OP-ED: Discrimination is not only black and white
Blacks and whites are worlds apart on views of race and inequality, according to a new Pew Research Center study. And the inevitable reaction that comes to mind is: Really? And what else is new?
At a time when disparaging blacks and Hispanics has made inveterate racist Donald Trump the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee, the study’s conclusion is not exactly breaking news.
“You hear that anecdotally, that there is a divide in the country,” and the study confirms it, has said Juliana Horowitz, an associate research director at the Pew Center.
In fact, as the nation approaches the eighth year of Barack Obama’s tenure, the hopes for a post racial era raised by his election as the first black president, now seem not much more than a quaint notion.
Sadly enough, Pew found that while white people think it already happened, about 4 in 10 black Americans are skeptical about ever being treated as equals to whites.
Unsurprisingly the Pew study found that “by large margins, black adults are more likely than whites to say that blacks are treated less fairly than whites across key areas of American life.” These include the workplace, dealing with police, the courts, when applying for a loan or mortgage, in stores and restaurants and voting in elections. This, of course, is what white privilege is all about.
Yet, racism and inequality are not exclusively black and white problems. As the country’s Latino population has grown, they increasingly have become brown problems as well.
As Pew also reports, “about half of Hispanics in the U.S. (52 percent) say they have experienced discrimination or have been treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity.”
An interesting finding, although hardly surprising, is that, consistent with the prevailing attitude of mistrust toward young people, the percentage of Hispanics ages 18 to 29 who say they have suffered discrimination because of their race or ethnicity is 30 percent higher than the percentage of those 50 or older.
Also interesting --and rather counterintuitive-- is that, according to Pew, “Hispanics born in the U.S. (62 percent) are more likely than immigrants (41 percent) to say they have experienced discrimination or unfair treatment.”
But discrimination can take many forms, as the 3.5 million U.S. citizens who live in Puerto Rico, can attest to.
The infamous PROMESA bill, signed by Obama on Thursday, creates a seven-member financial control board, supposedly to help Puerto Rico deal with its staggering debt. The bill also prescribes a lower minimum wage of $4.25, for newly-hired young workers in Puerto Rico, the lowest minimum wage in the U.S.
The board, whose real mission is to serve as a collection agency for vulture hedge funds, would make short shrift of whatever is left of Puerto Rico’s battered sovereignty. The Washington-appointed junta will have absolute power.
Also on Thursday Puerto Rico's governor, Alejandro García Padilla, declared a debt moratorium on the almost $2 billion debt that was due Friday. It became the largest default in Puerto Rico’s history.
Puerto Ricans, openly discriminated as second class citizens by Washington, deserve better than the phony promises of PROMESA.