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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

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Romare Bearden The Family (1948) Watercolor and gouache on paper The Evans-Tibbs Collection, Washington, D.C.

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J ust five decades ago, most black Americans could not work, live, shop, eat, seek entertainment, or travel where they chose. Even a quarter century ago-100 years after the Emanci- pation Proclamation of 1863-most blacks were effectively denied the right to vote. A large majority of blacks lived in poverty, and very few black children had the opportunity to receive a basic education; indeed, black children were still forced to attend inferior and separate schools in jurisdic- tions that had not accepted the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court declar- ing segregated schools unconstitutional. Today the situation is very different. In education, many blacks have received college degrees from universities that formerly excluded them. In the workplace, blacks frequently hold professional and managerial jobs in desegregated settings. In politics, most blacks now participate in elections, and blacks have been elected to all but the highest political offices. Overall, many blacks have achieved middle-class status. Yet the great gulf that existed between black and white Americans in 1939 has only been narrowed; it has not closed. One of three blacks still live in households with incomes below the poverty line. Even more blacks live in areas where ineffective schools, high rates of dependence on public assis- tance, severe problems of crime and drug use, and low and declining em- ployment prevail. Race relations, as they affect the lives of inhabitants of these areas, differ considerably from black-white relations involving middle- class blacks. Lower status blacks have less access to desegregated schools, neighborhoods, and other institutions and public facilities. Their interactions with whites frequently emphasize their subordinate status-as low-skilled employees, public agency clients, and marginally performing pupils. . 3

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A COMMO N DESTI N Y: B LACKS AN D AME R I CA N SOC I ETY The status of black Americans today can be characterized as a glass that is half full-if measured by progress since 1939-or as a glass that is half empty- if measured by the persisting disparities between black and white Americans since the early 1970s. Any assessment of the quality of life for blacks is also complicated by the contrast between blacks who have achieved middle-class status and those who have not. The progress occurred because sustained struggles by blacks and their allies changed American law and politics, moving all governments and most pri- vate institutions from support c)f principles of racial inequality to support of principles of racial equality. Gradually, and often with much resistance, the behaviors and attitudes of individual whites moved in the same direction. Over the 50-year span covered by this study, the social status of American blacks has on mvera,ge improved dramatically, both in absolute terms and relative to whites. The growth of the economy and public policies promoting racial equality led to an erosion of segregation and discrimination, making it possible for a substantial fraction of blacks to enter the mainstream of Arner- ican life. The reasons for the continuing distress of large numbers of black Ameri- cans are complex. Racial discrimination continues despite the victories of the civil rights movement. Yet, the problems faced today by blacks who are isolated from economic and social progress are less directly open to political amelioration than were the problems of legal segregation and the widely practiced overt discrimination of a few decades past. Slow overall growth of the economy during the 1970s and 1980s has been an important impedi- ment to black progress; in the three previous decades economic prosperity and rapid growth had been a great help to most blacks. Educational institu- tions and government policies have not successfully responded to underlying changes in the society. Opportunities for upward mobility have been reduced for all lower status Americans, but especially for those who are black. If all racial discrimination were abolished today, the life prospects facing many poor blacks would still constitute major challenges for public policy. SUMMARY OF MAJOR FINDINGS This report summarizes and interprets a large body of data and research analyses concerning the position of blacks in American society since the eve of World War II. We write at a time 20 years after the Kerner Commission, following the summer riots of 1967, warned that ours was becoming a racially divided and unequal nation. We write 45 years after Gunnar Myrdal in An American Dilemma challenged Americans to bring their racial practices into line with their ideals. Despite clear evidence of progress against each problem, Americans face an unfinished agenda: many black Americans re- main separated from the mainstream of national life under conditions of great inequality. The American dilemma has not been resolved. The new "American dilemma" that has emerged after the civil rights era 4

