Racial tensions are running alarmingly high in places where recent cases of police brutality have made headlines, Ferguson is at the heart of it all. Behind the aggressive police forces, tear gas, protests — and well — utter mayhem, the predominately Black city faces a dark, disturbing reality concerning black-white inequality, CNN Money reports.
Here are some stats that just might blow your mind — keep in mind that Blacks and Whites make up about two-thirds and one-third of the Ferguson population, respectively.
Blacks in Ferguson make less than 60 percent of what Whites make. The median household income for Whites in Ferguson sits at $53,399. For Blacks, median household income hovers around $32,539.
A quarter of the Ferguson Black population, CNN Money adds, lives below the poverty line ($23,492 for a family of four) compared to 11 percent of Whites. Blacks in Ferguson suffer an unemployment rate of 19 percent, nearly twice the national average, while that figure for Whites only sits at 6.7 percent.
Furthermore, there are some peculiarities when it comes to Ferguson’s police and resident relations — a reality that has thrust the St. Louis county into the forefront following the fatal shooting of Mike Brown a couple weeks ago. Though more White Missouri citizens are caught carrying illegal contraband (one in three), those subject to police search in Ferguson are almost always black, Mother Jones says.
In 2013, a staggering 92 percent of police searches were conducted on Blacks; 86 percent of car stops were for Black drivers, as well. A whopping 483 Blacks, compared to 36 Whites, were arrested.
Granted Blacks will be more likely to be stopped because Ferguson is, after all, mostly Black (67. 4 percent). But the issue here is overrepresentation in those traffic stops:
“Over 80 percent of stops in the past five years have been of black drivers, despite blacks only comprising about two-thirds of the population. But once stopped, blacks are more likely to be searched — and less likely to be found carrying anything illegal,” the Washington Post says.
“[St. Louis relies] on revenue generated from traffic tickets and related fines. …Ferguson receives nearly one-quarter of its revenue from court fees; for some surrounding towns it approaches 50 percent,” WP wrote, quoting Jeff Smith, former Democratic senator from Missouri.
Unfortunately, just as Ferguson is divided on race, White and Black Americans, as a whole, clash on Ferguson’s main message. An overwhelming 80 percent of Blacks say the St. Louis city raises important issues about race, while only 37 percent of Whites agree.
What do you think?