Do Blacks in the US Deserve Wealth

Another Case of One Bullet Too Many

Despite progress in educational attainment, disposable income, and increasing diversity and inclusion efforts, this generation will still face the largest racial and ethnic wealth gap. In essence, the road to equitable prosperity is as painful as walking three miles barefoot and on broken glass. This journey will definitely get worse sooner and last longer than you think.

From a global pandemic to a year of protest, 2020 marked another critical juncture for America. Communities are dying and small businesses are on life support. This is the end of an era of luxury for a 180 degree reversion to the global mean.

These symptoms beg the question, Do Black people living in the US Deserve Wealth?

On the eve of another police showdown, the tension was mounting and barricades were going up. Police officers conveniently absent during the capital riots, were gearing for another extended deployment in major US cities.

No sooner was the Derek Chauvin verdict rendered for the murder of George Floyd, did Black America hear about Daunte Wright. In yet another case that went south quickly, Daunte was shot dead with what the veteran police officer thought was a taser.

On top of that, all while another situation was brewing. Columbus Police Shoot And Kill Black Teenage Girl, identified as Ma’Khia Bryant.

…The Mental Health Part is Fatal

If it’s not the bullet then the mental health will kill them for sure.

Lawrence Delva-Gonzalez

Due to inter-generational stress built over 400 years of Black enslavement and often state-sectioned discrimination from better housing to jobs and healthcare, handling the unique intersectionalities of personal trauma and institutionalized racism is a challenging barrier to overcome. Additionally, the prolonged period of social media filtering, luxury flex spending and seemingly unending isolation due to the Coronavirus outbreak has rendered black communities and gender relationships in a constant war on Clubhouse.

High-Value Ideas and Psychologically Bankrupt

In addition to these continual acts of violence, many are left struggling to mentally stay afloat.

Black people are honestly in a constant state of PTSD. The community is in the forever state of “ Sustained attention,” a process that enables the maintenance of persistent response and continuous effort over extended periods of time. By proxy that level of Hypervigilance can have a negative effect on your life.

It’s akin to being on guard for a lifetime.

It can affect how you interact with and view others, or it may encourage paranoia. Unfortunately, the next closest victims are in your community. Take it from a Marine being in that state for 5–7 days is enough to drive many crazy. However, like a frog slowly being cooked to death that low-level humming creates a self destructive pattern over the course of multiple generations.

The Downward Trajectory For Black America

As of 2019, older millennials white families had roughly $88,000 in median wealth, while Black families had only $5,000, and Hispanic families had $22,000.

Such low levels of wealth for Black and Brown families have largely stifled short and long-term stability from getting married, to buying an affordable home within reach of quality schools, to investing for the long term. According to 2013 data from a paper by the progressive think tank Institute for Policy Studies, they found that it would take 228 years for the average wealth held by African Americans to catch up. Additionally, from the Road to Zero Wealth Report by ProsperityNow and the Institute for Policy Studies. “ By 2053, Black households will have a median wealth of ZERO.

Only 17% of Black men have a bachelor’s degree. African American males, ages 16 to 64 have the lowest participation rate in the labor force. Most won’t break a salary income of $40,000 per year. While the future black matriarchs are carrying the majority of student loan and credit card debts.

Looking back at the median wealth from 1983 to 2016 (adjusting for inflation), black families saw their wealth decrease by more than half, while white families saw theirs rise by 33 percent. The most debilitating aspect is the breakdown down of security and trust between the sexes. While this is the second CH reference, it’s a telling case study of how deep the fissure is.

Indebted to Wealth

Millennials are the most indebted college students in history.

According to analysis from New America, consumers under the age of 34 owe a combined total of over $620 billion in student loans. 80% of Black millennials with at least a bachelor’s degree still have student loan debt compared to half of white millennials. Often carrying more than $50,000 worth of debt.

While many white families are established and help students through school, Black graduates become support systems for the generations before them. Even though graduates are higher earners, instead of paying educational debt off, they are often paying for parents without a retirement plan, further compounding the wealth gap.

Leading economists, along with social justice activists and Democratic leaders in Congress are pushing for Federal student loan forgiveness. This debt relief could address centuries of Federal racist economic policies, from labor, business creation and housing discrimination.

The pandemic added another layer to how difficult it is for Blacks in America to acquire wealth.

Can There Truly Be a Plan Solely For Black America?

I purposefully framed the question, do Black people deserve wealth, because even if we excluded all external influences, Man would still have to do what’s best for him or herself.

