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Aug 28, 2013 !lm Carr
we've moJe ptoqtess oo oJJtessloq mooy blotoot lojostlces sloce 196J, bot people of colot stlll Joo't bove oo epool
oppottoolty to socceeJ.
1hls week marks Lhe 30Lh annlversary of Lhe March on WashlngLon. 1he 8everend ur. MarLln LuLher klng !r.'s
elecLrlfylng speech aL LhaL evenL was lnsplrlng and unforgeLLable. 1hose remarks, comblned wlLh hundreds of
Lhousands of people on Lhe naLlonal Mall marchlng for [obs and freedom, seemed Lo elecLrlfy Amerlcan socleLy Lo lLs
core. As resldenL 8lll CllnLon recenLly remarked, l remember Lhlnklng LhaL, when lL was over, my counLry would
never be Lhe same."
Cver Lhe flve decades slnce Lhe March on WashlngLon, much has changed. no longer do black sLudenLs requlre
naLlonal Cuard escorLs Lo enLer Lhe school of Lhelr cholce. no longer are proLesLers for clvll or human rlghLs aL rlsk of
belng beaLen or aLLacked by dogs for exerclslng Lhelr consLlLuLlonal rlghL Lo challenge unfalr or oLherwlse unwlse laws.
no longer are [obs and opporLunlLy blaLanLly denled on Lhe basls of an lndlvldual's race or eLhnlclLy, gender, physlcal
appearance, or sexual preference. no longer are Amerlca's clLles burnlng. And perhaps mosL slgnlflcanLly, no longer ls
Lhe offlce of Lhe resldenL of Lhe unlLed SLaLes off-llmlLs Lo an Afrlcan Amerlcan.
?eL ln splLe of Lhese and many oLher successes LhaL have been achleved over Lhe pasL flve decades, much of Lhe
forward momenLum seems unsusLalnable, or old problems are replaced wlLh new ones LhaL conLlnue Lo deny
opporLunlLles dlsproporLlonaLely Lo people of color.
1ake, for example, Lhe facL LhaL our clLles are no longer burnlng ln proLesL Lo blaLanL acLs of dlscrlmlnaLlon and denlal
of clvll rlghLs. Whlle LhaL's Lrue, Lhe clLy of ueLrolL has never recovered from Lhe LumulLuous days of Lhe 1960s. ln
facL, ueLrolL has conLlnued Lo decay, llLerally, lnLo bankrupLcy. 1he clLy's offlclal unemploymenL raLe was a sLaggerlng
16 percenL ln Aprll 2013, wlLh a black unemploymenL raLe over 20 percenL. And ueLrolL ls noL alone among clLles wlLh
excepLlonally hlgh black unemploymenL raLes.
1he acceleraLlon of Lhe exodus of non-Plspanlc whlLe famllles from Lhe naLlon's lnner clLles, ln parL Lo avold
lnLegraLlon afLer passage of Lhe ma[or Clvll 8lghLs laws, comblned wlLh Lhe relocaLlon of manufacLurlng [obs flrsL Lo
Lhe suburbs and laLer overseas, has creaLed urban economlc deserLs LhaL deny opporLunlLles as powerfully as any
segregaLlonlsL pollcles.
naLlonal Cuard Lroops no longer sLand ln fronL of school houses Lo block admlsslon-Lhey do noL have Lo. 8aclal and
eLhnlc resldenLlal segregaLlon ln many of Lhe naLlon's largesL clLles ls so hlgh LhaL black and LaLlno sLudenLs do noL llve
wlLhln physlcal proxlmlLy of lsolaLed non-Plspanlc whlLe suburban enclaves ln sufflclenL numbers Lo achleve
meanlngful school lnLegraLlon.
lurLhermore, Lhe cosL of college LulLlon ls so hlgh Lhese days LhaL no armed presence ls needed Lo prevenL young
Afrlcan Amerlcans or LaLlnos from enLerlng. 1he ma[orlLy of Afrlcan Amerlcan and LaLlno sLudenLs cannoL afford
access Lhe naLlon's ma[or unlverslLles even where Lhey meeL Lhe academlc sLandards.
ln facL, economlc deprlvaLlon ls so greaL among blacks and LaLlnos LhaL race ls used as a rellable proxy for explolLaLlon
by flnanclal flrms. Leadlng up Lo Lhe recenL collapse of Lhe houslng markeL, subprlme lenders dlsproporLlonaLely
LargeLed Afrlcan Amerlcan and LaLlno communlLles for Lhelr reckless and lrresponslble hlgh-cosL loans. 1hey
generaLed huge proflLs whlle orlglnaLlng loans LhaL were deslgned Lo fall.
1he subsequenL loss of homeownershlp among Afrlcan Amerlcans and LaLlnos has been Lhe largesL conLrlbuLor Lo a
sLaggerlng loss of wealLh for Afrlcan Amerlcan and LaLlno households durlng Lhe CreaL 8ecesslon. LaLlno and black
households have losL Lwo-Lhlrds and more Lhan half of Lhelr neL wealLh, respecLlvely. 1he resulL ls LhaL Loday, Lhe
raclal wealLh gap beLween blacks and non-Plspanlc whlLes, and LaLlnos and non-Plspanlc whlLes, ls greaLer Lhan lL was
Lwo decades ago.
Cver Lhe nexL decade, seven of Len new households wlll be headed by a person of color. ln facL, already, Lhe ma[orlLy
of bables born ln Amerlca are of color. ?eL Lhe ma[orlLy of Lhelr economlc fuLures are noL promlslng.
1hls dramaLlc shlfL ln Lhe composlLlon of Lhe naLlon's populaLlon glves even greaLer lmpeLus now Lhan was Lhe case a
half cenLury ago for Amerlca Lo become a more economlcally lncluslve socleLy. 1oday, economlc equallLy ls as much
an lssue of economlc compeLlLlveness and naLlonal securlLy, for example, as lL ls soclal [usLlce. AfLer all, how can
Amerlca malnLaln lLs economlc and mlllLary leadershlp role ln Lhe world lf Lhe fasLesL growlng segmenLs of Lhe
populaLlon, l.e., people of color, remaln economlcally marglnallzed?
ln splLe of Lhe success we have achleved as a naLlon ln breaklng down Lhe barrlers Lo opporLunlLles based on raclal or
eLhnlc blas, we remaln far from ur. klng's dream and vlslon of a [usL and equlLable socleLy.
Ilm cott ls o ulstloqolsbeJ 5cbolot wltb 1be Oppottoolty AqeoJo ooJ 5eolot lellow wltb tbe ceotet fot Ametlcoo
ltoqtess. ne ls olso co-eJltot of SegregaLlon: 1he 8lslng CosLs for Amerlca.