Racism, White Supremacy, and a boy named Trayvon

Anyone who says that white people do not have supremacy is wrong. White supremacy is alive and well and I have just a FRACTION of the numbers that prove it.

Let’s start with our government…

The U.S. population breakdowns by race are 72% White, 13% African American, 1% Native American, 5% Asian American, 6% Other races, and 3% Multiple races (16% are Hispanic or Latino regardless of racial identification).

Luckily, this breaks down real nicely if we were to compare it to the U.S. Senate (100 members). However, in the Senate there are approximately 94 Whites, 2 African Americans, 0 Native Americans, 1 Asian American, and 3 Hispanic Americans.

In order to be adequately represented African Americans need 11 more people in the senate, Native Americans need SOMEONE, Asian Americans need 4 more people, Hispanic Americans need about 13, and ALL of them need to come from the White group of Senators.

In education…

Adult literacy in 2009 has Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians trailing their White counterparts by a significant margin. Asians were twice as likely, Blacks were 3 times as likely, and Hispanics were 6 times as likely as Whites to possess below basic literacy skills.

As for higher education; in 2010, 0f people 25-34 the amount of Whites with a bachelors degree or higher was 37%, Asians were 62%, Blacks were 19%, Native Americans/Pacific Islanders ranged from 13.9-12%, and Hispanics came in at 13%.

However, higher education isn’t ALL bad! The number of degrees conferred is actually split much more closely to population numbers. Of all associates degrees Whites earn 66%, Blacks earn 13.7%, Hispanics earn 13.5%, Asian/Pacific Islanders earn 5.3%, and Native Americans earn 1.2%. The problem is, as the degrees increase in prestige, Blacks and Hispanics earn fewer and fewer.

What this tells us (along with the rate of bachelors or higher among 25-34 year olds) is that Whites and Asians are much quicker to begin their post-secondary careers; and inevitably achieve to a higher degree (pun intended).

Enough of education, ON to business!

As of last July (2012) only about 4% of Fortune 500 CEOs are NON-white (.8% African-American, 1.8% Asian-American, 1.2% Latino). That means over 95% of the top earning businesses are led by whites, despite only 64% of the work force being White, with Hispanics making up 16%, Blacks making up 12%, Asians 5%, and 3% not identifying their race.

Of 25-34 year olds with a bachelors degree or higher that work full-time, full-year jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics the annual median earnings by race were Asians at $60,200; Whites at $50,000; Pacific Islanders $48,600; Hispanic $45,300; Blacks $43,200; and Native Americans $38,100.

These are concrete numbers. This is not “liberal media”.

Racism is often defined as “a system of advantage based on the color of one’s skin.” If white supremacy is still very much alive, then so is racism; because whites having supremacy in government, education, and business is most certainly an advantage. And let me say that racism occurs in (at least!) two instances; personal and systemic (check out this post for more on that).

So while I absolutely believe that George Zimmerman does not hate black people, I do still believe that racism is at the center of the Trayvon Martin case. In fact, I think that given George Zimmerman does NOT hate black people makes the racism worse… because it is a reflection of us all.

Something about our society led George Zimmerman to make six phone calls to police concerning black males after a string of burglaries, but not any other race. Something about our society caused George Zimmerman to report ‘suspicious activity’ concerning black males (some as young as 7!), but not any other race. Something about our society led George Zimmerman to believe that Trayvon Martin, as a black teenager, was so dangerous that he needed a gun when getting out of his car to speak to him.

George Zimmerman has no problem with African Americans in his family. Why would he? He knows them; they are familiar. But African American males out on the street..? Something about our culture has taught George Zimmerman to be suspicious of them.

THAT is the problem!

THAT is why the African American community is upset!

Racism on a physical level is receding. The U.S. has taken the whips off the back, the chains off the feet, and the noose off the neck; but we’ve replaced them with the whip of unequal pay, the chain of unequal opportunity, and the noose of an unequal justice system.

To me, Trayvon Martin wasn’t a victim of racism because George Zimmerman wanted to kill a black kid; Trayvon Martin was a victim of racism because from the moment he was born an African American boy, he faced an uphill battle to succeed in a White man’s country.

Once we are able to admit and understand that, then we can begin to take actions to prevent further tragedy and root out all remnants of racism in our country.

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