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Apartheid in America?


Max Eternity - Has America prematurely come to the conclusion that because we now have a biracial President, anti-Black bias has been overcome--banished from this nation? Some may like to think so, and to a limited extent, at least symbolically, that might be true. However there are many indicators that say otherwise, suggesting that a more sanitized version of apartheid has now replaced our defunct Jim Crow laws.

In an article written by former and current presidents of the NAACP, citing a study done by Princeton University, they recently wrote in The New Republic "when white and minority youth were charged with the same criminal offenses, African-American youth with no prior admissions were six times more likely to be incarcerated than white youth with the same background...we could list volumes of statistics that reveal a nation still racked with discrimination and disparity."

CNN/Money wrote about this same Princeton study in 2005, with a lead in for that article saying that "black job applicants without criminal records are equally likely to be hired as their white counterparts who have served time in prison, according to a recent Princeton University study." CNN interviewed one of the authors of the study, Devah Pager, who said ""A lot of people are skeptical that African Americans still face discrimination in the job market...but even in a diverse city like New York, the evidence of discrimination is unmistakable."

This study is cause for concern, especially when viewed in light of a recent article published in the New York Times saying that officials from the City of Baltimore have claimed in a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo, that the lender created specific sub-prime loans targeted at Blacks, which tipped hundreds of homeowners into foreclosure and cost the city tens of millions of dollars in taxes and city services. As evidence, several employees of Wells Fargo have come forward to reveal the extent of the apartheid banking system. “They referred to subprime loans made in minority communities as ghetto loans and minority customers as ‘those people have bad credit’, ‘those people don’t pay their bills’ and ‘mud people" said Tony Paschal, an employee of the bank. “We just went right after them,” said Ms. Beth Jacobson, who is white and said she was once the bank’s top-producing subprime loan officer nationally. “Wells Fargo mortgage had an emerging-markets unit that specifically targeted black churches, because it figured church leaders had a lot of influence and could convince congregants to take out sub-prime loans.”

So the challenges are real, and as is often the case in America, things are not always as they seem. Still, there is hope, if one has the mindset of Bonds and Jealous of the NAACP. "Our victories usually took decades and were often dismissed as impossible and illusory by our critics. But then as now, we look at America and see its promise. We know that we will steadfastly move forward until that promise is realized for all. And until that victory is won."

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