Does America treat black and white citizens equally?
If your answer is yes, then we must grapple with some additional, hard, questions.
If America treats black and white citizens equally then why does the median white family have 41 times more wealth than the median black family? (median white has $147,000 in wealth while black median is $3,500) https://inequality.org/facts/racial-inequality/
Why are black people incarcerated at a rate 6 times that of white people? (1,549 black prisoners for every 100,000 black citizens versus 272 white prisoners for every 100,000 white citizen). https://www.pewresearch.org/…/shrinking-gap-between-number…/
Why do 35% of White adults have college degrees while only 21% of black adults have the same? https://nces.ed.gov/progra…/raceindicators/indicator_RFA.asp
Why the huge gap in wealth, incarceration, and education?
Is it simply the result of individual choices?
Is it that black people are making poorer financial decisions, committing more crimes, and performing worse in school?
To say this, is to imply, directly, that white people make better financial moves, are more law abiding, and do better in school.
Another way of saying that, is to say, white people are better than black people.
If this is your answer it does not mean you hate black people. It does not mean you are evil.
But it does mean you need to grapple with the truth that this idea is the foundation of white supremacist ideology.
When we hear the term white supremacist, most of us envision a KKK member in a white hood, or a Neo Nazi with a shaved head, out committing violence against black or brown people. We are appalled and shocked that such people exist, we condemn them en masse, and none of us think we are anything like “them”. But really, if we think that the disparity between black and white in America is simply the result of black people making bad choices, then the only fundamental differences between “us” and the white supremacists, is hatred and violence.
But the ideology is the same.
The facts are that white people have vastly more wealth than black people, both overall and by percentage. Black people are exponentially more likely to serve, or have served, jail time than their white peers, and white people attend and complete college at much higher rates than black Americans. Are these just benign facts?
If America is fair, then are we to assume that white people are just smarter, better, and harder working than black people and these data points are just evidence? Or could it be something else?
Maybe our meritocracy, isn’t anywhere near as meritocratic as we like to believe.
I have known too many lazy, criminal, and non-academic white people to accept that things are fair. I myself, a white man, have lacked ambition, broken laws, for most of my teen years skipped my homework, and by many measures I am doing great.
Conversely, I have known far too many brilliant, savvy, and law-abiding black people who are not reaping the same harvest as their white counterparts. The cultural, or personal choice, disparity explanation simply doesn’t check out. It doesn’t bear up under investigation.
Yes, all choices have consequences, and we all make choices, but the outcomes, the consequences, are not uniform across the color line.
America simply does not treat black and white people equally.
We can fix this.
But we have to be willing to do the hard work- including the initial prerequisite wrestle with our own ideas and perceptions.
**By “America” I mean our legal system, our economy, and our day to day interpersonal lives.