06-21-2018  5:10 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Ex-basketball coach sentenced to 60 days for sex abuse

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A former Beaverton basketball coach has been sentenced to 60 days in jail and five years of probation for sexually abusing a teenage girl he met through work.KOIN-TV reported Wednesday 34-year-old Laurence Metz was convicted of two counts of sex abuse.Metz was a coach...

Legal pot will roll out differently in Canada than in US

Mail-order weed? You betcha!With marijuana legalization across Canada on the horizon, the industry is shaping up to look different from the way it does in nine U.S. states that have legalized adult recreational use of the drug. Age limits, government involvement in distribution and sales, and...

APNewsBreak: Schools mum on ties to doc in sex abuse inquiry

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A now-dead doctor accused of sexual misconduct by former student athletes at Ohio State University said he acted as a team physician at other universities, most of which won't say if they are reviewing those connections or whether any concerns were raised about him.Ohio...

Trudeau: Canada to legalize marijuana on Oct. 17

TORONTO (AP) — Marijuana will be legal nationwide in Canada starting Oct. 17 in a move that should take market share away from organized crime and protect the country's youth, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.The Senate gave final passage to the bill to legalize cannabis on...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Young immigrants detained in Virginia center allege abuse

WASHINGTON (AP) — Immigrant children as young as 14 housed at a juvenile detention center in Virginia say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells.The abuse claims against the Shenandoah Valley...

AP Explains: US has split up families throughout its history

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some critics of the forced separation of Latino children from their migrant parents say the practice is unprecedented. But it's not the first time the U.S. government has split up families, detained children or allowed others to do so .Throughout American history,...

The Latest: Messi gets a chance to save face against Croatia

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Wednesday at the World Cup (all times local):12:16 a.m.Lionel Messi is going to have a hard time keeping up with Cristiano Ronaldo at this year's World Cup.Ronaldo has all of Portugal's goals, a tournament-leading four so far, and has been getting in digs at Messi...

ENTERTAINMENT

Dig it: Archaeologists scour Woodstock '69 concert field

BETHEL, N.Y. (AP) — Archaeologists scouring the grassy hillside famously trampled during the 1969 Woodstock music festival carefully sifted through the dirt from a time of peace, love, protest and good vibes.Perhaps they would find an old peace symbol? Or a strand of hippie beads? Or Jimi...

Behind the making of Jack-Jack, the summer's breakout star

NEW YORK (AP) — The breakout star of the summer moviegoing season isn't a dinosaur, an Avenger or anyone aboard the Millennium Falcon. It's a giggling pipsqueak in diapers."The Incredibles 2," which last weekend set a new box-office record for animated films with 2.7 million in ticket...

Ariana Grande, Pete Davidson are engaged

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's true, Pete Davidson says: He and Ariana Grande are engaged.The "Saturday Night Live" cast member confirmed their rumored engagement to Jimmy Fallon on NBC's "Tonight Show."Fallon put Davidson on the spot Wednesday, telling him he didn't have to get engaged to the pop...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Science Says: What makes something truly addictive

CHICAGO (AP) — Now that the world's leading public health group says too much Minecraft can be an...

New Zealand leader welcomes newborn girl 'to our village'

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave birth to a daughter Thursday...

APNewsBreak: Schools mum on ties to doc in sex abuse inquiry

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A now-dead doctor accused of sexual misconduct by former student athletes at Ohio...

Military vows to recover bodies from sunken Indonesia ferry

TIGARAS, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's military chief said Thursday that specialist navy equipment will be...

Voting machines raise worries in Congo ahead of elections

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Congo's government is moving forward with plans to use electronic voting machines in...

Japan to scrap evacuation drills for NKorean missile threat

TOKYO (AP) — Japan plans to suspend the civilian evacuation drills it started last year while North Korea...

George Curry
George Curry NNPA Chief Correspondent

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – The wealth gap between African Americans and Whites has expanded in recent years and is not likely to narrow without significant reductions in Black unemployment and changes in a system that favors the wealthy over poor and middle class Americans, according the National Urban League’s 38th annual State of Black America report titled, “One Nation Underemployed: Jobs Rebuild America.”

The report was released Thursday at a news conference at the National Press Club in the nation’s capital. In a statement accompanying the report, Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said: “The 2014 State of Black America and corresponding Equality Index indicate that while each state and city has its own economic recovery story to tell, the consistent refrain is that there is an urgent and growing disparity between the few who are reaping the rewards of economic recovery and the majority who are still reeling from aftershocks of the Great Recession.”

Morial added, “While ‘too big to fail’ corporations went into the bail-out emergency room and recovered to break earnings and stock market records, most Americans have been left in ICU with multiple diagnoses of unemployment, underemployment, home losses and foreclosures, low or no savings and retirement accounts, credit denials, and cuts in education and school funding. We must work to restore the very essence of 20th century America – the possibility of upward mobility for all – with a focus on meaningful solutions to these pressing challenges, including job creation and training, and ensuring that Americans are paid livable wages for the work they do.”

