Minutes ago, President Barack Obama delivered his highly anticipated speech on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
It was every bit as inspirational as it was a call to action — to celebrate the progress America has made in closing the gaps of racial disparity while also remembering how very far we have left to go.
“To dismiss the magnitude of this progress, to suggest, as some sometimes do, that little has changed — that dishonors the courage and the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years,” Obama said. “But we would dishonor those heroes as well to suggest that the work of this nation is somehow complete. The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own.”
With Obama’s message in mind, we decided to turn to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, which sheds a lot of light on how Americans themselves feel about how far we have yet to come in closing the fault lines along racial disparity.
Here are several charts showing exactly where we have succeeded and where we are falling behind.
When it comes to household income and wealth, the gaps between blacks and whites have only widened over the last half century.
In some areas, such as the poverty line and homeownership rates, we are barely meeting the 1960s status quo.
Pew Research Center
Poverty peaked for blacks during the 1980s and has significantly decreased over time, however, the poverty rate for blacks is still barely better than it was 50 years ago.
Since 2009, blacks ands whites actually feel much worse about blacks’ socioeconomic progress.
And most would agree that we have a long way to go to truly bridge the gap.
50 years after the March on Washington, more than one in three blacks and one in five Latinos say they’ve experienced discrimination in the past 12 months.
When asked to compare their financial situation to the average white person, the majority (60%) of blacks said they are worse off. Just 39% of whites agreed.
The numbers prove that blacks are right. Compared to whites households, which average a net worth of more than $US91,000, black households are barely worth $US6,500.
And if owning a home is still part of the American dream, blacks have barely made progress since the 1960s.
Still, like Obama cautioned, we can’t talk about setbacks if we don’t also acknowledge our successes. Since the 1960s, high school graduation, voter turnout, and life expectancy rates among blacks and other minorities have soared. In fact, blacks are outnumbering whites at the polls.
College graduation rates still leave much to be desired, but blacks have seen steady progress.
You be the judge. Has America really come far in eradicating racial disparities?
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