I cannot envision Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. looking at the gross disparities for African Americans in social justice, economics, prison incarceration, education, and wealth in 2012 and then endorsing the majority of pacifying activities going on under the banner of his name. By 2030, the majority of U.S. residents under 18 will be youth of color. And by 2042, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and other non-Whites will collectively comprise the majority of the U.S. population.
I believe King would be actively organizing and speaking the truth while acknowledging that his dream of racial equality is far from reality — even with America’s first Black President in the White House.
And according to a new report, by the non-partisan group United for a Fair Economy (UFE), the racial economic divide will remain “disastrously large and will threaten the stability of the entire economy.” In the ninth annual MLK Day report, State of the Dream 2012: The Emerging Majority finds that “as people of color become the new majority, the persistent racial disparities of the past threaten to jeopardize the social fabric of our nation and our economic stability.
According to the report, “While Whites will make up a dwindling percentage of the population through 2042 and beyond, the overwhelming share of the nation’s income and wealth will remain solidly in White hands”.
“The early 1980s marked a turning point in U.S. politics. Reagan sparked a ‘me-first’ ideological revolution in Washington, D.C. and beyond,” says Brian Miller, Executive Director of UFE and a co-author of the report. “The policies since have done little for economic progress for people of color, which should raise great concern as these demographic shifts occur. Without a sea-change in public policy, racial inequality will devastate our economy as people of color become the population majority.”
Key Findings – Looking Back, Looking Forward
Disparities in income perpetuate poverty in communities of color and will continue to do so unless change is made. In 2010, the median family income of Black and Latino families was a mere 57 cents to every dollar of White median family income. By 2042, the median Black family will still only earn about 61 cents for every dollar of income earned by the median White family.
Increasing wealth inequality entrenches the racial economic divide. In 2007, near the height of the housing bubble, average White net worth was five times greater than average Black net worth, and more than three and a half times that of average Latino net worth.
Education is one of the most important tools we have for increasing social mobility, yet dramatic disparities in education perpetuate inequality. In addition to new restrictions on the use of race-based affirmative action in higher education, spiraling college costs, the persistence of legacy preferences, and underfunding of education in the United States threatens to reverse the gains made since the civil rights era in closing the educational attainment gap.
Today there are more African Americans under correctional control, whether in prison or jail, on probation or on parole, than there were enslaved in 1850. And more African-American men are disenfranchised now because of felon disenfranchisement laws than in 1870. On this eve of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Democracy Now! hosted a wide-ranging discussion with TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson and author Michelle Alexander about the mass incarceration of African Americans that has rolled back many achievements of the civil rights movement. (Watch the video on this page)
With the abundance of “MLK Day” artificially inseminated celebrations it remains the job of people at the grassroots level to make their voices heard. We must all become drum majors for justice, peace, and righteousness. We cannot accept the propagandized view of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The MATRIX-view that the dream has been achieved when the glaring facts show the direct opposite.
As this report states, “if the trends in racial economic inequality of the last thirty years continue for the next thirty years, the racial economic divide in 2042 will be vast and devastating for communities of color and the nation as a whole”.