Equality is defined as “the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.” (Equality | Definition of equality in English by Oxford Dictionaries, 2018)The United States is a country made of citizens of different shapes, sizes, religions, and races. Our country claims that everyone is equal, but history has shown a different view. The past and present have shown that we may all be created equal but not everyone is treated as equals. There is a blatant discrimination in the United States that has plagued the country for years.
This discrimination is that of racial inequality. People of different races have not received equal treatment in political, social, and economic experiences.
African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latin-Americans are scene as minorities. They have experienced their hardships due to their race. The African-American community has a rich history of experiencing racial inequality. They spent a large part of history in the United States as slaves. Slaves are viewed as property and not viewed as human beings.
They were deprived of basic American rights. When they voted their vote was only counted as 3/5 of a vote. After the issue of slavery ended the African America community still was not seen as equal. They had to endure racial slurs, not being able to go to the same stores, restaurants, and even bathrooms as white Americans. As time has passed the African-American community has been given basic rights as they deserved but racism is still alive in the country.
The African-American community has started to make a stand for their people through protests.
The other racial groups have also experienced inequality. The cultural differences cause a divide between the natives and the immigrants. History has shown there was an attitude that immigrants needed to leave their culture behind and assimilate to the American way of life. Assimilation is necessary for a successful life in a new country but that does not mean immigrants should leave their culture behind. The multiple cultures and customs in the United States help bring out the diversity of the country. The people of the United States recently have embraced the diversity of the country, but the big issue of inequality is still present in the lives of the many different races in the United States.
Racial inequality can be found in the United States in a financial form. There is a racial wealth gap in the United States. This can be attributed to the differences in years of home ownership, household income, unemployment, education, and inheritance. For example, a study done by the Brandeis University Institute on Assets and Social Policy showed that the wealth gap between Caucasian and African-American families studied nearly tripled, from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009. (The Roots of the Widening Racial Wealth Gap: Explaining the Black-White Economic Divide,2013). Another figure provided by the U.S Census Bureau shows the differences in median household income by race. As of 2017, Asian Americans receive the most with an $81,331 median income followed by White Americans with a $68,145 median household income, then Hispanic Americans with a $50,486 median household income and lastly African Americans receiving a median household income of $40,258.
The U.S poverty rate statistics show that African-Americans have the highest poverty rate at 21.2% followed by Hispanic-Americans at 18.3%, then Asian-Americans at 10% and lastly White-Americans at 8.7%. The poverty rates of Black and Hispanic-Americans are more than doubled. All men and women are created equal and deserve equal opportunity. Simply looking at the median household incomes and the U.S poverty rate statistics there is a clear message that the same opportunities may not be available depending on the race of an individual. These statistics cannot simply happen by chance. A troubling issue regarding racial inequality is the differences in incarceration for different racial groups.
According to an article in the New York Times, black individuals have incarcerated five times more often the white people who have convicted the same crime. (Prisoners Deserve a New Set of Rights,2018). They also state that in some states 80 % of criminal defendants cannot afford an attorney leaving a public defender to have the defendant’s life in their hands. (Prisoners Deserve a New Set of Rights,2018) They also bring up that 47 % of wrongly convicted people are black. Ex-cons have a difficult way back to assimilate to post-prison life. (Prisoners Deserve a New Set of Rights,2018) They frequently are denied the opportunity for mortgages, jobs, and even a bank account. The odds are stacked up against anyone trying to make a life after prison. In-fact up the 80% of criminals return to prison within a five-year span of being released. Life is hard for ex-cons and if you’re a different race life just became that much harder.
An area in everyday life where racial inequality is found is in the workplace. Here are some statistics provided by Brandon Gaille “Since 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has received over 45,000 complaints that are directly related to racial discrimination. In the United States, $112.7 million was collected from employers for racial discrimination violations, not including money that was received from lawsuits. The raw gap between white employees and black employees in the United States can be as high as 30%. In a recent survey of over 5,200 newly employed workers, black job seekers were offered significantly less compensation than whites by potential new employers. employers are also more likely to turn away applicants if they have names that sound African-American.
Job seekers with white-sounding names get one callback per 10 resumes, while applicants with African-American sounding names get just one callback per 15 resumes.” These statistics are just a small piece of racial inequality in the workplace. The path to success is clearly harder for racial minorities. Housing in the United States is an area where racial inequality can be found. In 2017, the homeownership rate was 72.5% for non-Hispanic Whites, 46.1% for Hispanics, and 42.0% for African-American (Racial inequality in the United States, 2018). This statistic shows that the high percentage of African-American and Hispanic communities can’t receive the benefits that come with home ownership. Regarding home equity, on average, the economic value of Black-owned units is 35% less than similar White-owned units.
White Americans are at least $20,000 more than that of African Americans and Hispanics, these differences are not a result of group differences in length of residences because Asians have the most equity on their homes but have lived in them for the shortest average period. (Racial inequality in the United States, 2018). Regarding what areas each race lives in, generally whites live in the suburbs and racial minorities live in the inner cities. The United States housing has plenty of evidence of racial inequality. The United States is a country that claims all men and women are equal but racial inequality is alive in the nation. Racial inequality is seen in history, the workplace, housing, and the criminal justice system. The issue of racial inequality is weighing the nation down as a whole and the people need to work together to fix it.