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Social injustice, also in multicultural culture, remains a critical issue for African Americans. This applies to the imbalances in the allocation of power, economic opportunities and possibilities. Black disparity is expressed in numerous variables, including housing trends, income and job inequalities, along with poverty rates. Again, discrimination has been illustrated by disparities in educational opportunities that have been a major factor in rising African Americans' poverty and unemployment rates. Undoubtedly, the socioeconomic inequality visible in modern American society date back to about 300 years ago, when culturally based economic, cultural, physical, political and legal regulation was carried out. The review will dig into the analysis of social inequality affecting the African Americans and enumerate ways of resolving the problem.
Social inequality for African Americans
There are massive differences in wealth distribution between the whites and the blacks in America. The most significant factor of multigenerational wealth distribution in the US comes from inheritance. The poverty rate that the African Americans experience and the low economic status make it impossible for them to accumulate enough wealth that would enable next generations to inherit. Reports indicate that financial inheritance accounts for 10%-20% of the white household wealth. Historically, the huge differences in parental-generation wealth is a dominant factor that causes the various social inequalities. Racial wage gap leads to inequality in income distribution. Ravallion reports that the wealth differences between the two groups as tripled since 1984 to 2009 with values from $85,000 to $236,500 (Ravallion 7). This significant increase in the wealth gap is attributed to factors such as employment, education and home ownership which widen the social inequality. Wealth is a significant factor that is used to determine the quality of life. Ravallion goes further to affirm that the wealth of the whites is higher than that of the African Americans. The lower financial literacy coupled with poor education is linked to the wealth social inequality. Dervis et al. mention that 25% a quarter of the Pan Africans having only high school as the educational attainment do not have anything to show as wealth (Dervis et al. 18). The inequality in wealth between the black and the whites is correlated to the economic circumstance and disadvantage the blacks from accumulating wealth.
Another significant social inequity is seen in the rate of unemployment. Unemployment also contributes to income inequality. Ravallion states that in 2016, the unemployment rate among the African Americas was 9% which was a higher value compared to other minority groups such as the Asians which was 3.8% and the whites which was 4.6%. Segregation and job decentralization causes the huge disparity in the employment rate. Racial discrimination hinder the blacks from finding jobs. The job skills differential between the blacks and the whites is also attributed to the high rate of unemployment among the African Americans. Low academic success makes the blacks to lack the necessary skills that are required to enter the job market.
Historically, social inequality in education has worked to disadvantage the African Americans. The Jim Craw laws promoted segregation, and the blacks were not given proper and adequate education. Schools for the blacks and the whites existed and promoted racial inequality. Despite many reforms and changes having been done to end discrimination in education, there still exists a social disparity between the African Americans and the whites. Evidently, in the modern society, funding for the public education relies on the local property tax. Taxes vary in different geographical locations and between diverse districts. Franklin confirms that variance in the geographical property taxes causes the inequality in education. The inequality is evidenced by the available financial resources for the school that would help in providing educational opportunities and programs to the black students. Undoubtedly, residential segregation makes the African students face inequalities in education. Perhaps, the high poverty rates among the blacks also take the blame for the educational inequality. Majority of the blacks are unable to fund their education. According to Grant, the poverty concentration in some of the neighborhoods and the low levels of employment for the blacks also contribute to the low levels of education among the blacks (Grant 10).
Housing inequality is also one of the major social disparity that the African Americans face. The differences in homeownership culminate to a lower net worth of the blacks. For instance, in 2010, Wilkinson and Pickett elucidate that the homeownership rate was 44.5% for the blacks compared to 74.4% for the non-Hispanic whites (Wilkinson and Pickett 19). Vast literature alludes that the blacks own a small number of homes when compared to the whites. Besides, the economic value of the houses owned by blacks is 35% less compared to that of the whites (Wilkinson and Pickett 21). Again, the discrepancies in mortgage lending and home equity between Veteran's Administration (VA) and Federal Housing Authority (FHA) lead to slower equity accumulation for the African community. Residential segregation which refers to the physical separation of the residential locations between the whites and the blacks plays a crucial role in the house social inequality. The greater residential segregation is due to the discriminatory lending practices of redlining which delineated some of the races and particularly the African America minorities.
Significant differences in the poverty rates across the racial groups in the United States exist contributing to the huge social inequality for the blacks. Grant reports that in 2009, the poverty rates for the blacks was 27.4% compared to the nation-Hispanic whites which were 9.9%. The data illustrate that the blacks experience the highest disproportionality in poverty rates. The chronic poverty rates among the blacks could be explained by the low levels of education and employment rate among the blacks. Also, Fosten notes that few cases of inequality are evident in criminal cases. According to Fosten “civil death” along with the contemporary modern day variants of social inequality laws in the disenfranchisement is embedded in the medieval era. This was the time when the blacks received harsh penalties and punishment that were imposed on the convicted criminals. Fosten further notes affirm that the interpretation of the disenfranchisement laws in the American society is shaped by race, democracy, and citizenship.
