Progressive Solutions to Reducing the Racial Wealth Gap

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As America grows to be a more diverse society, in many ways, it has also become a far more unequal one. American inequality has fluidly adapted to prevailing federal, state, and local institutions and continues to expose a country that has repeatedly fallen short of amending the systemic disparities among race, class, gender and ethnicity. These disparities have become increasingly more pronounced in the US economy, creating even more inequality and insecurity.

In an economy in which the wealthy benefit and the rest of the country are dramatically left behind, many lower- and middle-class workers struggle to achieve upward economic mobility due in part to flat wages and the rising costs of housing, healthcare, and the overall cost of living. These obstacles limit access to higher incomes and in turn, wealth. As high earners save much more of their income than low-wage workers, they are able to acquire more assets and build wealth — a path that is especially obstructed for black Americans who often earn much less. This is compounded by the fact that for decades, people of color have lagged behind white people by almost every economic indicator due largely to the legacy of slavery, the manifestation of structural racism, and the institutionalized exclusion of people of color from social and economic progress. Black people often face gross, structural barriers in attaining economic prosperity and wealth by way of an ascendant American social structure that has historically worked against them. American society routinely benefits white Americans while also generating adverse outcomes for people of color in the aggregate.

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