Black teen-pregnancy rates are at record lowsand the gap between black and white teen-pregnancy rates has shrunk significantly

Black teen-pregnancy rates are at record lowsand the gap between black and white teen-pregnancy rates has shrunk significantly

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In other words, Chicago’s impoverished black neighborhoods-characterized by high unemployment and households headed by single parents-are not simply poor; they are ecologically distinct. This is not simply the same thing as low economic status, writes Sampson. In this pattern Chicago is not alone.

The lives of black Americans are better than they were half a century ago. The humiliation of Whites Only signs are gone. Rates of black poverty have decreased. But such progress rests on a shaky foundation, and fault lines are everywhere. The income gap between black and white households is roughly the same today as it was in 1970. Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at New York University, studied children born from 1955 through 1970 and found that 4 percent of whites and 62 percent of blacks across America had been raised in poor neighborhoods. A generation later, the same study showed, virtually nothing had changed. And whereas whites born into affluent neighborhoods tended to remain in affluent neighborhoods, blacks tended to fall out of them.

This is not surprising. Black families, regardless of income, are significantly less wealthy than white families. The Pew Research Center estimates that white households are worth roughly 20 times as much as black households, and that whereas only 15 percent of whites have zero or negative wealth, more than a third of blacks do. Effectively, the black family in America is working without a safety net. When financial calamity strikes-a medical emergency, divorce, job loss-the fall is precipitous.

And just as black families of all incomes remain handicapped by a lack of wealth, so too do they remain handicapped by their restricted choice of neighborhood. Black people with upper-middle-class incomes do not generally live in upper-middle-class neighborhoods. Sharkey’s research shows https://getbadcreditloan.com/payday-loans-ca/palm-desert/ that black families making $100,000 typically live in the kinds of neighborhoods inhabited by white families making $30,000. Blacks and whites inhabit such different neighborhoods, Sharkey writes, that it is not possible to compare the economic outcomes of black and white children.

The implications are chilling. As a rule, poor black people do not work their way out of the ghetto-and those who do often face the horror of watching their children and grandchildren tumble back.

Even seeming evidence of progress withers under harsh light. In 2012, the Manhattan Institute cheerily noted that segregation had ericans still remained-by far-the most segregated ethnic group in the country.

With segregation, with the isolation of the injured and the robbed, comes the concentration of disadvantage. An unsegregated America might see poverty, and all its effects, spread across the country with no particular bias toward skin color. Instead, the concentration of poverty has been paired with a concentration of melanin. The resulting conflagration has been devastating.

One thread of thinking in the African American community holds that these depressing numbers partially stem from cultural pathologies that can be altered through individual grit and exceptionally good behavior. (In 2011, Philadelphia ong young black males, put the blame on the family: Too many men making too many babies they don’t want to take care of, and then we end up dealing with your children. Nutter turned to those presumably fatherless babies: Pull your pants up and buy a belt, because no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.) The thread is as old as black politics itself. It is also wrong. The kind of trenchant racism to which black people have persistently been subjected can never be defeated by making its victims more respectable. The essence of American racism is disrespect. And in the wake of the grim numbers, we see the grim inheritance.

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