Closing the Wealth Gap should be Top Priority of the Next Administration

Ryan Taylor Data News Weekly Contributor

Like a pendulum he swung from the lamp post desperately seeking to breathe until he wistfully passed from this life to the next. Lynching was the most brutal tactic used to suppress the Black vote and upward mobility post reconstruction. Years later, on a Mississippi courthouse lawn, Lamar Smith was savagely murdered by gun shots fired at close range.

Apparently, the dozens of onlookers who witnessed the crime did not see the White perpetrator.

You see, if you’re Black, your right to vote has been paved with human sacrifice (martyrdom) and etched in blood. So, hopefully you exercised your right to vote in such a pivotal election. It’s your sacred and civic duty.

However, voting alone will not save our Black souls. As an aggregate we need to re-imagine our political economy, hold those we vote in office accountable to our economic goals, and be forward thinking about how we save and invest. Our future is at stake.

The primary culprit embodying the cumulative disadvantages and past atrocities visited upon Black people is the racial wealth gap. It is the antecedent driving all other inequities across race within our society including education, healthcare, and criminal justice. The numbers do not lie … Black families are 4.6 times more likely than White families to live in areas of concentrated poverty, and the median White family carries more than 10 times the wealth of the median Black family (as of 2016). What’s more? A Georgetown study found socioeconomic status, not smarts or talent to be the primary indicator of academic and early career success. Meaning it’s better to be rich and below average than it is to be poor and above average. On aggregate basis, a Black child is more likely to be the latter.

This means our children are placed at an extreme disadvantage absent a formative communal economic agenda that counteracts these startling statistics.

Now that we have elected Joe Biden as the next President, how will this impact Black America and what is his plans for combatting COVID-19, global warming, systemic racism, but most importantly, economic inequality.

President-Elect Joe Biden supports at least studying reparations to descendants of enslaved people, while Donald Trump called the debate on reparations “interesting” but doesn’t see it happening. Joe Biden has incorporated advancing racial equity across the economy as a distinct pillar in his Build Back Better Plan. It lays out in detail how he plans to fuel investment and funding in Black and brown communities.

It is the hope that the new administration makes closing the racial wealth gap his top priority. This can be a step in the right direction not just for the Black community, but for the nation.

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