Color Lines recently published an article concerning the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report on income levels based on race in the United States. The findings can be troubling for many, especially African-Americans with degrees beyond the Bachelor’s level.
According to the report, White workers 25 years or older with at least a Bachelors (undergraduate) degree had median earnings of $1,219 per week. Latino workers fitting the same criterion took in $1,007 per week, and Asian workers made $1,328 per week. When it came to Black workers with the same qualifications, the median earnings were $970 per week.
From Color Lines, “The racial income gap is so pronounced that Black workers with an advanced degree made $1,149 – roughly the same as white workers who had only a bachelor’s degree ($1,132).”
The reality that African-Americans are at the bottom among racial groups regarding median income for college graduates is a disturbing enough fact, but what is most disheartening is the fact that even with an advanced degree, Blacks only make $17 more than Whites with only a Bachelor’s degree.
Many reasons can be given for this including, for example, the nature of the employment that African-Americans enter into (i.e. non-profit). The basic reason above all others, however is the continuation of a system of White privilege.
It is not just an issue of those who are college educated and employed. We have to seriously consider unemployment.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent report on unemployment in 2013 revealed that African-Americans 25 years and older with a Bachelor’s degree or higher have the highest unemployment rate among any race, at 5.7 percent (8.4 percent as a whole), while the national rate is 5.6 percent, the lowest it has been since 2007 before the economic downturn.
It seems that somehow African-Americans have been left out of the economic resurgence.
What is equal about this? Where is the justice in that?
These findings are the results of continued racial biases by employers that are also a result of the historic racial discrimination in the workforce that the country has never quite dealt with. Not only are the populations among African-Americans with higher education relegated to the bottom in terms of income, but unemployment as well.
It is all indicative of a racism that is institutionalized and perpetuates an economically unequal societal makeup that is unjust. It is time to build up, in an economic sense, towards greater financial independence and promise.