Statement from Angela Glover Blackwell on America's Racial Wealth Gap

28 Feb 2013 | Angela Glover Blackwell
Statement from Angela Glover Blackwell on America's Racial Wealth Gap

As America’s consumers and workforce become increasingly diverse, equity, inclusion, and fairness are no longer only moral imperatives—they are economic ones. The latest evidence for this comes from a new study released today by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University.

The study presents compelling evidence that wealth – what we own minus what we owe – is profoundly affected by race and racism. Over 25 years, the total wealth gap between white and African-American families nearly tripled, increasing from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009. And disparities of this sort are present in other communities of color as well.

That’s the problem. Now here’s the solution:

America must examine current policies on unemployment and job training, the nation’s tax structure and home ownership in communities of color, among other issues. Especially now, as we are talking about budget cuts and deficit reduction, our nation needs updated, enlightened policies that reverse longstanding, generational disparities and propel us toward a more equitable, sustainable economy. (Click here for Equity Policy Priorities.)

America’s economic reality has been shaped by lingering racial and class divides. The nation’s prosperity hinges on advancing policies that make it possible for everyone to fully apply their talent and creativity to building the economy.

In short, inequality hinders economic growth and diversity is good for the bottom line.