One hundred fifty-two years ago, former President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation for the second time, a document that freed the black slaves from captivity in America. In 152 years, through advocacy and lobbying, federal laws have sought to ensure that black Americans not only remain free but are subject to same opportunities as all other Americans. But after 152 years, how true is it that blacks in America are treated equally?
Based on recent State of Black America report distributed by the National Urban League, black Americans experience a 72.2 percent rate of equality compared to white Americans, who experience 77.7 percent equality. This means that blacks in America are only exposed to three-quarters of the opportunities that whites are. This equality reportedly varies across the country and shows rate difference in the areas of education, economics, health, social justice, and civic engagement.
In education, blacks are more likely to thrive in states that, according to voting history, are more liberal. Specifically, in a normally black state or nonpartisan legislature state like Nebraska, 57.8 percent of black students graduate high school. In a normally blue state like Vermont, a whopping 100 percent of black American students graduate high school. In light of these realities, one leader, Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, asserts his solution to the overall equality gap.
“Demonstrate the value of black American lives through quality education.”
Another fact that factors into these figures is the size of the black American population in each state. In 2015, according to the State of Black America report, 100 percent of black America students also completed high school in Maine, Arizona, and North Dakota. Unfortunately, for black Americans, the effects of population size and political atmosphere differ when it comes to economics and health.
Currently, black Americans have the highest unemployment rate in the country, a rate which has greatly increased under the Obama administration. In 2013, Pew Research found that unemployment in the black American community is consistently twice that of white Americans, which begs the question, why?
In an article by the Wall Street Journal, it was stated that in August of 2015, unemployment among black Americans was at 10 percent. Census statistics show the gap in employment equality among black and white Americans began in the 1940s when immigrants from Mexico moved to the United States for work. In addition, European immigrants and French Canadians made New England their home, dominating the manufacturing industry that many black American migrated from the South to work in. In other words, black American work simply was no longer needed. Now, there are other dilemmas at stake.
The equality gap between white and black America is seen primarily in urban areas where the black American presence is massive. In Washington, D.C., the National Urban League discovered that only 17.4 percent of black children passed standardized tests. They are outdone by other minorities, Hispanics in particular. What appears to be going wrong in urban areas is a lack of funding, social justice inequality, and government bodies who ignore civic engagement. In the State of Black America report, one civil rights lawyer, Benjamin Crump, states that one piece of legislation could be the solution.
“Pass the Grand Jury Act of 2014.”
Many of these inner city governments are democratic and, therefore, are already set up to make equality gap much smaller. However, Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins believes that issue with equality in America is less political and more economic. His solution to unemployment among black Americans is black business ownership.
“African-American business ownership will save our communities.”
As of 2015, black American households have “71 cents for every dollar” that white households have, according to the National Urban League. With many justice and equality protests and pending legislation that doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere, some leaders hope to get to the heart of the matter in the New Year and close the equality gap once and for all.
[Photo by Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images]