This was originally a topic brought up by Colin Kaepernick in August. Colin knelt during the National Anthem during the opening ceremony of an NFL game. He said,
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
This was in response to other headline news at the time related to police profiling, use of force during arrests, and shootings. I think it is important to take note that Colin did not just take a knee at a football game, he is also taking steps outside the football stadium to help a cause he believes in. Check out what he is doing here.
Police Oppression – maybe among Native Americans
After checking many facts which you can review yourself here. Statistically, 4% of the white population were arrested and almost 10% of the black population. Whites have a 83% change of being killed by a white person. Blacks have a 90% chance of being killed by a black person.
Statistically, .0015% of whites (14% were committed by blacks) and .0080% of blacks (7.5% were committed by whites) are victims of crimes.
In 2008, more Native American’s (12.6%) drivers are pulled over than any other race, followed by Hispanics (9.6%). The number of white (8.4%), black (8.8%), and Asians (7%) drivers are very close.
Although a slightly higher percentage of blacks (4.7%/58.3%) than whites (2.4%/53.1%) and Hispanics (2.6%/15%) are arrested/given a ticket, numbers are much closer in regards to those given a warning/allowed to proceed without any actions (blacks (20.8%/16.2%), whites (28.9%/15.6%), Hispanics (19.5%/15%).
American Indians (22%) have the most contact with police, followed by whites (17.8%, Hispanics (15%), then blacks (14.2%).
Over a one year period, out of approximately 10,800,000 arrests, there were 1,348 potential arrest related deaths (over all). There were 97 police officer fatalities in 2016 and have already been 95 in 2017. (Whoa, little shocked by that number).
It is interesting to note force is used more often with blacks (3.4%), than with white (1.2%) and Hispanics (1.6%). It would interesting to explore why that is. Especially since 72.8% of whites felt the force used against them was excessive, and only 70% of blacks.
Educational Opportunity Oppression – not really
Many times the education system is said to be the reason for oppression. Especially in regard to inner city schools, which tend to have a higher population of people of color. So let’s evaluate the data and see what we find.
The scale on the left shows highest quality (0) to lowest quality (60). The scale on the bottom shows highest spending (0) to lowest spending (60). The states in the bottom left (ie VT, CT) at 0,0 have the best quality and spend the most on education. The states on the top right (ie ID, NV, AZ) have lower quality, lower spending. So Vermont spends the most on education and Idaho spends the least. The Highest ranked education is in Massachusetts, the lowest in Louisiana. Let’s look at their demographics:
- Vermont (94.6% white) spends the most on education. They have the 5th ranked public school system. Burlington has #2 District in Vermont. Demographics of Burlington:
- 92% White
- Median household income, ~44K
- High school graduate or higher, 89%
- Persons in poverty, 24.8%
- Idaho (93.3% white) spends the least on education and is ranked 36th. They have the 3rd worst SAT scores. And have the #1 Bullying incident rate. Boise has the best district in Idaho. Boise Demographics:
- 92.15% White
- Median household income, ~50K
- High school graduate or higher, 94.3%
- Persons in poverty, 14.3%
- Massachusetts (81.8% white, 8.6% black) spends very little on education but has the highest ranking. They have the highest Math, Reading, and ACT scores, as well as the safest schools. Newton has the #3 district in Massachusetts. Newton Demographics:
- 88% White
- Median household income, ~122K
- High school graduate or higher, 97.4%
- Persons in poverty, 5.1%
- Louisiana (63.2%, 32.6%) is ranked last in education, spends significantly on education, is #49 in poverty, has the 4th worst Math and Reading scores, and have the 2nd highest threat of injury to students. St Charles Parish is the best school district in Louisiana. St. Charles Parish Demographics:
- 70.4% White, 26.5% Black
- Median household income, ~59K
- High school graduate or higher, 87.3%
- Persons in poverty, 11.8%
- Mississippi (59.3% white, 37.7% black) is the most impoverished state, is ranked #47 in education rankings, and spends very little on education. Leflore has 100% Free/Discounted Lunch Recipients. They have the 2nd worst ACT scores, and have the 4th highest threat of injury to students. Leflore has the worst school district in Mississippi. Leflore Demographics:
- 24.1% White, 70.4 Black
- Median household income, ~24K
- High school graduate or higher, 76.3%
- Persons in poverty, 42.3%
- District of Columbia (44.6% white, 47.7% black) is ranked #48 in education rankings but rank 3rd highest in spending. They have the highest drop out rate, lowest reading, math, and SAT scores: They have the Lowest pupil to teacher ratio and lowest bullying rate.
- 44.6% White, 47.7% Black
- Median household income, ~70.8K
- High school graduate or higher, 89.3%
- Persons in poverty, 18.6%
You may be surprised that Arkansas (79.4% white, 15.7% black) has the highest percentage of threatened/injured high school students. Wonder why that is?
So statistically speaking:
- It isn’t about money. Frankly, I’m a little shocked at this. But look at it. Vermont spends the most but is ranked 5th. Massachusetts spends a little and is ranked 1st. DC is the 3rd largest spender and is ranked 48th. Louisiana spends a significant amount is ranked last! It’s definitely not about the amount of money spent on education. The amount of money spent doesn’t seem to affect the gradation rate either. Vermont spent the most, has graduation rate of 89%, Idaho spends the least and has a graduation rate of 94.3%.
