In my latest for Figuring Faith, my blog at the Washington Post, I explore race relations in America 50 years following Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington:
As King looked out on the crowd that hot August day half a century ago, he painted a portrait of equality, economic opportunity and integration, and called Americans to live into this aspirational vision.
Today, some progress has clearly been made. Down the mall from the Lincoln Memorial steps, America’s first black president occupies the oval office. Most of the overt barriers, such as Jim Crow laws and “separate but equal” public school policies, have been struck down. However, as much of the pre-anniversary writing has highlighted, significant racial gaps remain in areas such as education, income, health outcomes, upward mobility, and incarceration rates (see here, here, and PRRI’s infographic on remaining disparities here).
Recent PRRI research reveals that black Americans continue to report experiencing higher levels of a range of community problems, compared to white Americans. For example, significantly more black Americans than white Americans say the following are major problems in their communities: lack of good jobs (80 percent of blacks, 60 percent of whites), lack of opportunities for young people (68 percent of blacks, 52 percent of whites), lack of funding for public schools (64 percent of blacks, 45 percent of whites), home foreclosures (55 percent of blacks, 44 percent of whites), and crime (51 percent of blacks, 28 percent of whites).
Be sure to check out my full article by heading over to The Washington Post.