Race and Family Income Impacts Native American Inventor Patenting Activity
This article explores how race and family income have stymied Native American inventor patenting activity. We explore Jim Crow laws which forced African Americans to become non-citizens, racism in the credit and housing markets, and lack of access to formal innovation channels. This is a fascinating and complex topic. But there are solutions. Inventors from all ethnic groups can become more competitive by focusing on the factors that are preventing them from pursuing innovation.
Race and family income stymied patenting activity for Native American inventors
The US Attorney General issued the Invention of a Slave opinion in 1858, declaring that inventions by African Americans were unpatentable. Despite a legal change abolishing slavery, this opinion has been forgotten, and the federal government has attempted to reverse the trend by redistributing wealth. However, the tax policy for land in inventory and its related consequences has not had the desired effect.
The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, located at the University of Minnesota, has studied the issue. The organization aims to educate key audiences about the concerns of Native American communities. The Native American inventors featured below are members of several local Native organizations. All are passionate about improving their communities and seeking justice for their people. They hope that their efforts will lead to positive change.
Bell and his colleagues uncovered that patent holders were more likely to be white and wealthy. While this isn’t conclusive, it is interesting to note that this disparity persists despite changes in the U.S. patent system. As a result, patent holders are disproportionately white and wealthy, and affluent family earns 10 times more than the lowest-income family.
In addition to being underrepresented in patenting activity, Native Americans also have the lowest educational attainment rates. Compared to their counterparts, Native Americans have the lowest rates of wealth accumulation – about 9%. And their wealth accumulation rate is still significantly lower than the national average. That’s why it’s important to understand this disparity and find ways to combat it.
The data also highlights a trend that has been persistent since the dawn of the technological age. Native Americans still earn less than half as much as Whites, and their median incomes are lower than their counterparts. These statistics are even worse today – Native American families earn less than half the median incomes of non-Hispanic Whites – and the disparity is increasing rapidly. Parity is far away for Native Americans today than it was just a generation ago.
Jim Crow laws forced African-Americans to become non-citizens
The Jim Crow laws were enacted to keep African-Americans from voting and from renting housing. The Voting Rights Act and Fair Housing Act put an end to these laws, but the oppression lasted. Although these laws were eventually repealed, it still had a negative impact on full integration and adherence to anti-racism laws. So, it’s not all bad news.
The Jim Crow laws were not about “separate but equal.” The Supreme Court speculated in Plessy v. Ferguson that mankind wouldn’t display its worst nature without a great disadvantage for blacks. However, blacks were consistently worse off and services were often inferior. During the Civil War, former Confederate soldiers were working as judges and police.
After World War I, lynchings had risen. The NAACP sent investigator Walter White to the South, as his skin tone would allow him to infiltrate white hate groups. In 1919, the lynchings soared and the white authorities accused Black communities of conspiring to subjugate white America. In the 1920s, Jim Crow laws continued to reign in the South. The Second incarnation of the KKK claimed 4 million members nationwide.
These laws made it difficult for black citizens to vote. In some states, black citizens were forced out of their homes by white settlers. They often had to face armed whites who were out to kill them. A few surviving African-Americans were able to vote in the South, but only a few were voting. With these laws, many blacks were effectively made non-citizens.
Racial discrimination in credit and housing markets
Research suggests that racial disparities in the United States’ economy are driven in part by differences in intergenerational mobility. Compared to whites, American Indians experience lower rates of upward and downward mobility. Without changes in intergenerational mobility, the income gap between American Indians and blacks is likely to remain stubbornly large. On the other hand, Hispanics, who are generally more mobile across generations, are experiencing relatively high rates of absolute upward mobility.
The gender gap in racial disparities is most apparent in incarceration rates. On April 1, 2010, 21% of black males and 6.4% of whites with low-income parents were in prison, respectively. While black male incarceration rates are higher than white ones across the parental income distribution, there is still a substantial gender gap in incarceration rates.
Lack of access to formal channels of innovation
Indigenous Peoples have a long history of innovation, and their innovations have had an immense impact on our world. Indigenous Peoples in the Americas have been successful managers of their land and resources for thousands of years. Their innovation is grounded in their deep knowledge of their environment and connection to the land. Historically, Native Americans were in close contact with their surroundings and often shared knowledge with other groups. Indigenous peoples were skilled farmers who were able to teach European colonists how to grow corn.
Despite the lack of access to formal channels of innovation for Native Americans, a number of successful inventors have benefited from government and private grants. Thomas Edison was one of the most prolific inventors of the twentieth century and held over 1,093 U.S. patents. In addition to creating more consumer-friendly lighting, Edison invented more efficient light bulbs and a variety of other electrical appliances. These innovations are a boon to our students and society as a whole.
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