The Conflicts of the Black Race: Delayed Economic and Educational Progress


4/4/97

In the 1960's, blacks, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., fought for their civil
rights and equal opportunities. Although they had only been out of slavery for
less than a century, they felt the time was way past due for them to receive the
same treatment as other American citizens. Our people struggled to receive
decent education programs for their youth for the right to earn a decent living,
and to receive respect from other racial groups. Fortunately for our generation,
their fight ended in victory. However, 30 years later, despite the progress
made then, our community does not seem to have kept up with our ancestor's rate
of self-improvement. Not only are blacks still disrespected by other races,
problems also plague us such as poverty, drugs, and miseducation. To make
matters even worse, we also have a serious lack of unity. Some of us feel as
though it is not our responsibility to help other blacks when they are in need.
Another major problem is the existence of racism. This negative attitude leads
to many physical and psychological problems within the black community.
Therefore, lack of unity within the black community and the effects of racism
are two major factors when contribute to the slow progress of black people.
Before the Civil Rights movement racism was so blatant that not knowing it
existed would have been difficult. Presently, it is so subtle that some argue
we cannot blame racism for our problems. Unfortunately, they are wrong. The
effects of racism can be seen in the segregation of our neighborhoods and in our
high unemployment rates. White people want to keep their contact with us to a
minimum. In 1991, USA Today reported that the 1990 census "concluded that 'the
majority of the nation's 30 million black people are as segregated now as they
were . . . in the '60s' " (Smith 104). This proves that although some blacks'
incomes have increased, they do not always live in neighborhoods they can afford
because the area is usually predominately white. The U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development found that anti-black discrimination was widespread in the
housing industry in 1992 (Smith 105). This practice can be found in the
workplace. Ed Smith, Ph.D. found that "blacks with college degrees had a 13
percent unemployment rate in 1987 compared to five percent for whites" (Smith
112). Many studies exist that prove that college-educated blacks are not much
better off than high-school graduates. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
admitted that "'lack of education is not the reason for high minority
unemployment' " (Smith 112). The only explanation which justifies these figures
is racism. As long as anti-black racism exists, blacks probably could not
progress at the same rate as other minority groups. It is a well-known fact that
white people have more control than minorities in this country. They have the
power to deny blacks housing and unemployment. Because of white people's
prejudices, blacks have found it difficult to move up on the social and economic
ladder. Also, exposure to constant discrimination causes some people to believe
that they are worthless and incapable of succeeding. In order to overcome this
obstacle, we have to take control of our own minds and lives. Until we as a
people become aware and begin to raise our self-esteem, we will continue to let
racism be a plague to our race. The slow progress of our race has led many
blacks to become pessimistic. They lose their self-respect because they believe
that everything is against them. Therefore they give up on trying to better
themselves and on helping their fellow brothers and sisters. These thoughts are
picked up by youth who grow up believing that there is no way out of the ghetto.
When young black men are asked why they commit crimes and drop out of school,
they place the blame on society. Instead of disagreeing with them, more people
need to try to understand why they are saying this. A black inner city minister
commented that "you can't be what you ain't seen" (Smith 101). The only
professionals that many inner-city youth meet are police officers, judges, and
social workers. Because these meetings are usually the result of a negative
event, there is no incentive for the youth to better themselves. Unless older
blacks become better role models for our youth, the cycle of welfare and
unemployment will continue. Although every black person is not in this
particular situation, the ones who are will hinder the progress of the whole
race. Racism has many negative effects on blacks. The list goes on and on. If
we continue to fall