americans are incarcerated nearly six times the rate of whites.
Without digging any deeper one might think that African Americans may Just be more prone to criminality than Caucasians, however. s we do more research, it becomes clear that this disparity is more likely due to a double standard and harsher punishments toward people of color than it is to any inherent criminality. We see that In facts like this, “About 14 million Whites and 2. 6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug 5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites.
NAACP) It is truly staggering how blatant the disparity is among race regarding drug use verses drug incarceration Drugs. According to the National survey on Drug use and Health, among youths among African Americans. In a previous year, the same survey found that white youth aged 12 t017 are more than a third more likely to have sold drugs than African American youth. The Monitoring the Future Survey of high school seniors shows that students, use crack cocaine at 1. imes the rate of African Americans students, and use heroin at the same rate of African Americans students, and that white youth eport annual use of marijuana at a rate 46% higher than African American youth. However African American youth are arrested for drug offenses at about twice the rate (African American 314 per 100,000, white 175 per 100,000) times that of whites, and African American youth represent nearly half (48%) of all the youth incarcerated for a drug offense in the Juvenile Justice system.
Van Jones, 2005) While statistics show a definite double standard in regard to racial profiling, excessive force, and incarceration, there is also a great divide between how African Americans and White Americans live financially. According to the United States Census Bureau, “In 2011, the official poverty rate was 15. 0 percent. There were 46. 2 million people in poverty. ” (“Poverty,” 2012) However, breaking the poverty rates down by race reveals that, “Minorities were hit hardest.
Blacks experienced the highest poverty rate, at 27 percent, up from 25 percent in 2009, and Hispanics rose to 26 percent from 25 percent. For whites, 9. 9 percent lived in poverty, up from 9. 4 percent in 2009. Asians were unchanged at 12. 1 percent. ” (Tavernise, 2011) Poverty is often directly related to employment, so it follows suit that since African Americans experience the highest overty rate in the United States, that they would also experience the highest unemployment rate, in fact, “the unemployment rate for black Americans, now 13 percent, is about double that for white Americans. ” (NPR Staff, 2013)
The financial advantages that many white Americans have are substantial in comparison to the lack of advantages that most African Americans have access to. This uneven distribution of wealth and resources is easily evidenced when researching a myriad of different topics, for instance, there is a marked difference between the financial burdens due to potential Student loan dept that African Americans have to look orward to after College graduation as opposed to many White Americans.
African Americans are fighting an uphill battle because most do not have access to the advantages and family financial assistance that many white people have. This lack of advantage is what was behind the NPR article titled. “Job Searching While Black: What’s Behind The Unemployment Gap? ” In the article, NPR interviewed Heather McGhee, vice president of policy and outreach at the public policy group Demos, who explained the financial disadvantages that most African American student’s experience.
While student loan debt is at record numbers across the board, McGhee ays, black college graduates are twice as likely to have student loan debt as their white counterparts, who often use their statistically higher wealth to pay for college and take on less debt. “It means a difference between the African-American graduate coming out, graduating into a recession [and] having to start paying down her student loans,” McGhee tells NPR’s Jacki Lyden. Whereas her white classmate actually doesn’t and is able to get a Job faster.
While it is hard for anyone to educate or work their way into the middle class these days, McGhee says, it is twice as hard for blacks. This financial advantage that many white people experience is a key reason for the many disparages between Blacks and Whites in the United States today. White families in the United States have had a much longer time accumulating wealth, and to the next generation. Most Black families do not have the advantage of any form of trickle down of wealth due to their ancestor’s inability and denial of opportunity to amass any kind of wealth to pass down.
This is of course due to the United States embarrassing and deplorable treatment of Africans through slavery, segregation, and racism in our nation’s history. The disparity in wealth not only persists, it mushrooms. Without a cushion of inherited wealth, emergencies hit harder, and people who have no nest egg have to let opportunities pass by. Because of the wealth deficit, African Americans find themselves more vulnerable to shocks and less able to capitalize on breaks than whites with the same income.
So the next generation will inherit less, too. The wealth gap will not close anytime soon. (Hout, 2004) Not only do White Americans often start out life paces in front of African Americans due to accumulated wealth and family assistance, they also have other less obvious dvantages. For instance, African Americans’ homes do not increase in value as much as White Americans’ homes do, so therefore African Americans are missing out on home equity to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
It’s a sad fact, but many people looking to buy homes look for amenities which are more often found in white Neighborhoods and communities. “They pay extra for parks, convenient shopping and attractive views. Parents pay huge premiums for what they perceive to be good schools. Few parents can Judge schools objectively. Instead, they use easy-to-observe markers, including the race of the students. These preferences raise the costs that first-time homebuyers face when they attempt to buy houses in those mostly white neighborhoods.
White Americans started off financially advantaged due to inherited wealth, they remain ahead of many black post-college graduates because their families have often helped them either pay down or pay off their student loans, and thanks to prevailing racism which often fuels such things as racial profiling, excessive force, and incarceration. Until African Americans are able to mass more finances to pass down to future generations and until racism is squelched, it is likely hat African Americans will still face the same disadvantaged American Dream.