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.

March 26, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
How ISIS’s Brutal Project in the Middle East was Finally Overthrown
Joshua Frank
To Celebrate or to Not? The Mueller Question
George Ochenski
The Fox in the Henhouse: Bernhardt at Interior
Thomas Klikauer
Corporate Bullshit
William deBuys
12 Ways to Make Sense of the Border Mess
Robert Fisk
Ardern’s Response to Christchurch has Put Other Leaders to Shame, But Not for Its Compassion Alone
Binoy Kampmark
Disinviting Jordan Peterson: the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge and Approved Ideas
James C. Kennedy
The Poisonous History of Neo-Classical Economics
Jenna Orkin
Quentin Crisp’s Posthumous Book, the Sequel
Elizabeth Keyes
My Russia Hot-Air Balloon
March 25, 2019
Jonathan Cook
Three Lessons for the Left from the Mueller Inquiry
Dave Lindorff
The TSA’s Role as Journalist Harasser and Media ‘Watchdog’
Tanya Golash-Boza – Michael Golash
Epifanio Camacho: a Militant Farmworker Brushed Out of History
Robert Fisk
Don’t Believe the Hype: Here’s Why ISIS Hasn’t Been Defeated
Jack Rasmus
The Capitulation of Jerome Powell and the Fed
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s Moves to the Right
John Feffer
After Trump
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9/11
Dean Baker
The Importance of Kicking Up: Changing Market Structures So the Rich Don’t Get All the Money
Lawrence Wittner
What Democratic Socialism Is and Is Not
Thomas Knapp
Suppressing Discussion Doesn’t Solve the Problem. It is the Problem.
Stephen Cooper
“I’m a Nine-Star General Now”: an Interview with Black Uhuru’s Duckie Simpson
Andrew Moss
Immigration and the Democratic Hopefuls
Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail