The National Urban League recently released its "State of Black America" report for 2005.
Those with weak hearts can feel comfortable reading this material. There are no surprises here, either in the data reported or in the recommendations made.
Central to the report is an Equality Index, which is constructed to measure overall black equality relative to whites. Weighting components that measure economics, health, education, social justice and civic engagement, the Equality Index places black equality at 73 percent that of whites.
Few will be surprised to learn that blacks earn less, own less, are unemployed more, live shorter lives, attend worse schools and are more likely to be convicted of a crime and be sent to prison.
How, according to the league, should blacks handle this deficit in equality they continue to experience? Here is league President Marc Morial in his remarks introducing this report at the National Press Club:
"The most powerful tool we have to make our voices heard is the vote, and with the vote we can start electing leaders committed to closing this gap."
The report lists 10 "prescriptions" for change. Eight of them are government programs. Of the other two, one suggests that blacks should tithe and volunteer more, and the other admonishes blacks to "focus on savings, investing, and estate planning."
Immediately following passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there were five black members of the House. Today, the Congressional Black Caucus is 42 members strong. However, according to the league, this eightfold increase in black political power on Capitol Hill still provides insufficient clout to solve our problems.
There is barely a hint in the league report that black problems might have anything to do with things other than politics.
Here are some gaps between white and black America that the study does not see relevant to report:
_ 48 percent of black families vs. 82 percent of white families are headed by married couples;
_ 43 percent of black families vs. 13 percent of white families are headed by a woman with no spouse;
_ Black women are three times more likely than white women to have an abortion;
_ 70 percent of black babies vs. 23 percent of white babies are born to unwed mothers;
_ Whereas blacks represent 13 percent of the U.S. population, they account for more than 50 percent of new AIDS cases.
The gaps that the National Urban League reports are gaps in symptoms and results. These gaps show the causes.