Photo by Timur Weber

Is poverty black, white, or brown? Or is it as neutral in shade as society makes it out to be? Despite society’s progress regarding inclusivity, there’s still much to address to close the racial wealth gap.

Everything isn’t what it seems.

When you step out of your house to carry out routines and chores, you’re met with a slightly different temperature outside your air-conditioned home. You bump into friendly neighbors or drive around the city with less traffic. You’re happy and content, exposed to the beauty of the world. But this doesn’t mean suffering, and poverty aren’t epidemic.

Privilege works wonders for those at a favorable level. At close examination, racial disparities significantly contribute to widening this gap. Somehow, societal inequalities continuously revolve around the ever-present disproportions between blacks and whites. And the more this remains unaddressed, the more significant this gap will be.

Inequality and Insufficiency in Two Colors

In the discussions of net worth, people compute an individual’s assets considering the liabilities they must settle. Hence, this only involves resources individuals enjoy after paying what they owe.

A typical white family’s net worth falls at around $171,000, while a Black family receives at least $17,150. One is nearly ten times greater than the other, a considerable gap showing disparities between black and white households. These amounts define the differences in their lifestyles and the privileges and luxuries they get to enjoy.

This is what the racial wealth gap stands for. It’s one aspect of society that hasn’t afforded to provide equal opportunities for everyone, favoring one ethnic group over another. America remains divided into two prevalent societies because of this disparity. It has been and always will be black and white. These groups measure and separate people’s social and economic well-being.

The Racial Wealth Gap

Debates about poverty often include culture and race as common flashpoints for arguments. The cultural narratives and resources people experience based on racial background influence their strategies to cope with poverty. This is why racial disparities significantly affect the privileges and opportunities people receive.

Let’s not deny it. Often, people are born suffering while others are born with entitlements.

The racial wealth gap is the disadvantage people have accumulated throughout their lives. This defines all the hardship one domain has spilled over the other. It encompasses what people have fought for in the past and what they’ve lost throughout this grapple. From public policies to antipoverty policies, advantages and disadvantages revolve around race as the pivotal factor. Even in the 21st century, socioeconomic disadvantages continue due to racial differences.

A few examples of the racial wealth gap and how it manifests in society are as follows:

  • One of every three African American children suffers from the consequences of poverty in the US. There’s an evident display of racial disparity when this is twice the rate for white children.
  • Whites experience overall better health than Blacks. This can be observed even after controlling for poverty, unemployment, and education. Perhaps, it can be deduced that the American healthcare system favors or prioritizes whites, giving them more access than their racial counterpart.
  • States with more Blacks are found to impose lifetime limits and family caps on benefits strictly. They may also observe stricter sanctions for noncompliance toward these systems.

Closing This Gap

As part of his critique of American society, author Dennis Joiner has written a book to help in understanding America’s political socioeconomic playing field and how to level it toward equality. Let the Playing Field Level the Playing Field propose societal alterations to balance this field.

It envisions a world where everyone enjoys identical privileges; nobody is above anybody. Everyone receives sufficient food and equal education, healthcare, and protection opportunities. Joiner’s book writes society is finally a place for equality. But it should also be noted that his book, with its grand vision, is fictional. Its proposed situation is far from what society is currently experiencing.

Does this mean it’s impossible to achieve such circumstances?

It’s not impossible. But doing so isn’t also the most leisurely walk in the park.

Reparation Programs for Racial Wealth Gap

Closing this racial wealth gap is pure in intention. It works as a solution around the moral imperative of elevating everyone’s quality of life together. Nobody gets left behind.

While a positive sentiment, optimism must still grapple with reality. The wealth and privilege concentration in America is far too imbalanced. If society’s priority is slowly dismantling the racial wealth gap, they must proactively invest in Black households and communities. This provides them leverage to level with those above them, considering their lack of accessible resources and opportunities.

When society has long been unjust, the first steps to achieving equality might also be unfair.

History matters for this inequality. The racial wealth gap could be considered a legacy passed from generation to generation through unequal monetary opportunities. They would need an extra financial boost to help this side level with the other.

A practical and excellent program to bridge this racial wealth gap must include reformations around the estate and income taxation. A progressive taxation system for the wealthiest Americans should exist, primarily including the white population. This system contributes largely to achieving racial equality and eradicating unequal wealth concentration.

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