of the Dream
Gaps Still Wide
Some Even Widening -- Since Dr. King's Death
Release from United for a Fair Economy
“There is nothing new about poverty. What
is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to
get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the
will.” -- Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Racial inequities in unemployment, family
income, imprisonment, average wealth, and infant mortality are
actually worse than when Dr. King was killed, according to
United for a Fair Economy’s new report, "The State of the Dream:
Enduring Disparities in Black and White," by
Dedrick Muhammad, Attieno Davis, Meizhu Lui and Betsy Leondar-Wright.
The report contrasts the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
with the reality of the continued racial divide.
Progress has been made in narrowing the
divide in per capita income, poverty, homeownership, education,
life expectancy and median wealth, but so slowly that the gaps
would take decades or even centuries to close at the current
“As Americans celebrate the King Holiday
and listen to President Bush’s State of the Union address, we
must hold in mind the failure of the most powerful nation in the
world to create opportunity for all its people,” said Dedrick
Muhammad. “No longer do we hear about a War on Poverty or a
Great Society. It has been replaced by compassionate
conservatism, which has been very conservative in its
The typical Black family had 60% as much
income as a white family in 1968, but only 58% as much in 2002.
One in nine African Americans cannot find a
job. Black unemployment is more than twice the white rate – a
wider gap than in 1972.
Black infants are almost two-and-a-half-times
as likely as white infants to die before age one – a greater
gap than in 1970.
White households had an average net worth of
$468,200 in 2001, more than six times the $75,700 of Black
households. In 1989 (the oldest comparable data available),
average white wealth was five-and-a-half times Black wealth.
“The phrase ‘snail’s pace’ doesn’t
describe the slow progress in some black-white gaps, because
snails travel faster than that,” said Meizhu Lui.
At the slow rate that the Black-white poverty
gap has been narrowing since 1968, it would take 150 years,
until 2152, to close.
every dollar of white per-capita income, African Americans had
55 cents in 1968 – and only 57 cents in 2001. At this pace, it
would take Blacks 581 years to get the remaining 43 cents.
“African Americans have endured unbearable
disparities for too long,” said Attieno Davis. “581 years is
too long to wait for our missing 43 cents on the dollar.”
While white homeownership has jumped from 65%
to 75% since 1970, Black homeownership has only risen from 42%
to 48%. At this rate, it would take 1,664 years to close the
homeownership gap – about 55 generations.
If current rates of incarceration continue,
one out of three African American males born today will be
imprisoned at some point during their lifetimes.
At the current pace, Blacks and whites will
reach high school graduation parity in 2013, six decades after
the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision.
And college graduation parity wouldn’t be reached until 2075,
more than 200 years after the end of slavery.
“Dr. King worked to instill in us all a
sense of moral urgency about the racial disparities in the
United States,” said Betsy Leondar-Wright. “We can honor his
memory by shaking off our complacency and committing ourselves
to racial justice.”
Dedrick Muhammad is the Racial Wealth
Divide Coordinator at United for a Fair Economy. Attieno
Davis coordinates UFE’s Racial Wealth Divide education
work. Meizhu Lui is UFE’s Executive Director, and Betsy
Leondar-Wright is UFE’s Communications Director.
United for a Fair Economy is an independent
national non-profit that raises awareness that concentrated
wealth and power undermine the economy, corrupt democracy,
deepen the racial divide, and tear communities apart. Contact:
Betsy Leondar-Wright, (617) 423-2148 x13 / posted 2004
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* * *
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
According to the
author, this society has historically exerted
considerable pressure on black females to fit into one
of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the
Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless
Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to
white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of
those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the
relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable
temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as
an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the
characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television
shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
points out how the propagation of these harmful myths
have served the mainstream culture well. For instance,
the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for
black females to feel a maternal instinct towards
As for the source
of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their
own bodies during slavery given that they were being
auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless,
it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate
the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate
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Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry
By Laura María Agustín
This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London
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The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
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Ancient African Nations
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If you like this page consider making a donation
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Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
* * * * *
The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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