Reading through the article by Irwin, Miller, & Sanger-Katz (2014), Its evident that the racial divide in America is much more deep-rooted and may not be undone even in a few decades to come. My key take away from the article is that there are many issues perpetuating racial divide and even making the situation endemic. The level of education among the blacks is still lower compared to the whites. In particular, the gap between blacks with a college degree as compared to whites has continued to widen. Education is crucial in opening up opportunities for better jobs and therefore higher incomes which are necessary for narrowing the gap between the races. Secondly, whites appear to be better positioned in accumulating wealth which is then passed on to their children through inheritance. Hence, they are less saddled by students loans or financial shocks coming from paying high medical bills or economic downturns. These two factors, in my opinion, appear to position the whites to have better opportunities in the job market, and also to withstand financial shocks better than blacks. At the same time, it is important to appreciate that these differences have been built up over several decades and perhaps centuries if we are to consider the period since slavery. It is therefore difficult to solve the issue of racial divide in the American society in our lifetime. A lot needs to be done to close it, and our hopes must be coupled with reality.
The surprising information I found in the article was the fact that in spite of all the efforts to bridge the gaps between blacks and whites overall the past decades, it appears to be widening in key areas. For instance, looking at higher education, the gap between 30 years olds whites with a college degree compared to their black counterparts has continued to widen rather than close up. Given that education impacts very many other areas, including pay and opportunities for employment, this is disheartening for those who would have wished for a narrowing of the racial divide. More surprising was the fact that even with the same qualifications, blacks are finding it difficult to find jobs compared to their white counterparts. This is puzzling. In particular, having similar requirements should portend similar opportunities in the job market for individuals. It appears that in some instances, people are denied opportunities purely based on their color. Hence, blacks are overrepresented in low paying jobs. This is impacting income levels and wealth that individuals can accumulate.
From the study, its also important to point out that death cases and life expectancy vary sharply when we compare between the whites and blacks. A newborn who is a white stands a better chance of surviving than a black. It is clear that being a black person puts one at a higher risk of facing a homicide within the American society as compared to being a white.
The use of charts depicting racial divide in American did not change my perception but validated much of what I have always presumed. It has provided more detailed information showing how the two races have compared over the years. Such a study and report helps in understanding the situation currently in the American society. The graphs provide clear information that triggers more questions as to why the gap between the two races only seems to be widening rather than narrowing down. Hence, my perspective of inequality has not in any way been changed. It has helped me to understand better how the racial divide has turned out over the years.References
Irwin, N., Miller, C. C., & Sanger-Katz, M. (2014, August 19). Americas Racial Divide, Charted. Retrieved from New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/20/upshot/americas-racial-divide-charted.html?smid=pl-share
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