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March 30, 1979 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-03-30

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Page 4-Friday, March 30, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Report citing black advancement ignores facts


The conclusion of a widely published
RAND report that blacks in recent
decades have taken large strides
toward wage equality with whites has
come under fire from some' of the
nation's top economists and social
The RAND Corp. study, financed by
the National academy of Sciences and
released earlier this month, concludes
that "between 1968 and 1975, black male
wages have risen at a more rapid rate
than those of whites, continuing a
process that occurred during the
HOWEVER, OTHER economists and
government studies contend that while
the relative economic position of blacks
and other minorities improve substan-
tially between 1963 and 1969 - under
pressure from the equal rights
movement - the economic progress of
these groups since 1970 has slowed and,
in some cases, stopped.
In addition, experts consulted by
Pacific News Service .rebutted the
RAND study's conclusion that:
" Affirmative action programs have
not been an important factor in the
economic progress of blacks and other
minorities. -
There is not a secondary labor
market fin the United States in which
blacks have been relegated to dead-end
jobs with little career wage growth
not even faithfully interpret their own
data," said Robert Hill, research direc-
tor of the National Urban League.
which is working an a detailed
critique of the report.
"In three out of four of the nation's

regions," Hill said, "black-to-white
earnings have actually fallen since
1970. I don't deny that there have been
gains since.1947, but it's misleading to
characterize the entire period as one of
continuous gains for blacks when there
has been a retrogression since 1970."
Bernard Anderson, an economist at
the Wharton School at the University of
Pennsylvania, also criticized the RAND
study conclusions. "I don't disagree
with the idea that the relative wages of
blacks have been improving. . . But it
doesn't prove that the economic status
of blacks has been improving generally
since 1970.
"IN THE 1960s many blacks got good
jobs for the first time, especially during
periods of economic expansion. Those
blacks who managed to keep their jobs
through the recession of 1969 to '70 have
continued to benefit through the con-
tinued improvement in the relative
wage ratio. But in the recovery of 1972,
and the current recovery, fewer blacks
recovered their jobs, and in the
recession of 1973 to '74 more blacks lost
jobs. So that since 1970 the relative
unemployment situation for blacks has
grown worse, in contrast to the 1960s
when it got better."
Anderson said that black unem-
ployment is higher today than at the
last peak of the business cycle, while
white unemployment is the same. He
believes that the latest recovery has
produced fewer jobs for blacks than for
whites. Employers have been hiring
white women instead of black men and,
."Employers see white women as sub-
stitutes for black labor, and, especially -
in periods of slow ecomonic growth, this

By Martin Brown

results in decreased labor market op-
portunities for blacks."
THE RAND study used data on only
wages and salaries to support its con-
clusion of increases in income equality.
However, using government data for
total income, a picture is revealed that
shows no significant improvement in
the black-to-white income ratio since
1970. A similar pattern is found for
nonwhite-to-white income.
Government statistics on total in-
come as opposed to wages and salaries
only, show that from 1948 to 1963, non-
white male income averaged about 50
per cent that of white income. Between
1964 and 1970, the nonwhite income im-
proved, reaching 60 per cent of that of
whites by 1970. This improvement
continued through 1975, the last year
government statistics are available -
but the rate of improvement was only
half as fast as the earlier period.
A similar pattern was revealed when
statistics for family income were used
in a recent study on income disparities
between black and white Americans
conducted by the Congressional Budget
Office. According to that study, the
ratio of nonwhite to white family in-
come improved from 55 per cent in 1960
to 63 per cent in 1969. But from 1970 to
1974, the ratio decreased from 64 per
cent to 62 per cent.

JAMES SMITH, who with Finis
Welch wrote the RAND report, said
that the statistics using wage and
salary earnings might give a more op-
timistic picture of black economic
progress than using income statistics.
"There has been a decreased par-
ticipation rate of black makes in the
labor force," he acknowledged. "This
would give an upward bias to wage and
data because the lowest income black
males would be the first to drop out of
the labor market."
Smith said it was "puzzling" that
'our study finds the labor market
position of blacks improving in terms of
relative wages, but the unemployment
situation of blacks relative to whites
has been getting worse." The relative
deterioration of black family incomes
since 1970 might be due to the increase
in the number of black families that are
headed by females.
"This question of income needs to be
studied more, but the income data is
more complex than the wage and
salary data," Smith said.
SMITH AND WELCH attributed most
of the gains in black economic status
found in their study to "human capital"
variables such as improved education
for blacks. Affirmative action
programs have done little for blacks,
they contend. To support this they cite
data showing that the least im-
provement in job opportunities has oc-

