Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Race and Earnings

Conservative student activist and blogger Brandon Henak writes about a key piece of census data released just yesterday. Quoting an AP story:
“A white woman with a bachelor’s degree typically earned nearly $37,800 in 2003, compared with nearly $43,700 for a college-educated Asian woman and $41,100 for a college-educated black woman, according to data being released Monday by the Census Bureau.”
Henak attributes this to the prevalence of affirmative action quotas and preferences.

In some fields, this is doubtless true. Henak continues:
The article’s main explanation of this is “Given the relative scarcity, if you are a woman in the sciences — if you are a black woman — you would be a rare commodity.” Now why are minority women such a sought after rare commodity? Is it because of scientific expertise significantly superior to their white counterparts? Not in most cases. They are so heavily pursued because they are necessary for coveted company “diversity.”
Without a closer look at the data, it’s not obvious that affirmative action is the sole, or even the main, reason for the disparity. It might be, for example, that black women are less likely to have a husband, and therefore have spent virtually their entire life since college in jobs, while white women mostly have husbands, and the luxury of leaving the workforce when children are young, to work part time, and so on. Doing this harms one’s earnings, although it may increase the quality of life for the woman and her family.

But one thing the data are not consistent with is the politically correct fantasy of massive racist discrimination against black women workers.

And example of how family structure can affect these kinds of statistics is found when we look at race and family composition and their effect on incomes.
Median Income of Family Households
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2001
Table 666


Looking simply at the total figures, and comparing the income of black and white families, we find that black families have 65% of the income of white families. This is the sort of figure endlessly quoted by the politically correct types to support the claim that there is still massive racial discrimination against black people.

But suppose we look only at married couple households? In this category, black households make 88.6% of the incomes of white households. Given the number of blacks who have been poorly educated in urban public schools, and the fact that older blacks had their life chances hobbled by real racial discrimination in the era before the Civil Rights revolution came to a head in the 60s, this is remarkable.

Female headed households have incomes much lower than married couple households. Among whites, female headed households have 57% of the income of married couple households. Among blacks, female headed households have 37.7% of the income of married couple households.

So why do the overall figures show black families having only 65% of the income of white families? First, because of the prevalence of female headed households among blacks, and second because, among blacks, a woman not having a spouse inflicts a bigger “hit” on family income.

This reality is profoundly embarrassing to the politically correct crowd. It suggests that the sexual mores promoted by their friends in Hollywood, and a welfare system that makes having a husband redundant has had a devastating effect in the black community.

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