1. The typical nonwhite school district (where more than 75% of students are nonwhite) receives about $2,200 less per student than districts in which most students were white.

Despite the fact that “separate but equal” has been illegal for decades, de facto segregation—segregation resulting from members of society choosing to separate into homogenous groups—has trapped many of the country’s most vulnerable students into under-resourced, majority-minority schools. In fact, writes Sarah Mervosh at The New York Times, “more than half of the nation’s schoolchildren are in racially concentrated districts, where over 75 percent of students are either white or nonwhite.”

The concept of “separate but equal” promised segregated schools would be equal in quality, but that is anything but the truth. Although it is now illegal for governments to segregate schools by force, minority students at majority-minority schools continue to receive an inferior education. According to a report by the nonprofit EdBuild, the average nonwhite district (a district in which more than 75% of students are nonwhite) received about $2,200 less per student than districts in which most students were white. Because the majority of the typical school district’s funding comes from local taxes (e.g., property taxes), communities with depressed property values rely on the state to make up the difference. However, many states have not done enough to cover the gap.

2. African American children are more likely to be punished (and punished more severely) for school infractions than white children.

Evidence from the U.S. Government Accountability Office reveals that this racial gap in discipline persists even after other factors are taken into account. A 2014 report found “black students were suspended and expelled at disproportionate rates in public schools across the nation, and the trends 'were widespread and persisted regardless of the type of disciplinary action, level of school poverty, or type of public school attended.’” This was further confirmed in a 2018 study that found African-American K-12 students were 3.2 times more likely than white students to be suspended or expelled from school.

While some of this discipline was attributable to the different characteristics of the schools black and white children attended or differences in student behavior, a research team at Brown University found that teachers’ “different treatment of black and white students” accounted for nearly half (46%) of the difference in suspension and expulsion rates between African American and white children five to nine years old.

3. Even with the same resumes, applicants with “white” names are 50% more likely to be offered a job interview than applicants with “black” names.

Although federal law prevents employers from refusing to hire someone on the basis of race, evidence suggests that discrimination continues to run rampant on hiring committees around the country. A 2003 study by the National Bureau for Economic Research used resumes to determine how race played into the hiring process. Using identical resumes, they simply changed the applicant names to a very “black-sounding” name or a very “white-sounding” name. The researchers found that white-sounding names were 50% more likely to be offered an interview than identical resumes with black-sounding names. This discrimination may be even more intense for poor racial minorities seeking blue collar jobs. A 2009 study of the NYC labor market found that black applicants to low-wage jobs “were half as likely to receive a callback or job offer relative to equally qualified whites. In fact, African American and Latino applicants with clean backgrounds fared no better than a white applicant just released from prison.

4. Nationally, the median African American household income is just 61% of the median white household income.

Because they lack advanced certifications, many low-income minority workers are forced to assume jobs that are manual in nature with little opportunity for advancement. Affluent residents (those that typically enjoy greater education levels and access to resources), on the other hand, are more likely to work in the knowledge/information sector – a type of industry that typically pays more and is less physically demanding.

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOMES BY RACE (2014-18)

Racial Group

United States

Northeast 

Midwest

South

West

Black or African American

$40,155

$44,711

$33,994

$40,046

$47,866

Asian

$83,898

$84,926

$75,488

$81,897

$87,052

Hispanic

$49,225

$46,556

$48,716

$47,077

$52,364

Non-Hispanic White

$65,912

$74,158

$62,202

$62,302

$72,127

Source: 2018 ACS (5-year estimates)

Even median income numbers can be deceiving. When government poverty data from the same year is examined instead, we see that African American (24.2%) and Hispanic (21%) households are more than twice as likely to live in poverty than their non-Hispanic white peers (10%). This is true for both the country as a whole and each of the nation’s four major regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West).

5. While the median white family in the United States has $171,000 in wealth, the median African American family has just $17,600.

While income is the amount an individual or household earns in a year, wealth is the total amount of assets the individual or household owns minus their debt. While income is necessary for both meeting short-term expenses and building wealth, wealth is what allows households to buy a new home, a reliable vehicle, or a college education. It also helps households weather hard times like medical emergencies or job losses. While African American incomes have improved slightly over the years, the median black family’s wealth remains dismally low. 

Because wealth can be inherited, many white families today benefit from the wealth that their ancestors were able to accumulate, a process from which families of color were largely excluded. Even the median family led by a black college graduate has less than 18% of the net worth of the median family led by a white college graduate. Between 1992 and 2013, the wealth of whites with college degrees grew by 86% while that of college-educated African Americans fell by 55%.

MEDIAN FAMILY NET WORTH BY RACIAL GROUP (2016) 

Racial Group

Four-Year College Graduates

Non-College Graduates

Non-Hispanic White

$397,100

$98,100

Black or African American

$68,200

$11,600

Hispanic

$77,900

$17,500

Other

$210,200

$34,300

Source: Federal Reserve

6. Per the Life Issues Institute, Planned Parenthood has located 79% of its 165 surgical abortion facilities within walking distance of African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods.

A 2014 study by the Centers for Disease Control used abortion counts from 30 states and found that non-Hispanic black women comprised 36 percent of all abortions and Hispanic women 18.3 percent, despite the fact that the government estimates they comprised just 12.3% and 17.3% of the nation’s population that same year. These disparities are even worse in southern states. In 2017, 62% of Alabama resident abortions were performed on African American women, despite the fact that just 26.8% of the state was of the same race. That same year, more than 78 percent of Mississippi resident abortions were performed on African American women while just 38 percent of Mississippians were black. 


