Racism in America Today Is Alive and Well — And These Stats Prove It

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

America is far from having quelled its racism problem. Whether it's treatment by police or susceptibility to poverty, one's skin color can determine a whole range of variables in life. 

Particularly, blacks in America face a disproportionate number of social and economic barriers — but the racial problem is not binary. It extends way beyond a white-black disparity, affecting Hispanics, Arabs and a miscellany of other minorities. 

These statistics reveal disparate dimensions of racism as it exists in the United States today and are a stark reminder of how far the country needs to go in addressing the problem. 

1. Hate crimes are motivated by race more than anything else.

Nearly half of all hate crimes committed in America have to do with race. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 47% of hate crimes are racially motivated. Second place, a tie between religion and sexual orientation, doesn't even come close, accounting for only 19% of hate crimes, respectively. 

2. Black men are far more likely to be shot and killed by police than white men.

"Unarmed black men are seven times more likely than whites to die by police gunfire," the Washington Post reports on police brutality targeted at black Americans. The report estimated that an unarmed black man was shot and killed by police every nine days in 2015. 

While the targeting of black men by law enforcement has received considerable media attention in recent years, black women, who are often underrepresented, have faced similar fates of maltreatment.

"Although Black women are routinely killed, raped and beaten by the police, their experiences are rarely foregrounded in popular understandings of police brutality," Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, co-author and executive director of the African American Policy Forum, said in an AAPF report on law enforcement's treatment of black women.

3. There are active hate groups in every single state.

Hate groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan or the Aryan Nations, are extremist networks very often motivated by race. White supremacy is at the root of many of these groups, which have not atomized since the civil rights era, when racial segregation ended. In fact, a lot of hate groups are alive and well today, as evidenced by the fact their presence can be found all 50 states. 

4. Blacks consistently earn less than whites.

This graph shows between 2008 and 2015, whites have consistently earned more than blacks, with Asians earning the most on average. By 2015, the GDP per capita for whites was $13,260 (not far behind Asians at $13,884), compared to $11,908 for blacks. However, these data only paint a picture of recent history, but the pay gap between whites and blacks and other minorities is a systemic problem, dating back decades. 

5. Racial bias is entrenched in mass incarceration.

Around a third of America's population is comprised of people of color, yet they account for nearly two-thirds of the prison population. And one in three black men will go to prison at some point in their lives. 

"It's a system marred by vast racial disparities — one that stigmatizes and targets young black men for arrest at a young age, unfairly punishes communities of color, burdens taxpayers and exacts a tremendous social cost," the Southern Poverty Law Center explains. "Today, African-American men who failed to finish high school are more likely to be behind bars than employed."

Inmates at a California state prison work outdoors.
Source: 
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Natasha Noman

Natasha is a News Staff Writer covering global affairs. She previously reported on regional affairs from Pakistan. Natasha is based in New York and can be reached at natasha@mic.com.

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