Los Angeles County is a diverse urban hub that consists of 88 cities within its region. A multitude of backgrounds and ethnicities reside in this urban hub. Unfortunately, many of the residents are divided by strategic barriers that influence the disconnect via social strata, education, economic opportunity/resources, housing, health-care, and public safety, nestled under the umbrella of xenophobia.
Equally, there are 272 neighborhoods in Los Angeles County. As a collective, Los Angeles County has more segregated neighborhoods than the liberal propaganda would have one believe. For example, a Diversity map, a link created by the Los Angeles Times, indicates the probability that two residents, when randomly chosen, would be of different ethnicities’. The findings reveal a vivid divide in demographics of Whites, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians. Whites disproportionally in general reside in more affluent areas when compared to Blacks. Likewise, large populations of Blacks in concentrated areas, live in less affluent neighborhood. This report demonstrates in real time, the racial, ethnic, educational, and economic divide in Los Angeles County—and Los Angeles is not very diverse! For Blacks and other races to truly experience diversity—we must interact, learn about, grow with, and experience one another. This data presented in this summary alone, affirms the need for this movement. There is a gap in what we as people in our local Los Angeles hubs believe makes us diverse.
Between 2010-2014, the American Community Survey conducted a five-year sample that included the Black population in Los Angeles and in California (Brown et al., 2017). The findings suggest Los Angeles County houses a third of the Black population in California. The study indicated 8% of Angelenos are Black which consists of approximately 832, 031 Black people live within these borders.
Yet, a recent report from UCLA’s Labor Center on Black Workers in Los Angeles County, indicated that young people between the ages of 18-24 are disconnected from work and school. It was estimated that 3 out of 10 Black youths are not working or in school (Brown et al., 2017). These same researchers reported that on average the Black adult worker with a Bachelor’s degree outnumber their White counterparts of the same caliber. However, 17% of the Black worker is unemployed, as opposed to the White worker’s unemployment rate at 9%. Likewise, 15% of Black workers with college degrees work in low-waged jobs. Research of this nature shows that members of the Black community have a college education. In fact, the Labor report indicated, “Black people in Los Angeles are significantly more educated than previous generation;” however, the opportunities, post college, limit them to higher unemployment and lower employment rates when compared to White workers. There is a plethora of issues that account for these disparities. What stands out is the idea that our urban youth and young adults need to be empowered to be active in the social movement to better their life outcomes prior to moving past their secondary experiences.
It is no doubt the dis-ease in our country is rooted in economic inequalities. Historically, members from marginalized communities experience disparities within their neighborhoods and communities that both influence and reinforce their opportunities to progress. Members of the White race have had a 400 plus year start in the wealth game in America. Along with the 30-year stint of White wealth gaps triggered during the Reaganomics era, negative portrayals of Blacks in the media glorified an inferiority complex that assisted in the criminalizing of Blacks in popular culture (Alexander, 2012).
Still, the election of Barack Obama as the first Black president would have some to believe that we live in a post racial climate—not! A report by Pew Research Center (2016) unfolded wide differences in views between Black and White adults on barriers to Black progress, areas of discrimination, and ideas of what it would take to change inequity for Blacks. What is alarming about the findings from this research is that 38% of Whites reported the country had made the necessary changes to give African-Americans equal rights when compared to Whites. Only 8% of Blacks shared this belief. Also, equally both Blacks (42%) and Whites (40%) reported that they felt America would eventually make the changes to equal the playing field for equality between Whites and Blacks. Various issues connected to limited access impacts Blacks mobility, ability to provide for the immediate gratification and/or long term tenets of housing, education, and business ventures to better their circumstances.
And shift happens. We cannot forget about the courageous activisms from the civil rights era from Americans of various ethnicities who opened doors for Black progress. We still have a long way to go. Like the civil rights movement, we need the energy and innovation from our community members—especially our generation Z and Millennials to be a part of this onus.
W.E.B. DuBois suggested some years ago that the question of the 20th Century was that of the color line; and that the goal of the 21st Century would be diversity and how we embrace it. The call for our communities to embrace diversity is now! We don’t want to wait for our residents, our youth and young adults, to seek civic involvement or diversity to be falsified under the illusion of a fragmented truth that they will not get it in college. We want to embrace it right now!
Alexander, M. (2012). The new Jim Crow; Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York, NY: New Press.
Brown, P., Haywood, T., Orellana, R., Smallwood-Cuevas, L., & Waheed, S. (March 2017). Ready to work, uprooting inequity: Black workers in Los Angeles County. Los Angeles, CA: University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA Black Labor Center.
Karenga, M. (2003). Du Bois and the question of the color line: Race and class in the age of globalization. Socialism and Democracy, 17(1), 141-160.
Los Angeles Times: Diversity. (2017). http://maps.latimes.com/neighborhoods/diversity/neighborhood/list/
On views of race and inequality, Blacks and Whites are worlds apart. Pew Research Center. June 27, 2016.