How the Department of Labor Undermined the Black Community

Americans from all ends of the political spectrum usually agree on a need to address racial disparities in schooling, workforce participation, and incarceration rates. Ironically, some of these gaps have gotten even worse for blacks born after the Civil Rights Movement. A prime example of this alarming trend is the disproportionate incarceration rate of black men who were born after 1960 (Fig. 1). Since the data for both groups is based on men who did not complete high school, this gap cannot be blamed on large differences in education.  Fig. 1: Based on data from The Prison Boom and the Lack of Black Progress After Smith and Welch (Tables 3 & 4), by D. Neal and A. Rick, July 2014, National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 20283. The authors attributed this increased difference to a move towards more punitive treatment of arrested offenders, but they did not rule on the possibility that young black men are now offending at a higher rate than they did in...(Read Full Article)