Lyndon Johnson‘s statement can be summarized as the idea that equal opportunity is not enough Since the 1940’s great gains have been made in income, education, and occupation disparities in the African American community. However, past social and structural forces have affected the opportunities available to African Americans, and these disparities are still prevalent in today’s society. Throughout history whites have had advantages in housing, education, and work based on their perceived race The accumulation of wealth and social advantages over this period of time has led to a large gap between the benefits Blacks have and the benefits that whites are given As Johnson said, “it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity,” Equal opportunity programs were created partly to bridge the racial inequality gaps. The book White Washing Race talks about these programs in-depth, The Homestead Act of the 1860s was created in order to encourage Western migration.
It provided land for a minimal fee, however in order to acquire the land this act stated that you had to be a “legal citizen’i It wasn’t until 1866 that African Americans could be considered legal citizens, so from the beginning of this act they were at a disadvantage, The racial gap with this act would continue, as of the 46 million people who benefited from the Homestead Act it was mostly whites due to the exclusive policies during the land-give away periodt Another opportunity program that was discussed in the book was the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The FHA prohibits discrimination surrounding the sale, rental and financing of housing based on religion, race, origin or gender.
The FHA was intended as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, however even with the induction of the FHA housing remains segregated in many areas of the United States African Americans are currently the most residentially segregated group in the United States and are far less likely to own a home; even when they do get a mortgage, they receive far less favorable terms than comparable whites. Part of this is due to the whites that moved out of the cities and into the suburbs following the start of the FHA. These population shifts caused job opportunities to move into communities were Blacks were not welcome. This trend lead to a growth in the inner cities of America, and in turn lead to an increase in high minority populations who are plagued by crime, high unemployment rates, and other social disadvantages Your position in society is largely dependent on income Income allows you to acquire a house, provide educational opportunities for yourself and children, and helps ensure you have a secure future.
However the ratio of black to white income is 62 percent, but the ratio of black to white median net worth is just 8 percent. The income gap is a great example of the accumulated opportunities afforded to whites. If something as simple as economic opportunity is not equal then the racial gap will only continue to compound over time. White Washing Race discusses how racial accumulation and disaccumulation can be seen everyday in education, health care, and social and cultural opportunities. Johnson hits on the same point when he says, “iiinotjust equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result,” As a society we like to believe that we live a life of equality, however when you look below the surface it is obvious that racial inequality is still largely present. In the criminal justice system, black juveniles “accumulate” incarceration at rates that far exceed whites.
This pattern of racialized accumulation and disaccumulation dates back to the 16005, when the right to own property, goods, and services were restricted by race and gender. From the beginning, in the United States wealth and institutional snppon have been invested on the white side of the color line and disinvested on the black side. The result of this uneven investment is “durable racial inequality”; disparities that persist despite legislation and the changes in personal attitudes brought about by the civil rights movement. These institutional barriers to racial equality are often overlooked in today’s discussion of race, which revolves around the widespread belief that blacks themselves are responsible for their lower status. In today‘s world it is believed that blacks are less successful than whites due to them not taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them after the Civil Rights Movement, not because America is still a racist societyt Johnson discusses not seeking only freedom, but also opportunity. While African Americans were given freedom, there are cumulative effects of inequality on blacks and the long-term positive effects of institutional discrimination on whites.
One way to address the issues that Lyndon Johnson lays out is by using the ideas presented in White Washing Racer In the book, the authors propose a combination of public sector spending and institutional change to solve racial inequalityr Providing social and economic benefits to blacks in order to start to bridge the racial gap needs to become a priority. The government needs to increase public investment in jobs and schools, and address the critical issues in inner-city communities in order to reverse the disaccumulation seen in those neighborhoods Wealth redistribution programs need to be created with a focus on funding minority education and business startups. The greatest points of focus need to be on strengthening and expanding the antidiscrimination, encouraging diversity in higher education and restructuring the criminal justice system. If these steps and programs are put in place then as a society we can work towards equality being a fact of life.