Success: Women and Minorities Hardest Hit

Good news is bad news for those who need bad news.

According to data released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau, college-educated black men earn less than their white counterparts, providing evidence of America’s continued discrimination against blacks.

College-educated black women, however, earn more than their white counterparts, providing further evidence of America’s continued discrimination against blacks.

If there seems to be a conflict in logic between these two conclusions, then that’s probably because you are a racist. Or perhaps you just lack the razor-sharp deductive reasoning of the folks at the Associated Press, who implied such conclusions in a recent news report about the Census Bureau data. Even I am barely smart enough to understand it all, so don’t feel bad; and do try to keep up as I walk you through the AP’s report.

First, let’s examine the data in question. The Census Bureau analysis of income for the college educated, as broken down by sex and race, is summarized in the following table.

Average Annual Income,
College-Educated, 2003

At this point you may have begun to independently analyze the data, noting several facts of interests and even drawing conclusions from these facts. BUT I MUST CAUTION YOU: YOU ARE NOT A TRAINED JOURNALIST! Please refrain from thought until the proper conclusions have been provided to you.

The data for men are easy enough to analyze. Evil white males earn more than other racial groups. The proper conclusion to draw from this fact is so obvious that even a non-journalist could probably reach it; but, just in case, the AP gives us the expert interpretation: “Workplace discrimination and the continuing difficulties of minorities to get into higher-paying management positions could help explain the disparities among men, experts say.”

So among men, higher white income equals discrimination by whites. The obvious conclusion to draw from the female data then is that Asian women, who have the highest average income, are discriminating against non-Asian women, who have lower incomes. No, wait. That’s not right. OK, then maybe it is “Workplace discrimination” against whites and Hispanics that could “help explain the disparities” with blacks and Asians. Nope, that’s not right, either. Oh, this data is so confusing — let’s just see what the AP’s experts say could explain the data: “Economists and sociologists suggest possible factors: the tendency of minority women, especially blacks, to more often hold more than one job or work more than 40 hours a week, and the tendency of black professional women who take time off to have a child to return to the work force sooner than others.”

OH! Now I see: black women just work harder to get those higher incomes; just like higher white male incomes could be the result of hard work, if we didn’t already know they were the result of racism, which of course we do know.

No explanation was offered for the extreme lethargy evidently demonstrated by white and Hispanic females, although the possibility that comments by Larry Summers caused an increase in sick time for these groups is being investigated.

This hard work by black females is not to be celebrated, however; and not just because such “work-equals-money” logic would mean they were handily out-worked by Asian females (who strangely received no speculation in the article). Higher incomes cannot benefit blacks, it seems. As the article informs us (in clear and readable prose): “Notions that black women are struggling financially as much other groups are should not be dismissed”.

To be honest, I dismissed this notion on a first reading of the data, which looked to my untrained eye as though black women might have been struggling financially about $3,300 less than other groups. But this interpretation neglects this important fact: “For instance, nearly 39 percent of families headed by a single black woman were in poverty, compared with 21 percent of comparable white women, according to census estimates released last year.”

Of course, I’m still confused, since these data on poverty are drawn from the general population, while the discussion of incomes was restricted to only those with college degrees. But perhaps discrimination in America is so bad that 39 percent of black college-educated women earning $41,066 per year are in poverty? Oh, now I’m confused again. I’m not sure how this fact is pertinent??¢â???¬ ¦ I’ll check with the AP and get back to you on that.

Also, I wonder if a difference in taking leave from work after childbirth — which experts say explains the income disparity between black and white women so well — could have anything to do with the disparity between male and female incomes? It’s probably impossible for a journalist to find the time to ask such a question what with all the sexism out there to document. But experts do have one more guess as to why the average income of white males might be higher than other males: “Demographics may offer an explanation: There are millions more college-educated white men in better paying jobs than there are black, Hispanic or Asian men.” After having looked up the definition of “average”, I have to agree with the experts on this one. More high-income earners could increase the average income, I guess.

Anyway, last week I learned that racism makes white men rich and black women work hard. And Asian women must either work really hard or else they must be racists like white men, who are strange racists. Because if racism explains income rankings, then white men must like black women, who earn more than white women, who racist white men must hate more than anybody except Hispanic women, who are either lazy or victims. I’m not real sure which, since experts didn’t say and I’m not a journalist. My, this is all so hard to understand! Well, let’s just end with a safe conclusion: I’m a white male and it must be my fault if some people earn less??¢â???¬ ¦or more. So I’m very sorry. I think.

Thank goodness we still have the mainstream media working so hard to explain exactly how unfair everything really is in this country. It’s sometimes hard to pick up just from the numbers.