Race and Recession: A Special Report Examining How Changes in the Economy Affect People of Color

On November 6, 2013 Applied Research Center (ARC) was rebranded as Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation. The content on this page was published on the ARC website prior to the rebrand.
April 15, 2006

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On Thursday, June 20th, Members of Congress, including Congressional Black Caucus Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), joins the Applied Research Center to release Race and Recession, an in-depth study that exposes pervasive racial inequities in child care spending, unemployment insurance, welfare, and education access.

"As we debate reauthorizing our nation’s welfare program, we must focus our attention on restoring fairness and equality to all who receive these benefits.  By releasing this report, Race and Recession, we are hoping to call attention to the persistent discrimination that exists in our nation's public assistance programs and motivate our leadership to enact significant reforms," said Representative Johnson.

Due to the combined effect of the recession and discrimination, millions of families of color are enduring extreme economic hardships. Combining new data analysis with personal stories, the study documents how workers or color have been hardest hit by the recession and chronicles patterns of discrimination in access to public benefits.

"Despite staying in school while working 32 hours a week, I faced hostile treatment from my caseworkers simply because I am an immigrant," remarked In Hui Lee of Marin City, California. Lee had to file a complaint with the Civil Rights Bureau of the Department of Social Services over her right to pursue a college degree. Since the passage of welfare reform in 1996, college enrollment for public assistance recipients has plummeted. A Virginia study revealed that caseworkers encouraged no African Americans to go to school, but encouraged 41 percent of whites to do so.

"Now more than ever, families need a safety net that works," stated ARC Director Gary Delgado. "Not only does Bush’s welfare reauthorization bill (H.R. 4735) limit access to child care and education, but it will also compound growing problems of racial discrimination."

The Applied Research Center is an independent research institute focused on race and public policy, with offices in Chicago, New York, and Oakland, California.