The American dream in the face of racism

On one side of the coin, the American dream is the opportunity to succeed; this comes with upward social mobility for children and families, among other benefits. However, the other side of the coin representing the American dream that many aspire to has a rather dark side: racism.

According to a study by Morgan, Farkas, Hillemeier and Maczuga, ethnic minority students are less likely to be identified for special education than their white counterparts, when controlling for family income and achievement. Rather, it’s a double standard at play, where what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander.

Minority races do not have equal access to capital as individuals and business owners, further widening the wealth gap. Predominantly black neighborhoods, for example, do not enjoy the same level of financial services as non-black or minority communities. Arguably, black people still face financial discrimination related to access to financial services and associated fees and charges.

The result of a survey conducted by the United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 2019 showed that 13.8% of black households in America do not have a bank account, which was high compared to that of the general population, 5.4%. Moreover, in 2019, only 52.5% of black households took out bank credit, while 72.5% of all American households did.

In an NBC News article, National Fair Housing Alliance Vice President of Housing Policy and Special Projects Debby Goldberg said, “We have a housing market with different components, including rentals and purchasing and financing and insurance, which is really built on an explicitly racist structure.

The National Fair Housing Alliance is a consortium of non-profit organizations against housing discrimination. Goldberg was referring to the structure upon which the housing market was based.

The US federal government’s plan to close the racial wealth gap by supporting black-owned banks has not worked well. In 2020, there were 18 black-owned banks, down from 36 in the early 1990s. An analysis of nine cities with majority black populations by the Wall Street Journal found that borrowers in black neighborhoods are less likely to get l approval of their home loans than borrowers in other neighborhoods.

In 2016, and according to the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Finance Survey, a much higher percentage of black households owed student loans than white households. The median income of black workers is also relatively lower than that of their white colleagues.

When white businessmen go bankrupt, regardless of the civil or criminal lawsuit, they are likely to have subsequent relationships with banks and other financial institutions. However, this is not the case with black businessmen.

Racial discrimination in access to services has only underscored that minority races continually face challenges in obtaining equal opportunities.

Double standards for racial minorities are not unique to America; it is a worldwide phenomenon. Minority races are subject to double checks by institutions, including government agencies and security teams. A person from a racial minority is more likely to be harassed at an airport by security personnel than a white person.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that Africa has 60% of the world’s unused arable land. This potentially positions the continent as an important part of solving the global problem of hunger. Although Africa does not project itself as a force in the fight for food security, global institutions and superpowers do not see how Africa should participate in solving the global food crisis.

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