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Thursday
Mar012018

Inequality is Real

In today’s New York Times, former Oklahoma senator, and professor emeritus Fred Harris and president and chief executive of the Eisenhower Foundation, Alan Curtis published a scathing assessment of our country’s progress on reducing racial inequality since the publication of the Kerner Commission Report in 1968.  School segregation has returned, income disparities remain, wealth disparities have increased and incarceration rates of members of the Black community have far outstripped increases in crime rates. Their conclusion is that any progress on reducing inequality in our country was temporary or nonexistent and the disparities in quality of life among our people, based on race, remain as stark as ever. Previous reports by the Center for Investigative Reporting have revealed that some of the housing differences between races are due to blatant discrimination in the mortgage industry, and a great deal of the de facto segregation is due to income, wealth, and employment disparities. The authors recommend solutions and identify solutions that have failed to work or in fact, exacerbated inequalities.  One can debate their suggestions, but it is difficult to contradict their findings, which don’t even include some other striking differences between races in terms of health services, preventive healthcare, infant mortality and lifespan. Fifty years ago the Kerner Commission identified these issues and recommended attempts at their solution.  We have made little progress since that time. One can argue that every American has an equal opportunity to succeed and achieve health, wealth, education, safety and a quality, comfortable life, but the data show that for many Black children, born in poor families, in communities in which a disproportionate percentage of the males are absent because they are in prison, where the schools are substandard, and where both income and wealth disparities and outright discrimination make it difficult to leave, the playing field is not even and their uphill struggle is steeper than for White children. The article, which bears reading, may be found here: The Unmet Promise of Equality.

Reader Comments (1)

What has ably been recognized in this article is that inequality has nothing to do with race and everything to do with family culture and individual choices. Every hill that needs to be climbed varies from person to person. Skin color is irrelevant. Smart people are generally successful because they're smart. Talented people are generally successful because they're talented. Hard working people are generally successful because they're hard working. Nearly everybody has at least one of these three options available to them and none of these areas has anything to do with skin color. I'm hoping one day we can leave the segregation and racism out of the inequality dialogue and talk about people who either make wise choices or poor choices based on their individual circumstances.

March 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMark Wheeler

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