by Yvette Carnell
I wouldn’t advise anyone to argue with a racist, but if you’re going to do it, do it with numbers. Any time black people exchange our masks, i.e. those big watermelon smiles we wear to work, for a glimpse into our most genuine selves, the racists among us chime in with ridicule. To be black in America, a country born in violence, that maintains its power through violence, is to be constantly relegated to submissive servitude. Because if you lift your head in anger, you’re immediately caricatured as a savage. But for those of us who are honest enough to gaze into the abyss, we see that any African-American in this country who isn’t the least bit angry is wholly unaware of the circumstance in which he or she is surrounded.
Here are 13 very good reasons why African-Americans have every right to be outraged:
1.) As Pew reported in 2013, the unemployment rate for blacks has been consistently higher than that of whites:
In 1954, the earliest year for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics has consistent unemployment data by race, the white rate averaged 5% and the black rate averaged 9.9%. Last month, the jobless rate among whites was 6.6%; among blacks, 12.6%. Over that time, the unemployment rate for blacks has averaged about 2.2 times that for whites.
2.) Not only are African-Americans being targeted by the criminal justice system, but we’re being financially soaked by it as well, paying fines and fees as the state passes on the cost of maintaining the unfair justice system over to those who can least afford it:
“They tend to be people of color, African-Americans and Latinos,” Harris says. “They tend to be high school dropouts, they tend to be people with mental illness, with substance abuse. So these are already very poor and marginalized people in our society, and then we impose these fiscal penalties to them and expect that they make regular payments, when in fact the vast majority are unable to do so.”
3.) Marginalized groups suffer from loneliness more often than non-marginalized groups and loneliness destroys the body, according to The New Republic:
They’re the outsiders: not just the elderly, but also the poor, the bullied, the different. Surveys confirm that people who feel discriminated against are more likely to feel lonely than those who don’t, even when they don’t fall into the categories above. Women are lonelier than men (though unmarried men are lonelier than unmarried women). African Americans are lonelier than whites (though single African American women are less lonely than Hispanic and white women). The less educated are lonelier than the better educated.
4.) Racism is bad for black and brown bodies:
Discrimination has been shown to increase the risk of stress, depression, the common cold, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and mortality.
5.) White people talk a good game, but when it comes down to it, they look out for their white friends and family, it’s the white version of the “hook-up’:
The way that whites, often unconsciously, hoard and distribute advantage inside their almost all white networks of family and friends is one of the driving reasons that in February just 6.8 percent of white workers remained unemployed while 13.8 percent of black workers and 9.6 percent of Hispanic workers were unable to find jobs, DiTomaso said.
6.) Blacks who do the right thing and get a degree still earn less than whites:
The unemployment rate has been higher for black college graduates than for all graduates for decades, but the gap widened since 2007, according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Black students who graduated during the recession fared even worse.
7.) We got robbed by the big banks who engineered this recession and targeted African-American homebuyers, but nobody cared. Banks got only a slap on the wrist and then it was back to business as usual. Why should blacks be outraged when a QT gets looted given that nobody gets upset when we’re robbed?
8.) According to the National Urban League, underemployment for African-Americans is at 20.5 percent, compared with 18.4 percent for Hispanic workers and 11.8 percent for white workers.
9.) Black women haven’t seen any economic improvement during the current “recovery.”
10.) Two words: Stop and frisk.
Here are a few more, from a piece Bob Herbert wrote for Jacobin:
11.) Voter suppression:
“Black people are angry about voter suppression — the relentless, organized, years-long effort to prevent African-Americans from freely exercising their fundamental right to cast a ballot for the candidates of their choice.”
12.) The school to prison pipeline:
“I will never forget traveling to Avon Park, Florida, a few years ago to cover the case of an African-American girl in kindergarten who was arrested by the police, handcuffed, and taken to the police station in the back seat of a patrol car because she had thrown a tantrum in the classroom.”
13.) And finally: In America, 12 percent of white children live in areas of concentrated poverty, but 45 percent of African-American children do.