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS of the 1960s results from two aspirations of black Americans: equal oppor- tunity-the removal of barriers to employment, housing, education, and political activities-and the actual attainment of equality in Participation in these sectors of life. --1 ~; -- rim ~-r~~~~~ Central to the realization of these aspirations are national policies promot- ing equality of opportunity for the most disadvantaged blacks (especially in areas such as employment and education) and the preservation among black people of attitudes and behaviors toward self-help and individual sacrifice that have enabled them to benefit from such opportunities. Black-white relations are important in determining the degree to which equal opportu- nity exists for black Americans. Whites desire equality of treatment in social institutions and in governmental policy; however, many whites are less likely to espouse or practice equality of treatment for blacks in their personal behavior. Thus, at the core of black-white relations is a dynamic tension between many whites' expectations of ArrAerican institutions and their expec- tations of themselves. This state of relations is a significant improvement from 45 years ago when majorities of white people supported discrimination against blacks in many areas of life. But the divergence between social prin- ciple and individual practice frequently leads to white avoidance of blacks ire those institutions in which equal treatment is most needed. The result is that American institutions do not provide the full equality of opportunity that An~AericarAs desire. Foremost among the reasons for the present state of black-white relations are two continuing consequences of the nation's long and recent history of racial ineaualitv C)ne its the negative. ~ttit11~PC hold tr``x~orH hl~lrc earl the -1 ~ ~ ~ e~ ~ ^~ v ^~ ~ v^~_~v CHAT BAAS other is the actual disadvantaged conditions under which many black ArrAer- icans live. These two consequences reinforce each other. Thus, a legacy of discrimination and segregation continues to affect black-white relations. In the context of American history, this continuing legacy is not surprising. Racial and ethnic differences have had crucial effects on the course of Amer- ican history. In particular, black Americans' central role in several constitu- tional crises-their past status as slaves and the debates over slavery during the Constitutional Convention of 1787; the fighting of the Civil War; the denial of blacks' basic citizenship until the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s-has frequently focused international attention on black- white relations in the United States. In view of this history, race is likely to retain much of its saliency as a feature of American society for some time. Indeed, as the twenty-first century nears, demographic conditions will increase Americans' awareness that theirs is a multiracial society. The Bureau of the Census projects that the black population will increase from 11.7 percent of the U.S. total in 1980 to 15 percent in 2020; blacks will be nearly 1 of 5 children of school age and 1 of 6 adults of prime working age (25- 54~. Rising numbers of blacks will be represented both in influential occu- pations and positions, and among the poor, the least educated, and the jobless. At the same time, immigration trends are also increasing the num- bers and proportions of Asian-Americans and Hispanics in the U.S. popula 5

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY tion. Thus, the importance of racial and ethnic minorities in general to the nation's well-being is growing. We can summarize our main findings on the status of blacks in America in the late 1980s succinctly: ~ By almost all aggregate statistical measures-incomes and living stan- dards; health and life expectancy; educational, occupational, and residential opportunities; political and social participation-the well-being of both blacks and whites has advanced greatly over the past five decades. By almost all the same indicators, blacks remain substantially behind whites. Beyond this brief picture lies a more complex set of changes that affect the relative status of black Americans: The greatest economic gains for blacks occurred in the 1940s and 1960s. Since the early 1970s, the economic status of blacks relative to whites has, on average, stagnated or deteriorated. The political, educational, health, and cultural statuses of blacks showed important gains from the 1940s through the 1960s. In addition, some important indicators continued to improve after the early 1970s. Among blacks, the experiences of various groups have differed, and status differences among those groups have increased. Some blacks have attained high-status occupations, income, education, and political positions, but a substantial minority remain in disadvantaged circumstances. These patterns of change have been largely determined by three factors: Political and social activism among black Americans and their white allies led to changes in governmental policies; particularly important were sweep- ing improvements in the legal status of blacks. Resistance to social change in race relations continues in American society. Broad changes in overall economic conditions, especially the post-1973 slowdown in the nation's economic growth, have significantly affected social and economic opportunities for all Americans. The rest of this section explicates these main findings and their causes. The next section presents a summary of the committee's detailed findings for the various areas we studied. The final section presents the committee's conclu- sions and some projections for the future. BLACKS AN D WH ITES I N A CHANGI NG SOCI ETY Two general developments in the status of black Americans stand out; each is reflective of a near-identical development in the population at large. 6

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS First, for the period 1940-1973, real earnings of Americans improved stead- ily, but they stagnated and declined after 1973. Similarly, over these same periods, there was a clear record of improving average material status of blacks relative to whites followed by stagnation and decline. Second, during the post-1973 period, inequality increased among Americans as the lowest income and least skilled people were hurt most by changes in the overall economy. Similarly, there were increasing differences in material well-being and opportunities among blacks, and they have been extremely pronounced. These developments may be understood as consequences of four interde- pendent events that have altered the status of blacks, relative black-white status, and race relations in the United States. These events were the urban- ization and northern movement of the black population from 1940 to 1970; the civil rights movement that forced the nation to open its major institu- tions to black participation during the same three decades; the unprece- dented high and sustained rate of national economic growth for roughly the same period; and the significant slowdown in the U.S. economy since the early 1970s. The civil rights movement, blacks' more proximate location near centers of industrial activity, and high economic growth enabled those blacks best prepared to take advantage of new opportunities to respond with initiative and success. Increases in educational opportunities were seized by many blacks who were then able to translate better educations into higher status occupations than most blacks had ever enjoyed. Black incomes and earnings rose generally, with many individuals and families reaching middle-class and even upper middle income status (Chapter 6~. The new black middle class moved into better housing, frequently in the suburbs, and sometimes in desegregated neighborhoods. Despite much confrontation between whites and blacks as blacks abandoned traditional approaches to black-white rela- tions, race relations eventually advanced closer to equal treatment. At the same time, many blacks were not able to take advantage of the new conditions that developed: some were still located in areas relatively un- touched by the changes; some lacked the family support networks to provide assistance; for some, better opportunities simply did not arise. Those who were left behind during the 1960s and 1970s faced and still face very different situations than poor blacks immediately before that period. A major reason is the performance of the economy. Real weekly earnings (in constant 1984 dollars) of all American men, on average, fell from $488 in 1969 to $414 in 1984; real weekly earnings of women fell from $266 in 1969 to $230 in 1984. For the first time since the Great Depression of the 1930s, American men born in one year (e.g., 1960) may face lower lifetime real earnings than men born 10 years earlier (Chapter 1~. Among the myriad and complex responses to these economic conditions have been rising em- ployment rates among women, but falling rates among men, while the unemployment rates of both men and women have been on an upward trend for three decades (Chapter 6~. A generation ago, a low-skilled man had relatively abundant opportunity 7

