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Why the Racial Wealth Gap Is Still Not Closed

Even in the 21st century, the racial wealth gap still persists in the U.S. at the cost of the livelihood of Black Americans and other underserved groups. While significant progress has been made to help create onramps for Black Americans to obtain positions of power within politics and business, it is still not enough. The white-to-Black wealth ratio continues to widen. If the racial wealth gap is not closed, many Black generations will continue to feel the adverse effects of this gap. Understanding the racial wealth gap is key to finding solutions that can begin to close the gap once and for all.

The Modern Racial Wealth Gap

While the racial wealth gap has been a persistent theme of American history for centuries, it was brought to the forefront in the 1950s. Today, the racial wealth gap in terms of white to Black wealth is six to one. From a monetary perspective, for every one dollar that the average white person in the U.S. owns, the average Black person only has about 17 cents – a staggering difference. In addition, other statistics state that white Americans hold a total of almost 84% of the U.S. wealth, with Black Americans only holding 4%. These discrepancies in wealth all stem from unequal access to wealth or opportunities to achieve wealth brought on, oftentimes, by structural racism. Addressing this issue head-on is needed in order to close the gap for the Black community in the U.S.

What Can Be Done to Close the Racial Wealth Gap

There are several ways that we can work to lessen the gap. While these solutions may not be permanent fixes to the disproportionate wealth gap, these solutions will at least point us in the right direction. Some of the solutions could help include:

  • Lowering costs associated with higher education
  • Implementing a Child Tax Credit (CTC)
  • Targeting homeownership subsidies

Robert F. Smith and Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

Robert F. Smith has been a longtime supporter of helping organizations and initiatives that work to close the racial wealth gap in the U.S. One initiative he supports is Student Freedom Initiative – a non-profit dedicated to liberating students of color from the crushing burden of debt and uplifting them to be successful in their careers. This includes providing income-contingent loan options and resources to help students further their personal and professional aspirations. Student Freedom Initiative equips students with the necessary tools to get a head start on life and generate wealth.

Southern Communities Initiative is also working to close the racial wealth gap in the six Southern communities of the U.S. where the majority of the Black community resides by supporting Black-owned businesses to create lasting economic impact in the years to come. Another extension of this work towards economic advancement in the Black community is The 2% Solution – a solution that involves corporations giving back 2% of their profits each year back into underserved communities across the U.S.

Learn more about Smith’s work, including how programs like Student Freedom Initiative are helping the next generation of Black Americans generate wealth.