curred in government and government-
regulated industries, while most im-
provement occurred in private in-
dustries - which have been least affec-
ted by affirmative action programs.
But Hill of the Urban League said,
"The RAND study presents no
systematic documentation for that.
They say it, but the data doesn't show
And Wharton's Anderson said, "It is
absolute nonsense to say that there is no
labor market discrimination that can't
be affected by affirmative action. By
only looking at wage ratios for highly
aggregated (concentrated) industries,
you see the forest, but miss the trees.
You have to also look at the kind of oc-
cupational categories for which blacks
were hired. Employers did not sud-
denly start hiring blacks for better oc-
cupational categories in the 1960s for no
reason. It was because there was
political pressure to do so."
AND - A STUDY of racial
discrimination in industries by William
Johnson of the University of Virginia
and published in the current Bell Jour-
nal of Economics found that gover
nment was the least discriminatory
employer and' private industry the
The RAND report disagrees with the
theory that blacks tend to be trapped in
a secondary labor market with no up-
ward mobility while whites tend to get
preferred access to primary labor
markets with upward mobility. Smith

and Welch reported black-white wage
ratios for population groups with dif-
ferent education and job experience
from 1967 to 1974. The data includes
wdrkers with, college degrees, high
school education and e:ighth grade
education, and one, five, 10 and 15 years
job experience.
But a computer analysis of the RAND
data by Pacific News Service reveals
that the only population group' in which
statistically significent upward trends
for black-white ratios exist is in the
college-educated group.
FOR THE HIGH school group the
trends are not significantly different
from zero. And for the group with an
eighth grade education the trends for
the black-white wage ratios are very
significant and downward over time.
Smith said he still considers the
report's finding valid because "it
corrects the view that people have that
even college educated blacks receive
declining wages relative to whites over
their work careers.. We could never
say that there is nothing to the secon-
dary labor market idea, but maybe it
could be refined to be more consistent
with the data."
(Martin Brown, an associate editor-
of Pacific News Service, is a post-
graduate resfrch economist-at the
University of California at


420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom
Vol. LXXXIX, No. 143 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan






7 10L~oW

North Carolina deserves
federal aid cut now

CE~SIotj (S IO
rad OF 7y


s ver
fM SW Ar

3Y, OF 15W)
L 5


T'S BEEN 25 years since the Brown
vs. Board of Education
desegregation ruling by the Supreme
Court that 'separate but equal"
schools for blacks and whites were un-
constitutional. But since that lan-
dmark decision, the North Carolina
system of higher education remains
"largely separate and unequal" ac-
cording to U.S. Secretary of Health,
Education and Welfare Joseph
Calif ano.
But it was not until this past Monday
when Califano finally announced that
the federal government will take ad-
ministrative action against the state's
public universities and colleges for
continuing to run a racially segregated
system of higher education. Further-
more, Califano said the cutback in
federal aid of $10-20 million would not
begin for another 30 days, allowing the
state more time to submit an accep-
table desegregation plan.
Why did the government wait so long
to take federal funds from a state
system practicing segregation? Twen-
ty-five years is more than ample time
for a state to adjust its educational
system in order to follow federal con-
stitutional guidelines. And why is it
permitting North Carolina officials
another 30 days?
The U.S. government should have
withdrawn funds from North Carolina
many years ago. The system of higher
education in North Carolina consists of
11 predominantly white and five
predominantly black institutions. Also,
there are many program du lications
r' **
- "
V, P

at black and white institutions in the
same geographical areas. These
duplications maintain the status quo;
they encourage white students to con-
tinue to register at predominantly
white institutions and black students at
mostly black ones, thus continuing the
once legally segregated system.
Therefore, the federal government
ha in effect been subsidizing a
system of higher education that prac-
tices segregation - an illegal and
racially discriminatory system.
Califano should cut back the aid im-
mediately and reinstate it only when
North Carolina has developed an in-
tegrated system of higher education.
By keeping federal funds there for
even 30 days, the U.S. i§ giving sym-
bolic approval for the state's system of
higher education.
Nine years ago, the HEW depar-
tment notified North Carolina that its
system of higher education was still
racially segregated. Department
spokesmen informed North Carolina
officials that the state would have to
increase the number of blacks in white
schools, strengthen the black schools'
facilities and curriculums, and
eliminate the program duplications at
black and white schools in the same
But North Carolina officials have
refused to make any attempt to
remove the duplications. The state
educational authorities have agreed to
provide blacks with better facilities,
but the "largely unequal" status still

Ap ?



