Racism in the United States is traced back during the colonial period. It included practices, laws and action that exercised discrimination or otherwise negatively influenced multiple groups in terms of ethnicity or race. The majority of while Americans enjoyed socially or legally sanctioned rights and privileges which other minorities and races did not receive. For instance, European American enjoyed benefits based on immigration, education, citizenship, voting rights, criminal procedure and lad acquisition across American history. The paper discusses the concept of African American racial injustice and the aspects associated with the practice.
African Americans have throughout American history experienced restrictions on political, economic and social freedoms. Major ethnically and racially structured manifestations and institutions of racism have involved slavery, genocide, segregation, and immigration and naturalization laws. By the mid-20th century, formal discrimination was significantly banned. During the summer of 1967, African American populations marched, protested and rioted, particularly in cities throughout the United States. As a result of the unrest, President Lyndon Johnson was convinced to establish the Kerner Commission, which was tasked with finding ways of addressing structural inequities among African Americans (NPR, 2020). The Kerner report noted that poverty and segregation developed racial ghetto that contributed to a destructive environment that white Americans could not foresee. It maintained that white institutions created racial inequality while the white institutions maintain it. Besides, white society tends to condone racial inequality against African Americans (NPR, 2020). It is still observed that 50 years later, Americans, especially African Americans, take to the streets to protest systematic inequalities that remain unaddressed.
In several ways and measures, the United States has made significant progress toward attaining racial equality over the past decades. For instance, black Americans have witnessed massive gains in education, infant mortality rates and medial and political representations. Nevertheless, in numerous ways, Black Americans have not realized significant economic progress, particularly on a relative basis (Solomon et al, 2019). Even prior to the economic collapse and the pandemic, the nationwide black poverty ranging at 22 per cent was found to be more than double the rate of poverty among the white population of 9 per cent. Even though there has been an increase in middle class compared to 50 years back, the median black family represents only a tenth of the median white household’s wealth. It also reported that African Americans usually earn 25 per cent less on average than the white workers every year.
Income and wealth
The earning gap between the African Americans and the white population has been shown to have remained the same since the start of mid-1970s. The gap was significantly closed when the United States government took certain measures to raise the minimum wage across millions of African Americans. The minimum wage was expanded across all black population and in areas where they were over-represented in industries such as food and hospitality, agriculture, and nursing homes. Nevertheless, there is still a disparity between African Americans and white population in terms of age and income levels. The African American population occupy lower positions and less paying jobs in the economy (Solomon et al, 2019). White populations will take charge of the topmost ranks and certain well-paying jobs, contributing to the income disparity.
The Kerner Commission established measures and recommendations to address the wage gap. The measures have since led to substantial gains in income, although based on the wealth gap, there has been nearly no progress. The average wealth of an African American is reported at 15% today, and the percentage was the same in 1963 (NPR, 2020). One of the good explanations for the stagnation of the wealth gap is homeownership issues among African Americans. The United States is reported to face a legacy of housing policies based on race (Chae et al., p.105). These include exclusionary federal housing assistance and redlining. In modern America, homeownership among the white population is nearly 74%, against 44% of black homeownership rate (NPR, 2020). Besides, the rate has about the same gap as it was in 1968.
Segregation and mobility
Racial inequality in the United States is inseparable from the segregation issue. Segregation has a key role in leading to variations in racial opportunities. Th cities across American are more separated based on particular lines such as income lines (Solomon et al, 2019). It is observed that even after 50 years of the country, African Americans remain in fundamentally separate neighborhoods. The African American population also have access to fundamentally separate jobs, schools and opportunities. The issue of segregation can be seen from the aspect of life outcome of a kid. A kid’s environment in which they are brought up serves as an integral determinant of their life attainment. When a child is exposed to healthy settings characterized by low crime and poverty rates, good schools, successful role models, and social trust are crucial for their life outcome. Besides, an environment of two-parent household acts as a massive boost such that the kids are likely to succeed as they grow up.
The issues facing African Americans remain the same due to segregation. They live in worse neighborhoods, which possess a massive influence on their upward mobility. It is challenging for African American children to make to the top fifth in their adulthood where they represent 2.5%, four times worse compared to the white kids with a similar background (NPR, 2020). The black women are also presented as likely to grow up in worse settings compared to white women. They grow up in poor environments disadvantaging them based on various fronts.
Black African Americans in the United States have widespread issues in the US. It is established that 99 per cent of the overall neighborhoods in the United States, black men end up receiving less income in their adulthood compared to the white men (NPR, 2020). This is regardless of whether they were brought up in households with the same backgrounds and class. The rich black adolescents are also reported as showing twice as likely to end up in poverty than their white rich white adolescent counterparts.
Black men in the United States society face discrimination, particularly by law enforcement, by employers, judges, strangers and customers. This results in a situation where African American students are unlikely to finish school, join colleges and other achievements. Besides, this population is much more likely to be brought up in settings where there is the absence of male role models. This is a massive concern which is explained partly by mass incarceration where the majority of black men are not present to assist in bringing up their kids.
Criminal justice system
The United States is characterized by significant racial disparity in its criminal legal system, especially for African-Americans. These populations are more likely to face arrest than their white counterparts. Besides, they are more likely to suffer conviction after they have been arrested (Hetey et al., p. 184). After their conviction, African Americans could face lengthy sentences in prison than white Americans. Starting from 2001, one in every three black boys are likely to go to prison in their lifetime. The source of the significant inequality on criminal justice is more systematic and deer than explicit discrimination based on race. The US is found to keep two different criminal legal systems. These include one of them belongs to the poor individuals and people of color, while the other is exclusive for the wealthy individuals. Wealthy people have constitutional protections, whereas minority and poor defendants lack similar treatments (Hetey et al., p. 185). The difference in criminal justice system treatments has contributed to the overrepresentation of African Americans in the system. The US allows the creation and perpetuation of policies that contribute to racial inequalities in the criminal justice system.
American society systematically keeps African Americans down through institutional racism, stereotypes, explicit and implicit biases in the country against African Americans. The vicious cycle continues to restrict African Americans in realizing opportunities and freedom. The US is experiencing deep-rooted structural and systemic inequities and racism that disadvantaged African Americans face even today. The discrimination ranges from housing and education to the country’s criminal legal system (Chae et al., p. 105). The criminal justice systems exercise disproportionate target and subjection of individual of color to police brutality, incarceration and imposition of several collateral repercussions. The legal system criminalizes poverty, leading to more suffering among African Americans as they fall in poverty categories more than white Americans.
Chae, David H., et al. "Discrimination, racial bias, and telomere length in African-American men." American journal of preventive medicine 46.2 (2014): 103-111. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.10.020
Hetey, Rebecca C., and Jennifer L. Eberhardt. "The numbers don’t speak for themselves: Racial disparities and the persistence of inequality in the criminal justice system." Current Directions in Psychological Science 27.3 (2018): 183-187. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721418763931
National Public Radio (NPR). “What a 1968 report tells us about the persistence of racial inequality”. (2020). https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2020/06/09/872402262/what-a-1968-report-tells-us-about-the-persistence-of-racial-inequality
Solomon, D., Maxwell, C. and Castro, A. “Systematic Inequality and Economic Opportunity”. (2019). https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/reports/2019/08/07/472910/systematic-inequality-economic-opportunity/
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