- Poverty level doesn’t necessarily determine the quality of education. Shocked again. Vermont is ranked 5th in education but has a poverty level of 24.8%. While Louisiana is ranked last in education but only has a poverty level of 11.8%. DC is ranked 48th in education, spends the 3rd largest amount, and has a poverty level of 18.6%.
- Poverty seems to have some effect on graduations, but isn’t true across the board. Louisiana has one of the lowest poverty levels of the states we are looking at, but has the 2nd lowest graduation rate.
- The Economy labor force is between 57.5%-68.3% so they are very close in that regard. But DC has the second highest median income yet is ranked 48th in education. Vermont has the 2nd lowest income but is ranked 5th. So jobs and income do not seem to impact education.
- I would like to say bullying figures in, but the states with the highest bullying incidence all rank in the mid range. Three of the bottom states have the highest percentage of threatened/injured high school students.
So it seems, there isn’t any educational oppression on a state level basis. Based on what we are looking at here, it might appear as though the states with the larger black population fall to the bottom, but overall this isn’t true. DC has the largest percentage of blacks and is ranked low. But Georgia and Maryland have the 4th and 5th largest population and are ranked 33rd and 32nd respectively.
Here is a chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in regard to education and race. There is a significant difference when it comes to Asians and Hispanics. Blacks and whites are very similar.
Employment Oppression – possible discrimination for blacks
The chart shows, of those working in each race, the proportionate percentage is similar across all races, in most categories.
If we look at the unemployment rate, it is about twice as high among blacks in comparison to others. Whites 3.7, Blacks 7.3, Asian 3.5, Hispanic/Latino 4.7
But it seems we are all riding the same roller coaster but at different levels. If there were an intentional oppression, the ups and downs on the chart would not match so well. Some of the change percentages are steeper, but they still trend about the same going up as they do going down. However, since there isn’t significant differences in regards to education, why is there such a difference in unemployment? This does not specifically mean employers are not hiring, there are other factors which could affect this number, such as people not actively looking for jobs and jobs available in specific areas.
Interesting enough, labor force trending lines seem to be very similar, however, notice the uptick of the black men and women verses the down tick of the white men and women in the last few years. Maybe things are changing?
There is a large disparity in regard to earnings, but it doesn’t necessary seem to be based in just color. Again, the trend lines seem to go up and down at the same periods of time. If there were an intentional oppression, the up and down ticks would be less similar.
Here is a well written article on this subject by Christian E. Weller.
Household Dynamics – major
One significant data point which keeps popping up and is significantly different among the races is Single Parent Families.
This is another significant difference, children living with grandparents. Notice how they trending ups and downs are significantly different, and how sometimes one race goes up while another goes down. This would seem to indicate no correlation to how the economy or employment situations are playing out in America as a whole.
The Asian line threw me, but this chart quickly cleared it up. Many of those are also living with the parents. Notice the significant difference in the make up of these households.
Maybe this has to do with some of the issues we see in regards to black on black crimes? Maybe this is what keeps blacks from excelling? It sure seems there has to be something hidden within this statics which could help overall in some way, no?
The thing is, if any of these areas were part of an oppression of people from an outside source, it would be someone else’s job to fix it. However, it doesn’t appear there is extreme oppression in any of these areas. Oppression may not be the right word for what is happening. And if the word oppression is to be used, it would have to be used in regards to the make up of the households – kids being raised without their father’s around. Who is responsible for changing that?
But there is no doubt some kind of discrimination going on. Oh, wait, you thought I was going to say there wasn’t any? Well, I have friends who would know first hand and they tell me there is. I would trust these friends with my life, why wouldn’t I trust them with this? How can anyone deny it? Especially when you read a post like this one from a white mother of black sons. I have also had friends with children who have chosen to have long hair, blue hair, mohawks, piercings, tattoos, overweight, underweight, tall, short, etc who say their white children have been discriminated against. So guess what, we, you and me, may not be a part of any kind of oppression going on, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t a part of a discrimination going on. It means it’s up to us, you and me, to stop the discrimination.
It’s so much easier to think there isn’t any. And if we recognize there is, it’s much easier to want government, schools, and employers to do something about it. But what if it’s us? What if it’s you? Regardless of your skin color ask yourselves these questions:
- How comfortable do I feel about being in an elevator with someone of a different color? With tattoos? A mohawk?
- Am I comfortable having people of a different color, nationality, or custom as my neighbors? Do I think certain people bring the neighborhood down?
- Do I make derogatory references about people and reference a color?
- How often do I hear myself referencing a person’s color or nationality in a manner which indicates they are not equal to me?
- Does it bother me to see an interracial couple? How quickly do I notice they are interracial?
- Do I question someone’s motives because of their skin color or nationality?
- When I walk into a room or store, do I access the “color” of the room?
- Do I look at people who have lighter skin or darker skin than I do in a different manner?
- How do I speak about my own race?
- How often do I reference my own race?
- Do you read into things something which isn’t meant because of my race or nationality?
- Do you group people together based on color or nationality as being against me?
- How do I feel about recognition programs based on race (i.e. Miss Black America? Miss Latin America, Miss Asian America, BMA, Latin Grammy Awards, etc.)?
It’s going to take more than one side to clear up the discrimination. It’s also time we look at facts to be able to see clearly any kind of oppression which is or isn’t real.
Look in the mirror and ask, “What am I going to do about discrimination?” “How am I contributing to the issue?”