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Presentation on theme: "AFRICAN AMERICANS TODAY"— Presentation transcript:


2 Education African Americans place special importance on acquiring education Racial and ethnic groups realize that formal schooling is key to social mobility Documented inadequacy of quality and quantity of education Educational gap between Blacks and Whites Always been present Gap is narrowing in recent years

3 Many students would not drop out of school were it not for the combined inadequacies noted:
Insensitive teachers Poor counseling Unresponsive administrators Overcrowded classes Irrelevant curricula Dilapidated school facilities Several can be addressed with more funding but some are stalemated by disagreements over what changes lead to the best outcome

4 School Segregation De jure patterns of segregation - according to policy or law children were assigned to schools on the basis of race U.S Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education Topeka, Kansas. De facto Segregation Results from residential patterns Apartheid Schools Refers to schools that are all Black 1 of 6 of the nation’s Black students are in attendance

5 Integration is not one of the successes of public education
Tracking The practice of placing students in specific curriculum groups on the basis of test scores and other criteria African American children disproportionately assigned to general classes and more White children placed in college preparatory classes African American students more likely than White students to be classified as learning disabled or emotionally disturbed Integration is not one of the successes of public education

6 Acting White, Acting Black, or Neither
Common view reason of African Americans, especially males, not succeeding in education is that they do not want to be caught “acting white” Shifts responsibility of low school attainment from the school to the individual Overemphasizes personal responsibility, not structural features – quality of schools, curriculum, and teachers

7 Higher Education There has been an increase in African American students going to college and graduating Upward trend to higher education has declined and in part is a function of: decline in educational financial aid push for higher standards employment opportunities negative publicity and a decline in enforcement of affirmative action racial incidents on college campuses

8 The Economic Picture Income and Wealth Income Wealth
Two measures of overall economic situation of an individual or household Income Refers to salaries, wages, and other money received Wealth A more inclusive term encompassing all of a person’s material assets, including land and other types of property

9 Wealth demonstrates greater disparity
In 2005 Median income of Black families was $37,500 compared with $64,663 for White non-Hispanic households Black income today resembles that of Whites more than 10 years ago 24.7% of Black people lived below poverty level compared with 8.4% of non-Hispanic Whites That an African American family is three times more likely to be poor shows staggering social inequity Wealth demonstrates greater disparity Generations of social inequity left Blacks, as a group, unable to accumulate the wealth of Whites, as a group

10 Employment Even in the best of times, national unemployment rate is significantly higher for Blacks than Whites Factors explaining official unemployment rate of young African American males Many live in depressed economy of central cities Immigrants and illegal aliens present increased competition White middle-class women entered the labor force Illegal activities at which youth find they can make more money have become more prevalent

11 Official unemployment rate
Federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics counts as unemployed only people actively seeking employment Leaves out millions of Americans, Black & White Underemployment Refers to working at a job for which one is overqualified, involuntarily working part-time, or being employed only intermittently

12 Family Life Challenges to Family Stability
Female-headed household Economic status of African-American male has been deteriorating Extended family and augmented members as a means of emotional, social and physical support Sociologists attribute rapid expansion of single-parent households to shifts in the economy that keep Black men, especially in urban areas, out of work Phenomenon not limited to African Americans

13 Strengths of African American Families
Robert Hill (1999) 1. Strong kinship bonds 2. Strong work orientation 3. Adaptability of family roles 4. Strong achievement orientation 5. A strong religious orientation Social scientists are learning to look at both weaknesses and strengths of African American family life

14 Most consistently documented strength
Presence of an extended family household Most common feature Having grandparents residing in the home Extended living arrangements more common among Black households than among White ones Arrangements recognized as having important economic benefit of pooling limited resources

15 The African American Middle Class
African Americans still aware of racial subordination even when that have achieved economic equality Migration of middle-class African Americans from ghetto in 1970s and 1980s left a vacuum No longer present as role models African American middle-class do not automatically accept all aspects of White middle-class

16 Sociologist William J. Wilson
W.E.B. DuBois (1952) When racism decreases, class issues become more important Class Sociologist Max Weber Refer to people who share a similar level of wealth and income Sociologist William J. Wilson The Declining Significance of Race (1980). “Class becomes more important than race in determining black life-chances in the modern world” (p. 150).

17 Housing Plays a major role in determining quality of a person’s life
For African Americans, housing has been restricted through discrimination President Kennedy Executive Order Government required nondiscrimination in federally assisted housing, included only 7% of the housing market 1968 Federal Fair Housing Law (Title VII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act) and U.S. Supreme Court decision of Jones v. Mayer combined to outlaw all racial discrimination in housing

18 Residential Segregation
Factors that create residential segregation in the United States Private prejudice and discrimination Prejudicial policies of real estate companies Ineffective enforcement of anti-bias legislation Public housing policies and past construction patterns reinforce housing for the poor in inner city neighborhoods Policies of banks and other lenders create barriers based on race to financing home purchasing

19 Redlining The practice of discrimination against people trying to buy homes in minority and racially changing neighborhoods Zoning Laws Enacted to ensure specific standards of housing construction Can also separate industrial and commercial enterprises from residential areas Some appear to curb development of low and moderate-income housing

20 Criminal Justice Blacks constitute: FBI’s Uniform Crime Report
4.7% of the lawyers 15.7% of police 17.1% of detectives 28.4% of security guards 39% of jail inmates FBI’s Uniform Crime Report Black’s account for 28% of arrests even though they represent only about 13% of the nation’s population

21 Victimization Surveys
Conflict Theory Higher arrest rate is not surprising for a group that is disproportionately poor and therefore much less able to afford private attorneys, who might prevent formal arrests from taking place UCR focuses on index crimes most often committed by low-income people Victimization Surveys Annual systematic interviews of ordinary people to reveal how much crime occurs Show that African-Americans are 22% more likely to be victims of violent crime than Whites

22 Differential Justice Whites are dealt with more leniently than are Blacks Whether at the time of Investigation, arrest, indictment, conviction, sentencing, incarceration, or parole The application of differential justice to the harshest judgment that can be made in the legal system The Death Penalty

23 Health Care Black men are much more likely to fall victim to:
Unrelenting stress Heart disease Cancer Compared with Whites, Blacks have higher death rates from heart disease, pneumonia, diabetes, and cancer Death from strokes twice as high as Whites

24 Blacks represent 6% of practicing physicians
Conflict Perspective Howard Waitzkin (1986) Racial tensions contribute to the medical problems of African Americans Stress resulting from racial prejudice and discrimination help to explain high rates of hypertension Blacks represent 6% of practicing physicians Of students entering medical school in fall of 2004 – only 6.5% were Black Issues of environmental justice

25 Politics Only 38 African American congressional representatives
Locally elected Black officials have difficulty jumping to statewide office Non-Black voters are concerned that view of Whites and non-Blacks will not be represented by an African American Gerrymandering Dated from 1810; the bizarre outlining of districts to create politically advantageous outcomes


27 To what degree have the civil rights movement initiatives in education been realized, or do they remain unmet?

28 What challenges face the African American middle-class?

29 What are the biggest assets and problems facing African American families?

30 How are differential justice and victim discounting related?

31 How is race-based gerrymandering related to affirmative action?

32 How are the problems in crime, housing, and health interrelated?

33 What are the implications of Wilson’s assertion that class has become more important than race in determining life-chances of African Americans? Why do you agree or disagree?


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