FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

MLK Injustice Index 2013

“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values…when machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” Martin Luther King, Jr., April 4, 1967

While the US celebrates the re-election of its first African American President and the successes of numerous African Americans in all walks of life, there remain troubling challenges.

While remembering how far this nation has come since Dr. King was alive, we cannot forget how far we have still to go to combat the oppressions of racism, materialism and militarism.

Racism

Whites have 22 times more wealth than blacks and 15 times more wealth than Latinos.  Median household net worth for whites was $110,000 versus $4,900 for blacks versus $7,424 for Latinos, according to CNN Money and the Census Bureau.

African Americans are 12.3 percent of the population but 4.7 percent of attorneys.

Latinos are 15.8 percent of the population but only 2.8 percent of attorneys.

African American students face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school classes and are more likely to be taught by less experienced and lower paid teachers according to a government sponsored national survey of 72,000 schools.

13% of whites, 21% of blacks and 32% of Hispanics lack health insurance, according to the Kaiser Foundation.

The latest Census analysis shows 9% of white families below the US poverty level and 23% of Black and Hispanic families below the same levels.

Materialism

The chairman of Goldman Sachs was awarded $21 million in total pay for 2012 according to the Wall Street Journal.

From 1978 to 2011, compensation for workers grew by 5.7 percent.  During the same time, CEO compensation grew by 725 percent.  In 1965 CEO earned about 20 times the typical worker.  In 2011, the typical CEO “earned” over 200 times the typical worker.

The top 1% of earners took home 93% of the growth in incomes in 2010, while middle income household have lower incomes than they did in 1996, according to Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

People in the US spent $52 billion on pets in 2012, according to the American Pet Products Association.  The latest figures from the Census Bureau indicate the US spends less than $50 billion per year in non-military foreign aid.

Student loan debt is now higher than total credit card debt and total auto loan debt.

Over 2.8 million children in the US live in homes of extreme poverty, less than $2 per person per day before government benefits.  This is double what it was 15 years ago.

Nearly one in six people in the US live in poverty according to the Census.  One in five children live in poverty.  Latest information shows 17% of white children in poverty, 32% of Hispanic children and 35% of black children.

Militarism

The US spends more on its military than any country in the world.  The US spends more on its military than the next 10 countries combined!  More than China, Russia, UK, France, Japan, Indian, Saudi Arabia, German and Brazil together.

The 2013 military budget authorizes spending $633 billion on our military defense, not including money for the Veterans Administration.   The VA budget submission for 2013 is $140 billion.   To compare, total federal spending on Social Security for 2012 was about $773 billion.

The US has 737 military bases outside the US around the world and over 2 million military personnel, including Defense Department and local hires.

The US leads the world in the sale of weapons in the global arms market.  In 2011 the US tripled sales to $66 billion making up three-quarters of the global market.  Russia was second with less than $5 billion in sales.

45% of the 1.6 million veterans from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are seeking disability benefits from physical and mental injuries suffered while in the service.

Suicides in active US military, 349 in 2012, exceeded the 295 total combat deaths in Afghanistan in 2012, according to the Associated Press.

Conclusion

These are challenges we should face with the hope and courage Dr. King and so many others have taught us as we celebrate his accomplishment and his inspiration.

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans and Associate Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). You can reach Bill at quigley77@gmail.com

More articles by:

Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans and can be reached at quigley77@gmail.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
Naman Habtom-Desta
Up in the Air: the Fallacy of Aerial Campaigns
Ramzy Baroud
Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’
Mark Hand
Residents of Toxic W.Va. Town Keep Hope Alive
John Kendall Hawkins
Alias Anything You Please: a Lifetime of Dylan
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigots in Blue: Philadelphia Police Department is a Home For Hate
David Macaray
UAW Faces Its Moment of Truth
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Horace G. Campbell
Edward Seaga and the Institutionalization of Thuggery, Violence and Dehumanization in Jamaica
Graham Peebles
Zero Waste: The Global Plastics Crisis
Michael Schwalbe
Oppose Inequality, Not Cops
Ron Jacobs
Scott Noble’s History of Resistance
Olivia Alperstein
The Climate Crisis is Also a Health Emergency
David Rosen
Time to Break Up the 21st Century Tech Trusts
George Wuerthner
The Highest Use of Public Forests: Carbon Storage
Ralph Nader
It is Time to Rediscover Print Newspapers
Nick Licata
How SDS Imploded: an Inside Account
Rachel Smolker – Anne Peterman
The GE American Chestnut: Restoration of a Beloved Species or Trojan Horse for Tree Biotechnology?
Sam Pizzigati
Can Society Survive Without Empathy?
Manuel E. Yepe
China and Russia in Strategic Alliance
Patrick Walker
Green New Deal “Climate Kids” Should Hijack the Impeachment Conversation
Colin Todhunter
Encouraging Illegal Planting of Bt Brinjal in India
Robert Koehler
The Armed Bureaucracy
David Swanson
Anyone Who’d Rather Not be Shot Should Read this Book
Jonathan Power
To St. Petersburg With Love
Marc Levy
How to Tell a Joke in Combat
Thomas Knapp
Pork is Not the Problem
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming and Solar Minimum: a Response to Renee Parsons
Jill Richardson
Straight People Don’t Need a Parade
B. R. Gowani
The Indian Subcontinent’s Third Partition
Adolf Alzuphar
Diary: The Black Body in LA
Jonah Raskin
‘69 and All That Weird Shit
Michael Doliner
My Surprise Party
Stephen Cooper
The Fullness of Half Pint
Charles R. Larson
Review: Chris Arnade’s “Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America”
David Yearsley
Sword and Sheath Songs
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail