With Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement serving a one-two punch to American society, now more than ever has been a crucial time for people to reflect and think critically about how racism has severely affected the Black community.
One of the most evident disparaging impacts of the oppressive system is Black America’s inability to sustain more equitable communities.
As the country expanded its economic power over the last century, the racial wealth gap also significantly widened. Intentional sabotaging, such as the Tulsa race massacre in 1921 and the Rosewood massacre in 1923, and the lack of investment towards growing and developing the marginalized community, has created gross inequality. In fact, according to a 2019 report by McKinsey & Company, the median white family had more than 10 times the wealth of the median Black family in 2016 — and the gap has continued to grow since.
To further discuss the structural roadblocks that have prevented Black America from building and distributing generational wealth, Yahoo Life spoke with a panel of five Black public figures who are raising awareness about the importance of reinvesting in their communities.
“Educate people in a way that they have the information, so when we have the conversation about reparations, it’s not something to laugh about. It’s not something that we’re not asking for. It’s something that we’re owed,” says activist, writer and filmmaker, Kimberly Jones.
The information Jones is referring to is from the 2016 survey of Consumer Finances that indicates Black Americans possess only 2.6 percent of the nation’s wealth — while constituting 13 percent of the population.
Other panelists include The Grapevine’s host and producer Ashley Akunna and Donovan Thompson, a panelist and producer on the show. Alysha Pamphile, cinematographer and host of the Black Girl Podcast and Doyin Richards, bestselling children’s author and keynote speaker were also part of the discussion.
Despite the continued historic and deep-rooted mistreatment of Black Americans, the panelists agree it isn’t too late to lay down the foundation to fuel the economy and increase the wealth in the community in order for future generations to close the gap.
“As a Black community, we have to get more comfortable with the idea that we can change the narrative. We just need to have the vision and the dream, and then the people around you to help you process it and do that,” Pamphile says. “Thankfully, we have these people in our community who are willing to fight for what they know is right. Fight for what they know needs to be changed, regardless of how many years it took us to get here. If we didn't have these people, we would be back to square one,” she added.
With so many institutionalized barriers, financial equality won’t happen overnight, but resources such as Official Black Wall Street, Black Owned Everything, WeBuyBlack or the EatOkra app are great places to start.
Watch the video above to learn more about how we can effectively redistribute wealth in the Black community.
Video produced by Kelly Matousek and Gisselle Bances
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