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Ractial Wealth Gap

The readings in “Color of Wealth- Forged in Blood� were remarkably informative. The section on the racial wealth gap was saying that African Americans were 13% of the population, but only owned 3% of the assets in America! That certainly tells you something about the disadvantages that are present in society relating to the distribution of resources. It goes on to say that in 1989, whites had a median net worth of $97,800, compared to $5,300 for blacks! Levels for both have increased over time but there is still a huge gap, and now it is even bigger than in earlier years. African American’s average wealth is one-sixth of white’s average.
African Americans are less likely to own stock and have the resources to invest and “get ahead�. Half of whites have a family that can help them buy a home, while only 20% of black families have this privilege. As I read more of these statistics a steady pattern emerged. There is so many disadvantages that blacks must overcome just to stay at the point they’re at. To actually catch up to whites or surpass them is near impossible the way our society is set up.
There is so much of a gap between the whites and minority groups for there to even be a chance for them to get to the same level, in general. There has been racism and the economic exploitation that occurred during slavery did not help either. Whites made money off of the cheap/free labor, while blacks got nothing in return for their work. This did not set them up for success as one can imagine.
The part that bothers me is the people that say America is a great place of opportunity and everyone has the opportunity to excel and follow their dreams. The whole saying of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps�…I love one of the quotes from one of the videos we watched in class. The woman says…�what if you don’t have bootstraps?� The advantaged people in our nation thing everything is fine and they are oblivious to the under privileged and the suffering that is going on in the richest nation in the world! There is no reason this should be happening in America. Our fellow citizens should not be suffering, while others have numerous houses! Tell me how great of a nation is that? Some are homeless while others can’t keep track of the number of houses they own?!? Seriously?!
-Rachel Ward

Comments

I completely agree. Taking this course has brought a deeper insight into just how unequal this world is - & not just through racism, classism, or sexism. The discrimination merely from the capitalist word brings about a depression for people that care to notice how suppressed people can be when they are not "on top". The Color of Wealth really proved its' words through the legislation examples that seemed to be never-ending. The long list of treaties & laws put in place hindered the world that we live in today. I believe that individuals fail to realize that the laws that may benefit for a certain period of time can end up leaving future generations reaping the consequences because society's actions are so deeply implanted without our nation.

I would have to agree that watching that video and actually learning the statistics of how this nation had systems that actually hindered the success and wealth of African Americans while furthering that of the whites opened my eyes just put everything into perspective of how things are the way that they are. America has a long way to go to be able to have policies that will be equal to every American and not just to the majority of the wealthy. This then means that the whole concept and ideology of the ways in which the past rulers have contributed to the country without doing much to help this problem has to change. We are now seeing how the society and economy is beginning to suffer because of the ways in which these policies are affecting the majority of the country's population. Did it really have to take the country to get to this point for us to realize that we have been living under false pretenses of what the 'land of the free' should be?

I would have to agree that watching that video and actually learning the statistics of how this nation had systems that actually hindered the success and wealth of African Americans while furthering that of the whites. America has a long way to go to be able to have policies that will be equal to every American and not just to the majority of the wealthy. This then means that the whole concept and ideology of the ways in which the past rulers have contributed to the country without doing much to help this problem has to change. We are now seeing how the society and economy is beginning to suffer because of the ways in which these policies are affecting the majority of the country's population. Did it really have to take the country to get to this point for us to realize that we have been living under false pretenses of what the 'land of the free' should be?

In response to your, “The part that bothers me is the people that say America is a great place of opportunity and everyone has the opportunity to excel and follow their dreams,� I’m in total agreement. Despite the fact that my parents double their work hours and still struggle to make ends meet, makes me think twice about America as land of equal opportunity. It’s hard to believe in our system, when it’s created for the wealthy class to grow wealthier.

I think it is so important to remember how deeply imbedded the racial problems are in the U.S. While some people might believe that it is enough to implement laws such as affirmative action to start the game of catching up, it is even more important to realize that there are still barriers in place that keep the status quo of oppression going. The comments you have put forward about the text you read were very important and enlightening!

I like how the video we watched in class elaborated upon how the wealth divide creates racial lines across the housing markets. The house is where most of family wealth is and as blacks were forced into rental properties. The black community was unable to build wealth like whites. The divide of racial wealth grew and concentrated particular groups of people into specific areas of poverty. The wealth/debt is inherited by future generations, making it hard for those in debt to break through the glass ceiling. I agree with your post, the white people have an unfair advantage because of the policies enacted to privilege them selfs.

I completely agree with you. I think it is completely disgusting that the government, who made the constitution saying freedom and equality for all, is the same government that has made these policies that dictate who has the wealth. It is so disturbing to think that throughout our nation's history we have continually oppressed various groups of people based solely on race, a thing that isnt even real in the first place. People think they see race, but relly, the truth is, it's not there. I think you definately made a good point here that it is a truly interesting nation we live in. There are kids that live everyday not worrying about a thing, and then there are those who can't even get an education. I think that poverty and the racial wealth gap needs to be brought onto the national level so everyone can see what we have created.

Yes, the racial inequality is still present today. The fact that only 3% own assets is crazy because there really is no reason why this is be. The racial wealth gap is something that i have never heard of despite evidence that I have previously known about. It will be hard for African Americans, Native Americans, and Chinese Americans to catch up in wealth because of the issues that have been historically resulted from governmental laws which hindered the advancement of certain people.

This section of The Color of Wealth was, as you pointed out very informative and shocking. Its nothing new to many that blacks do not have the same economic resources as whites in contemporary society but just how wide that disparity is, is hardly ever displayed. This section and your post and comments also relate to the Oliver and Shapiro book Black Wealth/White Wealth which goes into greater depth explaining the mechanisms of wealth accuisition and thier barriers for blacks. I'm also glad how someone pointed out how most of the wealth present in society has been passed down intergenerationally which harkens back to C. Wright Mills' work called the Power Elite which tracked this phenomenon over the past century. Its sad that as Americans we hold up a sidn proclaiming an indiscriminate meritocracy when in actuallity it is nothing of the sort; it is more of an aristocracy with numerous social barriers for minorities to climb.

I just wanted to add a statistic that really jumped out at me while reading The Color Of Wealth. An estimated 80% of assets come from prior generations. This means that a large portion of people's wealth is inherited. This statistic also sheds some light on why the wealth gap is so large in this country.

As you pointed out, the racial wealth divide is a messed up situation. It's interesting how much the allocation of resources in the education systems also plays a huge role. I feel that we have a brighter future to look forward to now that Obama has taken office. I don't think racial inequalities will go away, I just think he will help those affected by the racial wealth divide.