Racial Disparity | St. Louis Public Radio

Racial Disparity

Report Highlights Racial Inequities Among Children

Jun 18, 2019

Looking at the well-being of Illinois’ children through a racial lens … shows big disparities, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual KIDS count report.

Racial disparities show up on measures of health, educational achievement, and economic well-being.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 10, 2011 - Missouri has been prosecuting an increasingly disproportionate number of African-American juveniles in adult courts, despite an unusual state law that requires judges to consider racial disparity when deciding whether to transfer such cases.

In 2009, 64 percent of juveniles statewide prosecuted as adults were African Americans, nearly double the 2001 level of 36 percent. Black youth make up 15 percent of the state's population between 10 and 17 that falls under the jurisdiction of juvenile courts.

In the wake of Ferguson unrest, longtime St. Louisan Henry Biggs felt a pull to do something about the issues facing the St. Louis region.  He chose to swim.
Swimming to Ferguson

University City resident Henry Biggs remembers hearing “a lot of talk” about bridging St. Louis’ racial divides and disparities in the months that followed Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson four years ago.

“But I didn’t really see many people saying, ‘OK, well, what’s the thing that I could do?’” Biggs recalled this week on St. Louis on the Air.

For Biggs – a longtime St. Louisan, scholar and athlete – that one thing ended up involving a whole lot of swimming. He decided to swim the entire 28 miles of water surrounding Manhattan in New York City, and he asked people to pledge a dollar per mile to support “things that would make the Ferguson area better.”

Students and supporters call for racial justice as they march toward St. Louis Metropolitan Police headquarters on Olive Street. (May 19, 2018)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Students in St. Louis raised their voices on Saturday morning to protest racial profiling and systemic police violence against African-Americans.

More than 50 people attended the Black Lives Matter youth protest in downtown St. Louis. Police cars flanked the marchers as they walked down the center of Olive Street to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, chanting and carrying signs with slogans like “Students for Black Lives” and “Don’t Shoot.”

Mayor Lyda Krewson answers questions alongside panelists David Dwight, of the Ferguson Commission, and State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. Oct. 11, 2017
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A new assessment of St. Louis residents finds that many people want the city to address racial, economic and social inequality.

The findings are a part of the preliminary resilience assessment released by Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office. The assessment received contributions from the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, a program funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to strengthen cities around the world in areas of social, economic and environmental shortcomings.

City officials sought the input of over 1,300 people through meetings, surveys and workshops.

St. Louis Alderman Terry Kennedy leaves a committee hearing
Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

Should the Board of Aldermen consider if its policies are fair to communities of color when making decisions?

Members of the Engrossment Rules, Resolutions, and Credentials committee think so. Today the committee approved a plan recommending that the full board apply a "racial equity lens" to city policy decisions.

But, what is a racial equity lens?

Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

Community activists draped banners over several overpasses over westbound Interstate 70 on Wednesday to call attention to neglected parts of St. Louis and protest police killings of black people.

Each banner greeted commuters heading into St. Louis County with messages like “Black Lives Matter,” “Police Stop Killing Us” and “Invest in North City.” Kayla Reed, one of the organizers with the St. Louis Action Council, said they chose I-70 because it allows drivers to pass quickly through areas with high rates of unemployment, infant mortality and crime.

Jacqueline Hutchinson, Co-Chair of the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance SLEHCRA coalition, discussed Tuesday a new report that indicates significant racial and income disparities in home purchase lending in St. Louis.
Wiley Price | The St. Louis American

Amid a long stretch of boarded-up store fronts in the Baden neighborhood, a coalition of equal-housing advocates rallied outside today to decry the mortgage lending disparities in the St. Louis region.

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, listens as state Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, explains the Fair and Impartial Policing Act. The two lawmakers are co-sponsors.
Caleb Codding | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3 p.m. with comments from Nasheed, Dogan and others - Police departments in Missouri that continually engage in racial profiling could be stripped of their certification under legislation introduced in Jefferson City on Tuesday.

The “Fair and Impartial Policing Act,” sponsored by state Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, and state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, would be the first significant update to the state’s anti-racial profiling law, which originally passed in 2000. In addition to tightening enforcement for failure to collect data, the new law also requires departments to document pedestrian as well as traffic stops and expands the information collected during the stops.

James Cridland via Flickr

The St. Louis regional economy would see an increase of almost $14 billion if income were equal across racial lines. That’s according to a new report published by the Public Policy Research Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

“That’s the kind of money that turns over in the economy to the degree that it translates into increases in property values and translates into increases available for education. There are just all kinds of implications for that level of change,” said Mark Tranel, the director of the Public Policy Research Center.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis finds families with higher levels of education attain more wealth, and that the wealth gap between educational attainment levels is growing.

But the authors also stress that education alone does not explain the differences in these outcomes.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

The high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high in America of 81 percent, and in Missouri it climbed to 85.7 percent during the 2013-14 school year. As more students earned high school diplomas, the gap between graduation rates for white and minority students also began to narrow, both nationally and in Missouri.

Education summit-goers applaud keynote speaker John Jackson of Schott Foundation for Public Education Saturday Nov. 1, 2014 at St. John's UCC.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis community and faith-based organizations renewed a commitment to increasing equity in public schools at an education summit Saturday sponsored Metropolitan Congregations United, United Congregations of Metro East and the St. Louis chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

A mix of educators, faith leaders and community members spent the day in discussion, worship and planning for a November 20 walk-in in support for community schools.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis region received poor marks in a new report Wednesday that compares its levels of racial disparity and segregation to 34 similar metropolitan areas.

