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l OVERVI EW: THEN AND NOW

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In 1940, one-tenth of the U.S. pop- ulation, 13 million black Americans, were almost completely excluded from the political system, confined to the least prosperous sectors of the economy, and geographically and socially segregated. One-half of all blacks lived in the rural South, and another one-fourth lived elsewhere in the South. Among blacks of voting age in the South, fewer than 1 in 20 were registered to vote. Blacks of working age were overwhelmingly concentrated in agriculture and domestic service. For all blacks, their expected life span of 54 years was very short by modern standards. By 1985, the nation's 30 million blacks constituted one-eighth of the U.S. population, and enormous changes had occurred in their geographic, eco- nomic, political, and health status. Blacks were geographically dispersed regionally, although many were concentrated in inner cities under conditions of high unemployment and poverty. Agriculture was an insignificant em- ployer of blacks; although disproportionately concentrated in lower paying jobs, blacks were generally dispersed throughout American industry, some In presu~ous occupations. Only a little more than 1 percent of all elected officials were black, but 63 percent of the nation's 6,000 black officials had been elected in the South. The life expectancy of blacks was 70 years. During the span of these four and one-half decades, five major events transformed race relations in America. First and most fundamental, three decades of South-North and rural-urban migration by the black population produced conditions leading to profound changes in blacks' social status. Second, concurrent with this migration, the civil rights revolution moved blacks toward full citizenship rights; perhaps more than any single event, 35

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY this revolution produced important changes in the nation's political and educational institutions. Third, during World War II and for 25 years after- ward, the U.S. economy grew at an unprecedented high and sustained rate; this sustained economic growth facilitated efforts to improve blacks' status throughout society. Fourth, during the early 1970s, the rate of economic growth slowed, just as 30 years of black migration came to a halt. Subse- quently, improvement in the status of blacks was significantly slowed. The fifth event, like the first, was demographic. Rapid changes in the family living arrangements of children, beginning in the 1960s, have split most of the black population into two groups: those living in families with one adult head-overwhelmingly poor-and those living in families with two adult heads-largely middle income. The above major events dramatically altered American society. The social changes that have most affected the lives of blacks have invariably been directly or indirectly due to underlying conditions that have had important effects for all Americans. Thus, a great urbanization and suburbanization of the entire American population accompanied black migration; the civil rights movement revolutionized American institutions, not just black ones; chang- ing economic conditions have affected the well-being of all Americans; and while changes in family composition have not been nearly as significant among whites as among blacks, general changes in family structure have been consequential and in similar directions. To an extent not always fully appreciated, social and material changes for black Americans have usually followed from conditions that have had impor- tant effects on all Americans. Gains for blacks often lag behind gains for other groups when social conditions improve, and blacks frequently suffer losses first when conditions worsen. Thus, while blacks may be gaining or losing relative to whites during any particular period, the absolute status of both groups has usually been moving in a similar direction. Improvements in the health and educational status of white Americans during the 1940s and 1950s were followed by improvements among blacks. Now that increas- ing poverty rates in the United States may indicate greater material stratifi- cation among Americans, it is not surprising that greater inequality among blacks is occurring and that many blacks appear to be stuck in a cycle of poverty. In these senses, blacks and all Americans living in this vast society face a common destiny. CHANGE AND CONTINUITY IN BLACK-WHITE STATUS SINCE 1940 It is difficult for Americans who are too young to recall World War II to imagine the status of black Americans in 1940-the baseline year for this report-or to visualize the state of black-white relations as the decade of the Great Depression had just ended. In 1940, when it was about to engage in a great war against nations advocating racism, the United States was itself a 36