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY to obtain a blue-collar job with a wage adequate to support a family at a lower middle class level or better. Today the jobs available to such men- and women-are often below or just barely above the official poverty line for a family of four. For example, black males aged 25-34, with some high school but no diploma, earned on average $268 weekly in 1986; in 1969, black male dropouts of that age had averaged $334 weekly (in constant 1984 dollars). For white men of the same age and education, work conditions have been better, but changes over time cannot be said to have been good: in the years 1969 and 1986, mean weekly earnings were $4~47 and $381. Thus, among men who did not complete high school, blacks and whites had lower real earnings in 1986 than in 1969. Obtaining a well-paying job increasingly requires a good education or a specific skill. Many young blacks and whites do not obtain such training, and the educational system in many locations is apparently not equipped to provide them. Recent reports on the state of American education sound great alarm about the future status of today's students. One in six youths dropped out of high school in 1985, and levels of scholastic achievement are disturbingly low by many measures. Young men with poor credentials, finding themselves facing low-wage job offers and high unemployment rates, frequently abandon the labor force intermittently or completely. Some choose criminal activity as an alternative to the labor market. Greater numbers of people are today susceptible to poverty than in the recent past. With some year-to-year variation, the percentage of Americans living in poverty has been on an upward trend: from 11.2 percent in 1974 to 13.5 percent in 1986. In addition, the poor may be getting poorer in the 1980s: the average poor family has persistently had a yearly income further below the poverty line than any year since 1963. More and more of the poor are working family heads, men and women who are employed or seeking employment but who cannot find a job that pays enough to prevent their families from sliding into or near poverty. For the more fortunate, reasonably secure from the fear of poverty, such middle- class advantages as a home in the suburbs and the ability to send their children to the best college for which they quatii are goals that were reached by their parents but may be unattainable for many of them. Perhaps the most important consequences of the stagnating U.S. economy have been the effects on the status of children. Many members of the next generation of young adults live in conditions ill suited to prepare them to contribute to the nation's future. In 1987, 1 of 5 (20 percent) American children under age 18-white, black, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian- Arnerican-were being raised in families with incomes below official poverty standards. Among minorities the conditions were worse: for example, 45 percent of black children and 39 percent of Hispanic children were living in poverty. During the 1970s, approximately 2 of every 3 black children could expect to live in poverty for at least 1 of the first 10 years of their childhood, while an astounding 1 of 3 could expect at least 7 of those 10 years to be lived in poverty. 8

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS We cannot emphasize too much the gravity of the fact that in any given year more than two-fifths of all black children live under conditions of poverty as the 1980s draw to a close. As fertility rates decrease, the total youth population of the United States will contain a larger proportion of comparatively disadvantaged youths from minority ethnic and racial groups. This change may in turn lead to major changes in labor markets, childbear- ing, the armed forces, and education. Under conditions of increasing economic hardship for the least prosperous members of society, blacks, because of their special legacy of poverty and discrimination, are afflicted sooner, more deeply, and longer. But the signs of distress that are most visible in parts of the black population are becoming more discernible within the entire population. This distress should be viewed in the context of the underlying changes within American society that affect not only black-white differences, but all disadvantaged blacks and whites who face the difficult economic conditions of the late 1980s. DETERMI NANTS OF BLACK STATUS One major determinant of black status has been noted in the previous sections: the stagnation of the U.S. economy since 1973, which has partic- ularly hurt lower class blacks. In this section we note two other determi- nants: organizational and individual resistance to change, intended and oth- erwise, that has erected and maintained barriers to black opportunities; and the policies of governments and private organizations aimed at improving blacks' position, which have resulted in large measure from black activism, initiative, and self-identity. Barriers and disadvantages persist in blocking black advancement. Three such barriers to full opportunity for black Americans are residential segrega- tion, continuance of diffuse and often indirect discrimination, and exclusion from social networks essential for full access to economic and educational opportunities (Chapters 2-7~. These barriers also existed for blacks who overcame them in earlier decades, but those successes were achieved in an economy that was growing rapidly and providing good wage opportunities even to low-skilled and less educated job seekers. In the 1960s, blacks seeking to help themselves also were benefited by a society more willing to expend energy and resources toward improving opportunities for the poor . . . anc mmontles. The past five decades have shown that purposeful actions and policies by governments and private institutions make a large difference in the oppor- tunities and conditions of black Americans. Such purposeful actions and policies have been essential for past progress, and further progress is unlikely without them. Many blacks attained middle-class status because government and private programs enabled them to achieve better educations and jobs, through employment and education programs and government enforcement of equal employment opportunity (Chapters 5-8~. Black initiative and identity have increasingly played primary roles in bring 9

