|China’s Report on US Human Rights Record in 2000
Information Office of China's State Council
V. Racial Discrimination Prevails, Minorities Ill-Treated
Racial discrimination in the US has a long history and is well known
throughout the world; it stands as one of the most serious social
problems in the United States.
A US report on implementation of the International Convention on
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination submitted to the
United Nations in September 2000 admitted that racism exists as one of
the most daunting challenges facing the US
The minorities in the United States have been called the "Third
World of the First World."
Racial discrimination is evident everywhere in America. The
Washington Post reported on February 3, 2000, that even in large U. S.
cities, few residential areas are actually racially integrated.
In the 1990s, the actual earnings of high-income families increased
by 15 percent on average; however, the rich-poor gap between whites and
minorities remained unchanged.
A survey made by the US Federal Reserve in March 2000 indicated that in
1998 the average net wealth of a middle-income family of Latin
Americans, African Americans, or other minorities stood at 16,400 US
dollars, equal to just 17.28 percent of that of a white family. The
percentage was basically unchanged compared with 1992's 17.23 percent.
In 1998, 72.2 percent of the white families owned their own homes
while the proportions for African American and Latin American families
were only 46.4 percent and 44.9 percent respectively.
Even worse, nearly two million aboriginals were living on streets of
big cities in the United States and 40 percent of them went without food
for up to three days at a time. They are the poorest people in the
world's richest country.
The Christian Science Monitor reported in May 2000 that immigrant
families account for over one-fifth of the US poverty- stricken
population and one-fourth of the total number of poor children. Among
the immigrants in the US, over nine million, or 43 percent of the total,
do not have medical insurance. In contrast, 12 percent of white people
do not have medical insurance, according to a research report released
last year by the Journal of American Medical Association.
The report also indicated that 41 percent of white youths could
receive higher education while the rate for young Latin Americans was
only 22 percent.
The discrimination against minorities is deeply rooted in America.
The unemployment rate among African Americans is double that of whites.
An investigation made in 1996 indicated that 90 percent of the chief
executives or managers of US companies have never given any black people
the same status and responsibilities.
Computer giant Microsoft had a staff of over 20,000 in the US in
1999; only 557 of them were African Americans. The number accounted for
2.6 percent of the company's total employees. The company has 5,155
mid-level administrative personnel and only 82 people, or 1.6 percent,
are African Americans.
A report in USA Today in 2000 said that charges of sexual harassment
on immigrated workers had witnessed a fast increase, up 10 times from
1986 to 1999. About 2,200 cases were reported in the 1980s, while the
figure became 15,150 in the 1990s.
Racial discrimination has also emerged as a very serious problem in
the courts. A total of 98 percent of the judges in the US are white
while most of the people receiving prison terms or the death sentence
are blacks or other minorities.
Twelve percent of the US population are African American; nearly half
of the two million prison inmates in the US are black, and another 16
percent are Latin American.
Black men are eight times more likely to be in prison than white men,
with an incarceration rate of 3,408 per 100,000 black males compared to
the rate of 417 per 100,000 white males. In 11 states, the incarceration
rate of African American men is from 12- 26 times greater than that of
The US Department of Justice estimated that 9.4 percent of all black men
at the age of 25-29 years were in prison in 1999, compared to one
percent of white men in the same age group.
Also in 1999, the juveniles belonging to minority groups constituted
one-third of the adolescent population in the United States, but they
comprised two-thirds of the young people confined in local detention and
state correctional systems. One of every three young black people were
confined in juvenile facilities or out on bail.
An investigation funded by the Justice Department indicated that the
number of young black inmates jailed on first offenses is six times
higher than that of white youths. Among the violent crime cases, the
number of incarcerated black youths is nine times higher than that of
the white youths.
Fifteen percent of juveniles under 18 are black; while among the
confined people of the same age group, 26 percent are African American.
Among youths held in adult prison facilities, 58 percent are black.
The likelihood of conviction for black youths is much higher than that
In California, children of color are 6.2 times more likely than white
youths to be charged with crimes, and seven times more likely to be
sentenced to prison when they are tried as adults. The proportion of
black men sent to state prisons on drug charges to the state's total
population is 13.4 times greater than that of white men. The number of
black youths sent to correctional facilities for drug offenses is 48
times higher than that for whites.
In at least 15 states, the number of African American men sent to
prison on drug charges is 20 to 57 times more often than white men. In
seven states, 80 to 90 percent of all drug offenders are black men.
Although the majority of crack cocaine users are white, almost 90
percent of convicted federal drug offenders are black.
In the 200-plus years since the US was founded, a total of 18, 000
people have been sentenced to death; only 38 of them were white,
accounting for 0.2 percent of the total. No white man has ever been
sentenced to death for raping a black woman.
Between 1977 and 1998, African Americans comprised 10 to 12 percent
of the total US population. However, out of the 5,709 people sentenced
to death, 41 percent were black.
A report from the Department of Justice issued on September 12, 2000,
acknowledged that in the past five years, lawyers proposed to sentence
183 offenders to death, 20 percent of them were whites, nearly half of
them were blacks, around 30 percent were Latin Americans and the rest of
were other minorities.
Of all death penalty sentences upheld by the US federal courts since
1995, the number of colored people accounts for 74 percent. The ratio of
African American and white murder victims was almost the same; however,
since 1997, 82 percent of the total number executed were African
Americans who had murdered white people.