Education, Poverty, Incarceration, And The Pursuit Of Happiness

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Education, Poverty, Incarceration, and the Racial Wealth Gap in America Our constitution states that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Are the words of our founding fathers being upheld? If this is truly the essence of our society, why is it so difficult for African Americans to thrive economically, and why is there a prominent, growing wealth gap between white and black Americans? Studies show that there are three fundamental issues contributing to systemic racism and creating the disparity: poor education, workplace discrimination, and judicial inequality. Poor education in high poverty neighborhoods leads to low college attendance and graduation rates, which in turn reduces job prospects and the potential to build wealth. Discrimination during the hiring process and in the workplace is another significant factor; evidence exists demonstrating that resumes with white sounding names receive many more callbacks as those with typically black names, and once a job is secured, there is a notable wage gap between white and black workers. Civil issues such as unequal sentencing and high incarceration rates round out this trifecta. Law enforcement officers tend to arrest, and judges lean towards convicting, African Americans more often than any other racial group. Additionally, once convicted, the sentences are frequently much more harsh.
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