At a breakfast of community leaders this morning, the Investing in Baltimore Committee, a two-year-old organization of local black executives, released a study undertaken by the prestigious Washington research think-tank, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which confirms statistically what all too obvious: While blacks constitute nearly 60 percent of Baltimore's population, only about 5 percent of the city's professional and managerial work force is drawn from their ranks. And the figure seems to have been stuck at that level for the past decade.
Compared to four other urban centers examined in the survey -- Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis and Richmond -- Baltimore doesn't fare all that badly. Nevertheless, the statistics speak for themselves: The managerial and professional ladder for a majority of Baltimore's inhabitants is woefully short. Inevitably this creates a sense of despair and resentment.
The diverse reasons for this situation are all too well known, and ++ are not in any sense the result of some malign conspiracy to keep blacks down. The causes are generational poverty, collapsing industry, corporate mergers, a neglected school system in which half the children drop out before they even finish high school, not to speak of never going to the colleges to which we must look to produce the professional and managerial class.