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Volume 37, Issue 4 (2008)

Advocating for Social Justice: The Context for Change in School Psychology

pp. 493—498

Inequities and disparities abound in U.S. society. In the same job, a woman earns about 76 cents for every dollar earned by a man, a gain of about 4 cents over the past 10 years. In the private sector at the highest levels of occupational attainment (e.g., actuaries, attorneys, financial planners, physicians), African American men earn substantially less than do their White counterparts (Grodsky & Pager, 2001). Two adult heterosexuals can marry legally anywhere in the country, affording them over a thousand federal-level rights and benefits (Wolfson, 2004), but gay couples can marry or have civil unions recognized in only a limited number of states and same-sex couple rights in those states continue to be hotly contested. Across the country, minorities of color must contend with racial profiling, are more likely than Whites to be denied a mortgage, are less likely to have health insurance, and depending on the minority group are more likely to experience a host of serious illnesses including heart disease, strokes, cancer, and asthma (Smedley, Stith, & Nelson, 2003). In 2001 the report “Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity—A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001) recorded the existence of disparities for racial and ethnic group members in access to psychological services, quality of care and clinician responsiveness, and barriers to services. Day in and day out, inequities and disparities affect public health and the quality of life for all concerned.

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