Racism in America

Why are people protesting, why are people angry?

Why does the average black household have 1/10th the wealth of the white household and 40% less of the income?

What happened after the civil war? 9 states enacted vagrancy laws, making it a crime to not have a job and the law was applied only to black men. 8 of those states then allowed prisoners to be hired out to plantain owners with little or no pay going to the prisoners.  Many men who had just been freed found them selves back on the plantation working as slaves. The freedmens bureau is a good topic to research.


Mischief and insulting gestures were also criminalized and resulted in even more black men being imprisoned and resulted in a huge market for "convict leasing".


Working conditions for leased convicts were often worse than slavery because the plantation owner no longer had to have any concern for the wellbeing of the slaves working his plantation.


By the turn of the 20th century every southern state had "Jim Crow" or segregation laws.  In 1896 the supreme court ruled that these Jim Crow laws were legal because they reflected customs and traditions and preserved public peace and good order.


In 1954 they were struck down alongside the idea of separate but equal in the Brown V board of education case.


In 1956 the Southern Manifesto was signed by 101 out of 128 Congress members from the south, pledging to maintain Jim Crow laws by all means possible. 5 states passed nearly 50 new Jim Crow laws.


Segregation academies popped up all across the south and soon followed widespread protests against segregation and the war.


In 1968 81% of Americans agreed that law and order has broken down in the country and the majority blamed “communists and blacks who start riots”. Richard Nixon campaigned on a platform of law and order.


Going back to the first point, where does household wealth come from? The number one source of generational wealth is home ownership. From the 1930s to 1960 the federal government enacted policies to actively encourage white families to own homes and discourage black families from doing the same.


In 1934 the Federal housing administration created a risk rating system to determine which investments were safe for federally backed mortgages. Black neighborhoods were deemed to risky, marked off on maps with red ink which is now known as “Redlining”. After WW2 a boom of suburban housing was built all over the country with much of it restricted by deed to “Whites only”.


In 1948 40% of new housing had covenants prohibiting purchase by African Americans. So, blacks could not live in white neighborhoods and couldn’t get federally secured loans for black neighborhoods.


Until 1950 the Relators code of ethics specifically prohibited selling homes in a white neighborhood to a nonwhite family. A relator could lose their license if they sold a home to the wrong race of people.

In the 1930s FHA underwriting manual said, “Incompatible racial groups should not be permitted to live in the same communities.” The FHA went on to recommend that highways would be a great way to separate black from white neighborhoods. The FHA funded huge white only suburban housing developments leaving blacks behind in inner cities.


After WW2 the GI bill provided subsidized mortgages to help millions of men returning from war to buy their first home. While technically eligible for the bill, the way it was administered left 1 million black veterans largely on the outside looking in. In New York and New Jersey, the GI bill insured more than 67,000 new mortgages while fewer than 100 of those were for homes purchased by nonwhites.


In 1947 there were 3,200 mortgages guaranteed by the government under the GI bill, of those only 2 went to black veterans.


As a result, after the war, white families were able to build home equity, growing wealth for retirement, inheritance and college education for their kids. One historian stated “ no greater instrument for widening an already huge racial gap in postwar America than the GI bill.


And then came the war on drugs. Inner city blacks were extremely vulnerable economically. In the 1970s the overwhelming majority of black Americans lacked college degrees and had grown up in segregated schools.


In the second half of the 20th century factories and manufacturing moved to the suburbs while lack workers struggled to follow the jobs. They could not live in many of the new developments and in the 1970s only 28% of black fathers had access to a car.


The results, in 1970 70% of black men had blue collar jobs and by 1987 only 28% did. Unemployment skyrocketed and so did drug use, as drug use increased so did crime. We see this dynamic at play today in black and white communities hit hard by unemployment and addictions.


Throughout the 1970s white America became increasingly concerned by images of black violence shown on TV and in magazines. Drugs were the problem and drug dealers and users were turned into the enemy worthy of a military response. During the Reagan and Bush years from 1981 to 1991 the department of defense budget for drug allocations went from $33 M to more than $1 billion

$    33,000,000


The drug enforcement agency budget increased from $86 Million to $1 Billion.


The 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act created mandatory minimum sentences with much harsher penalties for the distribution of crack Cocaine versus powder Cocaine, mandated evictions from public housing for any tenant who committed and drug related crime, eliminated many government benefits including student loans. The revisions in 1986 set a minimum of 5 years imprisonment for any amount of crack Cocaine, even if there was no intent to distribute.


During the Clinton presidency the funding for public housing was cut by $17 Billion while at the same time funding for prisons increased $19 Billion. The number of Americans in prison exploded. In 1980 there were 41,000 imprisoned for drug crimes, today there are more than 500,000.


Between 1997 and 1999 the Pentagon handled 3.4 million orders for military equipment which included grenade launchers, for 11,000 police agencies.  One of the tools this unlocks is the “No knock entry”. Take Minneapolis as an example. In 1986 there were 35 no nock entries and in 1996 there were 700.

There were, and probable still are, financial incentives for arresting more drug users. Federal grants to local police departments were tied to the number of drug arrests. Research indicates that the increase in arrests were not tied to an increase in drug use but rather a result of increased budgets.


Prison populations have dramatically increased. In 25 years (1980- 2005) the US prison population went from 350,000 to over 2.3 million. The US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world and data shows that this is a result in changes in sentencing policies.


If you are a drug felon you are barred from public housing, ineligible for food stamps and are supposed to disclose that on job applications which reduces the likelihood that you would be hired by as much as 50%. The negative impact of being a convicted felon is twice that for a black man.


In 2006, 1 out of 106 white men were behind bars, for black men it was 1 out of 14. For black men between to age of 20 and 35 it was one out of 9.


Georgia drug law study allowed prosecutors to seek a life imprisonment for a second drug offense. It was used by prosecutors 1% of the time against white offenders and 16% of the time against black offenders. 98% of the prisoners under this laws were black.

Black youth make up 16% of all youth in the US but 28% of all juvenile arrests, 35% of all youth sent to adult court instead of juvenile court and 58% of all youth admitted to adult state prison.

Blacks on the New Jersey turnpike make up 15% of all drivers but 42% of all stops by police and 73% of all arrests. Of all drivers, white drivers were 2 times more likely to be carrying drugs.


Volusio County Florida, 5% of drivers were black or lati no but 80% of the drivers stopped.

Oakland California, black drivers are twice as likely to be stopped and 3 times as likely to be searched.


“over reliance on incarceration fails to make us safer or restore the people and communities that have been harmed.


A white boy has a 1 in 23 chance of going to prison.

A black boy 1 has a 1 in 4 chance. That’s plenty to be mad about.



Be sure to check out this video of Joe Biden pitching his agenda and beliefs on the thugs who were accosting people on the streets causing so much hurt and trouble that they needed to be taken of the streets. You don't want to miss this one.

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