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Running Head: RACIAL DISPARITIES

Racial Disparities Name Institution

RACIAL DISPARITIES Racial Disparities

Race has always been a controversial topic that raises emotions and drives rifts in society. The legacy of slavery in American history has left an indelible impact on the understanding and interpretation of racial matters (Hill and Jones, 2003). Combating racial discrimination has been a priority for every government since the 1960s when the activities of Civil Rights Movements demanding equal rights for all Americans peaked. This paper will discuss the future of race relations in the United States, paying special focus to race-related educational, economic and employment disparities. Finally, the paper will analyze the past and current demographic makeup of the United States. The aim is to prove that despite high incidences of racial discrimination in the past, America is experiencing an overall reduction in racial disparities owing to changes in policy and the mindsets of the citizens. Within the disciplinary framework of economics, wealth typically refers to the net monetary value of land, natural resources, or capital (Moran, 2008). Race has been, and continues to be, a salient feature of the economic history of the United States. It is impossible, for example, to understand the evolution of the Southern economy in the nineteenth century and the twentieth century without understanding the economics of slavery without understanding the economics of slavery and its aftermath. Racial economic disparities have been large and persistent, with economists trying to understand the combination of behavioral and institutional factors that have prevented faster inter-racial economic convergence (Moran, 2008). In the analysis of such factors, the role of racial discrimination takes prominence. Economic disparities in America will continue to persist in the foreseeable future as they are a result of a combination of factors such as educational levels, type of jobs held, net pay and access to financial services.

RACIAL DISPARITIES Racial disparity in employment still exists and has been the subject of a number of court cases in the recent past. As in any other setting, racial discrimination in employment is said to occur when an individual receives unequal treatment owing to their race. An example is when a

colored person is paid a lower salary than their white colleague, when they are performing at the same level of ability in the same job. The additional discrimination encountered in labor markets compounds the disadvantages associated with discriminatory treatment in earlier life. Employment statistics show that white high school graduates who did not attend college are employed for longer periods, and are out of work for shorter periods compared to colored individuals with the same qualifications (Kim, 2007). This trend is bound to change in the future since people have become more aware of their rights, and companies that discriminate against certain minorities while hiring or in their compensation schemes risk being sued and ruining their corporate image. Disparities in wealth between races are contributed to by myriad of issues. One such issue is the nature of jobs that individuals from different races hold. After the abolition of slavery, there was a general perception that colored people could only hold low paying, domestic and menial jobs. Women were confined to being helps in the houses of white employers and working at hair salons. Men were employed as cleaners, gardeners or construction workers. The plum jobs, such as heading large corporations were all left to white people. Since colored people had lower incomes because of racial discrimination, they faced greater difficulty in saving and thus generating wealth (Lin and Harris, 2008). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is mandated with the task of ensuring all laws prohibiting discrimination in employment are implemented. As a result

RACIAL DISPARITIES

of such policies, racial differences in wealth have narrowed over the course of American history. Despite this convergence, the racial wealth gap in contemporary American society is still much larger than the racial gap in income or educational attainment. Policies that encourage colored households to shift their wealth holdings in ways that might yield a higher overall rate of return, and thus narrow the wealth gap with white households have been put in place to reduce these disparities (Moran, 2008). The emphasis on education as the most effective way means to combat the inequality of opportunity for historically oppressed racial minorities remains as much of a priority today as it was fifty years ago (Anderson, Attwood and Howard, 2004). Prior to 1970, African-Americans faced discrimination in the public schooling system. The concept of educational equity emphasizes the provision of learning opportunities for the urban, poor colored children on an equal basis with the suburban, affluent, white children. Output measures such as performance on mastery tests, dropout rates, graduation rates and college admission rates are initially used to assess educational equity. In 1961, President Kennedy introduced affirmative action as a way of evening out the disparities that had existed as a result of slavery and discrimination against colored individuals. Despite the controversy that affirmative action has raised over the years, it did to a large extent fulfill its original purpose by enabling colored individuals to catch up in different sectors, especially education. The racial and ethnic related disparities in education have narrowed over the years, although more measures need to taken to fully even out the educational platform across all races (Knaus, 2006). The racial demographic makeup of the United States is rapidly changing, with the minority population steadily increasing. African-Americans were introduced to the United States when the first slaves were brought to America in the seventeenth century. In the eighteenth

RACIAL DISPARITIES

century, African-Americans made up approximately twenty percent of the total population of the United States. This percentage steadily decreased in every census after that, reaching an all time low of less than ten percent in 1930 (Jeffrey, 2011). From that point, the African-American population started to rise again, reaching slightly over thirteen percent in 2012. Aside from African Americans, individuals from other ethnicities contribute to the ethnic diversity in America. These include Hispanics, Latinos, Asian-Americans and Native Americans. In conclusion, it has been nearly five decades since the passing of the momentous Civil Rights legislation. Most of this period was characterized by racial disparities and social isolation amongst the races. Emerging trends indicate that these disparities are reducing in some sectors while they remain significant in others. In the education sector, the disparities between races have significantly reduced, partially due to affirmative action. In terms of employment, on the other hand, whites continue to hold higher ranking jobs than colored minorities. The paper has shown that despite high incidences of racial discrimination in the past, America is experiencing an overall reduction in racial disparities owing to changes in policy and the mindsets of the citizens.

RACIAL DISPARITIES References Anderson, S., Attwood, P., & Howard, L. (2004). Facing Racism in Education. Massachusetts: Harvard Educational Review. Hill, H., & Jones, J. (1993). Race in America: The Struggle for Equality. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. Jeffrey, S. (2011). The Demographic Make-up of the United States. Carolina: BiblioBazaar. Kim. M. (2007). Race and Economic Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century. New York: Routledge. Knaus, C. (2006). Race, Racism and Multiraciality in American Education. Maryland: Academica Press. Lin, A., & Harris, D. (2008). The Colors of Poverty: Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Moran, B. (2008). Race and Wealth Disparities: A Multidisciplinary Discourse. Maryland: University Press of America.