The Common Good

New Study Reveals Deepening Racial Wealth Gap

One's wealth is determined by the value of one's assets minus one's debt. The Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University recently released their research on black and white wealth disparities. The data shows that over a 23-year period of time (1984-2007), white people's wealth quadrupled in comparison to black people's wealth.

I find this very troubling as someone who has graduated from college and is heading to graduate school in the fall, knowing that there is still a possibility that because of my race I will not be as likely as my white colleagues to develop wealth for my family. According to the director of IASP Thomas Shapiro, "Even when African Americans do everything right -- get an education and work hard at well-paying jobs -- they cannot achieve the wealth of their white peers in the workforce, and that translates into very different life chances."

I am keenly aware that my reality and opportunities have been very different and more fortunate than those who have not been able to graduate from high school or even go to college. As a matter of fact, this hits very close to home. As a first generation college graduate, I continue to be frustrated by the racism that permeates our policies. Many of us desire to give back and to improve our communities, and help our families and generations to come. The possibility that the color of our skin will still be an obstacle is frustrating to me.

Thanks be to God I come from a tradition that believes that God provides in spite of broken human-made structures and policies.

I encourage you to read the research and share your thoughts.

portrait-latoya-lynn-brownLaToya Lynn Brown is the executive assistant at Sojourners and a graduate of Ursinus College with a B.A. in American Studies concentrating in Sociology and a minor in Religious Studies. She is heading to Yale Divinity School in the fall.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)