Quick Facts — Measure of America: American Human Development Project

Like trivia?  Check out:

Quick Facts — Measure of America: American Human Development Project.

Includes some really depressing ones such as:

A white baby born today in the nation’s capital can expect to live 83.1 years. An African American baby born in the same city has a life expectancy of 71 years, a dozen years less and about the same as that of the average American baby in the early 1970s.

About one-quarter of the country’s high schools educate more than 85% of the country’s Latino children. The schools that most Latino children attend are disproportionately large in size, low in resources, located in central cities, and largely confined to just seven states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Arizona, Illinois, and New Jersey.

In no U.S. states do African Americans, Latinos, or Native Americans earn more than Asian Americans or whites.

For every $1 of net worth whites have, Latinos have 12 cents, and African Americans have 10 cents.


Racism is real and it is UGLY.



2 responses

  1. No evidence you have given supports the rather facile conclusion that racism is involved in these figures. I am not saying that racism is not somehow involved in them, only that the link should not be thought automatic.
    1.) Different life expectancies: different human population groups have different physical characteristics, different susceptibilities to different diseases, and so on. This is due to very different evolutionary histories of their population groups. Contrary to the view of Stephen J. Gould, the 70,000 years of differential evolution between sub-Saharan Africans and everyone else is not an eyeblink but is a period of time sufficient for very different evolutionary adaptations to and genetic sweeps to have occurred. Some selective sweeps are very fast, such as that for lactose tolerance beyond infancy. High blood pressure is more genetic than anything else. The consumption of certain foods is a choice. Racism does not force cultural cuisines.
    2.) The Latino to non-Latino difference in school spending is a function of economics, not racism at all. Large numbers of poor immigrants from Mexico, as well as large numbers of persons of Mexican descent who do not pursue high-paying jobs and cannot because of low levels of training and hence of cultural capital/human capital, necessarily depress local tax bases in a given area. As schools depend on local tax bases in the USA, this means the schools will be funded less. Further, the massive expense required to educate persons who do not speak English well will divert funds from some forms of education into playing catch-up. This has even less to do with racism than #1 does.
    3.) Discrepancies between earning power of Asians/Whites vs. Non Asians/Whites: this fact completely destroys the argument that white racism is a factor, for if this were the case, then no non-whites would be alongside whites on top. Asians faced much hardship in the US, from Chinese railroad “coolies” to Japanese in internment camps. Yet they succeeded. The evidence suggests that different cultural forms are possessed, in general, by different “racial” groups or human population groups, and these cultural forms are of different conduciveness to income-earning.
    Once again, I am not saying that racism (however one wishes to define this; I prefer stricter definitions to words, lest words become loose) is not a factor in any of these discrepancies. However, jumping to the facile conclusion that racism is the primary factor is not warranted by the evidence, certainly not by the evidence you have presented.

    • Thanks for your comments. It is clear that you put a lot of thought and effort into your reply.
      I absolutely agree that there are other factors at play than just racism, and that it would be possible to find alternate explanations for each statistic. It is even possible that the alternate expectation for each statistic is true.
      I do think taken as a whole, particularly if you look at all the statistics on the Measure of America page and not just the four I have pulled here, the pervasiveness of economic, educational, and health disadvantages in African American and Latino populations indicates the existence of racism.
      It is my belief that racism is institutionalized by our policies and economic practices. It occurs when we decide that a ten year discrepancy between life expectancies is biologically based, and that there is nothing we can do about people’s food choices or health care. It occurs when we decide that it is ok for poorer citizens to remain stuck in a cycle of poverty, and when we choose to prioritize the English language over quality education. Racism also occurs when we simplify this concept to only mean the privilege of whites, without acknowledging that American culture, rather than race-based cultures, accepts and expects different behaviors from different races.

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