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY ing about changes in government and private institutions and improvements in blacks' economic, social, and political status. This is of course evident in blacks' leadership of the civil rights movement and in their response to industrial opportunity during the great rural-to-urban migration of 1940- 1970. But it is also evident in the strivings of individuals to finish high school or attain higher education; to enter a predominantly white factory, secretarial pool, or corporate law office; or to desegregate an entire institu- tion, such as a professional sport, military combat corps, or legislative body (Chapters 2 and 4~. Many blacks who have not succeeded live in environments in which social conditions and individual behavioral patterns are often detrimental to self- improvement. Such behaviors may be natural responses to group conditions and social forces perceived as beyond personal control. One-half of black families with children must manage their affairs with only one parent-almost always a mother. These families are overwhelmingly poor (59 percent were below the poverty line in 1987), have high rates of dependence on family assistance benefits, and live in areas with a high percentage of families in similar circumstances (Chapters 6 and 10~. Why do such behaviors and conditions persist? There are no simple an- swers to this crucial question and no answers that can be validated as scien- tific findings. We can say, however, that the evidence does not support some popular hypotheses that purport to explain female-headed households, high birth rates to unmarried women, low labor force participation by males, or poor academic performance solely on the basis of government support pro- grams or, more generally, on the existence of a "culture of poverty" among the black poor. Black-white cultural differences have narrowed since 1960, not widened (Chapters 2 - and 10~. Our analysis of the problem does identify a number of important contrib- utory factors. Discrimination plays an important role in the lives of many blacks, and even in the absence of discrimination the opportunities of many blacks are limited. Black youths in poor environments probably anticipate little payoff from working for academic achievement and may underestimate their opportunities. Those in poorly staffed, dilapidated schools populated with underachieving students can easily fall into the trap of perceiving the pursuit of academic excellence as a poor investment (Chapter 7~. Inequalities in economic status to a large extent cause and interact with other status features to maintain overall black-white differences in status. Consequently, status gaps between blacks and whites will remain as long as blacks' economic status lags behind that of whites. For example, differences in black-white voting patterns result from persistent economic and social inequalities that impede electoral participation regardless of race; individual blacks now par- ticipate as much or more than whites of comparable socioeconomic status (Chapter 5~. Similarly, differences in socioeconomic status account for the entire black-white difference in high school dropout rates (Chapter 7~. In health, differences in black and white infant mortality are similarly linked to differences in economic status (Chapter 8~. In the criminal justice system, 10

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS much of the differential sentencing of blacks and whites can be attributed to differences between sentences for defendants of higher and lower economic status (Chapter 9~. Yet the status of blacks is determined by the presence of both racial stratification and class (position within the socioeconomic structure of soci- ety). Changes in black-white relations and social opportunities do not affect blacks of different status in similar ways. For example, because of higher geographic concentrations of poor households among blacks, segregated res- idential areas affect the quality of schools and medical care available to low- income blacks more than they affect the availability of these resources to higher income blacks or low-income whites. And we have already noted that changes in the national economy have had particularly negative effects on lower status Americans, white and black. But changes have been most det- rimental to the fortunes of blacks, and opportunities were curtailed most for blacks of lowest status (Chapter 6~. A RECORD OF THE STATUS OF BLACK AMERICANS This section presents the committee's detailed findings on the status of black Americans. The presentation follows the topical approach of the ma- terial in Chapters 2-10 of the report. ATTITUDES, PARTICI PATION, I DENTITY, AN D I NSTITUTIONS Large majorities of blacks and whites accept the principles of equal access to public institutions and equal treatment in race relations. For whites this is the result of a long upward trend from a low base in the 1940s; blacks have favored equality since survey data have been collected. Yet there remain important signs of continuing resistance to full equality of black Americans. Principles of equality are endorsed less when they would result in close, frequent, or prolonged social contact, and whites are much less prone to endorse policies meant to implement equal participation of blacks in impor- tant social institutions. In practice, many whites refuse or are reluctant to participate in social settings (e.g., neighborhoods and schools) in which significant numbers of blacks are present; see Figures S-1, S-2, and S-3. Whether one considers arts and entertainment, religious institutions, pub- lic schools, or a number of other major institutions, black participation has increased significantly since 1940 and since 1960. Yet increased black partic- ipation has not produced substantial integration. An exception is the U.S. Army, where a true modicum of integration-significant numerical partici- pation on terms of equal treatment-has been accomplished. The other three military services, although generally ahead of the civilian sector, have not attained the level of equality found in the Army. Although large-scale deseg- regation of public schools occurred in the South during the late 1960s and early 1970s- and has been substantial in many small and medium-sized cities 11

