Martin Luther King was a staunch fighter for racial justice and equality, not just social but economically too. Today is Martin Luther King Day in America, with the US markets closed as the nation draws on his enduring strength and messages of hope for a brighter, more equal future. To many American’s, this is a day of celebration.
Yet many black American’s are deeply unhappy, feeling there is still no such thing as economic justice in their country. Small towns populated by blacks continue to be blighted by poverty, inequality and division.
Despite Martin Luther King’s victories, and all the subsequent victories won by his countrymen, black communities continue to feel let down, unable to enjoy the kind of economic freedom that should be a basic human right in a country that comes with the moniker “The Land Of Opportunity.”
#1: Blacks Earn Less Money Than Whites
In the last 25 years, the wealth gap between blacks and whites has become even bigger – almost three times bigger. The average white household has almost a tenth more wealth than the average black one.
#2: Almost Three-Times As Many Blacks Live In Poverty
15% of American’s live in poverty. It’s a low enough number, but there are racial differences to take into account too. Whilst 9.7 of whites are entrenched in poverty, the number rises to 27.2% for blacks – meaning that 1 in 4 are now enduring poverty. This number is showing no signs of dropping.
#3: Home Ownership Is Unequal
Because blacks typically make less money than whites, few are able to invest in one of America’s greatest assets – housing. 72.9% of whites own their own home, whilst the figure falls to 43.5% for blacks.
#4: Unemployment Rates Are A Problem
5.3% of white American’s are unemployed, with the figure rising to 11.4% for blacks. This means twice as many black’s are unemployed, with this considerable figure now remaining unchanged for years.
#5: Schools Continue To Be Segregated
Segregated American schools have been a problem since 1980 – but the problem has got worse. This has been put down to a lack of commitment on the part of the federal government. A non-white school means fewer resources, thus a poorer education and a decreased chance of a prosperous job.
The sad fact is that the so-called black-white economic ‘gap’ hasn’t altered for over half a century now. The nation as a whole is wealthier, but economic inequality continues to blight the US.