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OVERVI EW: THEN AN D NOW society in which racial inequalities were enormous, and black people were essentially excluded from political power and from full participation in public facilities and community life. The black population of the United States, even after large migrations to the North, was still concentrated in the South: some 77 percent lived in 13 southern states. The majority of black people, 51 percent nationally, were in rural areas. Although their education had been increasing, blacks on average received far less schooling than whites, and black pupils attended segregated schools in all southern states and in most northern ones. The incomes of blacks in 1939 were just 39 percent of those of whites. Racial discrimination and segregation were pervasive, rigid, and institutionalized in law and practice. In the South, blacks were almost totally without political voice. These conditions and changes over time can be described by comparing the status of all blacks born in a given year (a birth cohort) to the status of black cohorts born at successive 10-year intervals. Using a few general mea- sures-expected life span, electoral participation, educational attainment, and lifetime earnings-we describe the comparative status of several cohorts at age 25. In general, significant improvements have occurred for all cohorts born in 1914 through 1959. For both blacks and whites, the quality of life, as measured by those indices, has improved appreciably. This improvement is true both in absolute terms-blacks born 30 years ago fare much better than did blacks born 75 years ago-and in relative terms-blacks born 30 years ago also compare more favorably with whites of their age than blacks born 75 years ago compare with whites of their age. In addition to overall comparisons, comparing 10-year birth cohorts allows us to examine how uniform or disparate improvement has been over time. Here the picture presented is less favorable than that suggested by a simple comparison of the first (1914) and last (1959) birth cohorts. Improvement has been much more impressive for cohorts born in the early to middle part of the period than for those born most recently. And in one important measure of status, expected lifetime earnings of men, the earlier trend of increasing status across cohorts has recently been reversed. THE BASELI N E COHORT Black Americans who were 25 years old in 1939 were born into a society very different from the nation we know in the 1980s. Blacks born in 1914 were in many cases no more than two or three generations removed from slavery. The consequences of this fact still loomed large in their lives and the lives of their future children. American slaves had been overwhelmingly a southern agricultural people, and in 1914 almost 9 of every 10 black Arner- icans lived in a southern state, and more than 6 of them were in rural areas; among white Americans, the corresponding numbers were 1 of 4 and 4 of to. This highly rural society had significant. implications for life prospects. The 37

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY FIGURE l-l High school graduates aged 25, by race. 90 60 LL 30 o , . Black White -..... ........... 1914 1924 1934 1944 1954 1959 DATE OF BIRTH Source: Data from decennial censuses and Current Population Surveys. FIGURE 1-2 College graduates aged 25, by race. 25 20 15 5 Black r ~ White ........... 1914 1924 1934 1944 1954 DATE OF BIRTH Source: Data from decennial censuses and Current Population Surveys. 38

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OVERVIEW: THEN AND NOW FIGURE 1-3 Median lifetime earnings of men abler age 25, by race. 1 ,000,000 800,000 600,000 3 o 400,000 200,000 ~ White 1914 1924 1934 1944 1954 1959 DATE OF BIRTH Notes: Earnings are calculated in 1984 constant dollars. The median is the midpoint of the distribution, one-half of all earnings are above the median, and one-half are below it. See Note at the end of this chapter for details of the calculation. educational opportunities for southerners in particular, and black southern- ers more especially, were driven by the minimal educational requirements of the cotton, sugar, and tobacco industries. During the 1920s, when this birth cohort was schooled, a black in the South could expect to attend school about two-thirds as many days a year as a white (Welch, 1973: 900~. He or she could also expect to be a student for a significantly shorter number of years. A black born in 1914 had, at 25 years of age, a 12 percent chance of having completed high school and a 2 percent chance of being a college graduate; in comparison, 25-year-old whites in 1939 had a 38 percent chance of having completed high school and a 6 percent chance of being a college graduate (see Figures 1-1 and 1-2~. At age 25, black males born in 1914 had expected future median lifetime . earnings equal to $71,000 (calculated in 1984 constant dollars), this amounted to 36 percent of the expected lifetime median earnings of a white male of the same cohort (see Figure 1-3; see Note at the end of this chaper for details of the calculation). Because the majority of both black and white women had no reported labor market earnings during a given year, it would be meaningless to estimate lifetime median earnings for females. The political and civil environment in which this cohort of whites and blacks lived is succinctly described by the fact that in 1940, less than 1 of 20 blacks of voting age were registered to vote in the South. Nationwide, just 39

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY FIGURE 14 Self-reported voter turnout, by race, 1940-1984. 90 70 7 O 60 LL 80 _ _ 50 40 _ 30 0q 1 1 1 ~1 1 ~I 1 1 Black / \ 1940 1948 1952 1956 1960 1964 1968 1972 1976 1980 1984 YEAR Source: Data Tom decennial censuses and Current Population Surveys. 1 of 3 blacks of eligible age reported voting in the 1940 presidential election; this compared with a reported voter turnout rate of 7 of 10 among whites (see Figure 1-4~. Living under these circumstances, with minimal education and very poor earnings, health conditions were often hazardous. Black men of the 1914 cohort who reached age 25 could expect to live to age 61, and black women could expect to reach age 63; white men of that cohort who were alive in 1939 could expect to live until age 68 and white women to age 72 (see Figure 1-5~. Under any measuring rod, the socioeconomic status of the black popula- tion born in 1914 was very low in 1939. Social relationships with whites in the South emphasized blacks' subordinate position. A little more than 10 years later, conditions were little improved. Earl Warren, chief justice of the Supreme Court, described the situation of blacks in the South during the early 1950s in the following terms (Warren, 1973:20-21~: They could not live where they desired; they could not work where white people worked, except in menial positions.... They could not use the same restrooms, drinking fountains, or telephone booths. They could not eat in the same restaurants, sleep in the same hotels, be treated in the same hospitals.... They could not attend the same public schools.... They were bused for hours each day to inferior and crowded schools where there were unoccu 40

