The Great American Equalizer



Education and hard work are the consistent mantra that permeates the essence of the American Dream. Education, as we know, is not created equally nor is it extolled equally. Schools in lower socioeconomic areas are rife with underperforming curriculums, in desperate need of updated teaching materials, and innovated ideas to excite beaten down students to achieve a goal they believe unattainable in the first place.

For many students in lower socioeconomic areas the belief that they have a chance to enter college is surreal. Many struggle with the basics because they are never driven to learn or even taught but rather pushed on to the next level. For those not lost in the public school systems they head off to college earn their degree and look forward to their future. A future, according to the America dream, should grant them privileges and entrance into a new world far from what many of them knew.


Instead, what waits according to data is a closing in income among Black households in comparison to their white counterparts but the glaring disparity arises between white men and black men to the tune of approximately 10,000k with the same degree and experience.


Soledad Obrien mentioned that White men who are ex-cons are more likely to receive a job offer in comparison to black men with an education, because the perception is that black men are lazy and don’t know how to dress properly.


There are no more visible chains and shackles but what remains is far more pervasive, unjustified perceptions and insidious stereotypes that are used as excuses to justify and mask underlining racial prejudices be they conscious or subconscious.

So what then happens when you do everything according to the playbook and you still come up short? How do we keep young Black adults encouraged when they realize the Great American Equalizer is meant for everyone but them?

Cross post located atDallas South

 

Reader Comments

(I tried this at Shawn's place but his comments are still jacked up.)

I have to take some issues with the study you linked to. They gloss over the disparity between men and women way too quickly. Black men make less than white men, but black women make much more than white women, and that isn't significant?

They explain it away as black women being more likely to be employed than white women (presumably because the white women are more likely to be professional wives, which is credible to me) but they don't show that they explored similar issues with men.

This part also irked me:

On the other hand, many whites are still reluctant to seek out the services of black professionals. Therefore, many blacks with professional degrees perform services for an exclusively black clientele and in all likelihood are not able to charge fees comparable to those of white professionals.

I'm sorry -- I don't buy white racism as a bigger factor than the "Keep it in the hood" and "serve the community" philosophy. If a black professional locates his business in a black neighborhood and markets to black people, that is the sort of business he is going to get. On the other hand, I've never even heard rumors of a client being reluctant to use a black lawyer at our firm. In fact, I know of a few clients who specify that they want certain black lawyers working on their matters, because they are damned good at what they do.

I don't have any problem with staying in the hood (hell, I'm still planning to buy a house in the hood and move back) but you have to accept that you won't make a lot of money, the same way that I accept that I am going to have to deal with not having 800 Starbucks outlets around the corner from me.

This concept has been wearing down on my spiritual beliefs. How is it that some are set on a path destined for success while others are are set to fail from birth. It's like now how unfair is that? And no matter how many of us slip through the cracks of success. We will always be known as the race that just couldn't get it together. And this my friend is truly sad.

@Phelps (I am glad I am not the only person having problems over at Shawn’s)

I think you should re-calculate the math: Black women make $3,062 more than White women and their reasoning for this is very true. There are far fewer Black women that have the luxury of being a stay at home mom, ESPECIALLY when their men make approximately 10,000 less than White men. A 10,000 increase in pay provides a different type of lifestyle. PERIOD.

It is not UNTIL Black people achieve a doctorate degree do we pull ahead or even with our White counterparts. This goes towards the argument that so many black people have that we HAVE to work 3 times harder than anyone to be recognized monetarily. (In case you didn’t know this is nothing but modern day slavery, working for free). I want my husband’s 10,000K so that I can take a less demanding job, but as I said I don’t have that luxury. White women do, I’m not knocking their hustle but fair is fair until it comes to black men.


“I'm sorry -- I don't buy white racism as a bigger factor than the "Keep it in the hood" and "serve the community" philosophy.”


As for you second part many Black professionals are branching out from their representative communities. This is another reason why predominately black communities are struggling so I think your point here is moot.



@Go
“How is it that some are set on a path destined for success while others are set to fail from birth.”

