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Losing Ground


Times are changing, and so too are the statistics.  If the world were color blind, whites and minorities would coexist on a level plane with no observable separation. However, our world is far from perfect, and the proof is in the numbers. To a statistician, race represents a very tangible resource for gathering, sorting, and delineating useful information.  In Colorado, white families are earning more money, completing more schooling, and owning more homes than other races, whereas minorities are dying sooner and going to jail more often than caucasians.  The cause for such changes can be interpreted in an infinite number of ways, and many have voiced their opinions. Two of these voices that possess resounding individuality are that of William King and Barry Fagin.  

William King is very clear in his views of why the statistics read as they do.  Low school completion rate is attributed to the opinion that the curriculum is simply not designed for people of color.  He claims the subject matter taught in school has no relevance in African American lives.  Due to the exploitation and exclusion it predisposes black people to, the economic system itself is much to blame for the inequality black people face today.  Integration is a process found impossible without first putting any and all segregation in the past.  The process of desegregation is something he believes will not happen for many generations.  White women have gained the majority of ground from affirmative action, not minorities.  King points out that black people have been in Colorado since before it was made a state, yet they are still a rarity.  William King has a very distinct opinion regarding the change in statistics, and so does Barry Fagin.

Barry Fagin argues that no single cause can be blamed for the changes in ratio, as social phenomena are always interrelated.  However, the most significant attribution he believes is the current state of welfare.  Many choose to believe the Civil Rights Act did nothing but good for the country. When in fact the social trends noted as a result were in all actuality taking place before it had passed.  African Americans have been targeted by welfare programs and have become reliant upon their benefits.  What is truly needed is for entitlement spending to be drastically reduced for all, regardless of class.  The underclass need be taught responsibility and that the results of choices today have very real consequences.  The social phenomena noted by Fagin have deep roots in the sociological perspective.

Many racial and ethnic inequalities are described by both contributors theories.  William King identifies education, employment, incarceration and gender as being contributing aspects to inequality.    Barry Fagin identifies social class and welfare entitlement as being reason for lack of equality.  Each figure has a distinct sociological theoretical theory which clearly identifies with their perspective.  Due to the clear conflicts portrayed between white and black people with differing interests, King fits in a conflict theorists perspective.  His attitude is that African Americans are being oppressed, and he does not believe this indecency will be remedied any time in the near future. Barry Fagin sees black people as being targeted due to their functional place in society, making structural functionalism his encompassing view.  Welfare programs targeting African Americans have become both functional and dysfunctional as they provide useful assistance to those in need, but also create financial dependency in the process.  Both voices take the macro sociological approach in explaining themselves, and eloquently present their ideas to the audience.

Perfection is a matter of perspective, and the perspective of many is that the times are far from perfect.  Ethnic comparison is defining widening gaps in education, incarceration, life expectancy and income, and the results are clear.  In the state of Colorado, minorities are falling increasingly farther behind their caucasian counterparts.  Explanations have been offered, and analysis reviewed, yet William King and Barry Fagin present arguments that are uniquely persuasive.  With so many losing ground, the statistics alone hold the proof of the past and may even hold the keys to a balanced and harmonious future.


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