In a previous post, I alluded to the endurance of inequality along race/ethnic lines in many socio-economic indicators. A recent report by RAND, commissioned by The California Endowment, is a good example of research documenting these disparities. The report, titled Reparable Harm, looks specifically at the gap between Latino and African American males and their white counterparts. The disparities are usually astoundingly large. Here is a sampling:
- Nationally, the risk of contracting HIV or AIDS is 6.9 times higher for African-American and 3.1 times higher for Latino male adults and adolescents than for their white peers.
- Nationally, African-American men are 5.5 times more likely than white men to go to prison in their lifetime, and the odds of Latino men experiencing this outcome are 2.9 times higher than for white men.
- African-American Californians over the age of 25 are nearly twice as likely to be without a high school diploma as whites in that age category, while Latinos in California are almost seven times as likely as whites to be without a high school degree.
- Young African-American men (15 to 24 years) have a homicide death rate of more than 16 times that of young white men in California.
- African-American and Latino children are 3.4 times more likely than white children to live in poverty in California.
The reasons for these disparities are complex, and as the report highlights, there are macro, community, family and individual factors across health, physical, safety, social, economic, and educational domains that contribute to individual outcomes. No matter whether you see the causes of these disparities as mostly societal or structural, on the one hand, or from personal or family factors, on the other (or all of the above), the magnitude of these gaps is simply unacceptable. Thankfully, the report offers up some examples of proven approaches and programs at various levels that can help reduce these disparities.