Racial equality may be the defining issue of our time, but it may also be one of the toughest issues to define. In the broadest sense of the term, racial equality means equal opportunities in life for all persons regardless of race, but this is a rather lazy definition. Equality of opportunities is not enough—to me, true racial equality means equality of results.
There are a plethora of categories by which one could measure the equality of results between racial groups—education level, income level, poverty rate, incarceration rate, etc.—but perhaps the simplest way of defining racial equality is equality of success. Here in America, success is also known as The American Dream. Xavier University’s American Dream Composite Index (ADCI) measures the percentage to which Americans are living their American dream, and thus serves as a great tool for measuring something as subjective as success. When the ADCI is equal among all racial groups—when all racial groups are living their version of The American Dream at the same rate—then I believe we have achieved racial equality.
It is imperative that we remember racial equality does not necessarily mean equal rates between races in socioeconomic categories. Some racial groups might not necessarily view things such education level as very important to determining their happiness or success. We cannot say we have achieved racial equality when all rates of socioeconomic categories are identical, but rather we have to realize that racial equality can only be measured in terms of success—regardless of how racial groups define success. Racial equality will only be achieved when all races are equally successful in living their very own personalized version of The American Dream.