We cannot separate our own accountability from sustainable changes. A community thrive at the mercy of Joe.

With a bit a warning, “Do not, my friends, become addicted to INSERT HERE. It will take hold of you, and you will resent its absence!”

Along with discussing mental health, we have to do the work of discussing personal finances and tasking ourselves to do said work.

We still must live and act beyond our state of brokenness to devise strategies for small wins when and where we can find them. At this critical juncture, we will have to face mental health and conspicuous consumption as it pertains to materialism as defining trait of self-worth and self-fulfillment.

This, by no means expunges the debt owed to Blacks by the US yet Blacks can ill-afford a poor investment of time and efforts in hopes that others will simply deem us worthy to draw breath.

A Bridge of Black Wealth Potentially Too Far

Black wealth that is not sown, cultivated, and nurtured will not grow.

As it stands today, the Black community is fractured and leaderless. When the Democratic presidential candidates wanted to reach Blacks in America, they bypassed the church and went straight for the Breakfast Club radio show.

When the presidential elect wanted to share his platform and views, he went to Cardi B. I want to be clear and say that I love the Breakfast club and Cardi B is an interesting case of a good person who went through a traumatic road. All that said, they aren’t our leaders vs standings due to absenteeism.

The Black community does not deserve wealth as it could merely be defined as money.

Black people in the US deserve more than that. We deserve truth, leadership, direction, and ultimately — Life. Out the womb, too many of us only know struggle and pain firsthand or by proxy.

Personally, as stated earlier, I’m mentally tired of fighting. Equally, I’m tired of seeing my people tired. Rather, I want to see our kids dreaming again. Don’t our heirs deserve more from us?

We just want to live

To me, it’s not about the macro herculean effort instead it’s about the micro everyday fundamentals that moves us from A to B. We don’t need another “Single Story” (likely two paychecks away from poverty); instead, we need to redesign our stories so that the narrative changes from one to all. We should not relegate our efforts to uplift the few versus the task of the select gifted few need to uplift the whole.

With over $2.3 Trillion in unaccounted funds, the foundation of Black communities has all but eroded into a space of self prescribed High-Value without Being Valuable to the whole. While the late 90s saw a decline in Black family values and social responsibilities, the 2000s saw a rise in the minstrel and the lavish.

C-suite positions won’t save us. Not sure what political leaders are doing, but that’s not a winning battle strategy. That’s an act of self-attrition through brain and wealth drain.

Ask yourself where do affluent Blacks live? Even Patrisse Cullors of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement opted for luxury over living among the people. The tactics of the last 30 years have failed us wholesale. Only real Communities will save us. And we get there by fixing ourselves internally. Effectively rewriting our own trauma, and healing the inherent rage that’s been building up for a while. We need to love ourselves again and learn to live — really live again or anew.

To quote Abdul Rasheed Ajayi, MSW, “In order to reestablih the Black community; Wealth, Power, and Healing are absolutely necessary.” That’s the wealth that Blacks in the US deserve. By proxy, that’s the wealth that all Blacks across the globe deserve. Abdul went on to say as a capstone, “ this is a conversation that cannot easily be discussed without a mastery of real Black history because essentially in America, Blacks are wealth in the same way that Africa is wealth.

Additional Resources

  1. The Real State of Family Wealth: Will COVID-19 Worsen Racial, Educational and Generational Gaps in the U.S.? By Ana Hernández Kent, Senior Researcher; and Lowell R. Ricketts, Data Scientist, Institute for Economic Equity
  2. Which Families Are Most Vulnerable to an Income Shock? A Look at Race and Ethnicity by Lowell Ricketts, lead analyst and Ray Boshara, senior adviser and director, St. Louis Fed’s Center for Household Financial Stability.
  3. The Ever Growing Gap without change, African-American and Latino Families won’t match white wealth for Centuries, by Dedrick Asante-Muhammed, Director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at CFED, and Chuck Collins, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he co-edits Inequality.org.

Written by Lawrence Gonzalez as an ongoing Dialogue on Black Wealth Dysfunction in America while providing a new course of action. Edited by Christina Michaud.

Originally published at https://theneighborhoodfinanceguy.com on May 6, 2021.

--

--

Financial Literacy Educator |Money Story 💰Negative $125k Net worth to $660k in 9-yrs 💸Paid off over $350k in debt 🔑 and Traveled to 25+ countries.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store