When City Councilman Larry Seabrook took the podium at Thursday's unveiling of the report “The State of Black New York City 2007,” there was good news and bad news to talk about. Coming seven years after the release of the last such report, its completion was itself an achievement by the Black Equity Alliance and New York Urban League, which brought together leading intellectuals for a detailed analysis of where blacks stand. But the resulting report detailed persistent disparities in black New Yorkers’ access to the job market, affordable housing, health care and schools. So, Seabrook told the crowd at the JP Morgan Chase building on Park Avenue, "It's a pleasure to be here … to see how bad we're doing."
Statistics showing the challenges facing black New Yorkers are easy to find; they're often at hand in public discussions about school test scores, incarceration rates, incidence of asthma and so on. What's different about the State of Black New York City (which the Urban League has published off and on for 40 years) is that it presents a broad picture of the multifaceted disadvantages blacks face—and weds those indicators to a critique of what the report calls America's "race-constructed society." Explaining the study's purpose, New York Urban League chairman Noel Hankin told the room that "to monitor, measure and track the effects of racism is very important."
That's especially true when those effects can be multilayered, hidden within crises that also affect whites, or masked by cosmetic changes to a more visible problem. . . .
Read more here.