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY FIGURE S-16 Annual number of , . . . . . . pHySlClaI1 VlSltS per capita, oy race. 6 5 4 m Z 2 1 _ ~ Black _ _ J Wllite o . ~ 1964 1975 1985 YEAR FIGURE S-17 Black physicians. 14 `,, 1 2 10 oh 0 c) ~0 a: ~ m 4 in 2 o . 1 1940 1970 1980 YEAR cause ill-timed pregnancy or risk infection with sexually transmitted diseases. Slowing the transmission rate of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the black community is critical. This will require preventive strat- egies tailored to the special needs of intravenous drug users and other groups at high risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Risky be- havior is an increasing health problem among young blacks: for example, the homicide rate is more than 6 times higher for black men than for white men. In adulthood, the cumulative effects of health disadvantages and delaying medical visits until conditions are serious predispose black adults to higher incidences of chronic illness and disability. Preventive health services as well as assured continuity in management of chronic health conditions would reduce deaths and disability. Poverty and limited bed capacity in care centers, combined with discrimination, pose special problems of access to long-term health care for elderly blacks. CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE Among black Americans, distrust of the criminal justice system is wide- spread. Historically, discrimination against blacks in arrests and sentencing was ubiquitous. Prior to the 1970s, very few blacks were employed as law enforcement officials, but in the 1980s, the percentage of blacks in police forces has increased to substantial levels. Black representation among attor- neys and judges has also increased, although it is not as high as that in the police. Blacks are arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for criminal offenses at rates much higher than are whites. Currently, blacks account for nearly one-half 22

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS of all prison inmates in the United States; thus, blacks' representation in prisons is about 4 times their representation in the general population. Compared with the total population, black Americans are disproportionately victims of crime: they are twice as likely to be victims of robbery, vehicle theft, and aggravated assault, and 6 to 7 times as likely to be victims of homicide, the leading cause of death among young black males. Blacks also suffer disproportionately from injuries and economic losses due to criminal actions. Most black offenders victimize other blacks. But offenders and victims are often in different socioeconomic strata: most offenders are poor; many vic- tims are not. Consequently, middle-income and near-poor blacks have greater economic losses due to criminal acts than the black poor or than whites at any income level. The role of discrimination in criminal justice has apparently varied substan- tially from place to place and over time. Some part of the unexplained differences in black-white arrest rates may be due to racial bias and the resulting differential treatment. Current black-white differences in sentencing appear to be due less to overt racial bias than to socioeconomic differences between blacks and whites: people of lower socioeconomic status-regardless of race-receive more severe sentences than people of higher status. An important exception may be bias in sentencing that is related to the race of the victim: criminals whose victims are white are on average punished more severely than those whose victims are black. As long as there are great disparities in the socioeconomic status of blacks and whites, blacks will continue to be overrepresented in the criminal jus- tice system as victims and offenders. And because of these disparities, the pre- cise degree to which the overrepresentation reflects racial bias cannot be determined. CHILDREN AND FAMILIES Changes since the mid-1960s among both blacks and whites have brought higher rates of marital breakup, decreased rates of marriage, rapidly rising proportions of female-headed households, and increasing proportions of children being reared in single-parent families. The changes have been much greater among blacks than among whites. Some characteristics of families are shown in Figures S-18, S-l9, and S-20. Birthrates for both the white and black populations have fallen since the baby boom of the 1950s, and fertility rates have declined for women of all ages. By the mid-1980s, the lifetime fertility rates were similar for black and white women. Contrary to popular myth, birthrates among black teen- agers-although still an important problem-have declined significantly dur- ing the past two decades. In 1970, about 18 percent of black families had incomes over $35,000 (1987 constant dollars); by 1986 this proportion had grown to 22 percent. The increase in well-to-do families was matched by an increase in low-income 23

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY FIGURE S-18 Children in poverty, by race. 70 60 50 By lL LU 40 30 20 10 o FIGURE S-19 Median family income, by race. 1 1 n Black O White 1959 1 969 YEAR _ 1 35 30 1~ co 25 LL] ~ 20 Z 15 _ ~ Dig 10 ~O _ ~ 1984 1 950 o Black O White '~ 1970 1 985 YEAR Note: Median family income is calculated in 1985 constant dollars. _ l _ 1 l ........ ... ~ FIGURE S-20 Childless women aged 20-24, by race. 80 ~ ~ Black 70 _ r O White 10 _ 1 a... 1940 1970 1982 YEAR 24

