Sunday, July 06, 2008

Two Black Communities

Coming back on the A train from Queens this afternoon, after the final Mass at St. Benedict Joseph Labre Church, I read Yale Law Professor Stephen L. Carter's op-ed in today's New York Times.

Carter's topic is affirmative action in college admissions. The piece is headlined "Affirmative Distraction."

Some interesting graphs:

It’s true that, nowadays, some of the data on racial progress are rosy, and deserving of celebration. In the past decade alone, according to the Census Bureau, the number of black adults with advanced degrees has nearly doubled. More than half a million more black students are in college today than in the early 1990s. Since 1989, the median income of black families has increased more than 16 percent in constant dollars. In the years since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, the black-white gap in test scores has narrowed, and is now smaller than it has ever been. The black middle class has never been larger.

For the first time, a major party is going to nominate an African-American candidate for president.

But it’s also true that income stratification among African-Americans has increased, and the gap between the well-off and the poor is growing. One in three black students fails to finish high school, and nearly all of those who don’t graduate are poor. Rates of violent crime are falling nationally, but the murder rate among young black men has risen sharply. America has two black communities, really, and one of them is falling further and further behind.

NYTimes graphic above credited to Oliver Munday.

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