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OVERVIEW: THEN AND NOW FIGURE 1-5 Total life expectancy for (a) males and (b) females aged 25, by race. 75 70 60 (a) Males O 65 _ _ o 83 78 CD _' 73 68 63 o 1940 1 950 it White .... ... 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 (b) Females - ~ White = _ _ . 1960 1970 1980 YEAR Source: Data from decennial censuses and Current Population Surveys. 41

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY pied white school rooms in proximity to where they lived. They were denied admission to any university or college attended by whites, whether public or pnvate. They were denied the right to sit on juries even when their own lives, Deedom, or property rights were involved.... They were segregated on buses, street cars, trains, ships, and airplanes and at terminals of all kinds. They were not allowed to vote. This institutionalized segregation and discrimination appeared to many . . . . . . . . .. . . Amencans to be an entrenched system immune to change. THE MOST RECENT COHORT Change did occur, although it was slow and uneven. Change also occurred against great resistance (see Chapters 2-5~. By the mid-1970s, the old system of legally enforced segregation had been dismantled; black voting and office holding had increased; average black incomes had grown both absolutely and relative to white incomes; and educational levels had risen. In addition, white Americans had come to accept the principle of equal treatment in law, politics, education, public accommodations, and, to a lesser extent, in hous- ing. However, whites were less prepared to affirm policies intended to im- plement that principle (see Chapter 3~. Change has not been complete. Many whites continue to resist equal treatment of blacks; evidence of widespread discrimination is still found in the 1980s; and negative stereotyping, although much diminished, has not disappeared. The data show that even though black and white Americans share many important beliefs and values, there remain crucial differences in their respective perceptions of the history and present state of black-white relations. Intense public debate continues about the actual status of black Americans and about public policies aimed at affecting that status. These changes were reflected in the comparative social status of the last cohort at age 25 (born in 1959) in our study. A black born in 1959 became a member of a rapidly relocating population. Blacks residing in the South were 60 percent of all blacks, and 27 percent of blacks lived in rural areas; for white Americans, 27 and 30 percent were the comparable numbers. These regional and rural-urban origins, when compared with the 1914 co- horts, signify the great urbanization of the American population during the past 75 years. Corresponding changes in life chances are evident. The likelihood that a black American born in 1959 had completed high school by age 25 (1984) was 81 percent. This was nearly 7 times the likeli- hood that a black born in 1914 had completed high school by age 25. The difference between black and white high school graduation rates had fallen 21 percentage points so that black-white rates were much closer for the 1959 cohort than for the 1914 cohort (see Figure 1-1~. Chances for college grad- uation had also improved significantly. The college graduation rate of the 1959 black cohort was also 7 times that of blacks born 45 years earlier (see 42

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OVERVI EW: THEN AN D NOW Figure 1-2~. However, the black-white difference in college graduation had not decreased comparably. Changes in the labor market opportunities available to blacks are illustrated by the fact that the median earnings of $71,000 that black men born in 1914 could expect to earn over their lifetimes after age 25 had grown by a factor of 6 to $427,000 for black men born in 1959. Yet, while the relative expected lifetime earnings of black men had risen 15 percentage points, black mens' expected median lifetime earnings were one-half that of white men of the same age cohort, a small improvement over 45 years (see Figure 1-3~. Black political freedoms had been greatly altered. By 1984, 56 percent of eligible blacks reported voting in the presidential election. The expected life spans of 25-year-old black women and men in 1980 were much greater than the expected life spans of 25-year-old blacks in 1939. For this general measure of overall life conditions, blacks born in 1959 compared much more favorably with corresponding whites (see Figure 1-5~. UNEVEN CHANGES With the important exception of men's lifetime earnings, comparisons between the first and last cohorts show a tremendous amount of improve- ment in the status of black Americans over the 45-year period. However, change has been very uneven, across age cohorts as well as across measures of status. This conclusion is clearly illustrated by examining changes in educational and earnings status. As shown in Figure 1-3, expected lifetime earnings is one measure for which change in the status of cohorts has not been one of continuing improvement. For both black and white males, cohorts born in 1959 have lower expected lifetime earnings than an earlier cohort. Among blacks, increases in lifetime expected earnings were much greater for the earliest cohorts-those whose expected earnings were calculated on the basis of the economic situation existing in the decades of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Black men born in 1924 had expected lifetime earnings 3.28 times higher than those of black men born 10 years earlier. Blacks born in 1934 and 1944 could expect lifetime earnings 1.49 and 1.54 times higher, respectively, than the earnings of the black cohort born 10 years earlier. On the basis of the economic situation in 1979, however, the cohort born in 1954 has a lower expectation of lifetime earnings than the previous cohort: 0.97 times that of the cohort born in 1944. Prospects for the 1959 cohort appear to be even worse. The earnings data tell a similar story for the status of black men relative to white men. The ratio of black-to-white expected lifetime median earnings rose 14 percentage points between the 1914 and 1924 birth cohorts, rose 1 point between the 1924 and 1934 cohorts, increased 11 points between the 1934 and 1944 cohorts, and fell 6 points between the 1944 and 1954 cohorts. Again, this deterioration in cohort status is continuing with the 1959 group, as the black/white ratio of expected lifetime earnings of the 43

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY 1959 cohort is the same as that of the 1934 cohort. Thus, although the economic environment has deteriorated for whites and blacks, the status of black men has been more affected. This deterioration in the earnings position of black men is primarily due to the weak performance of the economy during the 1970s (see Chapter 6~. Changes in the educational status of cohorts do not follow a pattern similar to that in earnings. The educational attainment of blacks follows a path of consistent improvement across successive cohorts. However, black-white differences in the likelihood of high school and college graduation do not follow a consistent pattern of improvement (see Figures 1-1 and 1-2~. Every cohort of blacks had greater rates of graduation from high school and college than those of any previous cohort. In addition, with the excep- tion of the 1944 cohort's likelihood of graduating from college, the increase in the likelihood of graduation was greater than that of any previous cohort. However, because the educational attainment of whites also increased, some- times at faster rates than that of blacks, the differences in educational attain- ment probabilities did not always narrow between cohorts. Interestingly, the changes in educational differences between whites and blacks within cohorts do not match changes in earnings. For example, the 1924 cohort of black men had the greatest gain in relative expected lifetime earnings, but this was the only cohort that lost ground to whites in the likelihood of graduating from high school. Black-white differences in the likelihood of graduating from college actually increased with each successive cohort except for the men born in 1959, yet this group has suffered most in terms of its relative earnings. In general, changes in earnings status are quite different from the overall steady increase in black status indicated by measures such as political partici- pation and life expectancy. The 1939-1984 penod, during which each of the birth cohorts in our study reached maturity, has seen steady increases in the regional dispersion of blacks, their educational attainment, and their life expectancy. That the earnings status of males has not been consonant is a finding of particular concern (see Chapter 6~. This brief descriptive survey of changes in selected measures of blacks' status does not do justice to the broad and varied findings discussed in this report. However, even this short discussion points out some important issues that emerge in the more detailed analyses. The patterns of change displayed in the demographic data reflect two basic sets of conditions in American life. The changes in life expectancy, educa- tion, real earnings, and political participation were based on macrolevel changes in economic productivity, scientific and technical advances, and increased provision of public opportunities and services. These things af- fected all Americans. The uneven changes across black cohorts reflect both these general conditions and the special legacy of segregation and discrimi- nation as it was altered during the decades after 1939. The general conclusion that thus emerges from our survey is that the status of black Americans is especially sensitive both to changes in the national 44

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OVERVIEW: THEN AND NOW economy and to changes in public policies. This condition is characteristic of a minority population that still carries the effects of long-term discrimina- tion and segregation. This report may come at an opportune time in the nation's history. The great social, economic, and legal changes of the 1960s-the civil rights move- ment, sustained economic growth, and new legal and political policies-are two decades in the past. Since the mid-1970s, many signs of stagnation or even retrogression have appeared in some important measures of income, health, education, and conditions of black community and family life: in- creased poverty, a decrease in college enrollment of blacks, an increased proportion of households headed by poor single women, and continuing high unemployment of both men and women. After a decade and a half of devoting great attention but little pragmatic action to these conditions, they have reached a critical stage. Our review leads us to think that now is an appropriate time for a serious national effort to find the practical means to change those conditions. DATA, FINDINGS, AND INTERPRETATIONS: CONCEPTS AND METHODS What are the positions of black people with respect to various measures of status in American society? What is the current status of black-white relations? How do blacks and whites perceive their relative social positions? What changes have occurred in economic position, health, education, polit- ical participation, residence, civil rights, community associations, self-con- ceptions, and attitudes? The subsequent chapters report detailed findings and conclusions as they pertain to these deceptively simple questions. A1- most all social indicators lead us to conclude that contemporary relations between blacks and whites involve more subtle and complicated behavior than did such relations in the past. As a result, an assessment of black status is more difficult than in earlier decades. We aim to avoid oversimplification of complex findings and to be even- handed in presenting differing interpretations of data. These objectives may lead to a text that disappoints readers who want simple answers and conclu- sions, but no other approach will do justice to the realities of American society. Nonetheless, the report is not restricted to a purely descriptive presentation of the evidence. We attempt, whenever the data are sufficient, to give an analysis of causes and of likely implications for social policy. We had the task of sorting out and evaluating a large set of diverse meas- ures and indicators of conditions and their changes. The report documents numerous scientific challenges confronted by this task. First, at the most elementary level, there is the sheer absence of vital pieces of information. The data necessary for thorough analysis of what is happening to the nation often are not collected. We have had to cope with gaps and other inadequa- cies in the data, even for elementary descriptive tasks. 45

