While many Republican politicians use Ronald Reagan as the gold standard for what works, it is important for us to examine how his policies affected black people in America. As the infographic below shows, during the Ronald Reagan administration black income, poverty status and unemployment levels, and the economic gap between blacks and whites widened.
Reagan’s support for Black America was more symbolic than substantive. He can be credited for signing the law that made Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday. However, his policies did not change the economic well being of African Americans as a whole. The proof is in the statistics, the numbers don’t lie. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics began recording the economic condition of African Americans separately as a group in 1950s, and their data shows:
· In 1954 (pre- civil rights era) Black unemployment averaged 9.9% while White unemployment was at 5%
· In 2013 under Obama Administration Black unemployment averaged 12.6% while White unemployment was at 6.6%
· The highest recorded black unemployment average of 19.5% was under the Reagan era compared to White unemployment which was at 8.4%
Statistical information obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and The Pew research Center.