Talking about inequality and/in fatherhood…

Pew Research recently released a new study on everyone’s favorite subject. You guessed it. “The racial wealth-gap!”

I must say, I found it quite fascinating. One interesting note was that the wealth gap between blacks and whites has actually widened since 1967.

 In 2014, median black household income was about $43,300, while white household income was about $71,300. 8 By comparison, 20 years prior, black household income was about $37,800 compared with $63,600 among white households. And in 1967, the first year for which data are available, median black household income was $24,700, compared with $44,700 among white households.

How could this be? Because Racism? Obviously racism still exists, but I think it’s not a stretch to say we’ve come a VERY long way since 1967, no? Particularly, when it comes to black’s education levels, poverty levels, upward mobility and not to mention the fall of Jim Crow. Why are blacks still lagging? Maybe it’s education. More blacks are poor therefore, there are less blacks with college degrees, right? Well, even when you normalize for college education, whites still outpace blacks by far:

For example, among those with a bachelor’s degree, blacks earn significantly less than whites ($82,300 for black householders vs. $106,600 for whites). In fact, the income of blacks at all levels of educational attainment lags behind that of their white counterparts.

“Well, it has to be racism now!” Wait. This study does not include the area of study for those college educated blacks and whites. A recent study dives deeper:

More African-Americans are going to college than ever before. But according to new research from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, African-American college students are more likely to pursue majors that lead to low-paying jobs, setting up many for future debt and underemployment.

Black folks rather major in studies that lead to social work or education than engineering, science, pharma, computers, etc. That will not help our wealth stats damnit!

African-Americans make up only a small percentage of some of the highest-paying of majors, including those in STEM and business. They’re only 8 percent of engineering, 7 percent of mathematics and 5 percent of computer science majors. Worse, Carnevale said even those who do major in high-paying fields, typically choose the lowest paying major within them. For example, the majority of black women in STEM typically study biology, the lowest-paying of the science discipline. Among engineers, most black men study civil engineering, the lowest-paying in that sector.

In contrast, black college students are over-represented in service-oriented fields: humanities, education and social work (shown in the chart below). One of the lowest-paying majors common among African-Americans with a bachelor’s degree is early childhood education and the median earnings is only $38,000 annually compared to $65,000 for computer science (the lowest among high-paying majors for African-Americans). Carnivale says this is largely because American society overall “does not value service-oriented occupations.”

Another factor that doesn’t help blacks earning is the increase in single parent homes. When the household consists of a struggling single mother, and 2 kids, it’s tough to move up the wealth gap charts. According to Pew Research:

Non-marital births are far more common among blacks than whites. In 2014, roughly seven-in-ten (71%) births to black women occurred outside of marriage, compared with 29% of births to white women. This gap in non-marital childbearing is a longstanding one. In 1970, fully 38% of all births to black women occurred outside of marriage, compared with just 6% among white women. By 1990, 67% of births to black women were non-marital, versus 17% among white women.

Non-marital births have risen in the U.S. across all races over the decades, but no other has seen such a dramatic rise like African-Americans. I know blacks hate to hear that stat thrown in their face when discussing issues that effect our community, but it is an ugly fact. The demise of the black family is the 800 pound guerilla in the room when you’re talking about black on black violence, black imprisonment, and economic stagnation. What caused such a increase is mothers raising fatherless children? Libertarians and conservatives love the point out the fact that the increase in out of wedlock births coincided with the growth of the welfare state due to LBJ’s Great Society (which was mostly implemented under Richard Nixon in his “War on Poverty” campaign). These programs largely incentivized fatherless households. If you had a husband, you weren’t getting food stamps and public housing. You might not want to hear it, but they are correct in pointing this out. That said, it’s not like poor black women literally said “Oh, no need for us to get married or anything, I can get welfare.” What it did do was create a culture where it was implicitly “OK” for the father not to do his duty as head of the household. A lot of these families ended up living in projects and slums, with poor schools and very little hope in sight. It also create a cycle of generational poverty, where a self-destructive culture has grown around it and metastasized like cancer. To where if you try to break out of that culture, you’re considered a sellout, Uncle Tom, or soft.

I don’t know what the answers are, but I do know 71% of black children being born to single parents will not help when it comes shrinking the wealth gap between blacks and whites. Maybe we should stop worrying about the wealth gap and look within, and build a better, more prosperous society for ourselves regardless of where we sit on the charts.

Ryan

Source: The Afro Libertarian

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