Don't tell me where your priorities are.

Show me where you spend your money and I'll tell you what they are.

-James W. Frick

Plan YOUR work! Work YOUR Plan!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Black and White Financial Divide

I was sent an article lately, that I was told was a MUST read. I have to agree, this article is why I am doing what I am doing. The article, Massive Race Divide: Blacks Will Never Gain Wealth Equality With Whites Under the Current System, focuses on the economic divide gap between Blacks and Whites. Those that know me, know that I geek for this type of stuff.

Let me put a disclaimer on this post....

This post is going to be much more serious than other posts we usually run, but will be worth the read. I promise!

The Facts (from a Brandis University study and a study by United for a Fair Economy):
  • From 1984 to 2007 Blacks have fallen further behind their White counterparts (by more than you might think).
  • The gap between Black and White households ballooned during the 23-year study period, as white families went from a median of about $22,000 in wealth to $100,000 – a gain of $78,000.
  • In the same period, Black household wealth inched up from a base of $2,000 per family to only $5,000. The sweat and toil of an entire generation had netted Black families only $3,000 additional dollars.
  •  The median White family was 11 times richer than the median Black family in 1984 ($2,000 vs. $22,000)
  • By 2007, the White household had become 20 times richer than its Black counterpart ($5,000 vs. $100,000).
  • Upper income Blacks fell even farther behind their White peers than lower income Blacks, higher income Blacks saw their wealth drop from $25,000 to just $18,000, while their White counterparts wealth soared to $240,000.
  • White privilege is real. Black folks have been integrated long enough to know that the White family didn’t get richer by a quarter million dollars because they were smarter than the Black family.
  • Whites are both collectively privileged and capable of bestowing an endless stream of privileges on each other, while Blacks are deliberately positioned outside of the stream, and are preyed upon as a group by powerful (White) financial forces that profit from the wealth differential.
  • Had the survey continued past 2007, the carnage of the Great Recession would have revealed even more dramatically the incredibly shrinking nature of Black wealth in the current era.
  • Enemies of all colors and sly servants of the rich will use the news of the evaporation of African American wealth to heap blame on Black “culture.” This “shaming” strategy is designed to keep Blacks looking inward for the source of their woes, and to simultaneously despair of finding salvation in our own capacity for group agency.
  • The Brandies study shows that the racial wealth gap, although historically rooted in slavery and Jim Crow oppressions, has grown dramatically under post-civil rights era conditions.
  • Blacks will not reach wealth parity with Whites until the year 2099.

The increased income gap is no surprise, but how wide that gap has become is CRAZY. How can one group gain $78,000, while another falls $3,000? As the Brandis University and the United for Fair Economy showed, there are many reason (and some reasons that weren't mentioned). Numbers don't lie. There is no way to sugar coat these findings, but they are the beginnings of making a change.

White privilege is real, we can't blame Whites for this (well, not the middle to lower class Whites). But shaming and blaming Blacks for the economic gap is stupid. Just as Whites get up and go to work everyday, so do Blacks. The jobs they go to is the difference. Education and high paying employment go hand-in-hand. Successful people know this, Black or White. Compare the of education the majority of Blacks receive against the education the majority of Whites recieve. There's a huge difference. Education is the key to closing this income gap.

I do believe that current and future generations of Blacks will close this employment disparity sooner than 2099, but it is going to take a collective conscious effort. Maybe I'm being overly optomistic, but hey I'm going with it.

Whites, often, have the advantage of tradition passed from generation to generation. Grand dad went to college X, each generation following is expected to attend college X or an equivalent college. Today, many Blacks graduating from college are first generation college graduates. Also, you can't pass down what you don't know. Dad learned from watching Grand dad about everything from managing finances to politics. Dad passed this on to little Johnny. Johnny will pass this down to his get the point. If Susie is the first member of her family to go to college and her family has struggled for generations, for many reasons, what knowledge is she given? The upside is that just on generation can change this tradition. Susie graduates from college Y and moves onto a high paying job. She has a lot to learn about this world, but she learns and can now pass down what she knows.

Blacks, and all other "minorities" must take control of their own lives and seek out what they do not know. Strive for more. If some situation in society is not benifiting the entire population, do something about it. Blaming and shaming Blacks is a cop-out on both parts. Many Blacks (the only Blacks some Whites experience is the Black portrayed on the evening news) have become comfortable in portraying this image of all the negative and shamed away from the positive (often self-influcted). Step outside of the box and take advantage of rights our forefathers died for.

I have met a lot of great people in my short journey towards making a difference. I am confident in our actions. A change will be made...with those ready to make the change.

I believe if we (as a society) can learn to prioritize, manage, grow financially, and demand better educational opportunities, 2099 will come a lot sooner.

When are YOU going to make the change?

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