The statistics — which line up with a general trend of the financial dis-empowerment of black people since 2008 — show that a startlingly low and stagnant number of physicians and dentists are black, about 5 percent. That’s about the same percentage as it was in 1990. The same holds true for lawyers; the number of non-white, non-male lawyers dropped for the first time in 20 years in 2010.
As the Times reports, “The deep recession not only disproportionately hurt African-Americans in many fields, but it also led businesses to make diversity programs less of a priority.” This, combined with the looming Supreme Court decision on affirmative action programs that may boost black education, employment, and leadership opportunities, poses a huge threat to an already-threatened racial group.
Black workers have suffered disproportionately during the Great Recession. Black unemployment spiked with the housing crash in 2008, and has remained outrageously high since. At the same time, the racial wealth gap has widened, with white people holding average assets up to six times that of black people.
Even in a broader context, beyond the recession, black employment numbers are abysmal: For most of the last 50 years, blacks have suffered unemployment rates over 10 percent.