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY Even when data do exist, many of the most interesting questions involve quite difficult problems of scientific inference. For example, how does one estimate the outcomes of political participation? Conclusions about changes in the economic status of blacks are strongly influenced by choices of defini- tions and measures. What factors should be considered in an evaluation of the fairness of the nation's criminal justice system? Hundreds of such choices underlie the text that follows. For understanding the why of changes such as those we discuss, it is often important to have longitudinal information-measurements in the same units over time-because correlations based on cross-sectional data are tricky to analyze and often misleading. There is also the challenge of measurement and modeling in order to draw conclusions. A great deal has been learned about these methods in the past decade, but there is a long way to go. This study involves many important dilemmas with regard to values, ethics, and relationships between scientific analysis and social policy. The facts never speak for themselves in any field. There is no way of avoiding value-laden choices. Our conclusions concerning a number of questions will matter to many people. For example: Have the educational opportunities available to black people improved? Have public policies had important effects? Has discrimination in the workplace decreased? Can equal employment opportunity be left to market forces? Has segregation in housing and residential areas decreased? What has happened to marriage and family institutions among black Americans? What are the causes of change? Each of these questions is marked by active debate, many different views, high political interest, and strong feelings. This report aims to provide fac- tually based clarification of certain important national public concerns. STUDY METHODS As we examined one substantive area after another, we found that appar- ently contradictory or anomalous findings often simply reflect differences in indicators, definitions, data samples, or statistical models. Detecting such variations should make it possible to at least reduce disagreements over "the facts of the case" in analyses of public policies. Our tasks involved four principal approaches: verification: checking of facts and analyses; extension: widening of scope and elaboration of analyses; discovery: finding new knowledge; and assessment: evaluation of significance and implications. / Verification involves ascertaining the validity of evidence. It also entails updating, that is, bringing forward historical series of data into the present to ascertain their continuing validity. 46

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OVERVI EW: THEN AN D NOW Extension of prior studies means that we have found it essential to bring into a single report a wide range of complex evidence, linking together economic and political changes with changes in family structure, residence, health, and organizational and community life. We found that many widely accepted global generalizations are misleading, and we often had to disaggre- gate national data to see important differences, among regions of the coun- try, among individuals and families, and among people grouped by other demographic factors such as age, sex, and education. Discovery of new knowledge has been sought primarily by reanalysis of existing information, as in our study of the changing income distributions of black men and women in comparison with whites (Chapter 6~. In some cases we collected new information that led to a discovery, such as the large amount of organized self-help activity in black communities (Chapter 4~. Assessment of the significance and of the implications of data and findings cannot be a simple extension of analysis, but represents an integration of empirical findings with knowledge of the broader sociocultural setting and with an interpretation of choices, values, and potential policy options. The basic conception that lies beneath our analysis is that of a human society as a dynamic collection of subsystems. "Race relations" is an abstrac- tion from the cries-crossing of social processes that make up a living society. In the case of the United States, that society is deeply pluralistic, loosely 1 r ~ articulated, highly energetic, and tun ot possible tutures. DETERMI NANTS OF BLACK STATUS Black status results from American social institutions and the race relations that have developed within that institutional structure. Statistical indices of blacks' social positions are concrete indicators of that status. As such, status indices are the primary objects of our analysis, and their study encompasses most of the material presented throughout the report. However, beliefs and attitudes-perceptions-are also important in a study of group status. Peo- ple's attitudes and beliefs about one another are important consequences of the structure of society and its race relations, as well as major determinants of race relations. The report focuses on the relationships between three fundamental deter- minants: social institutions, black-white relations, and underlying social con- ditions (demographic change and economic growth, for example). Effects on blacks' social positions are generally inferred from changes in statistical indi- ces of social status and black and white attitudes. But it is important to note that changes in indices of status and attitudes are both consequences and causes of change in the three more fundamental determinants of blacks' . . . . social positions. To understand the status of blacks, it is necessary to consider black-white relations. Blacks' status both influences and is influenced by the existing pattern of black-white relations. For example, opportunities for the status of blacks to advance in terms of their employment, education, and general 47

