By Donna Westfall – January 16, 2018 –
Monday, January 15th was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day which is celebrated on the third Monday of January. January 15th is his actual birthday. 50 years ago he was assassinated. A Black man, he spoke eloquently about equality of the races. A lot of strides have been made in the last 50 years, but still a ways to go.
In the late 50’s, white folks would move out of an area when black folks moved in. Actually over 40% felt that way and today that figure is closer to 1%.
Home ownership is flat at about 43% for the last 40 years.
Friendship/Acquaintances – In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed. At that time, only 18% of whites claimed they had a black friend, Today, nearly 90% do.
The labels to describe blacks has changed. When MLK, Jr. made his famous I Have A Dream speech in 1963, he referred to his race as “Negro.” Prior to that the terms colored and negro gave way to black. Then, African American. Between the 15th and 19th century, 10.25 million enslaved West Africans arrived in the Americas.
The derogatory and pejorative term, nigger was derived from the Latin word NIGER was loosing popularity until it’s resurrection in rap music and movies during the mid ’90’s to today. Some artists/actors are predicting the usage of nigger or nigga will de-racialize the term.
There’s an area MLK, Jr. didn’t live to see and that is how fluoride is affecting Black American children with 58% having dental fluorosis, the first sign of fluoride poisoning. White children have 36% dental fluorosis. Overall, American children have 41% dental fluorosis.
Sitting in the back of the bus, drinking from separate water fountains, using separate segregated bathrooms, staying in different motels, segregated schools, segregated units in the military… all of this changed. Celebrities like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Sammy Davis Jr., and Rosa Parks enacted change. Former President Harry Truman desegregated the military in 1948.
Black women as domestic servants was at 60% in 1940. Today that number is below 5%. More have white collar jobs than blue collar jobs.
And then there was our first Black President, Barack Obama serving from January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017. Well, half black. His mom was white.
The areas that still need work are: equal pay as the median black household earns 35.5% less than whites. Stopping the violence in the black community. Anti-black racism still prevalent by law enforcement. Although the population of blacks in America is about 13%, when it comes to incarceration, their numbers jump dramatically. They make up about 40% of the prison inmates which is five times the rate of whites.