Discrimination and poverty are problems that many are currently facing in the United States. African Americans in particular are the most affected by discrimination and poverty. Currently the economic status of African Americans in the United States is 56 percent of that of Whites when comparing income, unemployment, homeownership, business ownership, median net worth and poverty rates. As Malcolm Gladwell discusses in “Black Like Them” (1996) African Americans are seen as lazy people and they are therefore blamed for their own fate. This research investigates if discrimination reduces job and educational opportunities for African Americans. It was found that African Americans are indeed the most disadvantaged people in the United States and that this is in part due to discrimination.
Discrimination and Poverty in African Americans
The gap between African American and White economic conditions has been of long duration. Its roots are firmly buried in the institution of slavery. After receiving their freedom African Americans were left ill equipped to prosper as freed men. As former slaves African Americans were not prepared by experience to function effectively on their own without the guidance of their slave owners. And even today, African Americans are still falling behind economic empowerment. Discrimination is reducing job and educational an opportunity for African Americans and this is leading them to poverty. Even though many claim that this has more to do with individual effort and that African Americans are by choice not doing what is necessary to accomplish economical prosperity. Whatever the case may be it is a fact that already disadvantaged African Americans are still facing obstacles such as discrimination in employment and this undoubtedly is limiting their success in the United States.
Economic conditions of African Americans
In America the economic condition of the African American population has always been inferior to that of the White population. At its worst, in 1959, 55 percent of African Americans had incomes below poverty levels (Kain, J. 1969). Currently, African Americans have uprooted themselves in search of better jobs, and wider horizons. In recent years, many have taken advantage of education and training programs. The fact that these opportunities exist, and that large numbers of African Americans are using them, proves that there are open routes of mobility in our society. While some find a way to improve their life conditions a large number still live in areas where conditions are growing worse. In part, the deterioration in poor African American neighborhoods reflects the fact that these areas are constantly losing their most successful people to better neighborhoods, leaving behind the most impoverished. Although African American family incomes remains low in comparison with the rest of the population, the incomes of both whites and African Americans are at an all-time high and during the last year, the gap between the two groups has significantly narrowed, but despite these gains, African American income is only fifty-six percent of White income (U.S Bureau of the Census, 1994). This is due to the decline in Employment opportunities for African Americans. Unemployment rates for African Americans are twice those of Whites (Blake & Darling, 1994). These are some of the reasons why African Americans are often homeless or involved in illegal acts such as drug dealing and theft. Table one demonstrates the percentage of unemployment by race and sex in 2001 and 2002.
Table 1. Percentage of Unemployment by Race and Sex for 2001 and 2002. 20012002
|White |Men 10.4 | 11.2 | | |Women 8.8 | | | |...