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The Racial Wealth Gap: 2 Essential Articles

It’s always a good idea to have articles in your arsenal. In this age of misinformation, my arsenal is filled with factual pieces, just in case someone tries to engage me with some “alternative facts.” Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  Bootstrapping, the thought that one can lift themselves up the social and economic ladder through hard work, sole responsibility and individual effort.  After all isn’t that the American Dream? The truth is social mobility is very difficult and for many close to impossible. Research shows those born at both the top and the bottom of the “income ladder” stay where they are from one generation to the next.


Now let’s talk race, yes it plays a major role in the American wealth gap.  In the above 2014 CNN interview, famous actor, Morgan Freeman, uses his success as proof that bootstrapping works. Sorry Morgan Freeman, the facts don’t lie, your success as a black actor in Hollywood doesn’t eliminate the role race has played in the wealth gap in this country. You are the exception rather than the rule. The median white household had $111,146 in wealth holdings in 2011, compared to $7,113 for the median Black household and $8,348 for the median Latino household. Meaning, a typical white household has 16 times the wealth of a black one.  These disparities have been birthed by a history of federal policies that have tried to cut Blacks and Latinos out of the American Dream.

So next time you find yourself in a conversation about the wealth gap or bootstrapping be sure to reference my two favorite articles on the topic. Forbes and The Washington Post do a fabulous job at crushing the argument that race is not a factor in American wealth or that one can just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. The articles are chock-full of infographics, stats and links.


Blacks and Latinos in America with every attempt of bootstrapping have been met with systemic opposition and it still goes on today. The wealth gap and race go hand in hand. 

Knowledge is power and power is possibility!

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1. The Racial Wealth Gap: Why A Typical White Household Has 16 Times The Wealth Of A Black One

“Much of that disparity comes from the gap in the home values in white neighborhoods versus the neighborhoods where people of color live. The roots of the gulf stem at least as far back as the 1934 National Housing Act, which redlined black neighborhoods, marking them as credit risks. Though redlining was outlawed in the ’60s, the effect persists today in the form of neighborhoods consisting mostly of people of color that have high poverty rates, low home values and declining infrastructure.

Discriminatory lending also exists today: Mortgages obtained by households of color tend to have higher interest rates. Even as recently as 2012, Wells Fargo admitted it had steered black and Latino households into subprime mortgages but had offered white borrowers with similar credit profiles prime mortgages.”

2. If You Thought Income Inequality Was Bad, Get A Load of Wealth Inequality 


“But plenty of folks will be stuck in that bottom 40 percent category forever. And as the OECD report points out, this is a big problem for everyone — even the top one percent. Their data shows that more inequality equals less economic growth: Between 1985 and 2005, the OECD estimates that increasing inequality has knocked nearly five percentage points off growth in OECD countries.”


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