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY health were quite different under pre-1960s de jure segregation than after- ward. Changes in black status can begin a dynamic process that results in alterations in black-white relations: for example, when blacks gained the right to vote, serve on juries, and become officers of the courts, black-white relations in the civil and criminal justice systems changed. In the United States, the structure of social institutions has always played an important role in determining blacks' status and black-white relations. Thus, black-white relations and blacks' status changed after southern public schools were desegregated in the late 1960s and the 1970s. Furthermore, changes in more fundamental social conditions can effect change in black status and in black-white relations by acting on either or both. One such force is change in the underlying structure of the economy. For example, between 1940 and 1970, large losses of black jobs due to the mechanization of southern agriculture and the expansion of industrial employment oppor- tunities for blacks outside the South accelerated the urbanization of the black population. These changes set the stage for at least two important alterations in black status and in black-white relations: urbanized blacks, especially outside the South, gained the elective franchise and greater access to political office, and industrial employment raised black incomes so that blacks' power as consumers affected a variety of black-white relations (Chap- ter 5~. Less spectacularly, what laws are passed and how they are enforced continue to be affected by and to affect race relations and the status of blacks (Chapters 3-5~. In sum, there is a large, complex system of mutually dependent phenom- ena. Sources of change, for better or worse, exist at nearly every position of the system. However, some kinds of changes can be expected to have larger effects of longer duration than others. In theory, one can trace out the likely effects of a change in any of the variables upon the entire system, but it is a very complicated process. INTERPRETING DATA Throughout this report we make assessments of the consequences of some of the conditions described: these are inferences about causes and effects. Any such cause-effect judgments concerning the dynamics of complex social systems require great care. Yet such appraisals are vitally necessary-for oth- erwise little that is sensible could be said about crucial issues of public and private policies for the years ahead. Because appraisals of interrelated causal sequences are highly dependent on particular social contexts, our inferences are embedded at widely separated points in the analysis. When thus dis- persed, these judgments may not stand out in their full import. Hence, we wish to call special attention to them here. There are systematic patterns evident in the data we analyzed. A central example is the reciprocal effects of economic changes and political actions. Thus, we regard the evidence as compelling that long-term changes in the economic status of black Americans have been powerfully shaped by the 48

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OVERVI EW: THEN AN D NOW interaction of large-scale changes in the economy with reductions in racial discrimination. In turn, reductions in discrimination, and in enforced segre- gation, have been possible only because of political mobilization of black people and their white allies. We conclude that increased political participation has been enhanced by improvements in economic status and in education. Most policy proposals are based either on assumptions about individual behavior and decisions or about the constraints the social environment places on people's choices. Thus, much of the policy debate concerning the status of black Americans is over whether policy needs to change people's behavior directly or whether it should change their opportunities and range of choices. Changes in the opportunity structure available to blacks and their responses to those changes have been substantial during the past few decades. Many of the findings discussed in the following chapters have been consequences of these patterns of social opportunity and individual responses. Explaining Black-VV6ite Differences The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, investigating Miami, Florida, in the aftermath of the violent racial disorders there in May 1980, reported that one of the most frustrating conditions perceived by blacks was lack of job opportunities. There were two major explanations for the lack of jobs. The commission found that "young black job seekers" faced discrimination from employers-many of whom held very negative stereotypic perceptions of blacks. The commission also found that large numbers of unemployed black youths lacked the "basic entry level skills" required to compete effectively for jobs (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1982:147-148~. Both race and lower status backgrounds limit the opportunities of many blacks. The two reinforce each other, and each has some independent influ- ence. The importance of race is clear from examining a large inventory of research and statistical data. Those data show nationwide discrimination against blacks-although diminished since the mid-1960s-throughout the decades since World War II. In the 1980s, differential treatment of blacks infrequently takes the form of blatant hostility and overt discrimination. Differential treatment is most likely to occur when it allows someone to avoid close interracial contact; it prevents the establishment of interracial relations of equal status or black dominance. esDeciallv in emolovment and 1 ~ 1 . . . . .. . ~ . . . . . ~ .. ~ . housing; and it Is possible to kind a nonracial explanation for deferential treatment. For example, blacks who find little difficulty gaining entry- and even middle-level employment positions frequently encounter barriers to upper-level positions that would involve significant authority over whites or the need to interact with them in social settings like private clubs. Residential Segregation and Its Effects The clearest evidence of discrimination comes from audits of practices in the rental and sale of residential properties. Black and white people of equal 49