This effort on behalf of Planned Parenthood to provide abortions to racial minorities is not altruistic. While abortion advocates often claim that abortions are just “3 percent” of the organization’s services, Slate contributor Rachael Larimore notes that “it’s easy to calculate, as the Weekly Standard did, that Planned Parenthood gets at least a third of its clinic income—and more than 10 percent of all its revenue, government funding included—from its abortion procedures.”

7. African American men get nearly 20% longer sentences for committing the same federal crimes as white men, even after accounting for criminal history, guilty pleas, age, education, and citizenship status.

That’s the conclusion of a recent report by the US Sentencing Commission, which also found that judges were not only more likely to reduce the sentences of white men than African American men but give them larger reductions to their sentences when they did. Racial minorities are also significantly more likely to be arrested (and consequently jailed) for drug charges, despite the fact they use them at similar rates to whites. In 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union found that blacks “were 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites” while another study later found the imprisonment rate of blacks for drug charges was almost 6 times that of their white peers.

In 2017, African Americans made up roughly one-third of the sentenced prison population despite being just 12% of the U.S. population. Hispanics were also over-represented, making up 16% of the U.S. adult population but 23% of prisoners. This has enormous implications for the integrity of minority communities – one in three black boys born in 2001 “could expect to go to prison in his lifetime, as could one of every six Latinos” while just one in seventeen white boys were expected to be incarcerated.

8. Even after controlling for housing and neighborhood quality, homes in majority-black neighborhoods are worth 23% less per square foot than homes in neighborhoods with few or no black residents.

The collapse of housing prices in 2007-08 did not affect every American family equally –  minority families often suffered more deeply because their homes made up a greater percentage of their total wealth (67%) than homes did for whites (58%). Compared to pre-recession levels, middle-class black families now hold 50% less wealth while a typical white family’s wealth has fallen just 14%.

While the Great Recession exacerbated the problem, the Brookings Institute found that black home values were already artificially low. In the typical U.S. metro area, homes located in majority-black neighborhoods are worth only half the price of homes located in communities with no black residents. Even after adjusting for housing and neighborhood quality, a square-foot of residential real-estate in these black neighborhoods was worth 23% less than a square-foot in a neighborhood with few or no black people. The Brookings Institution believes that if this “black penalty” was eliminated, “home values in majority black neighborhoods should be worth an additional $48,000 per home, which amounts to a cumulative sum of $156 billion in aggregate value.”

9. African Americans are overrepresented in local crime stories – while crime data suggests only about 10% of crimes were “black-on-white” crimes, they comprised 42% of cases shown on local news.

A study by The Sentencing Project found that “crimes perpetrated by African Americans were disproportionately likely to be covered on TV - especially if they involved a white victim.” While crime data suggests that only 10% of crimes were “black-on-white” crime, they comprised 42% of cases shown on local news. This type of coverage has real effects on public perception - a 2002 survey found that respondents estimated 40% of violent crime was committed by blacks, a figure 11 percentage points higher than the actual figure at the time. These perceptions shaped political attitudes as well - “white Americans who more strongly associated crime with black Americans were more likely to support punitive criminal justice policies including the death sentence and three strikes laws.”

10. African Americans and Hispanics continue to experience significant racial discrimination when looking for a place to live.

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing conducted a study to determine if race was still a factor in the real estate market. The researchers found that minorities were “significantly more likely to be steered toward disadvantaged neighborhoods despite being virtually identical to white buyers” in the experiment. The neighborhoods shown to whites in the study consistently had better amenities, lower poverty rates, and more educated residents. The study also found that African American and Hispanic mothers were usually steered into neighbors with a five percent higher poverty rate than those shown to white mothers. Furthermore, minority mothers “were shown homes in areas with 35 percent more assaults, 52 percent more Superfund sites (land contaminated by hazardous waste), and 37 percent more air toxins.”

 

Another study in Houston found that whites in the city were more likely than their black peers to “be told that fees and deposit or bond requirements are negotiable.” When a credit check was asked of only one of two applicants (one black and one white), real estate agents were 37.1 percentage points more likely to check the black applicant’s credit. Regarding background checks, the agent was 42.2 percentage points more likely to ask the black homeseeker. The study found that agents were “more likely to make comments about Hispanic testers’ credit standing, tell Hispanics a credit check is required, and tell Hispanics a background check must be completed than they are to make any of these comments to whites.” Furthermore, they were less likely to follow up with a Hispanic prospect than a white one.

GRIEVING WITH HOPE

 

We serve a God with an overwhelming heart for the marginalized, the minority, and the mistreated. He loved them so deeply that He was willing to send His only Son to the Cross to rescue them and bring them back to Himself. As followers of Jesus, we must engage broken and oppressed people with the same tenacious and sacrificial love. Before starting your next task or moving on with your day:

 

1. Pick one of the racial discrimination facts above and sit with it for a minute. How does it make you feel? Take some time to lament over the pain and suffering sin has brought to the lives of so many of our minority brothers and sisters.

 

2. What does God have to say about the dignity of every human being? How should this change the way you think about racism in America, specifically in your community?

 

3. What are you going to do about the reality presented to you? How can you address these sobering racism facts? What can your family or church do to better care for those made in God’s image?

garrett clawson circle
Garrett Clawson

I am the lead data and research analyst with The For the City Network and joined the team in February 2018. I help volunteers, pastors, nonprofit leaders, and business professionals better understand the characteristics and dynamics of their communities so that they can more effectively pursue human flourishing together. I earned my master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas - Austin and continue to live in North Austin.