The Common Good

50 Years from Now — Infographic Shows How Far We Have Yet to Go on Racial Equality

Yesterday’s “Let Freedom Ring” ceremony in Washington, D.C., honored the nation's substantial advances in racial equality in the fifty years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his now-iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

"Dream by the Numbers" infographic details racial inequality that exists in mult
"Dream by the Numbers" infographic details racial inequality that exists in multiple forms today. Graphic by PRRI.

Related Reading

But events this year — from the Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act to the House eliminating funding for food stamps to the Trayvon Martin trial — are posing serious challenges to our national progress towards true equality for all.

An infographic from the Public Religion Research Institute, "The Dream by the Numbers," highlights systemic inequalities that still work against communities of color today. The statistics are grim: black communities are unemployed at nearly double the rate of white communities. Fewer than 20 percent of black youth will receive a college or graduate degree. Twice as many blacks lack health insurance as whites. And nearly 70 percent of blacks surveyed mentioned “lack of opportunities for young people” as a top concern for their community.

One of the most sobering indicators of racial inequality, not documented in PRRI’s graphic, is the incarceration rate for people of color. While whites and blacks have similar levels of drug use, blacks are 10 times as likely to be incarcerated. This contributes to a monstrously skewed proportion of black communities behind bars — so bad, in fact, that there are more black people under correctional control today than were enslaved in 1850.

So, after yesterday’s moving memorial to Dr. King and the 1963 March on Washington, where do we go from here? Yesterday, President Obama reminded the thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial that the courage to face these challenges comes “when we turn not from each other, or on each other, but towards one another, and we find that we do not walk alone. And with that courage, we can stand together for good jobs and just wages...for the right to health care in the richest nation on Earth for every person...for the right of every child, from the corners of Anacostia to the hills of Appalachia, to get an education that stirs the mind and captures the spirit.”

“That,” said the president, echoing Dr. King, “is how history bends.”

See PRRI’s infographic, below.


Catherine Woodiwiss is Associate Web Editor at Sojourners. Find her on Twitter @chwoodiwiss.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)