Thursday, April 21, 2011

Few Disparities

Few Disparities
By Amber

In class on Tuesday we talked about Minnesota statistics regarding disparities. The class touched on statistics in Criminal Justice: “Minnesota has by far the highest disparity; blacks in the that state are incarcerated at 23 times the rate of whites.”, Health: “Breast cancer mortality rate for black women is 50% higher that white women.”, Education Quality: children of color and poor children are attending less successful school, while Caucasian children are attending more successful schools. Which leads into the high school graduation rates: 90% for White students, while only 64% for African American students. I found all of these to be horrible disparities.
I found an article from The Minnesota Compass that fits right along with what we were discussing in class. The article talks about how Minnesota takes pride in the belief that every person has the opportunities to be successful, but the article questions if that is really the case. Is every Minnesotan given the opportunity and tools to succeed?
“People of Color make up the fasted growing members of our (Minnesota) population. These individuals will continue to make up an increasing large part of our (Minnesota) workforce” (Minnesota Compass, 2009). People of Color are also the ones who are more likely to live in poverty, less likely to graduate from high school, suffer more from chronic illness, and less likely to own their own home. After reading that article it made it seem that some children are not given the tools and are not being taught the skills to succeed in the economy. So how is change supposed to occur?

Minnesota Compass 2009 Wilder Research


  1. Amber,
    Great post. There are a lot of valuable statistics in there that I believe most people in Minnesota are completely unaware of. I am from Minnesota, and so they are particularly important to me. I just dont understand how some people can still argue that racism does not exist. All of those statistics literally prove that it does. Th fact that the mortality rates are even vastly different really worries me.

    The same is really obvious here in Mexico. The light skinned Mexicans are almost always wealthy, go to better schools, and more have college degrees. The darker skinned Mexicans and the indigenous are usually poor, dont have a high school education, work many hours, and are looked down upon in society. It depresses me that racism exists no matter where we go in this world. We must fight to end these disparities.

  2. Amber! Thank you so much for this post!

    I am from Minnesota and so I take these statistics to heart. Unfortunately these disparities appear to be a common trend not only in the U.S, but also worldwide-- such as here in Mexico as Deidre mentioned in her reply. My host mom here said once, “Mexico is not a poor country” “The problem is” -- she told me “in Mexico a little have a lot and a lot have a little.” This is so true.
    Clearly something is terribly wrong in our society when in 2011 skin color becomes a determining factor in HEALTH, EDUCATION, and SES STATUS.

    The incredible disparities in our world between the "haves" and the "have-nots" are what keep me awake at night....
    More and more my eyes are opened to the racism that occurs on the institutional level in the U.S. This semester I have done a lot of research on the DREAM Act bill that was introduced to the Senate in 2010 to provide access to higher education and citizenship for undocumented immigrant youth. I have become aware of what higher education access would mean for this population. Education is vital for any upward mobility in the U.S. However higher education opportunities continue to be privileges for those who can apply for and afford them.
    “Is every Minnesotan given the opportunity and tools to succeed?”
    This is an extremely important, yet difficult question. I believe it is our job as social workers to make sure that yes, every one is given the opportunities, skills, and tools for success, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation… etc.

    Thank you again!!

  3. Dear Amber,
    This reminds me of the idea of "Minnesota Nice' versus 'Minnesota Ice'. I feel as though we have the reputation to be pleasant face to face, but its all an act, or front. Minnesota Ice seems more accurate- not because of our weather- because we aren't real. You'd know what I meant if you went to New York, where everyone is blunt and honest. The way we act like we give equal opportunities and provide tools for everyone is like this because it is a front to make Minnesota look good.

  4. Amber,
    I also agree that we hear everywhere that "everyone deserves an equal opportunity" but yet we don't SEE any of this happening in communities around us. We need to start practicing what we preach, and reach out with the proper resources we have for the African American population and other populations that make up the people being "left out" or "invisible to society" and build them up to make a better Minnesota and a better world as a whole. Very nice article.

  5. Amber,
    Thanks for the post! First, I find it sad that Minnesota is noted for the highest disparity rates. For all of us, diversity is a big part of our lives going to school here at Augsburg. I know I can speak for myself that I feel as if I have become naive to believe everyone is as accepting as we are here. Those disparities are unjust and upsetting. I think we need to keep questioning ourselves and people in power. THanks again for the post.


  6. Amber,
    Thank you so much for your post. I have been thinking about those statistics ever since that class. It was so alarming to me, not being a Minnesota resident until recently. I obviously know that racism is still alive and well in the United States but the disparities are glaring.
    The institutional racism that has been interwoven into our society is sickening to me. One of the saddest examples of that institutional racism is the graduation rates that you touched on. It makes me look at the system and just wonder, how did it become so flawed?
    I have much hope for the future that these sad statistics will change for the better. So many things need to take place for things to get better, but it is absolutely necessary.

    By Lisa