Deep economic, medical, and judicial differences help explain the fury of protesters over the death of George Floyd, who writes The Economist.
According to the Census Bureau, African Americans earn only three-fifths of how much non-Hispanic whites earn. In 2018, the average income of black households was $41,400, compared to $70,600 for whites. This gap is wide.
In Britain, where racial relationships can also be tense, blacks earn about 90% of how much white people earn. The American income gap is narrower than in 1970 when African-Americans earned only half as much as whites. But all the improvements occurred between 1970 and 2000, and since then everything has worsened again.
The income gap between blacks has somewhat narrowed after an increase in federal spending. But it could soon become wider because African Americans occupy many unskilled jobs.
Income indicators underestimate real economic inequality since they describe only those who work.
According to a study conducted by Patrick Bayer of Duke University and Kervin Charles of the University of Chicago, a staggering 35% of young black men are unemployed or do not work at all, which is twice the proportion of whites.
This huge number is apparently due to the high proportion of African Americans deprived of their liberty: in addition to those in prison, many stopped looking for work because employers would not offer jobs to former criminals. Thus, the judicial imbalances underlying the protests against Floyd also increase income and employment inequality.
The wealth gap between blacks and whites is even larger than the income gap. According to a survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Board in 2017, the average net wealth for African Americans was only a tenth of the value of non-Hispanic white assets: $17,600 compared to $171,000. The gap remains the same as it was in 1990. This permeates the daily financial lives of African American households.
Twice as many blacks as whites have zero or negative net worth (for example, debts in excess of assets); over the past 60 days, blacks have been twice as denied credit or delayed payments; more than twice as many people said they could not pay all their bills for the current month; Only 43% say that they can lend $3,000 in emergency cases to family or friends, compared with 71% of whites. From a financial point of view, far more African Americans than whites live on the edge of the abyss, they are separated by one check from the tragedy.
COVID-19 was a disaster, and African Americans were hit hardest. Blacks and Hispanics from New York are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than whites; black Chicagoans five times more often. This is partly due to the fact that they are widely represented in places that continued to work throughout the epidemic (patient care, carrier drivers); partly because they are more likely than white to not have health insurance(12.2% do not have insurance compared to 7.8% in 2018); and above all, because they have more chronic health problems that make people vulnerable to the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 are twice as likely to die from heart disease than whites, are 50% more likely to have high blood pressure, and are almost twice as likely to have diabetes.
In this erupted issue, there is evidence of both judicial inequality and the relationship between this and economic status. According to the Bureau of Justice, in 2016 the number of prisoners per person was six times higher for blacks than for whites (and, surprisingly, this was an improvement: in 2006 it was seven times higher). African Americans, who often live in poor, criminal areas, commit more crimes per person than whites, but not six times as many.
A study conducted by scientists from universities in Michigan and British Columbia showed that blacks and Hispanics get longer sentences for the same crime.
Another study claims that this is due to the fact that judges do not think that blacks may pay a fine instead of going to jail, and fear that if released, they will not be able to get a job and return to criminal activity. In other words, poverty and unemployment complicate the practice of sentencing blacks, making it harder for blacks to get jobs.
It is not surprising that so many protesters believe that African Americans are not equal before the law, are not equal in terms of income and work, and are not equal in terms of health.
It was previously reported that the Pope called for an end to violence. Francis called the death of African-American Floyd a tragedy, saying that he prays for him and all those who “lost their lives because of the sin of racism.”