Saturday, April 04, 2009

“African Americans register at only 71.1 percent on the Equality Index – and slipping.”

Back in March of 2007, presidential candidate Barack Obama did a grave disservice to African Americans when he proclaimed that Blacks had already come 90 percent of the way on the road to racial equality. We don’t know where Obama came up with that ridiculous number, but he was way, way off the mark. According to the National Urban League’s State of Black America report, African Americans register at only 71.1 percent on the Equality Index – and slipping. Blacks fell almost half a percent further behind whites on the Equality Index between 2008 and 2009.

The Index measures Black progress, or regression, in five areas: economics, education, health, civic engagement and social justice. In only one of these categories – health – did Blacks slightly improve their relative status. And that minor blip was the result of the racial gap narrowing between Blacks and whites who share the misfortune of not having health insurance.

The general state of affairs for African Americans remains much as it has been for most of the last 40 years. "Ironically,” says the Urban League report, “even as an African American man holds the highest office in the country, African Americans remain twice as likely as whites to be unemployed, three times more likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be incarcerated." That’s a very great distance from Barack Obama’s 90 percent-of-the-way nonsense.

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