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April 18, 2024

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New Casey Report on Racial Barriers

POSTED: April 02, 2014, 9:30 am

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The Baltimore based Annie E. Casey Foundation, a philanthropy leader in examining social policy affecting children, has released a new report that details the uphill battle children of color face in accessing opportunities to build successful lives. The report, titled Race for Results, is a companion to Casey’s annual Kids Count survey. The new research looks specifically at a number of social indicators that make clear the tremendous obstacles children who are racial minorities face in various dimensions of American life. It is a sobering view of inequality in America and the persistence of stubborn patterns of institutional bias and poverty.

Contrary to the tendency of much of current social science research to discount or minimize the impact of historical bias on society today, the Casey report dives in and addresses specifically how the past affects the present. Race for Results notes, “Although historical foundations are well documented, it is almost impossible to overstate the role of slavery, forcible removal of American Indians from their land, Jim Crow laws and discriminatory immigration policies have played in shaping the life trajectories of tens of millions of Americans.” The report details examples of local, state and federal policies, and business practices, that helped embed inequality in American society in the areas of housing, transportation, employment, education and the criminal justice system. It is a rare account of racism and public policy in America and its contribution to present-day inequality from the world of philanthropy.

Race for Results uses 12 measures to create an index to gauge the position of children of color, African-Americans, Latinos, American Indians and Asian subgroups, in our nation. Included in the list of measures is data on proficiency in math for 8th graders, young adults ages 19 to 26 who are in school or working, children who live in low poverty areas and high school students graduating on time. When taking the twelve measures into account African-American children consistently score worse than the national average and white children. For example, for 4th graders who scored at or above proficient in reading the national average index score was 34, for whites 45 and 17 for African-Americans. Similarly, for children who live in two-parent families the national index score was 68 and for whites 77 but just 37 for African-Americans. In fact, Black children fared worse among all groups in that measurement.

“Decisions on where and how to create opportunity cannot be viewed through a colorblind lens, but rather through a clear picture of yesterday’s history, today’s reality and tomorrow’s hope for the nation’s future.”

The report notes that five indicators bear directly on educational outcomes and early work experiences and that “across most of these indicators, African-American, American Indian and Latino children face the longest odds for succeeding.” Race for Results includes four indicators that relate to family resources and affect family households and neighborhoods. The report recognizes “there are structural disadvantages facing many families of color in America that contribute to lower rates of marriage and cohabitation.”

The report declares “the index scores for African-American children should be considered a national crisis. Although they vary across states, regions and domains, in nearly all states, African-American children face some of the biggest barriers to success.” States scoring the lowest on the index for African-Americans are in the South and Midwest. However, northern states did not fare that much better.

These findings by the Annie E. Casey Foundation represent the latest in a series of research reports that illustrate the degree to which race continues to define opportunity in America. Coming on the heels of the U.S. Department of Education’s release of data on racial disparities in public education and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report on segregation in public schools, the Race for Results report is the last, and certainly not the last, chapter in a narrative of inequality in America.

The report significantly rejects the notion of a post-racial America, making plain that “Decisions on where and how to create opportunity cannot be viewed through a colorblind lens, but rather through a clear picture of yesterday’s history, today’s reality and tomorrow’s hope for the nation’s future.” The full report can be obtained at:{5B863B11-62C7-41EC-9F7F-6D12125C4DC2}

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