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS families. During the same 1970-1980 period, the proportion of black fami- lies with incomes of less than $10,000 grew from about 26 to 30 percent. After declining during earlier decades, the percentage of black and white children in poverty began to increase in the 1970s. In 1986, 43 percent of black children and 16 percent of white children under age 18 lived in households below the poverty line. Black and white children are increasingly different with regard to their living arrangements. As we noted above, a majority of black children under age 18 live in families that include their mothers but not their fathers; in contrast, four of every five white children live with both parents. (Although some fathers who are not counted as household members may actually aid in child rearing, there are no data to estimate the number, and it is believed to be small.) In the course of their childhood, 86 percent of black children and 42 percent of white children are likely to spared some time in a single- parent household. The greater inequality between family types among blacks has important consequences for the welfare of future generations. Black female-headed families were 50 percent of all black families with children in 1985, but had 25 percent of total black family income, while 70 percent of black family income was received by black husband-wife families. The data and analyses we have examined throw doubt on the validity of the thesis that a culture of poverty is a major cause of long-term poverty. Although cultural factors are important in social behavior, arguments for the existence of unalterable behaviors among the poor are not supported by empirical research. The behaviors that are detrimental to success are often responses to existing social barriers to opportunity. The primary correlates of poverty are macroeconomic conditions of prosperity or recession and changes in family composition. However, increases in female-headed families have had only negligible effects on increasing black poverty rates since the mid- 1970s. Importantly, attitudes toward work and the desire to succeed are not very different among the poor and the nonpoor. Black-white differences in family structures result from a complex set of interrelated factors. The most salient are black-white differences in income and employment, greater (relative) economic independence of black women, and a more limited pool of black men who are good marriage prospects. THE FUTURE: ALTERNATIVES AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS BLACKS'STATUS IN THE NEAR FUTURE In assessing the status of black Americans, we have asked what roles blacks play in the nation today and what role they are likely to play in the near future. Our conclusion is largely positive, but it is mixed. The great majority of black Americans contribute to the political, economic, and social health 25

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY of the nation. The typical black adult-like the typical white adult-is a full- time employee or homemaker who pays taxes, votes in public elections, and sends children to school. Blacks make important contributions to all forms of American life, from the sciences and health care, to politics and education, to arts and entertainment. However, this role is not available to a sizable minority of black-and of a small but growing group of white-Americans. The evidence for this assess- ment is clear. High school dropout rates among young black adults have risen, and attaining high standards of academic competence seems unavaila- ble to millions of poor black youths attending school systems that are not able to teach them. During the 1980s, thousands of young black men who were not enrolled in school have also not been active participants in the labor market. Many of these men are incarcerated or have dropped out of society into the escape offered by alcohol and drug addiction. And, on the basis of the fertility rates of 1986, 170 of 1,000 black females become mothers before the age of 20, often disrupting or discontinuing their second- ary educations. These young mothers are likely to be poor as they establish households, and they will frequently have to receive family assistance bene- fits. These alarming developments are mirrored by similar, if more modest, trends among whites. Barring unforeseen events or changes in present conditions-that is, no changes in educational policies and opportunities, no increased income and employment opportunities, and no major national programs to deal directly with the problems of economic dependency-our findings imply several negative developments for blacks in the near future, developments that in turn do not bode well for American society: A substanua1 majority of black Americans will remain contributors to the nation, but improvements in their status relative to whites are likely to slow even more as the rate of increase of the black middle class is likely to decline. Approximately one-third of the black population will continue to be poor, and the relative employment and earnings status of black men is likely to deteriorate further. Drugs and crime, teenage parenthood, poor educanona1 opportunities, and joblessness will maintain their grip on large numbers of poor and near- poor blacks. High rates of residential segregation between blacks and whites will continue. The United States is faced with the prospect of continued great inequal- ity between whites and blacks and a continuing division of social status within the black population. A growing population of poor and undereducated citizens, dispropor- tionately black and minority, will pose challenges to the nanon's abilities to solve the emerging economic and social problems of the twenty-first century. These short-term projections emerge as important implications of our as 26

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS sessment of the status of black Americans and of black-white relations since 1940. They are especially crucial to the future well-being of the United States, as a common destiny continues to connect black and other Arneri- cans. Throughout the five decades covered by this report, all Americans have been affected by the same general social processes: technological change, national and international economic developments, and large population movements. Generally, when conditions have been improving for blacks, they have been improving for the entire population. Yet while the same general factors affect all Americans in similar ways, blacks-who as a group still carry many of the effects of systematic discrimination and segregation- are especially sensitive both to changes in the national economy and to changes in public policies. RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION Time alone does not resolve America's racial problems. When the status of blacks has improved, it has not been simply because time has passed. Two reasons for the continuing exclusion of many blacks from the economic mainstream are persisting discriminatory barriers and the residential concen- tration of poor blacks. It is therefore appropriate to consider the future prospects for reducing current levels of black residential separation. Black-white residential segregation declined more in the 1970s than in Previous decades. necnite thP..CP chronic h~`x~P`TPr 1P`7P1C ^{hl~rlr_~`rh;~^ o^`r_ 1 ~ ~_~ CAM ~ _^ ~ A_ ~ _~ ~ ~ VIA V ~11~ O~5 _ _ . ~ ~ ~ ~ Legation remain very high. (considering the 16 metropolitan areas that had the largest black populations in 1980 and using an index for which 100 means all blacks and all whites live in distinct racially homogeneous neigh- borhoods and zero if all people are randomly distributed, the average index value for black-white residential segregation was about 80. This reflects a drop of about 6 points, on average, from the segregation level of 1970. In contrast, one can compare the indices for Hispanic and Asian-Americans, who entered many metropolitan areas in large numbers during the 1970s. One might expect them to be highly segregated from whites, but their segregation indices average about 45 points. If the historically high 1970s pace of reduction in black-white segregation were to persist, it would take about 60 years for the black-white index to fall to the values currently observed for Hispanic and Asian-Americans. INCOME AN D POVERTY Between 1940 and 1974, poverty as officially measured by cash income declined sharply. The percentage of blacks living in poor households fell from 92 percent in 1939 to 30 percent in 1974; among whites, the change was from 65 to 9 percent. If that trend had continued, the percentage of poor people in the year 2000 would be about 1 percent among whites and 27

