COMMENTARY ON 2013: HISPANIC-WHITE Equality Index

By Murguía, Janet | National Urban League. The State of Black America, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

COMMENTARY ON 2013: HISPANIC-WHITE Equality Index


Murguía, Janet, National Urban League. The State of Black America


PARTNERS IN A SHARED PLIGHT

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is honored to partner with the National Urban League (NUL) to shine a light on our communities through the release of the 2013 Equality Indexes. In 2010, when the National Urban League Equality Index was expanded to include the status of both Hispanic Americans and African Americans relative to White Americans across a range of socio-economic indicators, the shared plight of black and Latino people in America was brought into sharp focus.

Fifty years after the historic March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom, the 2013 Hispanic-White Equality Index is cause for both optimism and concern. It shows Latinos climbing the ladder of opportunity and in some fields, doing better than White Americans. But, the progress they are making remains unacceptably slow.

With a 2013 Hispanic-White Equality Index of 75.4%, Hispanic Americans are experiencing only three quarters of the full benefits that America has to offer.1 In the economic and social justice fields, Latinos are even farther behind- 60.8% in economics and 61.9% in social justice. The everyday reality of this was seen at the start of this year when the Hispanic unemployment rate of 9.7% was one and a half times greater than the corresponding white American unemployment rate.2

Despite the enormous challenges that these numbers indicate, the Hispanic-White Equality Index is not all about hardship. It also shows that Latinos are taking the opportunities presented to them to build their own American dream. For example, between 2012 and 2013, Hispanic Americans have reduced the gap in the Equality Index between them and white Americans by 0.4 percentage points. To achieve that in the middle of a lackluster recovery speaks volumes about the tenacity and enterprise of the Latino community.

And in the health field, Hispanic Americans are actually ahead of white Americans with an index of 101% in 2013. The remarkable thing about Latino achievement in health- which has always surpassed that of White Americans-is that it has been achieved while there are far more uninsured Hispanic Americans than white Americans.

We need to build on those strengths to help face our challenges and we have to do it together with our brothers and sisters in the African American community. African Americans and Latinos often live side by side in the same communities and face the same hardships. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in a telegram to Cesar Chavez, "the plight of your people and ours is so grave that we all desperately need the inspiring example and effective leadership you have given. …

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