Leonard M. Baynes and David L. Gregory on Title VII and the Interplay of Racial and Economic Justice
Title VII and the Interplay of Racial and Economic Justice
By Leonard M. Baynes and David L. Gregory
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the enactment of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This landmark legislation outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. Since its enactment, there has been dramatic advancement of African Americans in all areas of economic and civic life. In addition, Title VII's anti-discrimination principle has become an ingrained more in American society and taught Americans that racial discrimination is unacceptable.
Despite the progress that Title VII has generated, the Pew Research Center reports that, for the last fifty years, African American unemployment has consistently outpaced that of whites, sometimes approaching three times the white unemployment rate. Largely due to the disparity in educational opportunities, many African American men are unable to find full-time employment, and instead have to work part-time jobs. This situation is measured by the "underemployment rate." According to the New York State Department of Labor, African American men have an underemployment rate exceeding 25 percent.