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Chris Rock, Oprah, and Barack Obama made it. So racism must be in people’s heads, right?

Though it is historic and significant that a black man was elected President, and Chris Rock and Oprah have achieved extraordinary success, a sample group larger than three best measures the progress of any population. Outliers exist in every population. Barack Obama, Chris Rock, Oprah, Steve Jobs, Michael Phelps, and Elton John, for example, exemplify that phenomenon.

Bigger-picture data drawn from multiple aspects of life paints a more accurate picture of how racism has disproportionately allowed white people to access housing, education, and professional employment, all of which contribute to building wealth, health, and social capital.

Once upon a time I might have looked at the statistics below as evidence of racial inferiority, not of an unjust system. Now I see inevitable outcomes of a socioeconomic system that favors white people, at the expense of Black and brown people, from cradle to grave

 

White

Black

Hold Higher Ed Degree (1)

30.3%

19.8%

Own a Home (2)

71%

45.4%

Median Household Net Worth (3)

$110,729

$4,955

Drivers on I-95 in Maryland (4)

79%

17%

Stopped & Searched by Police On I-95 In Maryland (4)

20%

70%

High Blood Pressure for Males (5)

33.9%

43%

Life Expectancy for Males (6)

75.7

69.6

(1) U.S. Census: Educational Attainment by Race
(2) U.S. Census: Homeownership Rates by Race
(3) CNN Money: Worsening wealth inequality by race
(4) The New Jim Crow – page 131 (94)
(5) CDC: High Blood Pressure Facts
(6) Unnatural Causes Documentary: CDC Data