Delayed Economic and Educational Progress
In the 1960's, blacks, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., fought for their civil rights and equal opportunities. Although they had only been out of slavery for less than a century, they felt the time was way past due for them to receive the same treatment as other American citizens. Our people struggled to receive decent education programs for their youth for the right to earn a decent living, and to receive respect from other racial groups. Fortunately for our generation, their fight ended in victory. However, 30 years later, despite the progress made then, our community does not seem to have kept up with our ancestor's rate of self-improvement. Not only are blacks still disrespected by other races, problems also plague us such as poverty, drugs, and miseducation. To make matters even worse, we also have a serious lack of unity. Some of us feel as though it is not our responsibility to help other blacks when they are in need. Another major problem is the existence of racism. This negative attitude leads to many physical and psychological problems within the black community. Therefore, lack of unity within the black community and the effects of racism are two major factors when contribute to the slow progress of black people.
Before the Civil Rights movement racism was so blatant that not knowing it existed would have been difficult. Presently, it is so subtle that some argue we cannot blame racism for our problems. Unfortunately, they are wrong. The effects of racism can be seen in the segregation of our neighborhoods and in our high unemployment rates. White people want to keep their contact with us to a minimum. In 1991, USA Today reported that the 1990 census "concluded that 'the majority of the nation's 30 million black people are as segregated now as they were . . . in the '60s' " (Smith 104). This proves that although some blacks' incomes have increased, they do not always live in neighborhoods they can afford because the area is usually predominately white. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that anti-black discrimination was widespread in the housing industry in 1992 (Smith 105). This practice can be found in the workplace. Ed Smith, Ph.D. found that "blacks with college degrees had a 13 percent unemployment rate in 1987 compared to five percent for whites" (Smith 112). Many studies exist that prove that college-educated blacks are not much better off than high-school graduates. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights admitted that "'lack of education is not the reason for high minority unemployment' " (Smith 112). The only explanation which justifies these figures is racism. As long as anti-black racism exists, blacks probably could not progress at the same rate as other minority groups.
It is a well-known fact that white people have more control than minorities in this country. They have the power to deny blacks housing and unemployment. Because of white people's prejudices, blacks have found it difficult to move up on the social and economic ladder. Also, exposure to constant discrimination causes some people to believe that they are worthless and incapable of succeeding. In order to overcome this obstacle, we have to take control of our own minds and lives. Until we as a people become aware and begin to raise our self-esteem, we will continue to let racism be a plague