For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
The End of Racism?
Author of The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom and other books, Smith said today: "In the wake of Barack Obama's historic election there is a lot of talk about racism suddenly becoming a thing of the past. It is true that millions of white people voted for an African American for president and in some cases overcame long-held prejudices to do so. What needs to be considered, however, is that systematic racial oppression and discrimination are built into the way many of our institutions operate. For example, because of segregated neighborhoods and court decisions that have eroded Brown v. Board of Education, school segregation of black children is at its highest level since 1968. Even a black president will not be able to change ongoing realities such as entrenched housing segregation, huge health disparities, and disproportionate poverty and unemployment overnight."
Muhammad is author of a just-released study, "The Unrealized American Dream," from the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies. He wrote the piece "Race and Extreme Inequality," which states: "Since 1968, the year Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the income gap between blacks and whites has narrowed by just three cents on the dollar. In 2005 the median per capita income in the United States stood at $16,629 for blacks and $28,946 for whites. At this slow rate of progress, we will not achieve income equality for 537 years. And if politicians continue to dismantle government checks on income and wealth concentration, even these modest gains may be reversed."
Muhammad is currently in the D.C. area. During this weekend, he will be in New Orleans at the State of the Black World conference.