The following facts are provided courtesy of Associate Black Charities.
Neighborhood / Housing
- Employers tend to view inner-city workers – and particularly young Black males – as “uneducated, unstable, uncooperative, and dishonest”. (The Urban Poverty and Family Life Study’s survey of Chicago-area employers)
- African Americans, and especially males and more specifically, inner-city African American male residents, face more negative employer perceptions about their qualifications and work ethic than any other major racial or ethnic group. (Wilson, William Julius, 1997, “When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor.”* New York, NY and Canada: Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc.)
- More than twice as many (nationally) Black male students as White male students receive out of school suspensions and three times as many Black male students as White male students are expelled. (The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males and other sources)
- Black male students are punished more severely for similar infractions than their White peers. They are not given the same opportunities to participate in classes with enriched educational offerings. They are more frequently inappropriately removed from the general education classroom due to misclassifications by the Special Education policies and practices of schools and districts. (The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males and other sources)
- Employer discrimination against people of color and ex-offenders has significantly undermined the job opportunities for young Black men with little education and training (Pager, Devah & Wilson, Bruce, 2005, “Discrimination in Low-Wage Labor Markets: Evidence from an Experimental Audit Study in New York City.” Princeton, NJ: Princeton University)
Media and Implicit Bias
- A study by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., examined a two-month period in 2011, finding that in newspapers, 43 percent of stories involving Black men were crime stories
- For local television stories involving Black men, the most frequent topics were sports (43 percent) and crime (30 percent) (Pew Research Center)
- African Americans and African American males in particular are underrepresented in positive images and attributes: as “talking head” news experts, computer users in TV commercials, and as “relatable” characters with well-developed personal lives, such as fathers. They are overrepresented in negative imaging, such as criminality, unemployment, and poverty. The positive images and attributes with which African American males are associated tend to be a small and stereotypical set: sports, physical achievement in general, aggressiveness, and musicality, to the exclusion of other every day virtues (Topos Partnership and Marc Kerschhagel, 2011, “Public Opinion, Media Depictions, and Media Consumption.” New York, New York: The Opportunity Agenda)
- Historical antecedents of Black economic disadvantage and the persistence of anti-Black and anti-Black male bias are largely ignored in the media. Even when reporters and others “explore real problems” facing African American communities they end up reinforcing the “deficit / problem frame” that connects Black males and the Black community with intractable challenges (Topos Partnership and Marc Kerschhagel, 2011, “Public Opinion, Media Depictions, and Media Consumption.” New York, NY: The Opportunity Agenda)
- Negative perceptions of African Americans linger in the American mind as “implicit bias”, unconscious attitudes that are shaped in part by media consumption. Experiment after experiment demonstrates that white Americans tend to have unconscious biases against African Americans (Topos Partnership and Marc Kerschhagel, 2011, “Public Opinion, Media Depictions, and Media Consumption.”New York, NY: The Opportunity Agenda)
- Employers also look on social networks – FB, Twitter – and if they see a picture that they don’t like or that confirms their initial and often media-driven stereotypical impression – such as a picture of a Black person with a beer in hand – the reaction is different than their reaction to a white person with the same
- “White sounding” names receive 50% more callbacks for interviews; the amount of discrimination is uniform across occupations and industries. (2003, National Bureau of Economic Research. Boston, MA and Chicago, IL)
- A “white” name yields as many more callbacks as an additional 8 years of experience by African Americans. (2003, National Bureau of Economic Research. Boston, MA and Chicago, IL)
- A criminal record is associated with a 50% reduction in employment opportunities for whites and a 64% reduction for African Americans (Pager, Devah, 2002, “The Mark of a Criminal Record.” Princeton, NJ: Princeton University)
- In a 2002 study conducted in Milwaukee, WI, to examine whether there is a racialized effect of having a criminal record for those applying to entry-level positions, the study found that even whites WITH criminal records (17% received more favorable treatment regarding callbacks) than African Americans WITHOUT criminal records (14%). (34% of whites WITHOUT criminal records received callbacks.) The results of this study were comparable to one conducted 8 years prior. (Pager, Devah, 2002, “The Mark of a Criminal Record.” Princeton, NJ: Princeton University)
- According to the Justice Policy Institute, white Americans were sent to prison for any offense at a rate of 20 per 100,000 in 1996, compared to a rate of 279 for African Americans.
- Whites experienced a 115 percent increase in rates of admission to prison for drug behaviors between 1986 and 1996, while African Americans experienced a 465 percent increase (Schiraldi, V., Holman, B., Beatty, P. (2000), “Poor Prescription: The Cost of Imprisoning Drug Offenders in the United States.” Washington, D.C.: Justice Policy Institute).
The statistics below show the resulting racial disparities (except where cited, the stats below are from “Reducing Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice System”, The Sentencing Project):
- 38% of prison and jail inmates are African American, compared with their 13% of the overall population; 19% are Latinos, compared to their 15% of the overall population
- An African American man born in 2001 has a 32% chance of spending time in prison at some point in his life; a Latino male a 17% chance, and a white male a 6% chance
- African Americans constituted 14% of drug users in 2006 – slightly higher than their % in the general population – but represented 35% of 2006 arrests for drug offenses and 53% of drug convictions
- Issues of race and class both add an impact on the likelihood of involvement with the criminal justice system and treatment within the system. Low-income individuals are over-represented at every stage of the criminal justice system. Low-income individuals are also disproportionately low-income. Inequitable access to resources and criminal stereotyping of Black men result in very different outcomes for middle-class and low-income individuals, Black and white individuals, although they may share similar behavioral problems
- 5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites. African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.
- African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months).
- Disparate policing practices that focus attention on certain communities lead to greater arrest rates for African Americans. For example, police may focus their efforts on low-income neighborhoods or racial or ethnic minority neighborhoods. Police are also more likely to spot an offense occurring on the street, but not in a suburban home. (Hoytt, E.H., Schiraldi, V., Smith, B.V., and Ziedenberg, J. (2002), “Pathways to Juvenile Detention Reform: Reducing Racial Disparities in Juvenile Detention.” Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation)
- African Americans are more likely than whites to be incarcerated for drug offenses and the likelihood that they will be incarcerated under a mandatory minimum is also higher. In Maryland from 2002 – 2007, 500 people were sent to prison on a mandatory minimum; nearly 89 percent were African Americans. Mandatory minimums also increase the amount of time spent in prison for a drug offense. Nationally, the average time African Americans served in prison for a drug offense rose 77 percent from 1994 to 2003, compared to a 28 percent increase for white drug offenders during the same time period. (2007, “The Vortex: The Concentrated Racial Impact of Drug Imprisonment and the Characteristics of Punitive Counties.” Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute)