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Racial equality beyond reach of U.S.

By Zhang Mengxu (People's Daily)    07:30, December 09, 2019

More than four-in-ten say the US hasn’t made enough progress toward racial equality, particularly among blacks, majority of them don’t believe the U.S. will eventually achieve racial equality, according to Race in America 2019, a report released this year by nonpartisan American think tank Pew Research Center. 

More than 150 years after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States, most U.S. adults say the legacy of slavery continues to have an impact on the position of black people in American society today, said the report.

According to the report, racial discrimination has infiltrated into many aspects of the U.S. society such as housing, education, criminal justice system, and medical treatment.

“More than four-in-ten say the country hasn’t made enough progress toward racial equality”, said the report, adding that “about six-in-ten Americans (58%) say race relations in the U.S. are bad.”

It found out that most Americans (65%) – including majorities across racial and ethnic groups – say it has become more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views in recent years.

“Most minority groups in the United States experience homelessness at higher rates than Whites, and therefore make up a disproportionate share of the homeless population”, according to a report published this year by the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), a nonpartisan organization aiming to prevent and end homelessness in the U.S.

“By far the most striking disproportionality can be found among African Americans, who make up 40 percent of the homeless population despite only representing 13 percent of the general population,” it disclosed.

Black families are more likely to live in areas of concentrated poverty — areas that have limited economic opportunities, fewer services, and poorer educational resources, according to the NAEH report which said people who become homeless are likely to have lived in these neighborhoods immediately before their homelessness.

Data show that African Americans often face barriers when attempting to move to more favorable neighborhoods, the report said, citing a study by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which found that people of color were often shown fewer rental units, offered higher rents, and denied more leases than Whites.

It is always found that in predominantly white communities in the U.S., roads are well maintained and dumpsters are taken away timely, and these communities usually enjoy higher-quality education resources.

In contrast, in the areas mostly dwelled by African Americans and other ethnic minorities, houses and roads are always in poor condition, and public facilities, such as schools and hospitals are immature, as if they were forgotten by the government.

Although racial segregation had been abolished in the 1960s, its shadow is still pervasive in the U.S. society, suggested a report released by the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. U.S. local governments, by cunningly using the levers such as wealth, have perpetuated de facto racial segregation.

For instance, in American capital Washington, D.C., African Americans and white people account for 48 percent and 41 percent of the district’s total population, respectively. However, the African Americans are densely populated in the relatively poor southeast area where the blacks account for over 90 percent of the population, while in the richer northwest area of the district, more than 80 percent of the dwellers are whites.

As a matter of fact, in Washing, D.C. which merely covers an area of 176 square kilometers, two distinctive worlds have been formed because of racial differentiation.

According to a recent survey published by U.S. Federal Reserve, the median of net asset value of U.S. white families was $171, 000 in 2016, while that of African American families was $17,600, a gap of almost 10 times.

A think tank attributed the wealth gap between races in the U.S. to the lower income and higher unemployment rate of African and Hispanic Americans than the whites, saying researchers have proved in an authoritative fashion that ethnic minorities are less likely to succeed than white people and they face continuous discrimination when it comes to employment and promotion.

There is also deep-rooted racial stereotype in the U.S. law enforcement departments. More often than not, law enforcement officials prejudge certain ethnic groups as criminals.

As revealed by a report, African and Hispanic American drivers are more likely to be stopped by U.S. highway patrol officers, and are three times more likely to be frisked than white drivers.

“There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me,” said former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Adolphus Pruitt, President of the St. Louis City Branch of the U.S. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) told People’s Daily that he is often tailed after and asked questions like “why are you here” by the police when he appears in white communities.

Ethnic minorities are more likely to be convicted of crimes by courts after they are arrested, according to a report of Sentencing Project, a non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C.

African Americans and Hispanic Americans accounted for 29 percent of the U.S. population in 2016, yet their proportion in the U.S. prisons stood at 57 percent.

The report indicated that the U.S. society has underestimated the pervasive ethnic prejudice in the criminal justice system.

Based on analysis of relevant cases from 1989 to Oct. 2016, the U.S. National Registry of Exonerations concluded that African Americans are more likely to be erroneously convicted of crimes like murder, sexual assault, and illegal drug activities.

47 percent of the 1,900 defendants who were declared guilty and acquitted after a retrial were African Americans, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

“The U.S. economy was built on the exploitation and occupational segregation of people of color,” said a report titled “Systematic Inequality and Economic Opportunity”, which was released this August by the Center for American Progress.

“While many government policies and institutional practices helped create this system, the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and the New Deal—as well as the limited funding and scope of anti-discrimination agencies—are some of the biggest contributors to inequality in America,” the report pointed out. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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