There was a song by Helen Baylor that went something like “I had a praying grandmother”. I won’t say that I am deeply religious but I do have a talk a relationship with God (albeit not as strong as it should be). Just keep believing that his plan is greater than any man can come up with, sometimes it’s the only thing that gets me and my husband through.

"On the other hand, many whites are still reluctant to seek out the services of black professionals. Therefore, many blacks with professional degrees perform services for an exclusively black clientele and in all likelihood are not able to charge fees comparable to those of white professionals."

Phelps how does this statment irk you? Do you know that there are MANY black American's that are also reluctant to seek out the services of black professionals. So if this is the case within our own community then I'm sure the number is multiplied for the white race.

Phelps how does this statment irk you? Do you know that there are MANY black American's that are also reluctant to seek out the services of black professionals. So if this is the case within our own community then I'm sure the number is multiplied for the white race.

Yes, I know that there are also many racist black people as well as racist white people. Both groups tend to be poor, uneducated, and uninfluential.

This goes towards the argument that so many black people have that we HAVE to work 3 times harder than anyone to be recognized monetarily. (In case you didn’t know this is nothing but modern day slavery, working for free).

So... this means that you are against a progressive income tax?

“Yes, I know that there are also many racist black people as well as racist white people. Both groups tend to be poor, uneducated, and uninfluential.”

These groups are very much influential case in point the highlights of the failed Black America on CNN. Dsyfunction is a highlight that only represents a small piece of Black America. These same people you are talking about give credence to this burgeoning myth. White people and some black people like to believe in these stereotypes to justify their prejudices


"So... this means that you are against a progressive income tax?"




As usual you like to digress form the topic of choice but to answer you question; NO I am not against a progressive tax. I don’t equate the two as remotely similar but I am NOT surprised that you do.

A progressive income tax is exactly the situation you are describing. One person makes a certain amount of money, and government allows him to keep 90% of it. Another person makes Y amount, and the government only allows him to keep 60% of it.

In fact, I oppose an income tax (flat or progressive) for that reason. It presupposes that the government owns you, like a slave. If you would like to make some money, you have to rent yourself from the government, and they take their vig off the top. It is certainly light-years from chattel slavery in practice, but it is like the old joke that goes, "We've established what you are, now we are just haggling over the price."

Like I said Phelps I don’t equate a progressive tax and working for less money putting in more time as the same. However, coming from a poor upbringing I personally feel indebted to others because I did not arrive where I am today without taxpayers support. I feel absolutely no shame in this. I believe that people should be taxed according to their incomes. I have a problem with my current taxes because I know the super rich are not pulling their fair share of the burden but the middle class has to make up for both the riches miserly ways and for those that can not afford it.


Again I will reiterate a progressive tax and equal pay for equal work is absurd to play word association games with.

Hwy there!

I think that many blacks believe that education is the great equalizer... but say that to Africans who have Master's degrees when they arrive in this country in such of the "American dream" and they aren't being hired in a professional position because of biases about the African way of speaking English...

I have been in soooo many work settings where black colleagues had the same level of education and were being treated differently.... because one black was from the 'hood and one black was NOT from the 'hood... and all had the same level of education... so classism is STILL alive and well...

Blacks do not often notice that whites are studying them and then making determinations about which socioeconomic class a black person came from... so having that MBA does not mean that whites are not making other distinctions about various aspects of the blacks who are working with them...

I remember one brotha proudly stating he had gone to Morehouse (and the other brotha in the room went to Rutgers) and not one person in the room had ever heard of Morehouse... one white guy asked if it was a "junior college"! Yes.

This moment gave that brotha a rude awakening. Meanwhile, everyone in the room had heard of Rutgers and was chatting with the other brotha...

So is education really the great equalizer??

Okay...

Lisa

Thanks Lisa for stopping by I will stop over and read your post regarding CNN Black in America.

This issue - class, education, and the hope of doing better - is the American illusion.

http://sciedsociety.blogspot.com/2008/06/reinforcing-class-roles-in-public.html



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