A new report published by the Center for Global Policy Solutions titled “Beyond Broke: Why Closing the Racial Wealth Gap is a Priority for National Economic Security,” highlights just how drastic the contrast is between the economic security of whites and people of color. The study used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and the National Asset Scorecard in Communities of Color (NASCC).
The study revealed an unsettling truth: A full 50 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, econimic segregation is still very much a reality in America. Maya Rockeymoore, one of the study researchers, pointed out that while Jim Crow era lynch mobs and ‘white only’ signs are gone, “the pernicious effects of racialized public and private institutional structures continue to operate in ways that prevent asset building or promotes asset stripping when African Americans do manage to accumlate resources.”
One of the key findings of the study is that whites have 100 times more liquid wealth than blacks. Liquid wealth includes such things as cash and money held in checking accounts, bonds, or stocks. The median liquid wealth for blacks is $200 for blacks, $340 for Latinos, and $23,000 for whites.
Another key finding was in regards to tangible assets. Tangible assets include things such as homes and cars. Only six percent of whites had no tangible assets whatsoever, while 21 percent of blacks, 17 percent of Latinos, and 11 percent of Asians had no tangible assets.
The study also found that during the most recent economic recession, blacks saw their net wealth plummet by 53 percent, Latinos by 65 percent, and Asians by 54 percent, while whites only saw a decrease of 16 percent.
To further illustrate just how significant the racial wealth gap is, for every dollar that whites own, blacks own six cents, and Latinos own 7 cents. America can and should do better. It is not possible for a country to truly uphold the ideal of “liberty and justice for all” while so many minorities are systematically economically disadvantaged.
Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland pointed out that within 30 years, the majority of the United States population will be people of color, he went on to say, “If you have the majority in this country who are not earning enough money to take care of their families, who are not earning enough to create a savings account and don’t have pensions, who’s going to buy the refrigerators, who’s going to buy the curtains, who’s going to buy the cars? We have to make sure that America understands that this is not just a minority problem, this is an economic security problem. If you cut that many people out of the economic mainstream, your country will literally collapse.”
15 He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly.
16 He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper's tongue shall slay him.
17 He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter.
18 That which he laboured for shall he restore, and shall not swallow it down: according to his substance shall the restitution be, and he shall not rejoice therein.
19 Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not;
20 Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired.
43 The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low.