It is no secret that African-Americans continue to suffer the consequences of both systemic and individual racism in this country. However, the latest National Urban League Report published Thursday makes it clear just how little progress has really been made six decades after the purported success of the Civil Rights Movement. The report shows that Black America has shown negligible advancement on only some accounts, while the long-term trends are actually going backwards when it comes to education and social justice, among others.
The 2022 National Urban League report was officially published in its final form August 25th, Thursday, building on an initial draft released in April. It highlights small gains in overcoming economic and health disparities, but also shows that Black Americans have been falling behind their White counterparts since 2005 when it comes to the fields of education, social justice, and civic engagement. Overall, African-Americans still make only 74 % of the average income of White Americans, while the difference is much greater for Black women, and when it comes to wealth accumulation. The median household income for Black families stands only at a dismal $44,000, compared to roughly $70,000 for White families.
The disparities in health outcomes are even starker. The report shows that the average life expectancy of a Black child born today has actually declined over the past 17 years, and now stands at four years less than that of a White newborn. Black women are 59 % more likely than White women to die as a result of childbirth, and 31 % more likely to be victims of fatal breast cancer. Likewise, Black men face almost one-and-a-half times higher risk of death from prostate cancer.
This systemic discrimination also leaks into the legal and judicial realm. Decades after the start of the racist War on Drugs and ‘Tough on Crime’ policies, Black people are still three times more likely to be jailed if arrested, and twice as likely to face threats of violence from the hands of law enforcement. Unsurprisingly, they face an incredible 93 % higher chance of having to deal with a hate crime than White people!
This recent report is only one of the countless indicators of the mayhem that decades of inaction has unleashed upon one specific group of American citizens. It is almost uncanny to hear about exactly the same kind of racial discrimination occurring in 2022 as when Jim Crow laws were still in force. For, as the President of the NUL put at the organization’s annual conference, the problem is the persistent existence and negligence of ‘structural gaps’ more than anything. In other words, the question is one of will: Is America willing to finally do something for its Black citizens, lest they continue to earn less, face more hatred, and die earlier than the rest of us?