William M. Rodgers III is a professor of public policy at Rutgers' Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and serves on the National Urban League's Council of Economic Advisors. From 2000-2001, Rodgers was the U.S. Department of Labor's chief economist.
Today, African American men working full time and year round have 72 percent of the average earnings of comparable white men. For African American and white women, the ratio is 85 percent. And during good times and bad, the black unemployment rate is typically stuck at about double the white rate. The persistence of these gaps is the subject of both a scholarly and a popular debate that is ideological as well as technical.