Tackling black economic hardship could reduce gun violence
A new comment from the Center for Economic and Policy Research suggests that the key to addressing gun violence in Black communities begins with addressing economic hardship. Director of Racial and Economic Justice Algernon Austin explained the documented link between gun violence and economic stability.
According to Austin research, black males between the ages of 18 and 34 are overrepresented among firearm homicide victims. He noted that while economic hardship is just one variable dealing with gun violence, reducing economic hardship could be a “powerful tool” to reduce gun violence.
Based on 2019 data, Austin found a significant relationship between high rates of economic hardship and gun violence. While some politicians seem to think 90s nostalgic reboots mean bringing tough rhetoric back to crime, evidence suggests tackling lingering economic disparities is one way to reduce gun violence.
Focusing solely on the criminal aspect of gun violence ignores the persistence of the problem. Austin wrote in December 2021 on the continuing crisis for black men, noting that black men had the highest unemployment rate in the previous 20 years.
The possible relationship between the alleged increase in violent crime and current economic disparities suggests that these considerations should be part of any economic recovery. Black workers, and by extension their families, remain disadvantaged despite the economic recovery. Ignoring the root causes ultimately ignores any chance of having meaningful progress in reducing gun violence.
While only one aspect of improving the economic conditions of communities, persistent inequality in employment is an area that cannot be overlooked.
the latest jobs report showed a slight decrease in overall black unemployment to 6.9% in January, from 7.1%. According to CNBC, black labor force participation also increased to 62%, as did that of white workers.
Although there was a slight improvement in overall black unemployment, the january 2022 black youth unemployment rate (16-19) remains above 20%.
Alex Camardelle, director of labor policy for the Joint Center for Political And Economic Studies, recently told the New York Times that black workers do not benefit the same way despite the celebration by the Biden administration of “rapid recovery”.
As previously reported by NewsOne, the black economic recovery is lagging the country. The unemployment rate for black men remains double the national average. But as Camardelle explained at the end of November, the difference in economic indicators, noting the human that the unemployment rate doesn’t tell the whole story.
“When people look at the unemployment rate, if you were to humanize that number, you’re looking at people who are not only working but also actively looking for a job,” he told NewsOne in a previous interview. “The labor market participation rate takes into account those who are not looking at all, who have completely dropped out of the labor market.”
Not surprisingly, the recovery has not reached black workers at the same rate as others. Racial disparities in labor market participation require intentional interventions.
“We also need to fight racial discrimination in the workplace and raise the federal minimum wage,” Austin wrote. “It’s not all there is to it, but it’s a good place to start.”
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