Wetlands must be saved

To the Daily:
Next week, a very important
bill will -be coming up for floor
debate in the Michigan Senate.
Senate Bill 3 is the Wetlands
Protection Bill. This long-
postponed environmental
legislation is designed to stop the
heedless destruction of
Michigan's wetlands. By
requiring a permit of any party
desiring to fill, develop, or drain
a wetland, the Department of
Natural Resources will be able to
deny alteration of wetlands that
is not in the public interest. There
is also a similar bill coming up in
the House-House Bill 4049. Both
bills designate criteria for what
determines the public interest,
and provides guidelines for
revoking permits and publishing
A wetland may be a swamp, a
marsh, a bog, a fresh water
meadow, or any other area of
land that is sufficiently inundated
with water to allow for growth of
acquatic life. The functions these
ecosystems perform are many
and diverse. For example,
wetlands purify and recharge
ground water supplies, prevent
erosion by acting as buffers bet-
ween open water and uplands,
retain storm waters and thus con-
trol floods, and act as reservoirs
by releasing water during dry
periods and holding it back
during heavy rains and floods.
Wetlands also provide feeding,
nesting, and breeding grounds for
many species of wildlife. Fur-
tbermore, they offer numerous
recreational opportunities for
such things as fishing, hunting,
bird watching, and hiking.
Unfortunately, many people
view a wetland as nothing more
than a swamp to be drained,
filled, and developed. For every
acre of wetland that is destroyed,

You can help it pass by writing to
the Senator and Representative
from your home district. All the
information you need is posted on
a big board in the Fishbowl which
has been set up by PIRGIM for
this purpose. Three-fourths of
Michigan's wetlands have
already been destroyed. Please
help save the remainder of these
valuable ecosystems.
-Linda M. Wakeen
To the Daily:
John Sinkevic's article,
"Student Tenure Input Possible"
(March 24), does a fine job in
presenting Vice President for
Academic Affairs Harold
Shapiro's comments about tenure
yet there is virtually no mention
of the criticisms made by the 20
students and other interested
people who were also at the talk.
This problem of readily and
uncritically reporting ad-
ministration statements (though
not always accurately) and prin-
ting student positions with ap-
parent reluctance is part of a pat-
tern that has occurred all to
frequently since the Daily's
management changeover earlier
this year. That this would happen
in a student-run newspaper is
disconcerting and distressing.
In Dr. Shapiro's presentation,
he encouraged student par-
ticipation in tenure proceedings
in the form of a pressure group
and this is exactly what has hap-
pened in the Samoff case. Yet,
Dr. Shapiro and other ad-
ministrators refuse to discuss his
case and by all evidence, the
student impact has been minimal
in this regard.
In fact, the closed nature of
tenure procedures plays a great

accept the word of one or several
people, but to find hard evidence
While stating that student
evaluations of teaching are the
most important part of student
participation, the Vice President
refused to support a move to
make them mandatory (they are
voluntary in 11 of the 24 LSA
departments). By doing this, he
assures that student impact will
be haphazard at best; his reluc-
tance to make specific guaran-
tees or to institutionalize student
participation in the tenure
process (even in a non-voting
role) casts grave doubt over the
administration's commitment to
the goal of a significant student
While 71.4 per cent of all mal:e
faculty members have tenure,
only 31.5 per cent of women and
52.8 per cent of minorities have
attained this position. In the LSA
college, 78.5 per cent of men, 24.3
per cent of women, and 45.6 per
cent of minorities have tenure. If
the tenure process does not
discriminate against women and
minorities as Dr. Shapiro alleges,
what possible explanation is
there for the incredible racial and
sexual stratification among
Dr. Shapiro admits that
currrent tenure procedures are
imperfect and should be
regularly open for
reexamination. However, he
refused to support the formation
of a student-faculty task force to
study tenure. How then, is thereto
be a comprehensive reevaluation
of the process?
The administration's op-
position to students having a
voting role in tenure decisions is
clear. Their view that students
are not experienced or interested
enough to make responsible

the University is tacitly admit-
ting that the quality of elucation
could stand substantial in-
At the same time, the ad-
ministration's actions belie their
statement that they desire
significant student input in all
other asnects of temie
procedure. I hope the Daily in its
reporting, will do a better job ~in
presenting both sides of this issue,
and in critically analyzing' ad-
ministration actions in the future.
-Bruce Kozarsky
Member, LSA Student
March 26, 1979
Film festival
To the Daily:
One of the most wonderful
aspects of going to a film festival
such as ours is the promise of bt
knowing what you're going to see.
Everything is a - surprise,
everything is new, intense and
occasionally enlightening.
What surprised me again this
year, however, was first of all
hearing Cinema Guild mer- .bers
hawking the incredibly ugly t-
shirts designed by George
Manupelli announcing that next
year's festival was in considerable
financial peril; and secondly,
seeing on winner's night a
horrible, self-centered inept film
whose name I instantly forgot.
The film was an hour-and-a-half
long, was a grand prize winner,
and was, like one of last year's
winners, a "film about making a
film." I walked out after five
minutes, and didn't ask for my
mney back.
The Film Festival judges,
however, are not only being
irresponsible to flaunt such trash
as their taste. They are en-
danaerina the Festival itself. For

!'" --- T 9 1.0 /" - - . I "'"..r.:' ["

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