2009: The Year in “Post-Racialism”

In 2009, the United States inaugurated its first black president, Barack Obama. 2009 is also the year of Disney’s first black princess character. While these firsts represent real advances, the country still has a long way to go on the path to racial equality. Below are a few reasons why America did not become post-racial in 2009. This list is idiosyncratic and does not claim to be definitive. It is in no particular order.

  • In 2009, America’s schools were still separate and still unequal.

  • For much of 2009, college-educated blacks had an unemployment rate nearly twice that of college-educated whites.

  • In 2009, it was revealed that the country had been lax for many years in fighting racial discrimination. Find details here and here.

  • In 2009, the Restaurant Opportunities Center published a detailed report showing race and sex discrimination in fine-dining restaurants.

  • The Federal Reserve reported in 2009 that blacks started losing wealth before the Great Recession began.

  • In 2009, America still had a racially discriminatory 100-to-1 disparity in punishment between crack and powder cocaine.

  • The evidence suggests that in 2009, at every education level, whites were more likely to obtain “good jobs”—jobs with high pay and benefits—than blacks. See also this discussion.

  • In 2009, the AARP Public Policy Institute reported that the black foreclosure rate was nearly three times the white rate.

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--Algernon Austin, Ph.D.

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