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We Need To Acknowledge Black Economic Injustice [opinion]

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Black people should open the door and acknowledge Black injustice because it is hurting us and killing people in the Black community. We need to see it and talk about it before it gets any worse.  

Black injustice has been going on for decades, and the way Black people get treated isn’t equitable, starting from unfair pay based on race and including undervaluing Black voices in a variety of social areas. It isn’t right at all, and that is the point. Black injustice started a long time ago.  Jim Crow laws are one of many examples of it.  These were segregation laws that amplified that Black people couldn’t sit at the same bars as other races, and they couldn’t use the same bathroom as other races. These are just some examples of Jim Crow laws.

Jim Crow was so bad that it even made people think that the injustice and treating Black people as less than white was right and that this treatment would stay that way. Although Jim Crow laws are not active to this day, the inequity of these laws will always have everlasting damage to the Black community. Lower-paying jobs, lack of access to loans and shaky school systems are ever-lasting effects from Jim Crow. Even now Black people often pay more when they buy or rent homes or cars just because of this history of racism. 

Unfair pay based on race is still very common in the United States of America. Black men are one of the subsets of societies most underpaid but also have the most minimum wage jobs, like warehouse jobs or jobs at fast food places or auto part stores. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), for every dollar a white man makes, a Black man only makes 87 cents (2017-19 data, see chart). 

But I’m not going to stop there. For every 87 cents a Black man makes a Black woman only makes 63 cents, which is terrible. Also it is very common to see Black people not in senior positions or often in the low-paying jobs or the part-time jobs. Like when I go to fast food restaurants I typically see a lot of Black people working, but when I go to parties with my dad who runs a multi-million dollar organization, I see a lot of older white men in senior positions. 

Inequitable and unfair pay can lead to many other things. When you have unfair pay, that can be the difference between having the average pay of an American or being a minimum wage worker, which can lead to poverty. A lot of Black people are suffering from poverty and the impacts of gentrification (remodeling of neighborhoods that were suffering from poverty). For example, if you are a Black person who lives in an old neighborhood that is becoming gentrified, you might have to move out of the neighborhood because you can’t afford the rent anymore, and then move to another lower-income neighborhood, which would keep you in poverty.

Atiyah Kennedy, 21, who grew up in Atlanta and now works at Georgia State University, said she has to push herself harder than people who are not Black to get even. “For me, that makes me work a little bit harder. I always grew up knowing that as a woman, as a minority, I would always have to work harder to get what I need to in this life. So it makes me work harder and make sure that I’m able to go out in the world, make a change, make a difference, and ensure that people like myself can and do go above and beyond to get that pay and to get that equity and equality.”  

The wage gap between Black women and other races is unbelievable. An average Black woman in the U.S. makes about 63 cents to every dollar a white man (Non Hispanic) makes. Even with good qualifications a Black woman with a master’s degree only makes 4 more cents on the dollar than other Black women without a high school degree. 

According to SHRM, “Black women make up 10 percent of the low-wage workforce—jobs that typically pay less than $11 per hour, or about $22,880 annually—while they make up just 6.2 percent of the overall workforce.” 

What I think about this situation is that if something does not change, nothing will get better, and for me growing up as a young Black man I am worried that this problem will not be fixed before I come into the business industry. When I grow up, I would like to be an entrepreneur. Going into business, I am confused on how this economic injustice would change before I grow as an entrepreneur and as an adult in this world. I would just really want this world to change and would want everything to be equal for everyone, no matter what race or color you are. The quicker we acknowledge these economic injustices, the sooner we can have a change. 

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