Commentary: Dr. King's dream is far from realized

With President Barack Obama as the first African-American in the White House, it's tempting to say the country finally has overcome problems of race. That urge, however, has to be tempered as the nation today celebrates the holiday commemorating the birthday of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Much progress toward King's dream of an America free of hatred and bigotry has been made. But plenty of work remains.

Recently, the Urban League of Greater Kansas City released its "2010 Equality Index" report, and the news is far from good.

•The local black jobless rate is more than three times the rate for whites.

•More than three times as many African-Americans as whites live below the poverty line in the 17-county metro area of 1.9 million people.

•More than 50 percent of area blacks do not have access to medical insurance.

•Fewer than 50 percent of African-American families own their homes.

•Twice as many blacks were subjected to high-cost home loans as whites.

•African-Americans’ median net worth of $20,600 was far below the $140,700 median net worth of white Americans.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.