Opinion: America is not land of the free

By Emma Carlsen
Scan 31

Illustration by Leslie Santibanez-Molina

The negative effects of racial discrimination disproportionately impacts African Americans in the United States.

This information is something that has been painfully obvious to people of color and yet has long been denied by those in positions of power.

A 30 year long study initiated by the National Bureau of Economic Research about race and socioeconomic status recently published has confirmed that being an African American in the U.S. is a disadvantage.

In this study, researchers found on average, African Americans born into high income families went on in life to do as economically well as their White counterparts born into low income families.

“Among those who grow up in families with comparable incomes, Black men grow up to earn substantially less than the White men,” according to the research done by NBER.

Opposed to White people who become rich and are able to pass their wealth onto their descendents, Black people who become rich often had their family members become poor later on.

“Black children born to parents in the bottom household income quintile have a 2.5 percent chance of rising to the top quintile of household income, compared with 10.6 percent for Whites,” according to NBER.

Several factors have been suggested to explain the huge disparity between African American income levels and those of White Americans.

The General Social Survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center surveyed White Americans.

According to their survey, 55 percent of White republicans agreed with the racist sentiment.

One question in the survey asked if African Americans were economically disadvantaged “because most just don’t have the motivation or willpower to pull themselves up out of poverty.”

These assumptions held by a majority of White Republicans are damaging to Black people.

This kind of racism perpetuated by society only helps reinforce the harmful stereotypes that befall Black people. The best way to rise out of poverty is a proper education.

The education received by African Americans is vitally important to provide an opportunity for social mobility.

Unfortunately, schools remain highly segregated in the U.S.

Students who attend schools with disproportionately high rates of people of color are often underfunded and ignored.

In 2016, teachers in predominantly Black schools from Detroit suffered through disgusting conditions such as rotten food, rats and moldy classrooms took “sickouts” for better treatment.

The New York Times reported in 2016 that in Detroit, only 27 percent of students were proficient in reading and 34 percent were proficient in math.

These conditions are an extreme example of the systematic racism faced by African Americans in a huge amount of the country.

Without an equally beneficial education as those received by White students, Black students will continue to suffer economically.

Systematic racism continues to rear its ugly head in the country that claims to be the “land of the free, home of the brave.”

How does continuing to segregate and degrade our citizens make us brave? As long as Americans of color continue to be denied equal treatment to their White counterparts, no American will be truly free.

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