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY economic means, education, and credit worthiness have very different expe- riences in the housing market. Blacks are more likely to be excluded from renting or buying in certain residential areas, to be given quotations of higher prices and rents, and to be "steered" to areas already primarily populated by blacks. Estimates of the frequency of these practices vary, but it appears that in many metropolitan areas one-quarter to one-half of all inquiries by blacks are met by clearly discriminatory responses (Chapter 3~. Urban residential segregation of blacks is far greater than that of any other large racial or ethnic group, and there is extensive documentation of the purposeful development and maintenance of involuntary residential exclu- sion and segregation. Residential segregation has not been an unplanned, spontaneous process, nor has it disappeared along with legal segregation. Black suburbanization rates remain low, and objective indicators of socioec- onomic status that predict suburbanization for Hispanics and Asian-Ameri- cans do not do so for blacks. The social changes of the 1960s and 1970s that affected black status had only slight effects on the residential segregation of blacks in large cities. Blacks are not free to live where they wish, whatever their economic status. Thus, black-white residential separation continues to be a fundamental cleavage in American society. Discrimination in housing markets forces blacks into separate residential areas. Because of the large incidence of poverty and relatively low education levels among blacks, many are then concentrated into areas with high per- centages of economically poor and poorly educated families. The resulting social patterns generate persisting disadvantages. For example, residential separation greatly restricts educational and employment opportunities and thereby directly limits the economic and social status of the next generation. In a report of this kind, much of the description and analysis relies on aggregate statistics. But population aggregates and averages frequently con- ceal important differences among various groups. Thus, while we report a 1987 national poverty rate among blacks of 30 percent, the rate was 45 percent among blacks living in Houston, Texas, but 19 percent among blacks in Los Angeles. Similarly, national high school dropout rates among blacks are about 25 percent, but many large city school districts such as New York and Chicago report black and Hispanic dropout rates twice as high, about 50 percent. Recent concern has focused on the fact that national black infant mortality rates are twice the white rate, but in the District of Colum- bia, Chicago, and Detroit, black infant mortality rates in 1985 were almost 3 times higher than the national white rate. These disparities are not arbitrarily chosen examples. Inner-city areas con- tain densely populated neighborhoods of very poor families and individuals. Poverty has severely detrimental effects on the life chances of children. Children from low-income households have, on average, lower educational attainment and achievement, poorer health, and inferior job prospects. Dur- ing the mid-1980s, the rate of poverty among black children has been about 3 times the rate among white children. Furthermore, one-half of all black children were poor for at least 4 of their first 10 years of life during the 50

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OVERVI EW: THEN AN D NOW 1970s; only one-twelfth of white children experienced poverty so severe. About 33 percent of black children were poor for at least 7 of 10 years in the 1970s, compared with 3 percent of white children (Chapter 6~. Poor blacks are much more likely than poor whites to live in residential areas of concentrated poverty (Chapter 6~. A consequence is that poor blacks are far less likely than poor whites to have social contacts with higher income individuals-in neighborhoods, churches, recreation areas, school-related ac- tivities, and so on. They are less likely to have access to information or contacts useful in locating educational and economic opportunities. Children and youths in areas of concentrated poverty have fewer models of successful attainment and are less likely to receive adult support, guidance, and disci- pline conducive to educational and occupational attainment (Chapters 6 and 7). Black youths living in poor areas face daily challenges that jeopardize their chances of reaching adulthood prepared for a satisfying and materially pros- perous life. The destructive pressures of peer groups and the dangers of ghetto streets abound. Crime rates and violent behavior among young black males have become epidemic. The unemployment rates for blacks aged 15- 24 are very high: in March 1985 they were 28 percent for females and 32 percent for males. Young adult blacks have higher rates of addiction and arrest for drug use and sale of drugs than whites. Among the black popula- tion, the deadly acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is reaching alarming rates, primarily because of needle sharing among drug users. Illiter- acy rates among black youth are very high in many areas. Violence and absenteeism are reported to be prohibitive obstacles to effective teaching and learning in many schools located in high-poverty areas. DESCRIPTION OF THE REPORT The following nine chapters of this report present detailed findings and conclusions on a wide range of measures of black status. In the next chapter, we assess change and continuity since 1940 in black-white relations and in the extent and nature of black participation in predominantly white social institutions. A primary distinction is made between black numerical access (desegregation) to such institutions and equality of treatment between races (integration>. Chapter 3 continues our assessment of intergroup relations and black participation in the wider society. It also looks forward to Chapter 4, which analyzes changing attitudes and social structure within black communities. Chapter 3 thus provides a general analysis of black and white attitudes and behaviors toward one another and toward many of the important issues treated in Chapters 2 and 4 (e.g., desegregation of schools and housing, equal versus discriminatory treatment in black-white relations, and black identity). , Chapter 4 reverses direction. It is concerned with the status of black communities themselves. Thus, while much of the discussion treats many of 51

