3 Min Read

What is behind the massive Black-White wealth gap that exists in America? Aren’t blacks afforded the same opportunities to build wealth as whites? 

This question reminds me of a cartoon I saw years ago where a Black man and white man were getting ready to start a race. They are each hunched down like runners waiting for the starting gun. The starting line is the same for each of them, but the Black man is carrying an extra weighted-down backpack. 

Yes, there technically are opportunities for anyone to build wealth in this country. But there are obstacles in the way to achieve that. 

Some of us have economic obstacles. 

Some of us have family trauma. 

Some of us went to bad schools. 

Or had no positive role models. 

White, Black, Latino. Doesn’t matter. People of every shape, size and color can and do experience hardships. But for Black folks, there’s this added heavy burden that only people of color endure.

Black youth are much more likely to get harassed or arrested by the police. Or put into the criminal justice system rather than getting the help they need. 

Studies have shown Black kids are less likely to be treated the same in classrooms. 

Violence and gangs make it difficult for some kids’ brains to focus on anything except survival. 

Black business owners are less likely to be approved by loans, even when in the same financial position as comparable white-owned businesses. Worse, Black business owners find it much harder to find private investment. 

Promotion of Black men and women into positions of leadership and management remain few and far between. 

Add on top of this a century of mass incarceration of Black men that created generational poverty, and the obstacles are more than just the ones any of us might face. The list of added obstacles Black men, women and children face in this country is too numerous to mention. These only touch the surface.

You can’t really pull yourself up by the bootstraps, if you don’t even have straps or a pair of boots. 

Question For You: Do you believe that there are other factors contributing to the wealth gap? Let us know your thoughts below.


Jeffrey Kass - Author

About Jeffrey Kass

Jeffrey Kass is an award-winning author and thought leader on race and society. His “traumedy” stories and articles have engaged readers on issues of race, religion, society and relationships. Jeffrey’s stories have not only won numerous writing awards and finalist showings, his story “Staycation” was nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize literary award. His recent book, Oreos and a Pack of Marlboro Lights has been one of its publisher’s (Adelaide Books) best sellers since its release in July 2019.