Wage gaps by race in the United States have a considerably longer history than the country itself, with much of its early history based on the free work of enslaved Africans and Native Americans.
These compensation disparities have just recently been addressed. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the most important statute, is just 56 years old. It prohibited discrimination in remuneration based on “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was passed in 2009, amending previous amendments to various federal statutes safeguarding employees’ rights and clarifying that any inequitable, discriminating payments are prohibited, regardless of how long ago they occurred.
Understanding Passing Laws
Although passing laws is a crucial step toward societal change, it is often the case that these laws do not result in or complete that transformation. That isn’t to suggest that progress hasn’t been made. However, the progress that has been made has not been reached or been felt equally by all groups. Furthermore, African Americans have faced recessionary-level unemployment and extensive residential segregation for most of the previous 50 years.
Understanding Wage Gaps by Race
A wage gap is defined as the difference between the average wages of two different groups of individuals, according to the Cambridge Dictionary.
The Federal Reserve, the Economic Policy Institute, and the Urban Institute are among the institutions that keep track of salary disparities. Differences in education and physical location can account for certain income disparities.
However, even when such factors are taken into account, salary discrepancies persist. These discrepancies are the result of deliberate, system-wide regulations and practices that have helped to generate them.
There are significant salary disparities between white and black employees in the United States. According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Q4 2020, Asians had a greater weekly median income than White, Black, and Latinx people. Furthermore, men often earn more than women.