By Daya Gamage –
The United States which advocates racial equality and opposes “all forms of discrimination” as one of its major planks of its foreign policy has a long way to go to bring racial equality in its own land. Washington often mediates in other nations to settle their racial and ethnic disparities – even proposing political packages – as a corner stone of its human rights policy. Nevertheless the story on ethnic parity/disparity/equality/discrimination in the United States could be a lessen to many other countries who are at the receiving end of Washington’s endless lectures.
The facts and statistics given below how the 13% ethnic minority of the Black community in the United States are engulfed in total discrimination is startling, and one could see how this ethnic discrimination is institutionalized in the American system.
In this account we have not touched the ongoing indiscriminate killing of Blacks in the hands of White law enforcement officers that has engulfed many cities with protest marches.
To start, the minority Black ethnic community is the hardest hit during the current COVID disaster. There are many reasons for that.
The lack of healthcare facilities, less economic opportunities, sub-standard educational facilities, extremely low-paying jobs, inadequate housing availability, widespread racism and discrimination, long-standing economic and health disparities between white people and the minority blacks have directly contributed to 35 percent of the Black community being affected by the Covid-19 despite the Blacks in the U.S. make-up just 13 percent of the overall population.
Even though African Americans make up 13 percent of the US population, they account for 30 percent of the country’s COVID-19 patients
This pathetic scenario in the U.S. underscores preexisting social inequalities tied to race, class and access to healthcare system. Many differences in health outcomes in America are produced by access to things like adequate time to prepare healthy food at home and adequate money not to be working three shifts and have really high stress levels.
According to 2018 statistics 22 percent of Black Americans live in poverty compared with 9 percent of White Americans. Beyond poverty, a number of factors contributed to poor health among Black people, from racism in medical settings to the physical health effects of discrimination. All forms of housing discrimination have made Black Americans more likely to live in neighborhoods affected by environmental contamination, which federal and state government officials have been slow to respond to, in turn raising rates of chronic illness.
Poverty in the U.S. is a moral outrage and the national soul is at stake. Black Americans were on average nearly 70% more likely to live in an area with a shortage of primary care physicians. In some major US cities Blacks are also more likely to live in an area with no hospital trauma center within five miles.
One could assess how hard the COVID-19 would have hit the Black community in the past year.
Surveys clearly show that the hardest hit ethnic community in the United States during the current COVID-19 outbreak is the Black community, and it has hit 35 percent during these two months. The care for the 13 percent Black ethnic community in the U.S. in the areas of health, employment, education, and housing is visibly low.
Structural factors including health care access, density of households, unemployment, pervasive discrimination and others drive these disparities, not intrinsic characteristics of black communities or individual-level factors.
Last year when testing for COVD was at the law ebb, the U.S. federal government was unable to provide adequate Covid-19 virus test kits to prevent the critically spreading of the deadly disease – testing was done mostly White-majority areas, neglecting Black-majority districts: an institutionalized racism. The New York Post reported that it found that 22 of the 30 most-tested zip codes in New York City, the epicenter of the national outbreak, were whiter or wealthier that the city’s average demographic profile. In the State of New York, the White-majority Staten Island was getting tested for COVID more often than any other Black-majority boroughs such as Brooklyn and Manhattan. As data showed, the COVID-19 crisis was hitting minority communities – Blacks and Latina – the hardest while those same communities have less testing to diagnose the virus or resources to fight it.
Health differences between racial and ethnic groups are often due to economic and social conditions that are more common among some racial and ethnic minorities than Whites. In public health emergencies, these conditions can also isolate people from the resources they need to prepare for and respond to outbreaks of a virus.
In Washington, D.C. – the nation’s capital – 81 percent of the fatalities have been Black American, according the mayor’s website, in a city whose population is 46 percent Black. Many of the deaths were in the city’s poorest and predominantly Black neighborhoods.
In Chicago, Fifty-six percent of the city’s deaths have been Black American, though they make up just 30 percent of the city’s population.
In State of New Orleans, nearly 57 percent of COVID-19 deaths have been Black Americans, though they make up only 33 percent of the state’s population.
High poverty rates among Black Americans have lifelong consequences: The consequences of high poverty rates are felt throughout the life cycle for Black Americans. Poverty has well-documented adverse effects on children’s educational outcomes and limits young adults’ ability to pursue post-secondary education. Those born to families at or below the poverty line are more than twice as likely to be in poor health as adults as those born into families with income more than twice the poverty line.
* Black Americans experience far less upward economic mobility
The minority Black ethnic community faces more limited upward economic mobility than White Americans and face a higher risk of downward mobility, even when not born into poverty. Black children born into families in the bottom income quintile are twice as likely as poor White children to stay in the bottom income quintile as adults. The wealthiest Black children are nearly just as likely to remain in the top income quintile as they are to fall to the bottom as adults, whereas it is rare for rich White children to become impoverished as adults. Provision of Governmental facilities makes a change.
* The median wealth of Black families is only one-tenth that of White families
The median net worth of White families is $171,000, nearly 10 times the median net worth of Black families, which was only $17,150 in 2016. Among households with wealth, Black median household wealth hovered between 5% and 17% of the level of White household wealth between 1989 and 2016. Black households have never held more than 5% of the nation’s total wealth, while White households held 85% in 2019, despite Blacks making up around 13% of the population.
* Black Americans are far less likely to own their own homes than White Americans
Less than half of Black families own their homes (42%), compared to nearly three-quarters of White families (73%). This is a significant decline from the peak Black homeownership rate of 49% in 2004. The collapse of the housing market in 2008 hit Black homeowners particularly hard, with Black households over 70% more likely to have faced foreclosure than White households. The Blacks experience hardship when seeking housing loans from banks while the Whites have easy access.
* Nonwhite school districts as a whole are more poorly funded
Recent research finds evidence supporting that higher school funding improves student outcomes. When Black students increasingly are concentrated in separate school districts from White students in the same state, total revenue to schools shifts unfavorably away from the typical Black students’ district. Majority non-White school districts as a whole receive $23 billion less than majority White districts, despite serving the same number of students. Disparities in private fundraising can help to explain achievement gaps even among equally funded schools. Schools with higher private funding can support extracurricular activities, like sports and music groups, which have been found to yield consistent benefits to student academic achievement. As a result of segregation, many Black Americans are held back by wide differences in school quality. This is a powerful determinant of economic outcomes, undermining the notion that every American has roughly the same chance of achieving economic success.
The United States which advocates racial equality as one of its planks of its foreign policy has a long way to go as seen during the current COVID-19 epidemic which the 13 percent minority Black Americans was adversely affected; the data provided above shows why the Black community is hit hard be it a virus or economic setback. It is widespread in the United States that there is institutionalized racism, and no adequate measures are taken to mitigate it.