UFE's E-News January 2009

In this Issue:

Announcing UFE's 6th Annual MLK Day Report


State of the Dream 2009: The Silent Depression

In December we learned that the nation was starting its second year of a recession. But our report, released for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, found that people of color have been experiencing a recession for five years.

While many place their hopes on the first African American President to usher in an era where race is irrelevant, reality intrudes.

In fact, the unequal economic situation for people of color proves that race continues to be a major barrier to economic success for too many.

State of the Dream 2009: The Silent Depression explains the mechanisms that helped create the racialized economic depression, explores how this crisis affects individuals and communities of color, and proposes comprehensive policy solutions to this crisis.

The full report is available from: http://www.faireconomy.org/dream.

Key findings include:

  • The Black unemployment rate is currently 11.9%. Among young Black males age 16-19, unemployment is 32.8%.
  • The median household incomes of Blacks and Latinos are $38,269 and $40,000, respectively, while the median household income of whites is $61,280.
  • People of color are disproportionately poor in the United States. Blacks and Latinos have poverty rates of 24% and 21% respectively, compared to a 10% poverty rate for whites.
  • A deep recession would cause 33% of Blacks and 41% of Latinos to fall from the middle class into poverty; nationally, 25% of currently middle-class families would fall into poverty.

  • Among the solutions, we propose that:

  • The US Census Bureau should change its measurement of poverty in time for the 2010 census. The current method underestimates the numbers of the most marginalized. These gaps give policymakers an inaccurate view of the scope of the problems of poverty.
  • The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) should integrate into its indicators of recession measures for wealth inequality, asset accumulation, income inequality, employer-based benefits versus employee-based benefits, and the various types of unemployment.

  • Together, such simple measurement changes will help bring economic problems to the forefront and end the crisis of silence about the true state of the dream of racial equality.

  • Find the report here.
  • See an editorial by The Journal News (NY), The work that remains.
  • Read a commentary by Rod Watson, King's take on dream? 'Yes, but . . .'.


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