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

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)


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 and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

Racial split defines MD.’s hotly contested Democratic Senate primary

By Rachel Weiner and Scott Clement , Washington Post

Edwards and Van Hollend

Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen

Maryland’s Democratic Senate race remains very much up for grabs three weeks before the primary, with voters sharply divided along racial lines, according to a new poll from The Washington Post and the University of Maryland. The rare open Senate seat, being vacated by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) after 30 years, has sparked a heated and expensive battle between Reps. Donna F. Edwards and Chris Van Hollen. Edwards is trying to appeal to voters by emphasizing her inspiring personal story as a black single mother with an activist history. Her rival has responded with a bunch of endorsements from public office¬holders and a relentless focus on his legislative record.
Faced with that choice, African American and white voters appear deeply split. Among all likely Democratic primary voters, Edwards leads Van Hollen by a statistically insignificant 44 percent to 40 percent. But likely black voters favor Edwards by a nearly 3-to-1 ratio. More than twice as many white voters support Van Hollen as back Edwards.
While Edwards also leads among women, that split has racial underpinnings as well, according to the survey, which was conducted in partnership with U-Md.’s Center for American Politics and Citizenship. Van Hollen leads by 23 percentage points among white women. But that preference is quickly erased by Edwards’s 51-point lead with black women, many of whom seem drawn by her argument that she is best suited to understand their needs and fight for those needs in an overwhelmingly white, mostly male U.S. Senate.
“Women get short¬changed a lot,” said Edwards supporter Jacqui Battle, 59, a black mother of two in Prince George’s County. “It means a lot that she’s where she is, at the level she is, in her career.”
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) and several other black elected officials from Edwards’s home county have endorsed Van Hollen — an advantage he touts at every opportunity. But Edwards still leads in Prince George’s by 59 points. (Van Hollen is nearly as highly favored in his home of Montgomery County.)
And despite extensive television ad campaigns and scores of visits and appearances, neither candidate holds a clear advantage in the Baltimore area, encompassing both the largely African American city and the whiter surrounding suburbs.
Both Edwards and Van Hollen frequently invoke Mikulski, a revered figure both nationally and locally, and the first female Democrat elected to the Senate in her own right.
Edwards notes that she, too, would make history as Maryland’s first black senator and the second female black senator. Van Hollen argues that he, like Mikulski, is a constituent-oriented and savvy politician.