Wealth Gap Widens Along Racial Lines
Really, who’s surprised? According to an analysis of new census data, the wealth gap between whites and blacks has grown to its widest levels in decades. Thanks to the recession and the uneven recovery, which has focused primarily on the financial health of the rich and the well established, too big to fail institutions of corporate America, decades of gains to bring some parity in wealth between the white community and the black community have been eroded leaving whites on average with twenty times the net worth of blacks.
According to an analysis by the Pew Research Center, the median wealth of white households in 2009 was just over a $113,000 compared with less than $5,700 for the average black household. The white to black wealth gap is the widest it’s ever been since this census data began tracking such social measurements back in 1984. The analysis shows the racial disparity of the entire economic meltdown. It provides the best proof of the continuing disparity between blacks whose main asset is their home and whites who are more likely to have a much more diverse and well established investment portfolio that is much more closely tied to big business. While government will focus mightily on reestablishing the wealth of Fortune 500 companies and the “job creators” with a total cash worth totaling into the trillions of dollars, for the most part the average black family is left excluded of these wealth development programs.
This information comes at a time when Washington is trying to reach a deal to keep the country from defaulting on its financial obligations. Our government leaders will squabble over proposals that will cut trillions of dollars from programs designed to help the less fortunate that make up so much of the black community. Programs like Medicare and Social Security will face threats of financial cost savings while politicians do what they can to protect corporate tax loopholes and anything else that might result in the wealthy paying an extra dime in government revenue. Are we really all that surprised to see proof that the wealth gap is growing along racial lines?
This information comes at a time when the unemployment rate in the white community is 8.1% and the unemployment rate for the black community 16.2%, exactly twice that of our so called white peers. And while we might hear the tired refrain that the black people in the community need to make more of an investment in education, where is the money for black people to make this educational investment to come from? While people in the white community have the wealth to borrow or invest in their children’s future, where will the funding come for people in the black community?
Let’s not forget that some of our politicians are actually arguing that if we as a nation raise tax revenue on luxury items like corporate jets, we have to offset that income by reducing our investment in things like education. So chances are the black community won’t have access to the government funding necessary to help overcome these financial disproportions at a community level.
Let many people from the racially generic community that is predominantly white tell the story and blacks have enjoyed every advantage thanks to such misunderstood programs such as affirmative action. And institutions that once existed to help offset the disparity a bit, such as ACORN, have been dismantled by people who, arguably, are intent on not just preserving the inequality of the racial status quo, but shifting it into overdrive to make the wealth gap even wider. Even our Supreme Court, more conservative than ever with justices like Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, has made rulings that can be summed up as anything that looks at racial disparity could in itself be racist. Are we really surprised to see that the attack on racial equality has been so successful?
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