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A COMMON DESTINY: BLACKS AND AMERICAN SOCIETY the same kinds of organizations and institutions discussed in Chapter 2, the focus is on change and continuity in concepts of black self-identity and in black-controlled institutions and organizations. Black-white relations are not of primary concern in Chapter 4. Chapters 5-9 report findings with respect to blacks' status in political participation, the economy, education, health, and criminal justice. Finally, in Chapter 10, we report on the conditions of families and the status of children. Throughout these last six chapters, the conceptual focus is on both a comparative analysis of blacks' absolute social status at different times and on their status relative to white status across time. As a consequence, a rather broad picture of the status of the white population is also presented. Chapters 2 - thus provide a discussion of changes in black-white relations, attitudes toward racial issues, and effects of these changes on aspects of social structure in black and white communities. These chapters provide one side of the factors determining blacks' status, black-white relations within social institutions. The last six chapters report on various dimensions of blacks' status that (as we argued above) also determine blacks' general social posi tlon. We close this overview with two observations. One is that the unique historical experience of black Americans is a strong living force in the present, encouraging pride in achievement against great odds and in unique cultural contributions to national life. A strong sense of common destiny and group identity is widespread and is important to a degree not fillly appreciated by white Amencans. Our second observation is that the changing status of blacks affects the lives of all Amencans. The social position of black people is an indicator of the functioning of American institutions. REFERENCES U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 1982 Confronting Racial Isolation in Miami. Washington, D.C. ing Office. Warren, Earl 1973 Equal opportunity: the Constitution and the law. Pp. 16-27 in Robert C. Roo- ney, ea., Equal Opportunity in the United States: A Symposium on Civil Rights. Austin: University of Texas Press. Welch, Finis 1973 Black-white differences in returns to schooling. American Economic Reriew LXIII(5) :893-907. : U.S. Government Print 52

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OVERVIEW: THEN AND NOW NOTE Figure 1-3 summarizes calculations of the hypothetical earnings of black and white men over their working lives, ages 20 to 64. They are hypothetical because they assume that the distributions of annual earnings by age for a given date will continue over the 45 years of a career of a man aged 20 at that date. For each date, and for blacks and whites separately, an age-earnings profile was computed for a man with median earnings at every age. Using five age brackets and ten earnings brackets (in 1984 constant dollars), median earnings figures for each age were estimated by linear interpolations across the earnings brackets. Rather than assuming that a man at the median received the same earnings for every year he was in one of the five age brackets, a year-by-year profile was estimated by linear interpolation. When this interpolation gave negative estimates for initial or terminal years, zeros were substituted. The lifetime sums of profile earnings are converted to an annual figure simply by dividing the sums by 45. "Discounted" or "corrected" figures allow for mortality, growth of earnings, and time discounting. For example, the discounted figure for 1984 uses the 1983 mortality table (Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1987:Table 108) for white men and black men; a rate of growth of per-worker earnings of 1.5 percent; and a real rate of interest discounting future earnings by 3 percent per year. These values are meant to approximate recent trends while adjusting them optimistically. The discounted figure for 1970 uses the 1971 mortality table (Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1974: Table 82) for white males and Negro and other males; the growth and time rates are 2.5 percent and 1.5 percent, respec- tively, reflecting the different macroclimate of those times. Black men have significantly higher death rates than white men, especially among the young. The probability that a 20-year-old man will survive to age 65 was 67 percent for whites and 50 percent for blacks by the 1971 table and 76 percent for whites and 58 percent for blacks by the 1983 table. This implies that later earnings mean less for blacks than for whites and also that the joint result of expected growth and of time discount, positive for 1970 and negative for 1985, means less for blacks than for whites. Although it is probable that survival rates are correlated with earnings, it was not possible to allow for this relationship in our calculation. Likewise, it could be argued that the time discount for blacks should be higher than for whites, and in general that the time discount should be higher for lower income men. It is harder for blacks, especially low-income blacks, to convert future earnings prospects into current spending through borrowing. c~ ~ r~ - 1 ~ ~ 53

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