Dr. Boyce: Racial Wealth Gap Largest It’s Been in 25 Years

by Dr. Boyce WatkinsSyracuse University – Scholarship in Action

A new study presented some disturbing, yet expected news about the sad state of economic affairs within the African American community. According to the study, the wealth gap between white and black Americans has become the widest that it’s been in the last 25 years. As it stands, whites have a wealth level that is 20 times greater than blacks, and 18 times greater than Hispanics.

Much of the drop in black family wealth is due primarily to the decline in home values and heightened unemployment during the great recession of the last three years. African Americans currently have the highest unemployment rates in America, with the most recent data listing the rate at 16.2 percent.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/twyche Terrill Wyche

    This is what integration has produced. 66 years after Brown v. Board, the economic disparity between blacks and whites has actually worsened. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/twyche Terrill Wyche

    This is what integration has produced. 66 years after Brown v. Board, the economic disparity between blacks and whites has actually worsened. 

  • Anonymous

    ” Whites are far more likely than blacks to own 401(k) and IRA plans, in addition to stock funds, with these assets accounting for 28 percent of their wealth. On the contrary, only 19 percent of black wealth comes from these assets. ”

    And, this should be a wake up call to many Black Americans to start investing/saving their monies!You would be surprised at how many do not participate in their company 401 (k) or other savings programs even when it is matched 50%!Most have no thought about retirement!Unfortunately, until we (the masses) educate ourselves, and start to understand how monies work in this country we will continue to be on the lower rung.

    For those who do not have jobs now is the time to look into starting your own businesses, no matter how small. A friend who was forced out of his company (he took a nice buy-out) went back in history and actually started a shoe-shine business!  He now has about 15 Hispanic employees, and he has them working all over town at various locations. Before anyone says anything about his not having black employees, he tried. He put ads in all the black newspapers, and other places, in addition to word of mouth. The only ones who applied were Hispanics! He pays them a decent wage, and they keep their tips. Some of these guys go home with $40/$50 a day in tips!There are legal ways to survive, and this is where we need to keep our mind-set on and stop sitting around talking about whoa is me.

    We see what is happening! Do something about it!

    • Goldie G

      All you say is true and I agree wholeheartedly.  Along with the fact that now since the economy is in this condition, whites are closing doors that was once open to black and other minorities. They are tightening the reigns to preserve their own.  They have institutional racism and the mindset already in place so that has caused a huge drop  in local jobs that used to be available to minorities. I live in an area that is upper middle class and majority black, but when you go into the towns it does not represent the population at all.  Jobs for college educated blacks are held open until they find a white person to fill it, although they will take your application and interview you for fear of a law suit.  It is going on in municipalities and white and blue collar jobs everywhere.  A lot of people white and otherwise will not patronize black businesses for the most part, and we wind up with subpar small businesses that is severely underfunded. This must be dealt with but it is not being exposed on the scale that it exists.  Along with that, we must get smarter about our money and learn what is takes to deal with this mess, and do it ! 

      • Anonymous

        I thoroughly understand what you are saying and you are right!

        “They are tightening the reigns to preserve their own”

        Which is all the more reason for us to get going!

        This is an eye opening wake up call!

      • Wanda J. Wright

        You are exactly right.  I have a Masters Degree and I am still not paid what I am worth.  It is very important that African Americans start contributing to their 401k plans at work.  If we do not plan for our future who will.

        Wanda J. Wright

      • God Is Awesome

        Thank You for true confornt the true is a problem for African American We like to pretend it’s easier than confornt our oppressor. we need some serious education about history and how this country has never given equal opportunity to us to overcome the condition of slavery. This country is pro-slavery this is the foundation , and the purpose  that it is driven by. There were A three part  document in the Final Call new papers Tittle Hard Work or Hardly  Working? How White People Got So Rich. It Give in detail how this country legislate policies to make poor and keep poor the minorities, and to use them to accumulate and maintain wealth for whites and this is collaborate from all branchs of government.  Untile we collective seek to challenge the racial disparities from a true existance and not be side track . Are should I  ask what are your fundamentally value.  

  • Anonymous

    Nothing about this article is surprising in the least. 
    To put it bluntly, integration has fucked us and helped us to rely on others for our own well being. Even Dr. King toward the end of his life said “I fear I have integrated my people into a burning building”.
    As stated by BuckwheatsMomma and GoldieG, this should serve as a wake up call. While we are so worried about who’s dating who and what’s going on in celebrities lives, our community is getting royally screwed out of survival means. It’s time to do for our own.

