The discussion of racial privilege and inequality in the United States has never been a smooth one. The days of systemic racial segregation and the casual use of slurs might not be as painfully prevalent as before, but boy, do they still persist. Incredible progress has been made since the days of Martin Luther King Jr., but the U.S. still has a long way to go in that regard — in some areas more than others. A recent WalletHub study showed which states made more racial progress than others and which has had more racial integration within their borders.
WalletHub looked at factors such as median annual income, homeownership rates, voter turnout, and seven other indications of progress for Blacks and Whites in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the study.
While the vision of a "post-racial America" might seem out of reach for some — particularly in light of the incidences of police brutality and the subsequent emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement — there is progress being made, albeit slower than many would like to see.
(It's worth noting, however, that the WalletHub study focuses only on the integration of these two particular races; it does not address how well other minorities, like Asian Americans, 5.6 percent of America, or Hispanics, 17 percent, are faring.)
Racial integration ranking:
The study measured integration subtracting from the value attributed to Whites the value attributed to Blacks for a given metric, using only the most recent data available.
As far as improving on bringing Whites and Blacks together, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Texas were most successful. Maine, D.C., and Minnesota, on the other end, fared the worst with high gaps in unemployment rate, poverty rate, percentage of high school diplomas and college degrees, and more.
Racial progress ranking:
Racial progress was assessed by calculating the difference between the two races for a given metric, using the oldest available data and the most recent. Based on the result, researchers calculated the percentage of progress for that specific metric in the analyzed period.
Georgia, New Mexico, and Mississippi scored best at how much progress they have made on the same factors. Iowa, Minnesota, and Maine languished in the bottom three places.
"Racial inequality takes place in employment, housing, education, policing, in accessing affordable quality health care, and in many more arenas," Meghan A. Burke, an associate professor of Sociology at Illinois Wesleyan University, said in the study when asked why some states have been more successful at addressing racial inequalities.
"States are bound to vary in those inequality levels because of their different demographics, economics and policies. However, one thing seems clear: race-conscious and proactive, intentional policy to create and sustain equal opportunity is always better than policies favoring the free-market or those that are color-blind in other ways. Pretending racism and inequality doesn't exist, or that it can be solved through individual (market) choices, will only continue to grow these already-deep inequalities."
Cover image via Rena Schild / Shutterstock