Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

2014 saw civil rights protests sweep the nation under the banner Black Lives Matter. (Photo: Tina Leggio/flickr/cc)

'Black America in Crisis': Report Shows Troubling Racial Disparities Across US

Urban League findings are 'a clarion call that a more comprehensive, inclusive and on-the-ground recovery is necessary' for minorities across country

Deirdre Fulton

"The state of Black America is in crisis—and we see justice challenged at every turn."

So says this year's National Urban League assessment of racial equality in the U.S., which considers employment, income, housing, education, health, social justice, and civic engagement. The 39th edition of the State of Black America, released Thursday, is titled: Save Our Cities: Education + Justice + Jobs.

Its findings, said Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, "are a clarion call that a more comprehensive, inclusive and on-the-ground recovery is necessary to ensure a healthy future for our nation and that we cannot expect to successfully move forward when we are leaving so many behind."

"Few times in a nation's history is its collective conscience shocked and awakened across racial, economic, generational and even ideological lines as ours has been over the past year," he added. "We are in that moment, and as long as justice is challenged on any front, we will keep pushing on every front."

The League's 2015 Equality Index of Black America—a section of the report that analyzes national statistics from the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—stands at 72.2 percent.

What that means is that "Blacks experience less than three-fourths the quality of life experienced by white Americans," the report explains, citing a lower median income, higher unemployment rate, and greater likelihood to be living in poverty.

The Equality Index of Hispanic America, meanwhile, hovers just below 78 percent, with such disparities only slightly less egregious.

The searing report notes many instances of injustice experienced by the Black community, including a lack of accountability for police officers responsible for killing unarmed Black men, teenagers, and children, pervasive economic inequality, and "a continual assault on voting rights."

On the education front, the Urban League declares:

Lastly, justice has been challenged regarding education—undoubtedly one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time. Disparities remain in both the K-12 and higher education system. Sixty years after the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education ended segregation in America’s public schools, separate and unequal is still a pervasive reality. While de jure, or legal, segregation has been abolished, de facto, or the actual practice of segregation, is greater now than it was 40 years ago.

Black and Brown students are less likely to share classrooms with white students. We also see separate and unequal levels of expectations and resources in our schools that continue to break down along economic, and thus largely color, lines.

In an essay included in the report and published at the Urban League's State of Black America website, Drs. Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt, and George Jenkins—authors of The Pact, We Beat the Streets, and The Bond—offer advice on how to move forward.

"Our Black communities continue to face inconceivable hardships and struggles," they acknowledge. "From the outside looking in, it often appears we are frozen in a state of non-progress. We are faced with a lack of job opportunities, inadequate educational facilities and resources and ongoing violence."

They continue:

So we want to offer a solution – one that is very simple and practical, one that we all can work collectively to enforce:

  • Let solidarity take front seat.
  • Form strong, positive friendships and networks.
  • Form a forward-looking, pact with friends, family, neighbors, a higher power.
  • Use education as a tool to build a better community.

Below, in the first of a seven-part video series, Morial discusses the 2015 State of Black America with economist Dr. Valerie Rawlston Wilson.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

War, Disasters Drive 'All-Time High' of Nearly 60 Million Displaced in Home Nations

The head of the Norwegian Refugee Council noted the situation "is phenomenally worse than even our record figure suggests" because it does not include those forced to flee Russia's assault on Ukraine.

Jessica Corbett ·


Analysis: 26 US Billionaires Paid Average Tax Rate of Just 4.8% in Recent Years

"When you include their untaxed wealth growth in the calculation, many billionaires pay almost nothing," said Frank Clemente of Americans for Tax Fairness.

Jake Johnson ·


'We Were Expecting This,' Says Family After Israel Says No Criminal Probe Into Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

The development came as leading international artists called for "meaningful measures to ensure accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and all other Palestinian civilians."

Andrea Germanos ·


'I Simply Cannot Stand By': Jayapal Endorses Cisneros Against Anti-Abortion Incumbent Cuellar

"At a time when our reproductive freedoms are under attack by an extremist Supreme Court, we must elect pro-choice candidates that will fight to make sure abortion remains the law of the land."

Jake Johnson ·


Progressives Condemn DCCC Chair for 'Disgraceful' Self-Dealing in NY Primary Debacle

Sunrise NYC denounced Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney's plan to run against progressive Rep. Mondaire Jones "and potentially sacrifice the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives in the process."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo