Black America Status Report Finds Good and Bad News
The National Urban League’s annual overview on the state of Black America — a report that largely details the disparities among Blacks and Whites in this country — has some good and bad news.
The bad news?
One of the most troubling gaps doesn’t divide Black and White: It is the gulf between Black men and Black women in educational attainment, according to the report, released here last month.
The number of Blacks in college has surged by 43 percent since the 1970s. But Black women have far outpaced Black men in both undergraduate and graduate school settings (see Black Issues, June 22).
Between 1977 and 1997, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Black men increased 30 percent, while the number increased by 77 percent for Black women. For master’s degrees, the increases were
8 percent for Black men and 39 percent for women.
“The numerical status of African American men in higher education is a cause for concern,” the report says.
But the report’s other findings suggest that for some Black Americans, these are the best of times.
Never have so many owned their own homes and, with unemployment reaching an all-time low, the Black middle-class is swelling.
“Our move towards the economic mainstream continues steady as it goes,” Urban League President Hugh B. Price says. “The strong economy is proving a powerful magnet for growth. But we still have a way to go to achieve parity.”
The picture emerging from the report has another downside: Blacks represent a disproportionately high number of adults and juveniles in prison and those dying of cancer, AIDS and other diseases.
Overall, a picture of two Black Americas emerge — one, an improving land of opportunity and another mired in deprivation.
In either case, Black America is still burdened by unemployment rates that are more than twice the White rate.
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