Monday, May 23, 2016

RACE MATTERS - Urban League's 40th Annual Report

"Urban League calls for $1 trillion ‘Marshall Plan’ to address persistent disparities between the races" PBS NewsHour 5/17/2016


SUMMARY:  The title of the Urban League’s 40th annual "State of Black America" report is as stark as some of its numbers: "Locked Out: Education, Jobs & Justice." While much has changed, the report finds disparities between blacks and whites have barely budged.  Hari Sreenivasan talks to the league’s Marc Morial about why its “equality index” for blacks stands at just 72 percent of that of whites.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  The National Urban League has released the 40th edition of its annual "State of Black America Report."  It’s designed to provide a snapshot of where African-Americans are relative to whites.

According to the most recent report’s calculations, across multiple facets of life, African-Americans experience equality at a rate of 72 percent, compared to white Americans, who score 100 percent.

Here to explain is Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League.

So, let’s start with that 72 percent number.  How do you get there?  What does that mean?

MARC MORIAL, President, National Urban League:  What it means is, if you compare things like unemployment, home ownership, high school graduation rates, college attainment rates, median income, African-Americans, on average, achieve 72 percent that of where whites are.

These are collective numbers.  We also do the same comparison for Latinos.  Latinos are at about 77 percent, whites being, of course, 100 percent.  So, it’s designed to make our discussion about persistent racial inequality precise, based on numbers, based on facts, and based on clarity.

So, we report this information every year.  This is the 40th year that we have done it.  And we not only report the information, Hari, but we also propose solutions.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  One of the indicators or one of the factors is income inequality, the gap there.  One of the largest income disparities that you point out, at least between black and white families, is in the Minneapolis metro area.

The average household income for a black family there is just over a third, 37.8 percent, of the average household income for a white family.  How does this happen?

MARC MORIAL:  This happens because the better-paying jobs, the higher-level jobs go to whites, and African-Americans are stuck in lower-paying jobs on an overall basis.

And we see this glaring disparity in places like Minneapolis.  It’s also present in places like San Francisco, where there is a tremendous amount of success, a highly educated work force.  African-Americans are far, far behind.

I hope that what this means is that, in a city like Minneapolis or a city like San Francisco, they won’t sweep these numbers under the rug, they won’t pretend that they don’t exist, and they will recognize and see it as a challenge for the civic, business and political leadership of those communities to try to address these disparities.

These disparities exist in virtually every major American metropolitan area.  It is just a question of to what degree.

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