The 2014 Equality Index is a yardstick used to measure how well African Americans are doing relative to Whites.  In computing the Equality Index, 30 percent of the final score is based on economics while health and education each gets 25 percent and social justice and civic engagement each receives 10 percent on a 100 percent scale.

Explaining the Equality Index, the authors say: “That means rather than having a whole pie (100 percent), which would mean full equality with Whites in 2014, African Americans [with an index of 71.2 percent] are missing about 29 percent of the pie.”

In other words, the larger the Equality Index, the closer Blacks are to reaching parity with Whites.

The Equality Index has declined from 73 percent in 2006, to 72.1 percent in 2010 to 71.2 percent in 2014. However, scholars caution that the overall figure might reflect progress in some areas and retrenchment in others.

Relative to last year’s Black Equality Index:

Civic Engagement index improved from 99.9 percent to 104.7 percent;

Economics dipped slightly, from 56.3 percent to 55.5 percent;

Social justice declined barely from 56.9 percent to 56.8 percent;

Health (76.8 percent) and education (76.8 percent) remained unchanged;

The report also found:

Black median household income ($33,764) is about 60 percent of Whites ($56,565), down from 62 percent before the recession;

 The poverty index for Blacks compared to Whites is 29 percent – 28.1 percent of Blacks live in poverty vs. 11 percent of Whites;

Black-White unemployment equality is 50 percent or 2:1 and

When it comes to wealth, Blacks ($6,314) have only a 6 percent Equality Index when compared with Whites ($110,500).

Unlike African Americans, Hispanics saw their Equality Index with Whites increase slightly, from 74.6 percent in 2013 to 75.8 percent in 2014, which was 4.6 percent higher than African Americans.

In a chapter titled, “Policies of Exclusion Perpetuate the Racial Wealth Gap,” Thomas M. Shapiro wrote: “The dramatic and widening gap in household wealth along racial lines in the United States reflects policies and institutional practices that create different opportunities for whites and African Americans. Personal ambition and behavioral choices are but a small part of the equation.”

Shapiro wrote, “In gross terms, the difference in median wealth between America’s white and African American households has grown stunningly large. The wealth gap almost tripled from 1984 to 2009, increasing from $85,000 to $236,500. The median net worth of white households in the study grew to $265,000 over the 25-year period compared with just $28,500 for the Black households.”

He said five factors account for two-thirds of the proportional increase in the racial wealth gap: number of years of home ownership, average family income, employment stability, college education and financial support and inheritance.

According to Shapiro, home ownership accounts for 27 percent of the growth in the racial wealth gap. He said reasons home equity rises dramatically faster for Whites include:

White families buy homes and start acquiring equity eight years earlier than Black families because they are more likely to receive family assistance or an inheritance for down payments;

A larger up-front payment by White homeowners lower interest rates;

Residential segregation places an artificial ceiling on home equity in non-White neighborhoods and

The home ownership rate for White families is 28 percent higher than rates for Blacks.

“Hard evidence shows in stark terms that it is not just the last recession and implosion of the housing market that contributed to the widening racial wealth disparities,” Shapiro wrote. “Past policies of exclusion, such as discriminatory mortgage lending, which continues today, ensure that certain groups reap a greater share of what America has to offer while others are left out.”

No one expects the wealth gap to narrow without some reduction in unemployment.

Valerie Rawlston Wilson, an economist in the National Urban League’s Washington bureau, noted in her introduction to the report: “More than one-third of unemployed workers have been out of work for six months or longer and one in four has been jobless for a year or longer. Though the unemployment rate declined by 1.2 percentage points from January to December 2013 – the largest decline over a single year since the recovery began – labor force participation also reached a 35-year low in December. This downward trend in labor force participation raises concerns about underutilization of America’s labor capacity, or underemployment.”

She explained, “If we factored in the number of people who want and are available for work (but are not actively looking for a job) along with the number of unemployed workers actively looking for a job, and those who are working part-time out of necessity (but would prefer full-time work), the actual rate of underemployment was 13.1 percent at the end of 2013, nearly double the official unemployment rate.”

And things are even worse for African Americans, Wilson said.

“For African Americans, these challenges are even greater,” she wrote. “Though the Black unemployment rate briefly and narrowly dipped below 12 percent for the first time since 2008 at the end of last year, 42 percent of Black unemployed workers are long-term unemployed and 28 percent have been jobless for at least a year. The rate of underemployment for African Americans was 20.5 percent, compared to 11.8 percent for white workers and 18.4 percent for Hispanic workers.”

For the first time, the State of Black America provides an Equality Index for 77 major metropolitan areas. The report provided charts for Black-White income equality and unemployment equality.

 Summarizing the discussion on income inequality, Morial said, “An Oxfam report released in January confirmed what the Urban League Movement has posited for the last few years: in the U.S., where the gap between rich and poor has grown at a faster rate than any other developed country, the richest one percent of Americans have received 95 percent of the wealth created since 2009 – after the economic crisis – while the bottom 90 percent of Americans have become poorer.”

Morial explained, “When we overlay that with the disproportionate impact of unemployment on African Americans and other people of color, as well as the impact of the twin terrors of racial income and wealth gaps, we see an even direr situation.”

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