Report Shows Huge Gap for Racial Disparity in Charleston County

November 14, 2017, 11:39 am EST | Share:

CHARLESTON, SC (CAROLINE BALCHUNAS, WTAT-TV) — A new report highlights some startling statistics regarding disparities between black and white residents in Charleston County. The College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center released their Racial Disparities report.

The report highlights several areas: education, employment, housing and gentrification. Years of data put together by researcher Dr. Stacy Patton.

“There was a huge gap between black and white residents a half a century ago and it’s still here today,” Patton said to those attending Monday’s luncheon. “What this report does is confirm a lot of what African-Americans for generations have been feeling and experiencing and we can’t argue with the data.”

The 80 page report pulled data from 2000-2015.

Dr. Patricia Williams-Lessane, executive director of the Avery Research Center, commissioned the report. It says 71-percent of teachers in the Charleston County School District are white women, while 13-percent are black women. Just one of many racial differences.

“Even the number of (black) children, the ages of some children, some as young as seven-years-old being arrested in school was jarring for us,” said Dr. Williams-Lessane.

It also highlights disparities within civil servant positions. Out of the 400 sworn officers at the Charleston Police Department, only 83 are officers of color.

“I really want you all to look at the numbers and look at them using a racial equity lens. Does this make sense to you? What does this mean? Is this fair?”

The report advocates change in the county and offers suggestions moving forward.

“It’s clear, it’s concise and that there are actual benchmarks that we can look at over the next couple of years to see if the county agencies, if the city agencies or the school district are actually heeding what this report reflects,” said Williams-Lessane.

Those involved say both the Walter Scott and Mother Emanuel tragedies in 2015 sparked interest in the subject matter. The study was funded by Google and began in July of 2015.