Newswire : NAACP concerned with HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s efforts to change agency mission

By: Malik Russell, NAACP Director of Communications

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BALTIMORE (March 8, 2018)—The NAACP is deeply concerned by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson’s move to dilute the agency’s long-standing mission.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development Act, which established HUD as a cabinet-level agency, declared a purpose: “[T]o provide for full and appropriate consideration, at the national level, of the needs and interests of the Nation’s communities and of the people who live and work in them.” This purpose is sustained through the agency’s mission to “build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.” Secretary Carson’s action not only threatens HUD’s founding purpose, but also reveals plans of regression.

“Dr. Carson’s attempt to diminish HUD’s mission comes on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission’s report which affirmed that discrimination and segregation had long permeated much of American Life and continues to threaten the future of every American; and at a time when the Trump administration seeks to cut billions of dollars in housing aid for low-income families,” said NAACP’s Sr. Director of Economic Programs, Marvin J. Owens, Jr.

Despite these attempts, the promise of discrimination-free practices lives on in the Fair Housing Act which has the central objective of prohibiting race discrimination in sales and rentals of housing. The hope of continued progress in America rests in the hands of communities across the country that continue to push their elected leaders to preserve programs designed to help disadvantaged communities and promote policies that make economic inclusion a reality.

The NAACP recognizes the importance of an inclusive economy and economic policies that address the challenging realities facing our country including poverty, lack of jobs and disproportionate high unemployment, lack of affordable housing, and foreclosures. The NAACP Economic Department’s work enhances the capacity of African Americans and other under-served groups through financial economic education; individual and community asset building initiatives; diversity and inclusion in business hiring, career advancement and procurement; and monitoring financial banking practices.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACP.org.

Newswire : New EPI study shows no Black economic progress in 50 years

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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Late last year, “The Washington Post” wrote that African Americans were the only group that showed no economic improvement since 2000. They based their conclusions on Census data. This year, there was even more sobering news in a report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The new study issued found “no progress” for African Americans on homeownership, unemployment and incarceration in 50 years.
Much of what was included in the EPI study was stunning data on African American economic progress. Fifty years after the famous and controversial Kerner Commission Report that identified “white racism” as the driver of “pervasive discrimination in employment and education” for African Americans, EPI concluded that not much has changed.
The EPI study stated the obvious and pointed to glaring statistics.
Regarding the justice system, the share of incarcerated African Americans has close to tripled between 1968 and 2016, as Blacks are 6.4 times more likely than Whites to be jailed or imprisoned. Homeownership rates have remained unchanged for African Americans, over the last 50 years. Black homeownership is about 40 percent, which is 30 percent behind the rate for Whites.
Regarding income, perhaps the most important economic metric, the average income for an African American household was $39,490 in 2017, a decrease from $41,363 in 2000.
A press release about the report said that, “Black workers still make only 82.5 cents on every dollar earned by white workers, African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be in poverty than Whites, and the median White family has almost ten times as much wealth as the median Black family.”
In 2017, the Black unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, up from 6.7 percent in 1968, and still roughly twice the White unemployment rate. In 2015, the Black homeownership rate was just over 40 percent, virtually unchanged since 1968 and trailing a full 30 points behind the White homeownership rate, which saw modest gains over the same period.
President Trump has bragged about the Black unemployment rate has reached record lows and homeownership has reached record highs under his presidency. What Trump leaves out is the overall statistical data over many years.
Much of what the data shows is connected to systemic policy problems that have been persistent for decades. In the press release about the EPI report, EPI economic analyst Janelle Jones said that it’s clear that structural racism is the root cause of the economic inequality between Blacks and Whites.
“Solutions must be bold and to scale, which means we need structural change that eliminates the barriers that have stymied economic progress for generations of African American workers,” said Jones.
Lauren Victoria Burke is a congressional correspondent for the NNPA Newswire. Lauren also works independently as a political analyst and communications strategist. You can reach Lauren by email at LBurke007@gmail.com and on Twitter at @LVBurke.