The report is an update to the East-West Gateway Council of Government's Where We Stand, which compiles data in order to measure the region on a yardstick with its peers across the country.

Sherry Payne

A Missouri registered nurse who had to abandon plans to walk across the state to raise awareness of black infant mortality rates made her final stop in St. Louis Friday.

Sherry Payne, who is the director of the perinatal health organization Uzazi Village based in Kansas City, gave a presentation at St. Louis University on ways to improve birth outcomes for black babies.

David Broome | UPI

Distance, whether measured in space or time, is often a friend to understanding. It clarifies where proximity distorts, allows us to grasp things in their entirety.

Protesters are greeted by a wall of police officers after a march to the Ferguson Police department on August 11, 2014.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI / UPI

The calls for greater representation of minorities in the region's law enforcement ranks have grown louder in the wake of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson police officer. Protesters want to see more minorities especially in the police departments serving predominantly African-American communities.

Two-thirds of Ferguson’s residents are black, according to 2013 census records. But there are only three African Americans on the city’s 53-member police force. The city council is also predominantly white, as is the mayor.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: African-American drivers in Missouri are more likely to be pulled over by police although subsequent vehicle searches show that white drivers are more likely to be carrying something illegal.

And Hispanic drivers -- while the least likely to be pulled over -- are the most likely of the three groups to be searched. While they were the least likely to be carrying anything illegal, Hispanic drivers were the most likely to get arrested.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 20, 2012 - Idyllic images of African-American fatherhood are very much in the public eye with local artist Cbabi Bayoc churning out one such painting every day this year. But in the real picture, black fathers are often missing.

In St. Louis city, 70 percent of African-American children (and half of all children) live in households with no father, according to St. Louis’ Fathers’ Support Center.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 10, 2012 - Black Americans are more likely than whites to be stuck at the bottom of America’s economic ladder or to fall off the middle rungs, according to a study released Monday by Pew researchers.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 7, 2012 - After the agency's executive director asked for more time, the Metropolitan Sewer District's Board of Trustees decided today to hold off on changes to its minority-hiring policies.

In recent months MSD's minority hiring policies have come under renewed scrutiny, especially after the agency announced last year it would undertake a $4.7 billion plan to settle a federal lawsuit. Jeff Theerman, the agency's executive director, said at a January board meeting that MSD would launch a disparity study and make interim changes to current policies.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 31, 2011 - African American and Latino librarians do exist. African Americans make up 7.8 percent while Latino's 1.6 percent of the 217,0000 librarians, archivists and curators employed in the civilian labor force.* In the world of literacy, you guessed it, here, too, race matters.

This article first appeared in a St. Louis Beacon, May 20, 2011 - The economic inequalities that African Americans face must now be viewed through the lens of "post-racial America" -- a complicated time of hopefulness and sobering reality that has followed the election of the nation's first African-American president, says sociologist Melvin Oliver who will speak Saturday at the Missouri History Museum.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 14, 2011 - It's been half a century, yet black children are still relegated to unequal education.

How can we prove that black parents love their children and are invested in their educational success? What words would better explain that black parents do not wish harm upon their children, they do not pray for poverty, abuse, neglect or incarceration for them. Is there a reason some kids get to have a good education, but others do not?

Commentary: A reporter and the n-word

Jan 10, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 10, 2011 - A jury will be in the position to decide if Tom Burlington, a reporter-anchor for a Philadelphia television station, was wrongly fired. While the complexities of this individual case bear out in court, I continue to be amused (it's a better option than infuriated, at times) that we are willing to consider wrongdoing in this individual scenario yet remain resistant to acknowledging systemic disparities.

Commentary: Glenn Beck's buffet-style civil rights

Aug 31, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 31, 2010 - We've all heard about the controversy of Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally, which took place on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech." The analysis has largely been stuck on the question of whether Beck should or should not have held his rally on the landmark date. In my opinion, what is most egregious is Beck's plan to "reclaim civil rights" buffet-style. In addition, I find the larger dynamics of the rally, as the beginning of a movement, worth questioning considering that Beck paints himself as an entertainer (see show's voiceover and apocalyptic jingle).

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 17, 2010 - In St. Louis, 913 children who lack a permanent place to call home depend on the city's foster care system. Of those roughly 900 children, 815, or 89 percent, are African American.

The metropolitan area has a total of 1,800 children in foster care, and 1,400 of these children are African American.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 16, 2010 - Michael Moore didn't know why he and his wife were pulled over Tuesday afternoon. According to the Kirkwood resident, who is African American, the two had their seatbelts buckled and were driving the speed limit on Manchester Road when a St. Louis County police officer pulled them over, collected both Moores' identification and wrote them a citation for a license plate cover that was too dark.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 15, 2010 - Assistant Principal Romona Miller and walking counselor Donald Smith are the two African-American authority figures at Kirkwood High School with the most contact with black students. Miller, the only black administrator at the high school, heads the Black Achievement and Culture Club, while Smith mentors a group of African-American boys called My Brothers' Keeper.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 14, 2010 - When two gangs of African-American girls began fighting in the halls of Kirkwood High School this spring, Robyn Jordan, Monica Gibbs and a group of their high-achieving African-American friends got fed up. They organized to combat racial stereotypes and visited middle schools to urge girls to avoid fights when they get to high school.