Are African-Americans Locked Out? State of Black America Report

Michael Cottman, NBC News, May 17, 2016

The National Urban League’s 2016 State of Black America Report, ‘Locked Out: Education, Jobs, & Justice,’ which was released on Tuesday, offers a sobering reminder of the deep racial disparities in housing, employment, and education that still divides blacks and whites across America.

Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, said the report mirrors the past.

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“We are now, as we were then, facing growing pressure to slash human needs programs for the poor, who are demonized and characterized as lazy slackers trying to cheat the system,” Morial said.

He added that unemployment and joblessness “is just one of the many injustices that keep our cities locked out.

“Behind these statistics are real people,” he said.

Highlights of the report reveal that black rates of unemployment have consistently remained about twice that of the white rates across time, regardless of education.

The household income gap remains at about 60 cents for every dollar. African Americans are only slightly less likely today to live in poverty than they were in 1976.

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“The 2016 National Urban League Equality Index tells an all too familiar story of persistent racial disparities in American life,” Morial wrote in the report, “making clear that the historic Obama presidency has not been a panacea for America’s long-standing race problem. ”

The study also calls for a “bold and strategic investment” in America’s urban communities that requires $1 trillion over the next 5 years.

Some of the recommendations include investments in universal early childhood education; a federal living wage of $15 per hour; a financing plan focusing on minority-and-women-owned businesses; expansion of summer youth employment programs; expanded homeownership strategies; and doubling the Pell Grant program to make college more affordable.

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