The social inequality between now and in the past are slightly different. The foundations of the social inequality in the present society are rooted in the slavery. The slaves were overworked and also underpaid creating inequality. Racial discrimination was rampant especially before the civil war and the civil rights movement. In the past, African did not own land and other properties. As opposed to the modern society, the blacks in the past depended on the whites for their livelihood. The Jim Crow laws were promoted segregation and widened the social inequality. The southern Africans were particularity trapped in debt and were denied banking services and loans, and hence the white people grew richer compared to the blacks. Freedman's Bank was created to aid in fostering wealth accumulation for the blacks after the civil war. However, the bank failed in 1874, and this was due to the 1873 financial panic. The failure of the bank lowered the support the African Americans had in opening up businesses and acquiring wealth. Acts of discrimination such as lynching also hindered the success of the African Americans. In the past, the social security established during great depression excluded the domestic and the agricultural workers and this significantly affected the blacks (Franklin 11). The African Americans were also given little help from the Loan Corporation to own property during the great depression promoted the inequality the Africans Americans in providing them with loans and thus widening the social inequality.
Recommendations to Resolve Social inequality
The need to end social inequality should drive initiatives and collaborative measures from all stakeholders. Among the key policies, a pro-poor fiscal policy that will aid in income distribution to the various groups and geographical regions should be enacted. The policy will be fundamental in transferring wealth from the rich communities to the poor. Fiscal incentives for the African Americans who are especially poor should be encouraged to bridge the gap in income distribution. There have to be social programs targeting to reduce the housing, education and income inequality. As such, the programs will train and educate people on jobs and ways to create income, as well as the importance of education and hence the poverty gap, will reduce. These programs should target the geographical areas that are majorly affected, and participatory targeting practices should guide the selection of the regions. Allowing the African Americans to participate in the decision-making process will enable them to voice out their grievances. Designing participatory methodology in policymaking will also aid in evaluating the results and the impact of the social policies. Legislative framework which will assist in fostering prosperity and reduce the social gaps should be identified and implemented. Any form of discrimination that persist in some organizations and government institution need to be abolished, and equality for all need to be promoted.
Perhaps, the objective to resolve to resolve the problem of social inequality call for streamlining the processes of felony disenfranchised in criminal justice. There should also partnership in the dissemination of participatory citizenship strategies targeting the African Americans. African leaders have to mobilize and enact supporting strategies for the underserved and the under-resourced people. Also, the need to strategize and partner with the faith-based and the non-profit organizations in delivering programs has to be emphasized as this will help in fighting the social inequality for the African Americans. These programs should entail job-training as well as the other significant economic and political participation. More importantly, development of the annual social indexes that would measure key indexes variables in the African American community concerning the social progress in the political and economic fields should be instituted. The government should advocate the utilization of the state-federal resources in providing training to the blacks. In addition, changing the policies and the laws which tend to negatively affect the African community will be a key factor in resolving the issues of inequality. The criminal justice policies should be revised, and the government should conduct effective alternatives to handle and address the problem. More resources should also be devoted to promoting programs that will help in reducing sicial inequality.
Reparation for Slavery
Reparation should not be allowed for slavery. The abolitionist movement and the people who fought for the civil war sacrificed themselves to end slavery, and the problem should not be brought up in the modern society. Notably, it will be difficult to identify the individuals on their ancestry slavery for reparations. Also, there is no legal binding that exists for compensating the descendants of slaves, and this will create more challenges on legal grounds. It has to be noted that the act of slavery was not an illegal aspect before the enactment of the thirteen amendment in the US constitution. Truly, slavery is currently considered to be an overwhelming factor in the nation, and it is immoral. However, dating back to the ancient society, the act was not illegal, and the slave trade was allowed to take place. Also, another legal argument against the idea of reparation for slavery is that the statute of limitation for filling lawsuits has long been passed and therefore, the courts are not legible for providing relief (Franklin 16). Again, presently, few African Americans have pure African blood, and the mixture of races due to intermarriages makes it difficult to make the repatriations. Perhaps, the idea to make repatriation payment basing on the races will only be perceived to be a racial injustice, and it will propagate racism. This will renew and or even worsen the aspect of racism in the nation.
The African Americans encounter social inequality in education, housing, and even employment. The widespread of the problem in the nation call for resolution strategies and this includes enacting policies that will direct at making the lives of the blacks better. Also, a key factor should be in reducing the income inequality that evidence to majorly affect the pan Africans. Pushing for reparation for slavery is not a solution to compensating the scars of slavery. As a vast literatures note, this will only evoke racism in the country.
Dalphin, John. The Persistence of Social Inequality in America. Rochester, Vt., Schenkman, 1999.
Dervis, Kemal et al. Inequality in America. Brookings Institution Press, 2012.
Franklin, John Hope. Racial Equality in America. Columbia, University Of Missouri Press, 1993.
Fosten Gerald K. Perspectives on Social Inequality, Criminal Justice, and Race in the United States: A Critical Analysis. Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol.9, no.9, November 2016. http://www.jpanafrican.org/docs/vol9no9/9.9-Nov-9-Fosten.pdf. Accessed 29, November, 2017.\
Grant T. William T. Inequality Matters. Stanford University. Sep 2014. https://ed.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/inequalitymatters.pdf. Accessed 29, November, 2017.
Ravallion, Martin. "Inequality and Poverty When Effort Matters." Econometrics, vol 5, no. 4, 2017, p. 50. MDPI AG, doi: 10.3390/econometrics5040050.
Wilkinson, Richard G., and Kate E. Pickett. "The Enemy between Us: The Psychological and Social Costs of Inequality." European Journal of Social Psychology, vol 47, no. 1, 2017, pp. 11-24. Wiley-Blackwell, doi:10.1002/ejsp.2275.
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