In America today for every $100 of white family wealth, black families only have about $5.04. In fact, the percentage of the total wealth owned by black Americans hasn’t really grown appreciatively since the Civil War. This level of inequality isn’t about failing to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. It’s a direct result of centuries of racist banking policies and practices that systematically kept black Americans from prospering.
This post contains affiliate links. Click Affiliate disclosure for more information.
The Color of Money Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap Mehrsa Baradaran
Check book price on Amazon. After emancipation President Lincoln approved reparations to help former slaves transition from being treated as property to owning property. Each family was supposed to receive 40 acres and a mule, but after Lincoln’s assassination, that order was reversed by President Andrew Johnson. What the free slaves did get was a bank. The Freedman’s Savings Bank. Over the next decade, former slaves deposited their hard earned wages, more than 75 million dollars into this bank. But it turned out to be a one way relationship. The bank’s white management refused to give any loans to its black clients. Instead, they lost nearly half the money on bad investments, before the bank closed in 1874. The Federal government failed to hold anyone accountable for this loss. Soon after that, Jim Crow laws were enacted across the South and owning land became even less attainable for black Americans. In the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt’s new deal helped create a new middle class but it also further cemented the racial wealth gap. With the help of the federal infrastructure, tens of thousands of banks and credit unions were created at this time to issue mortgages that in effect all went to white families. During this time, neighborhoods were explicitly zoned to reinforce segregation. And those in black neighborhoods were denied mortgages. These policies essentially helped create 2 separate credit markets. 1 of the affluent white suburbs and the other of the black ghettos. This is Law Professor Mehrsa Baradaran. She wrote about this history in her book, The color of Money. – The segregation of our banks and our neighborhoods and our mortgage credit, it was a partnership of banks, and our mortgage credit. It was a partnership of banks, homeowners who didn’t want to live in black areas. It was realtors who wouldn’t sell to blacks. It was the market deciding that a white neighborhood was worth more than a black neighborhood. It was the regulators not stepping in. It was the legislature not stepping in. You know, it’s not just the Klan that did this. It was the whole American society. – Civil Rights leaders recognized the fundamental economic injustice and proposed bold solutions, including integration reparations, and land grants. But once again, at this fork in the road of American history the nation took the wrong path. Instead of going forward with any of these radical solutions President Nixon proposed black capitalism. A series of policies that encouraged black entrepreneurship and asked the corporations to voluntarily support black owned banks. This policy paid lip service to closing the racial wealth gap but in reality did nothing to fix the underlying problem. Variations of the toothless black capitalism policy have been carried on by every administration since Nixon.- That we never fixed our legacy of Jim Crow, white supremacy, credit discrimination, all of these systemic problems and the put a little bandaid on it and say OK, well we’ll celebrate entrepreneurs, black entrepreneurs, that’s not the answer. – While U.S. Law banned explicit racial discriminatory banking in the late 1960s, racism in the industry is still alive and well. In the early 2000s, federally regulated banks and other financial institutions (I.e. Countrywide Home Loans) profited from selling many subprime loans which charged higher interest to compensate for higher risk of default. Many were designed to make repayments difficult or impossible. These toxic loans were purposely pedaled to black neighborhoods. In one lawsuit filed by the city of Memphis, Wells Fargo bank officials testified that employees referred to minority customers as “mud people.” And subprime loans as “ghetto loans.” And data shows discrimination in lending was based on race, not economic status. By 2006, higher income black Americans including many who could qualify for regular loans wer 4 times as likely to have subprime loans as higher income white Americans. The Federal Reserve’s own survey at the revealed as much but they didn’t act to stop the banks predatory lending practices. By 2008, the housing bubble burst and no community felt the consequences more than black Americans. – From Jamaica Queens in New York City to Oakland California. Strong middle class African American neighborhoods that saw nearly 2 decades of gains watched them reversed in a matter not of years but of months. Anyway you look at it, that’s an absolutely tragedy. – So surely we’ve learned our lesson from this tragedy. Apparently not. The Trump Administration is rolling back regulations put on the big banks after the 2008 financial crisis. And the subprime loans are being sold under the name non-prime Loans in many communities of color. The racial wealth gap has not closed in 200 years and it won’t close in the next 200 unless the government acknowledges its role in creating and perpetuating economic inequalities. It’s up to the government to fix the problem it started.
Credits — Isabelle Niu – Producer, Shruti Parekh – Producer, Joon Chung – Creative Producer/Shooter, Alex Clark – Senior Producer presented by Splinter
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America 1st Edition by Richard Rothstein (Author)
Check pricing on Amazon. Widely heralded as a “masterful” (Washington Post) and “essential” (Slate) history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law offers “the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation” (William Julius Wilson). Exploding the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces, Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods. A groundbreaking, “virtually indispensable” study that has already transformed our understanding of twentieth-century urban history (Chicago Daily Observer), The Color of Law forces us to face the obligation to remedy our unconstitutional past.
Median wealth of black Americans ‘will fall to zero by 2053’, warns new report
Study predicts huge and growing gulf between white US households and everyone else could be disastrous for future of America’s middle class
Andrew Yang running for President Breakfast Club Power
The Creature From Jekyll Island (by G. Edward Griffin) A Second Look at the Federal Reserve
International monetary fund and our Banking and Money system
Check Book price on Amazon. Where does money come from? Where does it go? Who makes it? The money magicians’ secrets are unveiled. We get a close look at their mirrors and smoke machines, their pulleys, cogs, and wheels that create the grand illusion called money. A dry and boring subject? Just wait! You’ll be hooked in five minutes. Reads like a detective story – which it really is. But it’s all true. This book is about the most blatant scam of all history. Check Audio CD on Amazon. It’s all here: the cause of wars, boom-bust cycles, inflation, depression, prosperity. Creature from Jekyll Island is a “must read.” Your world view will definitely change. You’ll never trust a politician again – or a banker.
The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Right
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right Paperback by
Jane Mayer (Author)
Who are the immensely wealthy right-wing ideologues shaping the fate of America today? From the bestselling author of The Dark Side, an electrifying work of investigative journalism that uncovers the agenda of this powerful group.
In her new preface, Jane Mayer discusses the results of the most recent election and Donald Trump’s victory, and how, despite much discussion to the contrary, this was a huge victory for the billionaires who have been pouring money in the American political system.
Why is America living in an age of profound and widening economic inequality? Why have even modest attempts to address climate change been defeated again and again? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers? In a riveting and indelible feat of reporting, Jane Mayer illuminates the history of an elite cadre of plutocrats—headed by the Kochs, the Scaifes, the Olins, and the Bradleys—who have bankrolled a systematic plan to fundamentally alter the American political system. Mayer traces a byzantine trail of billions of dollars spent by the network, revealing a staggering conglomeration of think tanks, academic institutions, media groups, courthouses, and government allies that have fallen under their sphere of influence. Drawing from hundreds of exclusive interviews, as well as extensive scrutiny of public records, private papers, and court proceedings, Mayer provides vivid portraits of the secretive figures behind the new American oligarchy and a searing look at the carefully concealed agendas steering the nation. Dark Money is an essential book for anyone who cares about the future of American democracy.