  • Anonymous

    The largest cause of this disparity IMHO is financial illiteracy.  We’ve come a long way in terms of education and employment, but we have a long way to go in terms of financial literacy.  I attended a syposium on that very subject a couple of years ago, and the speaker (I can’t remember her name, but she’s a black woman who appears on CNN from time to time) pointed out that while many blacks are considered middle class because they have high incomes and are homeowners, they are actually middle class in name only because on average they tend not to have the savings necessary to sustain them in the event of a financial emergency like a sudden illness or the loss of a job. 

    She went on to point out that even amongst those of us who earn high salaries, there is an overemphasis on consumerism.  We are slaves to the latest fashions, cars, purses, clothes, etc., but sadly, too many of us are not well-versed in investing opportunites like 401k, IRAs, etc. 

    Lastly, for me, the biggest financial death trap black people should stay away from by any means necessary is payday loans.  The interest rates are obscene, making the loans very difficult to pay back, and even if you are successful in paying the loan back in a timely way, most payday loan lenders do not report your timely payment to credit bureaus.  They only report when you fail to pay them back.   

  • WizardG

    There is a gap between the wealthy and poor in the color scheme, but also a widening gap between the rich and poor in general.
    I wish that everyone could see that we are deceived at every turn and that what we think and believe is influenced by our  Euro-centric ‘Americanized’ social structure, where very little is as it seems and all of the cards are stacked against the masses as a whole and against ‘blacks’ especially.
    It is important that you realize that the rich are running the country and most of the world like a kingdom. The Anglo-elite are in charge and they are ruthless in their schemes and dealings. What they say and do makes all the difference as to our survival and our failures.
    They have tricked the masses into believing that we choose our politicians, when they are the ones who choose them and use their media to promote or delete them. Now after saying all of this. Very few can grasp the enormity of the con we are being subjected to, and few can understand that no president, no congress, no supreme court, no military, no police agency, not even a large religious leadership functions without the explicit acceptance and guidance of these Anglo-Elite.

    The idea of this is so extreme that many are unable to believe it, but when they see the power of the Italian Mafia as portrayed on TV or Movies, they see the helplessness of those who go against the ‘Godfather’s’ wishes and the idea that very few could run or hide from the mafia boss’ wide net of information and forces. We could see the futility in trying to thwart the wishes of such powerful men. That is the same exact overall condition we find ourselves in here in the US. Our leaders are  not in place to serve us (the common people) they serve their Anglo-Elite bosses. They play their roles well to fool us into thinking our “democratic’ process is in place and functioning, and they play against each other to give us the illusion that one is fighting for us and the other against. But they are playing a big con and they have all the tools of an Elite owned media to help them.

    I beg you all to please not allow yourselves to be fooled by the hype. Do not make a step further to feed the beast that is devouring us all from inside out.

    Sure there’s a racial gap here. What do you expect from a social structure that has fought our color ever since they dumped our ancestors here. Those of us who came here under other circumstances can rarely see our situation as we do, but as I’ve always said, “It is better to be here from somewhere else”!

    As for Mr. Obama.(The man with a fake but prestigious title). The game was and is played on us, and as a politician working for the Anglo-Elite Obama is well versed at playing his role. Their plan involved using his facade to carry out the most atrocious activities of the century, if not the millennium, on the poorest peoples of the world!

    Like everything else that befalls African across the diaspora the racial wealth gap is intentional. Yet while we are being slowly drained and driven into poverty we can look across the African diaspora and see our brothers and sisters suffering faster and more horrible poverty and death. Just look around you and stop hoping that the US is going to be a fair and safe place for black people!

  • WizardG

    There is a gap between the wealthy and poor in the color scheme, but also a widening gap between the rich and poor in general.
    I wish that everyone could see that we are deceived at every turn and that what we think and believe is influenced by our  Euro-centric ‘Americanized’ social structure, where very little is as it seems and all of the cards are stacked against the masses as a whole and against ‘blacks’ especially.
    It is important that you realize that the rich are running the country and most of the world like a kingdom. The Anglo-elite are in charge and they are ruthless in their schemes and dealings. What they say and do makes all the difference as to our survival and our failures.
    They have tricked the masses into believing that we choose our politicians, when they are the ones who choose them and use their media to promote or delete them. Now after saying all of this. Very few can grasp the enormity of the con we are being subjected to, and few can understand that no president, no congress, no supreme court, no military, no police agency, not even a large religious leadership functions without the explicit acceptance and guidance of these Anglo-Elite.