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY 9 percent among blacks. However, the trends toward lower poverty rates came to an end in the early 1970s; since 1974 rates have stagnated or even increased. If the post-1974 trend is extrapolated to the year 2000, the poverty rate among blacks will be about 32 percent and the rate among whites about 15 percent. These are approximately the rates of the late 1960s. Of course such predictions are tentative, since economic conditions or gov- ernment policies could change. A similar picture results from the projection of current trends in the incomes of black families vis-a-vis those of white families. When the Bureau of the Census first measured family incomes in 1947, blacks' median incomes were 51 percent of whites'. During the years of economic expansion and civil rights legislation, the status of blacks improved: by 1974, the median income of black families was 62 percent that of white families. A projection of 1947-1974 trends to the year 2000 shows black families with median income about 70 percent of whites. But in fact the median income of black families has not gone up quite as rapidly as that of whites in the past 15 years. Projection of the 1974-1986 trend implies that in the year 2000, the median income of black families would be 54 percent of those of white families-the same as that in 1960. During the decades from the 1940s through the 1970s, the hourly wage rates and annual earnings of employed black men rose more rapidly than those of white men. Between 1960 and 1980, the relative annual earnings of black men increased from 49 percent of those of white men to 64 percent. With respect to the relative annual earnings of men aged 25-64, the trend of improvement ended in the 1980s. Between 1960 and 1980, the black/ white ratio rose from 49 to 64 percent, but it then fell back to 62 percent by 1987. This reversal arose from an increasing black-white difference in hours of employment. In 1960, black men averaged annually about 8 fewer hours of work per week than white men; this difference declined to about 5 hours per week in 1980, but it then moved up to 7 hours in 1987. If these trends continue to the year 2000, the decrease in black men's employment will offset their gains in hourly wage rates, and the average annual earnings of black men will be 58 percent those of white men, the level observed in the early 1970s. POLICY ALTERNATIVES It was not part of the mandate of this committee to make specific recom- mendations for public policy. It is, however, an implication of our analyses that such rapid progress as that attained by black Americans in the 1960s ~11 not be attainable in the immediate future without both public and private programs to increase opportunities and to reduce race-connected constraints and disadvantages. On the basis of the findings and analyses of this study, we have identified four areas of national life in which there are major options for constructive social policies to improve opportunities for 28

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS disadvantaged Americans and especially to reduce impediments to black advancement: Provision of education, health care, and other services to enhance peo- ple's skills and productive capabilities; Facilitation of national economic growth and full employment; Reduction of discrimination and involuntary segregation; and Development and reform of income-maintenance and other family assis- tance social welfare programs to avoid long-term poverty. Each type of policy contains many complex possibilities. Feasible alternatives necessarily must be developed through the political processes by which col- lective decisions are made. Here we wish only to note some salient options. Several specific policy interventions have been effective in promoting black advancement and greater opportunities for all Americans. Most successful have been employment and training programs such as the Job Corps; early intervention and other compensatory education programs such as Head Start; governmental financial aid for postsecondary education; increased ac- cess to health care, particularly for pre- and postnatal clinical service for low- income women; and greater health insurance coverage for all poor and near- poor people. These specific policy interventions have been shown to work and to be beneficial to the nation. Improvements in program design are surely possible and should be given the highest priority by policy makers and practitioners. The one issue that stands out above all others in this study is that of bringing the black population into gal 1 full employment. This is a major task for public policy. Economic opportunity alone will not solve all prob- lems, of course, but it is the essential ground for other constructive devel- opments. All the evidence reviewed in this report points to the central importance of jobs for men and women at pay levels that permit families to live above the poverty line. Macroeconomic growth and reduced joblessness create favorable condi- tions, but they do not remove some crucial barriers that exist for blacks. Improvement depends also on active promotion and vigorous enforcement of antidiscrimination laws and administrative measures to reduce discrimina- tion in employment, education, and housing. Carefully designed programs intended to increase black participation in social institutions can be useful in counteracting the persisting effects of past exclusion, discrimination, and segregation. Both the removal of barriers and compensatory programs are needed for full equality of opportunity. Persistent segregation in neighbor- hoods and schools, for example, are barriers to equal opportunity, and they cannot be ameliorated without large-scale efforts-national, state, and local. Economic growth and removal of barriers create many opportunities. To take advantage of such opportunities, however, black Americans must fur- ther develop their education, skills, health, and other "human capital." The efforts of individuals and of voluntary associations and groups are likely to 1 29

