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3.5: Dimensions of Racial and Ethnic Inequality

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  • Learning Objectives

    1. Describe any two manifestations of racial and ethnic inequality in the United States.
    2. Explain how and why racial inequality takes a hidden toll on people of color.
    3. Provide two examples of white privilege.

    Racial and ethnic inequality manifests itself in all walks of life. The individual and institutional discrimination just discussed is one manifestation of this inequality. We can also see stark evidence of racial and ethnic inequality in various government statistics. Sometimes statistics lie, and sometimes they provide all too true a picture; statistics on racial and ethnic inequality fall into the latter category. Table 3.2 “Selected Indicators of Racial and Ethnic Inequality in the United States” presents data on racial and ethnic differences in income, education, and health.

    Table 3.2 Selected Indicators of Racial and Ethnic Inequality in the United States

    White African American Latino Asian Native American
    Median family income, 2010 ($) 68,818 39,900 41,102 76,736 39,664
    Persons who are college educated, 2010 (%) 30.3 19.8 13.9 52.4 14.9 (2008)
    Persons in poverty, 2010 (%) 9.9 (non-Latino) 27.4 26.6 12.1 28.4
    Infant mortality (number of infant deaths per 1,000 births), 2006 5.6 12.9 5.4 4.6 8.3

    Sources: Data from US Census Bureau. (2012). Statistical abstract of the United States: 2012. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. Retrieved from; US Census Bureau. (2012). American FactFinder. Retrieved from; MacDorman, M., & Mathews, T. J. (2011). Infant Deaths—United States, 2000–2007. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 60(1), 49–51.