Opinion we all need to actively fight the reality of racism – opinion – poconorecord.com – stroudsburg, pa

According to a new data analysis by The Equality of Opportunity Project, a nonprofit think tank of prominent economists, "African Americans have substantially lower rates of upward mobility and higher rates of downward mobility than whites." Black kids born to parents with the lowest household incomes have a 2.5 percent chance of rising to the heights of the top household incomes, compared with 10.6 percent for whites.

The study, "Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States," says the cards are precariously stacked against my male students. "Black-white gaps in high-school dropout rates, college attendance rates, occupation, and incarceration are all substantially larger for men than for women.


Black women have higher college attendance rates than white men, conditional on parental income. For men, the gap in incarceration is particularly striking: 21 percent of black men born to the lowest-income families are incarcerated on a given day."

But if black male students can run the gauntlet of low expectations, under-resourced school districts, higher disciplinary incidents and community violence to actually graduate from college (the six-year graduation rate is 38 percent for blacks — 24 percentage points lower than for whites — and black women had a completion rate 10 points higher than black men) they’re rewarded with dimmer employment prospects than others.

Even black job-seekers who graduate from elite universities don’t fare well, according to a 2015 study from the University of Michigan. Their experiments in responding to online job postings found that white job applicants with a degree from an elite university had the highest employer response rate of 18 percent, while equally qualified black candidates had a response rate of 13 percent. This was about the same as white candidates holding a degree from a less-selective university (around 12 percent.)

Nathaniel Hendren, an economics professor at Harvard who co-authored the "Race and Economic Opportunity" paper, told NPR’s Code Switch, "Even for black sons whose families make roughly a million dollars a year, they are equally likely to be incarcerated as … the white son of a family that makes $40,000 a year."

Economic outcomes for black men may improve marginally with such changes as color-blind hiring strategies, better training for police officers so they don’t target black men, and a push to end disproportionally harsh sentencing practices in the criminal justice system.

And that’s the problem: None of us wants to see ourselves as carrying around these biases — especially not after Barack Obama’s historic presidency. But our refusal to own up to widespread implicit racial bias against blacks is the very thing that allows racism to wreak havoc on whole communities.

"So many Americans profess to be blind to race, which ensures only that it will remain salient," wrote Ralph Richard Banks, a Stanford law professor, in a recent New York Times op-ed. "So many worry more about appearing to be racist than working to remove the enduring taint of slavery and segregation."