I have been in urban environments all of my life, even enjoyed the public school system primarily in Seattle. Each major city has its own unique budgetary situation. Chicago has its own unique situation. The public school system has extremes in both directions. The dropout rate overall is quite high but then again it handles more than 100,000 students. A school system does not have to be pretty in order for it to function at all. The facilities can be poor or even nonexistent, lacking at various levels in quality. It is still up to the individual student to learn even whether the environment is conducive to learning or not. A tuition free public school education in this country is taken for granted. In most parts of the world, the illiteracy rates are so high because a particular state(state used in the abstract) is so poor that it cannot fund public education at any level. Black children may be disadvantaged because of institutionalized racism but nothing prevents an individual student from self-study or even making it a habit to visit a public library at least 3-4 times/week for just one hour per day. Even in the worst environments such as Detroit, city public libraries are everywhere. When I was in the black area of New Haven, I was curious as to the condition of the local public library. Much like yourself, I thought that decaying neighborhood equals decaying services. Upon entering the library, I was surprised to find a facility that rivalled anything that Seattle could offer. Everything was state of the art and brand new. The staff was courteous and the materials were fresh. There were multiple computer stations along with free internet time for an hour. I was in that library off and on until I left New Haven after a several month stay. There was never more than a small handful of black patrons in the library. Usually, the library was empty save for the staff members that had to be there. The neigborhood was not 100% black but it was close to it. It was an area that was once a thriving neighborhood until the middle class black residents left during integration of the 1960's.
At any rate, this is an example of a system that tries its best to provide for its residents. Faulting an institution 100% for its failings cannot be accurate. Individuals like to blame the institution for negative educational outcomes. Logically, a completely faulty system would yield similar educational outcomes for all students. However, the harsh fact of it all is that black students are at the bottom in all areas of educational achievement and measurement, regardless of school environment. For every story of public school inadequacy there is a Shaker Heights story. Shaker Heights was a study involving black and white kids in a suburb of Cleveland. Despite possessing almost identical incomes, living situations and favorable conditions, the black students did poorly in school. The school district was well funded and more than adequately equipped. Of course, critics attempted to argue that there is an anti-education bias in the black community---that essentially it is not hip to be academic. However, if this were true then there would be none in the community that would ever succeed since culture is supposedly pervasive.
The biggest counterargument against anything that can justify black underachievement in decaying environments would be non-white, non-black first generation immigrants from third world countries. Study after study shows that even they outperform blacks in identical environments. Many of these groups enter a decaying system without even knowing any English at all.
There are Americans that are poor and white. Poverty is so relative. There are countries where the daily wage is less than $3, where public services are so inadequate that streets are filled with excrement, where the average person has a 2nd grade education, where some children have to leave school because they cannot afford the .10 cent bus fare to and from school, etc. I have visited these environments. Unfortunately, only 20 percent of Americans travel overseas. What I have just described by international standards is not even the poorest of the poor. So, even a poorly funded school in an urban environement has amenities that would cause envy in most of the world. Of course, I am leaving out school houses deep in Appalachia but that is a different issue.
The high incarceration rates of blacks, then Hispanics could partially be explained by institutionalized racism preventing these groups from affording high caliber legal defense. However, each person has free will. Each person can choose whether or not to commit a crime. White privilege is a myth because there are no benefits being in the majority; it is simply that being in the majority affords no drawbacks in terms of race. Instead, being in the majority means you will simply be discriminated against using other criteria such as age, social class, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Now, I am liberal on many issues, libertarian on some. The difference between me and pure liberals is that I was conditioned never to blame anything, even racism for personal failures. NEVER. Sure, I come from what you would consider a privileged background. However, I have only been middle class for a few generations. 100 years ago my poor, lower class and illiterate family neither recieved a handout nor a single concession. To make sure I never forgot this personal fact of origin, I was placed on $1/week allowances and started working at the age of 9 selling greeting cards door to door. At age 12 in 1983, I had a paper route. At 15 I washed dishes at an Italian restaurant for $2.50/hour cash. I have had stints at Mcdonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, KFC, etc. At 16, my single parent $200/hour immigration lawyer father charged me $150/month rent which just so happened to be a quarter of my income at the time. I am a 4th generation law school graduate that was raised on self-help. I am part of the one minority in this country that has had high rates of educational achievement and financial success despite whatever obstacles are present. The Delta Chinese in the 19th Century are a testament to this http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us...racial-society . This was a remarkable story of Chinese settling in the Mississippi Delta during Jim Crow days. Though they were forced to live with blacks because of segregation, they became grocers and other store owners that served the black community. It was a complicated situation though. Some areas allowed them to share facilities with whites but not live in the same areas as whites while others allowed then to live and share facilities with whites. These Chinese arrived with nothing and could not speak English at first. Nobody can stop a person from working hard and being persistent. NOBODY.
In terms of sexism, racism pales in comparison. Sexism has existed since the beginning of civilization, possibly before this. Race and racism are formulations that have not even existed for 1,000 years. Even when a woman works hard and persists it is no guarantee that she will be taken seriously or valued for her own achievements. The sexes are literally separated, but supposedly equal. Women deserve to blame everything and anything around them because sexism is so ingrained historically and globally that it has been mixed into the mortar of institutional cement responsible for every structure that defines society. Study after study has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that sexism at all levels exists, whether it is here in our society or elsewhere in time and space. The logic behind one racial group for lack of a better term succeeding when compared to other racial groups does not apply to sexism because no group of women has ever been shown to overcome men and sexism. The success rate in the aggregate is zero. I am speaking in general terms of course. We have yet to see a true civil rights movement apart from the suffrage movement that has had the same magnitude for blacks as it would have for women. Some people are surprised to realize that the biggest minority in this society are women yet women do not benefit from this status because for the most part they remain less than fully acknowledged contributors of society.