Friday, June 09, 2006

Why the need to Track

After my post yesterday I did a lot of thinking. I was talking to hubby about it yesterday and shared the story of my professors South African husband who didn't understand the whole ethnic classifications. We, meaning the US, have this classification to track the different groups. Well, why? Why do we have to keep track of this? Well, because we are not the hot bed of democratic equality that we think we are. Well, we aren't even a true democracy, we are a repbulic. Greece was a true democracy--but even that was limited to male landowners. But at least each and every male landowner got a say, an equal voice. We don't. Each of us does not have an equal voice. The voice of California is worth more than the voice of my home state of Missouri. Sorry I am digressing.

We live under the guise that we are free here in America. Well if we were truly free we wouldn't have to track different ethnic groups. If we were really free UCLA wouldn't be freaking out because they only have 95 black students in the upcoming freshman class--this represents 1.2% of the upcoming freshman class--sad when blacks make up 12.7% of the population. If everyone was equal and opportunities were equal we wouldn't need to track. This saddens me.

But it is not the numbers entering college that really matter. What does really matter is who is successful in college. The following stats are from The National Center of Educational Statistics. Total Number of BA degrees 2003-2004: 1,399,542 (M-595,425(42.5%)/F-804,117(57.5%))
White: 1,026,114 (73 %) m-445,483(43.4%)/f-804,117(56.6%)
Black : 131,241 (9.3%) m-43,852(33%)/f-87,390(67%)
Hispanic: 94,644 (6.7%) m-37,288(39.3%)/f-57,356(61.7%)
Asian/Pacific Islander: 92,073 (6.5%) m-41,360(44.9%)/f-50,713(55.1%)
American Indian/Alaskan Native: 10,638 (.7%) m-4,244(39.8%)/f-6,394(60.2%)
Nonresident Alien: 44,832 (3.2%) m-23,199(51.7%)/f-21,633(48.3%)

It is not surprising to me that black males receive the fewest degrees (percentage wise). There have been numerous statistics that confirm that a black male ages 18-24 has a greater chance of going to jail than finishing college. According to the Bureau of Justice in 1997 9% of the black population was incarcerated as opposed to 2% of whites. I would assume those rates are about the same as there are more people incarcerated now than 9 years ago. So many more blacks are in jail (over 2 million) than are in college--see above figures. How is the representative of freedom and equality.

How sad is it that we must track the different ethnic groups and the genders to remind ourselves how much work we have to do. Referring back to the race quiz from yesterdays post. The net worth of white families is on average 8 times that of black families. And when the income levels are similar the net worth of whites is 2 times that of blacks. Why? Well why do women in the same position make only 79 cents for every dollar a man makes? Ours is still a world ruled by white men. We live in a country where white men are afforded many more opportunites and rich white men are afforded every opportunity while those of use who don't fall into that category pull up the tail end of line.

How am I going to raise a successful black man when all the cards are stacked against him? How can we change our world? We are far from "all men created equal." We are not a fair society and we are not all afforded the same rights. Nothing will change until we pull aside the curtain to let the wizard know that things have gone terribly awry and we must backtrack to right it. What can I do? What can you do? We are a long way off from being a fair society and it is the responsiblity of those of us who have the worlds ear and have the power to make it the place that MLK Jr. dreamed of.

3 comments:

MP2 said...

Our boys aren't going to become sad statistics if their mamas have anything to say about it! (-:

Dawn said...

Back when I attended undergraduate school at a large university in the Midwest, there was a 95% attrition rate for African American males. As parents must do all we can to expose, and nurture and educate our children.

Dawn said...

Back when I attended undergraduate school at a large university in the Midwest, there was a 95% attrition rate for African American males. As parents must do all we can to expose, and nurture and educate our children.