    The idea of this is so extreme that many are unable to believe it, but when they see the power of the Italian Mafia as portrayed on TV or Movies, they see the helplessness of those who go against the ‘Godfather’s’ wishes and the idea that very few could run or hide from the mafia boss’ wide net of information and forces. We could see the futility in trying to thwart the wishes of such powerful men. That is the same exact overall condition we find ourselves in here in the US. Our leaders are  not in place to serve us (the common people) they serve their Anglo-Elite bosses. They play their roles well to fool us into thinking our “democratic’ process is in place and functioning, and they play against each other to give us the illusion that one is fighting for us and the other against. But they are playing a big con and they have all the tools of an Elite owned media to help them.

    I beg you all to please not allow yourselves to be fooled by the hype. Do not make a step further to feed the beast that is devouring us all from inside out.

    Sure there’s a racial gap here. What do you expect from a social structure that has fought our color ever since they dumped our ancestors here. Those of us who came here under other circumstances can rarely see our situation as we do, but as I’ve always said, “It is better to be here from somewhere else”!

    As for Mr. Obama.(The man with a fake but prestigious title). The game was and is played on us, and as a politician working for the Anglo-Elite Obama is well versed at playing his role. Their plan involved using his facade to carry out the most atrocious activities of the century, if not the millennium, on the poorest peoples of the world!

    Like everything else that befalls African across the diaspora the racial wealth gap is intentional. Yet while we are being slowly drained and driven into poverty we can look across the African diaspora and see our brothers and sisters suffering faster and more horrible poverty and death. Just look around you and stop hoping that the US is going to be a fair and safe place for black people!

  • Barbara2

    We as blacks have got to stop buying the high priced shoes, clothing, hair, and nails.  There is nothing wrong with saving money for a rainy day.  It will also teach our young black children how to budget money and get a good education.  Blacks are smart, very creative, and well educated, but we lack moral support and respect for our fellow man.  The attention given to whites over blacks also hurt our money problems.  In AL black owned businesses treat black customers like trash.  It just a mind set game I guess, but they will not speak or give you service when you enter their business.  I figure  my money is not green enough and walk out.

  • http://www.izania.com Roger Madison

    This study reveals what many of us always knew — there is a large and widening wealth gap among Blacks and Whites.  Now we know that Hispanics have moved ahead of us.  How can this be?  In a word “unity” — or a lack of unity in securing our progress.

    Blacks have progressed on “islands of progress” — generally isolating those who beneffitted from upward mobility from the rest of us.  What we have seen in this recent recession is that the positions many attained on these islands of progress was tenuous and their gains were swept away by the economic storm.

    We must learn to solidify our gains through support and collaboration, or we will be forever relegated to the underclass in this society.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_L7ONMGPITX2AX7HEXKFV56TZOU JellyBean

    I gotta agree with Buckwheat. I started investing in 1996, when my first kid was born. I read “Smart Money Moves for African Americans” by Kelvin Boston and that changed my attitude, plus reading Black Enterprise helped also. Folks, it is up to us to create the kind of future that helps all of us. One thing my grandparents always told my sister and I when we were little, “you don’t want to be old, broke, and black in America. Nobody cares about you.” Makes sense knowing that folks don’t carea bout you when you are young, broke, and black in America. Just think what happens when you get old, broke, and black in America. If, The Great Depression did not wake us up. Or the Riots of the ’60s. Or Hurricane Katrina, black folks we have nobody to blame but ourselves. We gotta think outside the box, folks. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_L7ONMGPITX2AX7HEXKFV56TZOU JellyBean

    I gotta agree with Buckwheat. I started investing in 1996, when my first kid was born. I read “Smart Money Moves for African Americans” by Kelvin Boston and that changed my attitude, plus reading Black Enterprise helped also. Folks, it is up to us to create the kind of future that helps all of us. One thing my grandparents always told my sister and I when we were little, “you don’t want to be old, broke, and black in America. Nobody cares about you.” Makes sense knowing that folks don’t carea bout you when you are young, broke, and black in America. Just think what happens when you get old, broke, and black in America. If, The Great Depression did not wake us up. Or the Riots of the ’60s. Or Hurricane Katrina, black folks we have nobody to blame but ourselves. We gotta think outside the box, folks. 

  • Llgoff

    The African American & Hispanic communities can break the stronghold of lack & poverty. Financial literacy can empower us.   Personal accountibility is the answer. Decide to make some changes or the next 25 years will be the same.

    We must stop depending on others to help us to become financially independent.
    I support President Obama 100%. The government can not create wealth for people. Neither can living on a fixed income (paycheck  or benefit check). 

    God has given us to power to get wealth – it’s called entreprenuership. Leave a legacy for the next generation instead of debt.

  • nicole32

    i so agree!