I got a link to this letter by Jess Rimington asking white people to exhibit outrage at the systemic prevalence of implicit and explicit institutional racism and racial profiling that continues to exist in our country. Then I heard Sebastian Errazuriz speak at the Carnegie. His art asks us to rethink the everyday, confront the transience of life, and question the status quo. He was very clear about Pittsburgh’s divide when it comes to race and advantage.
Every couple of months there is information touting Pittsburgh better than many other metropolitan regions. Last year we were rated the best U.S. city for relocation and one of the happiest cities in which to work.
The rankings we don’t see show tens of thousands of our region’s minority residents worse off than almost other major regions in our country. The 2011 census showed that the Pittsburgh Region has the 11th highest unemployment rate for African Americans among the top 40 regions. It estimated that the unemployment rate for African Americans in our region was 19%, which means that nearly one out of every 5 African Americans who wants to work is unable to find work. Our black unemployment rate was 2.6 times the unemployment rate forwhites, the 7th worst disparity among the top 40 regions in the country.
What to do? Jess Rimington asks us to speak out to improve our region’s business climate; to improve the quality of our public education; and to support adequate, affordable public transit. Isn’t it about time?