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY increase in the near term. But these efforts can be fully effective only when public programs provide access to job training and education for children and youths from low-income families. The decreases in black college enroll- ment in the late 1970s and 1980s that followed reductions in federal financial aid to students attest to the importance of such support. This brings us to the fourth type of social policy on our list: policies to reduce extreme and long-term poverty. Income-maintenance and family as- sistance programs have developed to meet residual problems not solved by general economic growth and equal opportunity measures. For example, although better education and job training programs have a potential for helping to place workers into available jobs, they will not overcome all the barriers that keep many single mothers and men out of the labor force. Furthermore, the provision of employment is not enough, by itself, to raise all families out of poverty. Three-fourths of recipients of family assis- tance and other benefits are unable to find work at wages sufficient to produce incomes above the poverty level even if they worked yearlong at full-time jobs. To reduce the extreme poverty of such families-primarily mothers and children in female-headed households-thus requires supple- mentary programs and changes in tax policies and child support programs.) Programs specifically aimed at the reduction of poverty may take two contrasting approaches: a single comprehensive program such as the negative income tax or a set of programs directed to different categories of individuals n(1 f~mili~c such as child allowances, Social Security for the aged, special aid for the ill and disabled, and so on. The latter approach characterizes the present situation in the United States. Although this diversity is often criti- cized, plausible arguments can be advanced that the more differentiated approach can be made both more efficient and politically feasible. _ ~ ~ , BLACK PERSPECTIVES The historical record of black people in America shows a persisting tension between the goals of social separation from whites and inclusion within the broader society. This tension differs from-although it has some similarities to-the tension between cultural assimilation and pluralism among groups of different national origins. Black Americans have long debated the merits of integrated participation with whites as opposed to the development of au- tonomous organizations and communities. In the past, segregation and discrimination helped to create strong currents of so-called "black nationalism," illustrated in separatist politics as well as in cultural autonomy movements (Chapters 3-5~. But blacks' political and economic interdependence with white Americans is very great and is grow- ing. Our data show that black separatism is not a dominant orientation. The likelihood appears low that separatism will be important in the near fixture, 1. The Family Support Act of 1988 was passed by Congress late in the year, and we were not able to assess its likely effects. 30

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS with the exception of some use of separatist ideology in political debate. Yet there is much evidence that racial identities and interests are likely to remain significant in political affairs, and in public life generally, for the foreseeable future. We do not find convincing evidence that such identities and interests . . . .. . . are c ~m~msh~ng in importance. Full assimilation of blacks in a "color-blind" society is unlikely in any foreseeable future. Existing social and economic separation, very low rates of intermarriage, and group preferences and images ensure the continued exis- tence of distinct racial groups. It does not mean a continuation of discrimi- nation in public life, but it does mean that black Americans will claim acceptance and equality on their own terms. Although a "color-blind" society is not foreseen, integrated participation in public affairs is becoming more acceptable. Indeed, political and civic coalitions and joint collective activities are now common. As shown in Chapters 4 and 5, a high degree of cooperation and coalition between blacks and whites has been and is now important on selective issues of legislative and administrative politics. Coali- tions with other racial and ethnic minorities will likely grow in importance as such minorities become an increasing proportion of the total citizenry. We cannot exclude the possibility of confrontation and violence. The urban revolts and civil disorders of the 1960s and later are still vividly present in memory; the 1980s had barely begun when blacks in Miami exploded in anger and dissatisfaction. The ingredients are there: large populations of jobless youths, an extensive sense of relative deprivation and injustice, dis- trust of the legal system, frequently abrasive police-community relations, highly visible inequalities, extreme concentrations of poverty, and great racial awareness. Such conditions sometimes produce apathy when disadvantaged persons feel that their situation is hopeless. But the surface calm can disap- pear very quickly. A specific source of possible social turbulence is wide- spread dissatisfaction with the operation of the criminal justice system, which is evident among black Americans. The allegations of bias are two sided: that law enforcement officials, judicial proceedings, and the correctional system treat blacks with undue harshness, and that the system is too lenient with whites who commit criminal offenses against blacks. Given the high likeli- hood that young urban males, blacks and whites, will continue on occasion to find themselves in confrontational situations, and given the continuing high incidence of street crime, it is realistic to expect future episodes of racial violence, followed by concentrated pressures on legal and correctional insti- tutions to deal with alleged racial bias. CONCLUSION After our intensive review, the committee has a concluding reflection on the wider implications of the findings. We believe it is consistent with the research data and the best available historical understandings of how Ameri . ,~ . can society functions. 31

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY Every society to survive has to adapt to its environment and maintain its resources over time. It must cope with the basic economic problem-the efficient allocation of scarce resources-as well as with its external relations to other societies. Every society must also develop practical arrangements for the internal distribution of power, economic goods, and social prestige and respect. Finally, societies over the long term must safeguard their own legit- imacy and historical meaning. These latter tasks of social integration and cultural maintenance tend to be discounted and neglected in a task-oriented society that focuses attention on short-run payoffs. In the United States of the coming decades, any agenda for these basic needs will have to give high priority to dealing with the fissures that have been created by the history of relations among black and white Americans. Our review leads us to believe that now is an appropriate time for a serious national effort to grasp the means at hand to accomplish this vital assignment. 32