Black People Still Poor in Obamerica

More damning statistics on the state of race in Obama’s America. This recent report from the Pew Institute demonstrates yet again that post-racial America did not arrive via the 2008 election of the first black president. At least in terms of household/family wealth, being black or brown in America still means being broke. The average black household only held $5,600 in wealth in 2009, down from $12,124 in 2005!

The black-white comparisons in the two charts show that being white in America still comes with huge advantages.

Wealth, as opposed to income, is an important indicator of social inequality.

Income is what you use to buy a loaf of bread, Patron bottle service at the club, or a Mercedes.

Wealth is what you use to buy opportunity: to live in a safe neighborhood, to ensure that your children get a quality education, to live a healthy life.

Thus, these huge wealth differences indicate that the average Black or Latino still lacks access these benchmarks of the American dream.

Yes, black America has it’s Jay-Z and Oprah, but while the Obama’s live in the White House a large swatch of black America still lives paycheck-to-paycheck. The recent recession has destroyed the new black middle class. This population remains at risk of losing their jobs and houses, and falling back into poverty. Look at chart #2, black folks lost 53% of their nest eggs since the housing crash.

Where is the outrage? And perhaps more importantly, when will we hold those in the highest offices of the nation–those who look like us–responsible? I don’t want to hear another song about Maybachs or G6 private jets. I need a 2Pac Rebel of the Underground 2011 remix.

Amplify’d from

Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics


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Rethinking The Black Generation Gaps

Recent books by Ellis Cose (The End of Anger) and Eugene Robinson (Disintegration) have renewed debates about the state of black America–specifically, whether there are major generational gaps between the so-called “Civil Rights/Black Power” generations, the Hip-Hop generation, and now the so-called “millennials.” The last group seems to refer to black kids born in the 1990s. What does being born in the 1990s, as opposed to an earlier era really mean?

Sometimes called the “Obama Youth” or “Obama Generation,” this newest generation has come of age with a black president (Barack/B-Rad, not Bill Clinton); they are too young to remember the LA Riots/Rodney King/ and or the OJ Simpson Murder Trial. More, they lack any real memory of the 1995 Million Man March on Washington, DC. Partly it means that Tupac and Biggie are distant memories, though the two remain icons of an era of hip hop and black aesthetics that were marginally confrontational. Without experience of “real” racism (read” Jim Crow segregation at the back of the bus) or being called the N-Word in a bad way, some commentators have been quick to call this the first “post-black” or “post-racial” black generation.

The good folks over at The Root report the beginning of what will likely be a series of town-hall meetings, community discussions, and punditry about the black generation gaps.

Things have certainly changed in black America over the last 40 years. However, in our rush to map out shifts in attitudes and opinions about race, we should also keep in mind what hasn’t changed: the economic despair of millions of black people. Yes, we have our Oprah, P-Diddy’s (Puffy/Puff Daddy/Swag), and Jay-Z, but statistics also show that rates of unemployment and household wealth have changed little. As Prof. Jared Ball (Morgan State, rep) likes to remind us in his new book (I Mix What I Like): “Black America’s wealth is the exact 1/10 of 1% that is was in 1860.” The more things change, the more they seem the same.

Dr. Boyce Watkins (Syracuse, rep) provides a list of three things that seem to link this new generation with those of the past:

1) Good old fashioned racial discrimination

2) Black males buying into self-destructive images in media

3) Politicians who just don’t give a damn