originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: Kali74
As someone who grew up poor, do you really think that system doesn't hit poor whites too?
The main difference is that my parents ... yes, I guess it was my white privilege to have had both of them ... did everything they could to work,
work, work to pay it off.
They didn't sit around blaming everyone else.
The problem is the system hits poor blacks harder. Let me give you a brief history lesson if you'll allow it.
According to the 1900 Census data, half of black men and 35% of black women in the US, who reported an occupation, were agricultural workers. At this
point, 90.1% of black folks still lived in the South (3.6% in the Northeast, 5.8% in the Midwest and a mere .5% in the West) and nearly 76% of all
black families lived in rural areas (as opposed to 25% of white families) and the percentage that owned their own home was less than half of what it
was for whites.
A commonly accepted method for gauging educational attainment in this period of American history would be the literacy questions from the Census. Here
are the historical percentages of those aged 10 and older, living in Southern states, who were illiterate, 1880 - 1900, with black people on the left
and white people on the right:
1880 76.2% - 21.5%
1890 60.7% - 14.9%
1900 48.0% - 11.7%
Not surprisingly given birth years prior to 1845, in 1900 a whopping 93.4% of Southern black women and 86.7% of Southern black men over the age of 55
were illiterate. Also from Census data, school attendance by age in 1900 (left column males black/white, right column females black/white):
Ages 6 to 13 .... 37.8%-72.2% ... 41.9%-71.9%
Ages 14 to 17 ... 26.7%-47.9% ... 36.2%-51.5%
Ages 18 to 21 .... 6.8%-10.4% .... 5.9% - 8.6%
Estimates are that in 1900, the average black man in the US earned approximately 45% of what the average white man earned. Now that we've established
some baseline measures in 1900, lets track the progress of black in their struggle to reach economic (and therefore social) parity with whites going
Three decades after the Civil War, segregation, racism, racial violence (thousands of lynchings for example) and a complete lack of economic
opportunity led waves of blacks to emigrate from the South, seeking employment in industrialized urban centers elsewhere in the country such as
Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, New York, Newark, Philadelphia/Camden, NJ, Oakland, Los Angeles, etc. In the period between about 1900 and 1930, around
1.6 million black folks migrated in what would be the first wave of the The Great Migration and the numbers of blacks in non-agricultural jobs
increased drastically. For example, between 1910 and 1920 alone, the number of blacks employed in industrial sectors doubled.
As you can imagine, the influx of black workers was met with resentment in many areas — particularly among poorer working class whites, including
recent European immigrants who had begun to see their own statuses improving — but in other areas, blacks were finally beginning to experience some
measure of economic success. Then economic disaster struck with the Great Depression eliminating jobs and stifling economic mobility which led to a
significant lull in migration. It wasn't until the immediate build up to WW2 that migration picked up again as production ramped up. This led to a
second and even larger wave of migration and in the 40's and 50's, another 2.5 million or so black people migrated; once more they migrated mostly
into the industrial hubs. During the Great Depression, ground was lost and in many areas outside of the mostly unskilled, blue collar manufacturing
sector, the employment gap had actually widened by 1940. Though black representation in white collar professions had more than doubled between 1900
and 1950 (1.8% vs 5.5%), whites males outpaced their black counterparts (14% in 1900 vs nearly 30% in 1950). Because of these and other factors (such
as Northern unions denying membership to black workers and wage regression for blacks in the South), in 1940 the average black man's wage was only
modestly better (3%) at 48% of that of the average white man's wage then it had been in 1900.
Migration continued in the 60's through tothe early 70's, with another 2.4 million blacks emigrating from the South. By 1970, only 53% of all blacks
in the US were living in the South. The 60's and 70's also brought the largest gains toward economic parity/wage convergence. In 1970 the black
unemployment rate was only about 6% and by 1975, the average black man was making about 75% of what the average white man was making and black and
white women alike were more or less equal at about 55% of the average pay of a white man for black women and 57% for white women. Another positive
development; the gap in the number of years of school attendance for males over the age of 20 had also shrunk to 1.3 years (11.2 for blacks vs 12.5
Then disaster struck again. Manufacturing employment peaked in 1974-75 and then began its notorious, percipitous decline. According to BLS statistics,
by 1983 the rate of unemployment had just about doubled for whites (8.4%) and tripled for blacks (19.5%). The trend toward wage convergence had
reversed and the wage gap widened. In 1985, black men had regressed to 69.7% of what white men were making. Similarly, the wage gap had doubled
between black and white women (57.1% vs 63%). Interestingly (for some, to others its exactly what would be expected), if you were to examine historic
unemployment rates (at least for the last 60 or so years) you'll find that black unemployment tracks very well with white unemployment and is often
about double that of white unemployment. This should make it pretty clear to you that black unemployment has little or nothing to do with your
apparent premise of lazy black folks who "sit around blaming everyone else" (unlike your
hardworking parents of course who clearly worked
harder than everyone elses').
This is how we ended up with cities like Detroit with large populations of poor blacks. People moving across the country to work jobs that disappeared
and who were hit disproportionately harder by job loss and who also lacked the inter-generational and familial wealth of the whites to fall back on,
the sort of wealth that acts like fat in the human body.
It wasn't the New Deal and its safety net programs, it wasn't an increase in births out of wedlock (in fact, it's seems that the 20% decrease in
marriage rates among blacks between 1960 and 1980 is largely attributable to failing economic opportunity, more so even than to factors like women's
liberation and improved contraception) and it had absolutely nothing to do with rap music. You see, what you've labeled as "decay" isn't the cause of
the present situation, it's the effect.
I'd like to leave you with one final thing, a chart from the Washington Post
, showing incarceration rates 1960-2010:
, stop making ridiculous statements. If you consider the data objectively, eschewing the corrosive (and frankly stupid) rhetoric of
right-wing identity politics, it's no great mystery how we got to where we are today.
edit on 2015-8-11 by theantediluvian because: (no reason