17 February 2010

Race in West Virginia

A new report from several West Virginia groups finds that black state residents "face higher rates of poverty, unemployment, infant mortality and incarceration than white residents do," The Charleston Gazette reports.

The Charleston Daily Mail also covered the new study, "Legacy of Inequality: Racial and Economic Disparities in West Virginia." That newspaper cited findings that "while the per capita income for black residents is more than $6,000 less than what whites earn, blacks earn high school diplomas at about the same rate as Caucasians in the state and lead whites by six percentage points in earning some form of college or associate's degree."

Proposals from the report include "creating a state Office of Minority Affairs to coordinate programs aimed at eliminating racial disparities; devoting state money to economic development and housing programs in black communities; and enacting a State Earned Income Tax Credit, a tax credit for low-income workers," The Gazette article said.

Also citing those policy recommendations, the Daily Mail notes the House bill (there's also a Senate version) that calls for a "Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs," named for a "late civil rights attorney from Huntington."

The state Partnership of African American Churches compiled the report along with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy and the American Friends Service Committee's West Virginia Economic Justice Project.

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