Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Racial Divide

Wealth — the total assets a family owns after the bills are paid — for white households averages out at  $656,000. For Latinos it’s $98,000, and for black households it’s just $85,000. The average wealth of black and Latinos combined still doesn’t come close to half of white wealth.

Current estimates show that if nothing changes, the racial wealth divide will grow to $1 million by 2043.

In fact, it’ll take the average black family 228 years to accrue the same amount of wealth that white families have today. That’s just 17 years shorter than the centuries-long institution of slavery in the U.S. For Latinos, it’ll take 84 years to reach average white wealth today.

Today, more than 70 percent of whites own homes, compared with only 41 percent of blacks and 45 percent of Latinos.

The average white household in the U.S. today has $130,000 in retirement funds, while average black and Latino households have $19,000 and $12,300, respectively.

Generations of racial discrimination in programs like housing and government benefits are now reflected in dismal bank statements and paltry retirement funds for blacks and Latinos. Capitalism pits low-wage workers of all races against each other, leaving us vulnerable to the politics of blame and deflection.

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