What is the Powder Room?

The Curious Case of Generational Wealth

ADDENDUM: I was going to leave this article with just the tweet from Mother Jones, but this statistic deserves an further examination and explanation.

Many people of color do not have the ability to accumulate wealth like non PoC do, for many reasons. There is a lack of access to knowledge that could promote financial acumen amongst generations of marginalized people. I am just now learning what a Certificate of Deposit is, and I'm "college educated". Economic discrimination that occurs currently, as well as the forms of oppression that were prevalent in the past, such as subprime mortgages, the blackballing of PoC from owning property, educational discrimination that prevented PoC from upward socioeconomic mobility, illegal shakedowns of PoC owned businesses, etc (many of these practices still are ongoing, by the way), have created an environment where PoC are at unfair disadvantages in the rat race of achieving the American Dream.


Non-PoC have received an over 300 year head-start in their attempts to amass their little nest eggs, vacation properties, retirement funds, and tuition savings due to their race, but when PoC attempt to bring attention to this fact, we are told to exhibit more self-sufficiency. We are implored to work harder. Our current spending habits are inquired about. We are criticized by regular citizens, CEOs of corporations, and tone deaf politicians with questions in the tone of faux concern and real prejudice, such as "How can you buy an iPhone when you are poor?" I want to reply with "How can you give a multi-million dollar raise to yourself when your nation company is bankrupt?"

The oppression we have faced is coupled with the factor of generational wealth, where the wealth of one's parents (and presumably their parents, and their parents' parents) has a significant factor in an individual's wealth. The reality is that income inequality is not just a "Black" thing or "Latino" thing, it is affecting many people across racial lines. There is no denying the numerous Non-PoC who struggle day to day with finding ways to not starve, let alone making ends meet. Similar to how Michelle Alexander describes ways to solve the inequalities sullying our system of mass incarceration within her masterpiece, The New Jim Crow, we must unite with Non-PoC and show how the wealth disparity between races in not just a racial issue (it is indeed a racial issue) but a human rights issue. There is strength in numbers. But also with a similar voice to Michelle Alexander, we must realize that with the added factor of race and racism, income inequality tends to burn much more painfully for PoC, and the burn seems to last for lifetimes without hope for reprieve.

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