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There's a hidden but easy-to-guess reason why many white folks are born wealthier than black folks.

Why do you think African-American households have lower accumulated wealth than white ones?

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Open Society Foundations

I've been accused by Facebook trolls of being "ashamed" of my "whiteness."

News flash: Understanding and supporting the efforts of all Americans to make things more equal for our fellow citizens — and people all over the world, for that matter — is not anything I'm ever going to be ashamed of.


Tell ya what ... Google the Wilmington race riot (oh, heck, I'll just do it for you: Wilmington race riot). Read that little bit of history and get back to me. Yes, things like this happen, and yes, it affects future generations of those families for decades, if not centuries.

The fact is, generations of racism and denied opportunities have indeed led to African-American families having less resources, on average, than white.

Listen to Sandy Darity explain it below, which he does so well. (Note that the data he based this on was for 2009; it's changed a bit since then. Check below the video for updated stats.)

Here's a breakdown:

  • The median wealth for the average white household in 2009 was about $113,000, while the median wealth for the average black household was less than $6,000.

  • Black and white rates of saving are about the same. In some income categories, black saving rates are actually higher. It's not about saving versus spending.
  • Inheritances affect wealth, but so do parents who give money while they're still alive. Parents supporting a child in college, or helping with a downpayment on a home affect accumulated wealth.
  • The vast majority of peoples' wealth comes from previous generations. This doesn't occur when black wealth is destroyed (see the Wilmington Race Riot example above). And it didn't happen when black families were not permitted to earn a decent living — like, say, in the pre-Jim Crow South and before the days of affirmative action when some employers simply didn't hire African-Americans.

See where this is going?

Let's hear Sandy Darity, professor of Public Policy, African and African-American Studies and Economics at Duke University, tell us more:

The next time you hear that the reason black families have lower rates of wealth is "black people don't save as much as white people," share this video with them.

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