Professors raise alarm on black econ crisis

From the June ’14 issue of the Central Circuit.

Last month at Seattle Central, a group of local Black professors presented a report on Seattle’s ongoing Black economic crisis. In their report, they highlighted extreme, longstanding disparities between Black Seattleites and others in areas including income, wealth, educational attainment, school discipline, housing, business, and food access. Led by Seattle Central professor Carl Livingston, the group spoke to a packed crowd which included the college’s president, Dr. Paul Killpatrick, and the city’s mayor, Ed Murray.

Using data gleaned from the US Census and other sources, the academics described a harrowing narrative of systemic poverty in Black communities, and emphasized that the Great Recession merely exacerbated existing problems. Their report concluded that “for over five decades, our Black communities have been in a constant state of surviving somewhere between recession and depression-level unemployment rates.”

The professors said that they do not have a comprehensive plan for solving these deep-rooted problems. Rather, their goal was to draw attention to the economic plight of Black Seattleites, so that it becomes a priority for the city.


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