More News:

February 25, 2015

Sobering data for Black History Month

Research shows progress, but inequality as well

Black History Month Research
Data Stock/for PhillyVoice

The study says...

Black History Month is coming to an end, and some recent data from Pew Research Center suggests that while the economic and political status of African Americans in the United States has been improving, there is still much work to be done. 

Pew Research's Fact Tank blog recently released a group of polls and data regarding the subject, touching on topics such as voting habits and poverty.

The good news:

- Turnout for African American voters in the last presidential election was high, even exceeding the percentage of whites voters: 

Pew Research African American Voters

- High school dropout rates among African Americans, ages 18 to 24, declined significantly, even exceeding the national trend:

African American dropout rates

The bad news:

- The poverty rate among African Americans, while declining, still remain the highest among U.S. racial and ethnic groups at 27.2 percent. Also, the wealth gap between whites and blacks has widened in recent years:

Racial Wealth Gap

- There's a huge gap among African Americans and all other racial and ethnic groups in terms of perception of progress with racial equality: 

Racial Equality

So, while there is data to suggest that progress is being made, there is still work to be done for racial equality in this country. A recent editorial in The New York Times on White privilege cites a study conducted by Dr. Arin N. Reeves of Nextions Research that sent a memo to law firms of a hypothetical law associate. 

Every firm received the same memo. The catch: while half of the firms received the memo from an African-American male, the others received the memo from a Caucasian:

Law experiment

The study found that the Caucasian candidate was more likely to receive positive comments than the African-American candidate, despite their memos being identical:

Law Comments

The study found that racially based perceptions affect how legal writing is interpreted. 

If there's one thing to take from these findings, it's that signs of progress are still slowed by continuing racial inequality in this country, something that is reinforced by both hard data and attitudes.