The Black Disadvantage in the United States
Racial profiling, higher risks of incarceration, poverty, unemployment, more student debt; these are just some of the issues that African Americans face in the United States today. The statistical facts show that African Americans Face an uphill battle compared to White Americans. A good portion of the financial inequality that exists is due to the trickle down of white financial ancestral inheritance which was able to amass overtime unlike the historically disadvantaged, enslaved, and segregated African American.
How often do we see news stories about police officers targeting or using excessive force on a white person? While it undoubtedly has happened at one point or another, it is hardly a prevailing problem for the white community. In contrast, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “blacks were more likely than whites or Hispanics to experience use or threat of force.” ("Use of force," ) In fact, ever since the Rodney King beating shined a bright spotlight on the use of excessive force against African Americans, these stories of police brutality continue to make their way to the news. “Every few years an incident occurs in the Black community where a Black man is handled with excessive force or is shot to death by police. The confrontation may be taped or due to the surrounding circumstances the African American community and sometimes the media will rally behind the alleged victim and demand justice.” ("Interesting facts about,”)
As we move from supposed crime onto actual crime and look at the rates of incarceration, there is a huge disparity when comparing African Americans and whites, in fact, according to the NAACP, “African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population” and “African Americans are incarcerated nearly six times the rate of whites,” (NCAAP) Without digging any deeper one might think that African Americans may just be more prone to criminality than Caucasians, however, as we do more research, it becomes clear that this disparity is more likely due to a double standard and harsher punishments toward people of color than it is to any inherent criminality. We see that in facts like this, “About 14 million Whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug 5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites.” (NAACP)
It is truly staggering how blatant the disparity is among race regarding drug use verses drug incarceration
Drugs. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of current illicit drug use was 11.1 % among whites, and 9.3% among African Americans. In a previous year, the same survey found that white youth aged 12 to17 are more than a third more likely to have sold drugs than African American youth. The Monitoring the Future Survey of high school seniors shows that white students annually use cocaine at 4.6 times the rate of African Americans students, use crack cocaine at 1.5 times the rate of African Americans students, and use heroin at the same rate of African Americans students, and that white youth report annual use of marijuana at a rate 46% higher than African American youth. However African American youth are arrested for drug offenses at about twice the rate (African American 314 per 100,000, white 175 per 100,000) times that of whites, and African American youth represent nearly half (48%) of all the youth incarcerated for a drug offense in the juvenile justice system. (Van Jones, 2005) While statistics show a definite double standard in regard to racial profiling, excessive force, and incarceration, there is also a great divide between how African Americans and White Americans live financially. According to the United States Census Bureau, “In 2011, the official poverty rate was 15.0 percent. There...
References: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs (n.d.). Use of force. Retrieved from website: http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=703
Hout, M. (2004). The hidden cost of being african american. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-03-10.htm
Interesting facts about the african american population. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://blackdemographics.com/culture/crime/
Myers, J. (2007). Dominant-minority relations in america. (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
NAACP. (n.d.). Criminal justice fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet
NPR Staff. (2013, May 25). Job searching while black: What 's behind the unemployment gap?. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/05/25/186609052/for-black-americans-finding-work-an-uphill-battle
Tavernise, S. (2011, September 13). Soaring poverty casts spotlight on ‘lost decade’. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/us/14census.html?pagewanted=all
United States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce. (2012). Poverty. Retrieved from website: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/
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