Why Should We Care About Racial Inequality?

Why Should We Care About Racial Inequality?

Closing the wealth gap between white and households of color is an urgent economic issue. This requires a deep exploration of the roots of current inequality. Most Americans say that being white gives them an advantage in society. But majorities of blacks disagree.


It Is A Health Issue.

A growing body of evidence shows that racial inequality is directly linked to poor health outcomes. This is often the result of long-standing institutional policies, unconscious bias, and other racially biased stereotypes that affect where people live, work, learn and worship. According to many health professionals like Dr. Jason Campbell, these conditions are social determinants of health and contribute to disparities in access to a wide range of resources and opportunities, including good-paying jobs, quality housing, education, and wealth.

In the wake of COVID-19 and controversies surrounding police killings of Black men and women, many Americans have focused on addressing racial disparities in their communities. But the root cause of these inequities lies deeper than just prejudice.

It Is A Human Rights Issue.

Despite gains in the fight against inequality, most people of color remain at the bottom of the ladder of opportunity. Many issues still challenging people of color – for example, the high number of COVID-19 deaths among Black communities – reflect long-standing impediments to equality from centuries of institutional racism. The racial wealth gap is especially stark. The typical white family has about ten times as much wealth as the average African American and Latino family. This disparity is often overlooked, and a growing body of research shows that it is more important than income in determining economic well-being.

The pursuit of racial equity is good for individuals and communities of color and holds the potential to spur innovation and growth in the economy. In addition, addressing racial inequities can benefit the whole country by promoting more inclusive and equitable policies, practices, and institutions. We can achieve this by moving beyond conversations focused on individual biases toward a more holistic awareness of structural racial inequities.

It Is A Social Justice Issue.

The racial disparities persist in America stem from centuries of racism that have had a pervasive impact on communities of color. It influences where they live, learn and work, and worship, among other things. It also impacts access to health and wellness resources and wealth accumulation.

The country is divided over whether it has made progress on racial equality. Large majorities of white Democrats and blacks say the country hasn’t gone far enough. Blacks with more education are more likely than those with less education to say this. Institutional racism (structural racial inequity) refers to policies and practices that benefit white people and disadvantage people of color. It can be seen in the disproportionate number of black men and women arrested for gun crimes compared to white men or schools that are overcrowded and underfunded in communities of color. It is also evident in hiring and promotion decisions that exclude people of color and many business leaders’ rejection of affirmative action.

It Is An Economic Issue.

When people are denied the opportunity to reach their full economic potential, it costs the economy as a whole. Research shows that racial inequality reduces productivity and GDP growth. Institutional racism describes conditions in organizations and institutions that unfairly benefit white people and disadvantage people of color. For example, a school system that concentrates people of color in overcrowded, under-resourced schools with less-qualified teachers than its white counterparts is an institutional form of racism.

Many Americans think the country still has work to do to give black people equal rights with whites. Roughly seven-in-ten black Democrats say racial discrimination is the main reason many black people cannot get ahead, while nearly four-in-ten black Republicans share this view. Similarly, about eight-in-ten blacks with bachelor’s degrees or more education say the country has not yet gone far enough to guarantee black people equal rights with whites. 

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