The U.S. has a long and difficult history when it comes to the treatment of African American and other minority communities. While we have taken meaningful steps to update our laws and regulations to address racial discrimination, we have still not ended systemic racism.
In addition, economic data continues to show stark racial inequality. In 2017, the median income of black households was nearly $28,000 lower than the median income for white households, and black Americans lived in poverty at more than double the rate of white Americans. The lack of upward economic mobility persists as a major issue for black families. Black households are more likely to be at the bottom of the income distribution, and more than half of black children born in the lowest-income households remain at the bottom as adults. For white households in the same position, two thirds of children will rise to higher income quintiles as adults. In order to level the playing field and create a country that works for all Americans, there are clear racial disparities that must, and can, be addressed.
Access to Capital and Investment Disparity
6.5% of American households are unbanked, meaning that no one in the household has either a checking or a savings account. For black households, that rate is 16.9%.
- Delaney has proposed legislation to create nonprofit banks to increase access to banking services in distressed communities. Banks don’t currently serve these communities. To solve this problem, we need to allow for philanthropic, non-profit banks, specifically to serve these distressed communities
- Ensure minority entrepreneurs have access to capital (an example is to create a new SBIC program to encourage entrepreneurship and focus venture capital investment to distressed communities)
- Restore CFPB’s focus on anti-discrimination regulations in financial services to ensure people aren’t discriminated against
- Invest targeted infrastructure funding in minority communities to address issues including inadequate water systems and expanding public transportation
- Create a federal grant program to fund start up incubators and accelerators at HBCUs
- Institute a tax credit to promote venture capital investments in minority-owned businesses
Education is the great equalizer. All students, however, don’t have access to the same quality education. Since public schools are funded primarily through property taxes, schools in lower-income areas receive fewer resources to prepare their students for the future. In 2016, the funding gap between predominantly white and predominantly black school districts was $23 billion. Additionally, the graduation rate at U.S. public high schools is 69% for black students versus 86% for white students.
- Increase funds to low income schools through increases to Title I funding
- Expand universal education to include Pre-K through 14 (includes two year community college or technical training)
- Expand 0-3 child care availability for low income families
- Expand federal grants for community-based programs focused on supporting and mentoring struggling students like the non-profit organization, Thread, located in Baltimore, MD
- Expand programs that help low income urban families achieve financial stability through education and job training
Health Care Disparity
There are vivid and unacceptable racial disparities in U.S. health outcomes, especially in the maternal mortality rate. During 2011-2014, the pregnancy related mortality ratio for black women was 40.0 deaths per 100,000 live births, while for white women it was only 12.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. Additionally, life expectancy for black Americans is 74.7 years, nearly four years lower than the average for white Americans, and the cancer mortality rate for black Americans is 16% higher than for white people. We must do better.
- Delaney’s universal health care plan will eliminate a clear barrier to accessing care and medical services
- Implement Pay For Success programs like the Nurse-Family Partnership program in South Carolina to improve health outcomes during first two years of a child’s life
Criminal Justice Disparity
Our criminal justice system has a demonstrated clear bias against people of color. Black people, who are approximately 13% of the US population, make up 40% of the incarcerated population. A Delaney administration will work to:
- End or limit the use of money bail in the federal criminal justice system and encourage states to pursue similar reforms. Cash bail is excessive, discriminatory, and costly for taxpayers and communities
- End for-profit prisons
- Eliminate mandatory minimum sentences
- Increase funding for public defenders
- End the death penalty
- Increase funding for police body cameras
- Promote “ban the box” policies
- Provide federal funding for training and support of police officers designed to prevent racial profiling and generally encourage de-escalation
- Reemphasize Obama era DOJ oversight authorities of law enforcement practices that demonstrate a pattern of abuse or misconduct
- Remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and create strong federal guidelines and taxation polices to support decisions at the state level
- Increase federal support for recidivism reduction programs that have proven to be effective
- Increase funding for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to increase community policing
- Increase funding for programs to ensure police departments and first responders are well funded, particularly in areas suffering from high crime rates.