Here are "14 Disturbing Stats About Racial Inequality in American Public Schools" from The Nation:
"For the first time in history, the Education Department ... examined school discipline at the pre-K level," discovering that during the 2011-12 school year "Black students accounted for 18 percent of the country's pre-K enrollment, but made up 48 percent of preschoolers with multiple out-of-school suspensions. Black students were expelled at three times the rate of white students."
Moreover, "black students were more than three times as likely to attend schools where fewer than 60 percent of teachers meet all state certification and licensure requirements" (Steven Hsieh, thenation.com, March 21).
Another grim report about racial disparities comes from Nicholas Kristof, best known for his solo discoveries of human rights abuses in dangerous parts of the globe. He gets to the economic core of this nation's gulf between blacks and whites:
"The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data."
"The gap has worsened in the last decade, and the United States now has a greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid. Whites in America on average own almost 18 times as much as blacks; in South Africa in 1970, the ratio was about 15 times."
Dig this: "The black-white income gap is roughly 40 percent greater today than it was in 1967."
And then this crusher: "Because of the catastrophic experiment in mass incarceration, black men in their 20s without a high school diploma are more likely to be incarcerated today than employed, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
"Nearly 70 percent of middle-aged black men who never graduated from high school have been imprisoned."
How much of this separate, black American experience will become part of the campaigns of 2016 presidential candidates? So far only Rand Paul indicates it may be part of what he has to say.
"We all must exercise the right to vote not once but in every election," wrote reporter Benjamin Chavis Jr. "It's extremely important that we do so this year because people expect us to, because Obama's name will not be on the ballot and midterm voting is traditionally lower than in presidential years."
But I must add that it will be even more important for insistent black voters everywhere to underline that whoever is on the 2016 presidential ballot be far less directionless, uninformed and contemptuous of our constitutional liberties than President Obama.
Black Americans can be pivotal in making the deep structural changes throughout our society that Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned. If only he had been our first black president.
Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights.