The educational system in the United States systematically denies equal access and opportunity to children and adults of color, especially those who are poor. Adequate attention is not paid to the negative impact of societal forces such as racism, segregation, poverty, and urbanization on educational achievement. Nor is adequate attention paid to the impact of educational systems that discriminate against students of color and their families. The necessity for comprehensive multilingual and multicultural curricula is not sufficiently recognized in national policy or local practice. In higher education, people of color are not proportionately represented at staff, student, faculty, or administrative levels. Insufficient financial resources exacerbate these and other problems.
Racism is rampant in all areas of employment. For many members of oppressed racial and ethnic groups, there is always an economic depression. Often people of color are the last hired and the first fired. As a result, budget cuts, downsizing, and privatization may disproportionately hurt people of color. Furthermore, there is a growing shortage of manufacturing and other jobs that people of color have historically held. In February 2011 the unemployment rate for African Americans was 16.5 percent as compared to 8.7 percent for white Americans and 12.7 for Latinos The unemployment rate for adolescents of color is approximately four times that of white adolescents. Women and men of color continue to be underrepresented in decision-making and administrative positions. Affirmative action programs are not sufficiently enforced and supported and in some cases have produced conflict and polarity among employees. Tokenism, rather than genuine compliance with affirmative action and equal employment requirements, is too often the rule.
Many people of color have little choice as to where they live and pay higher rents for less adequate housing. Mortgage and lending institutions continue the illegal practice of redlining. Recently an $11 million settlement regarding redlining mortgages in minority neighborhoods was agreed to in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Studies conducted by the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Urban Institute have found persistent discrimination against African Americans and Hispanics by financial institutions, landlords, and real estate agencies . Illegal discriminatory practices, such as steering, discourage visibly identifiable racial and ethnic group members from renting or buying in specific neighborhoods