This Trio of Studies Sadly Illustrates the Impact of Racism on Black People

By Kenrya Rankin Apr 06, 2017

Three studies released this week are a depressing reminder that the effects of White supremacy are working overtime to oppress Black people living in America. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Study: Institute of Labor Economics’ “The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers”
Methodology: Analysis of North Carolina Education Research Data Center data on all public school students in the state who started third grade between the 2000-2001 and 2004-2005 school years, tracked through their senior year. The group started with about 100,000 Black students.
Key Takeaway: Black students in low-income households who have at least one Black teacher in grades three through five are 29 percent more likely more likely to finish high school. The probability of dropping out decreases by 39 percent for Black boys. Having a Black teacher also increases the chance they will consider going on to college. Researchers think the bump might be attributable to lower expectations in non-Black teachers and the resulting lack of resources allocated to these children. Previous studies have found that White teachers’ low exceptions are self-fulfilling prophecies and that implicit racial bias begins in preschool.

Study: ProPublica and Consumer Reports Examination of Racial Discrimination in Auto Insurance Prices
Methodology: From the report: “We examined that assertion by studying public and private data on auto insurance risk and rates as well as the algorithms used to set prices in different states. We analyzed aggregate risk data by zip code collected by the insurance commissioners of California, Illinois, Missouri and Texas from insurers in their states. We compared that information with liability insurance premiums—the sum of bodily injury and property damage quotes—charged by the largest companies by market share in each of the four states.”
Key Takeaway: The insurance industry has long argued that it charges more for coverage in neighborhoods of color not because of race, but because there is a higher risk of accidents. But this analysis found that when comparing similarly risky zip codes, many insurers charge statistically higher premiums in the areas predominantly occupied by people of color. Those charges were up to 30 percent higher in some areas. In Illinois, 33 of the 34 companies charge inflated premiums. That number is 21 of 25 in Missouri, 9 of 18 in Texas, and 8 of 21 in California.

Study: Medscape 2017 Physician Compensation Report
Methodology: Survey of 19,200+ physicians in 27 specialities.
Key Takeaway: Black doctors make less than all other groups of doctors tracked. While White doctors earn an average of $303,000 a year, Asian-Americans earn $283,000, Latinxs earn $271,000 and Blacks earn $262,000. That’s a 14 percent difference between the top and the bottom of the scale. The study attributes the gap to unconscious bias and the fact that Black physicians are more likely to work as lower-paid primary care physicians than Whites. Of course this is all relative; the average annual household income for African Americans is just $35,398.