By Ryan Velez
Economic inequality is a major issue along racial lines, but it may not be any more glaring than in Boston according to a recent report. Rolling Out says that according to the data, white people in the city have an average net worth of $275K. Black people? $8.
How does such a thing happen? Well, Black people clearly have more debt than their assets, with one exception. Interestingly, for Caribbean-born Black people, it was $12,000. It’s important to note that net worth isn’t the same as income. The reason why Black people have so much issues with debt is a multi-faceted and historical issue. Not only do a lack of economic opportunities mean they have less access to assets that could raise their net worth, but that they also are more vulnerable to debt.
William A. Darity, Jr. of Duke University shared why economic inequality will always be an issue unless the American government puts forth an effort to change.
“When Blacks graduate, they are more likely to have a significant level of higher debt, they are less likely to come from families that can help them with the next steps in life,” Darity told Rolling Out. “They are less likely to come from families that can give them a significant amount of funds to boost them on their way to their adult lives. So if anything, more highly educated Blacks maybe carrying a substantially greater debt burden as a consequence of obtaining higher education.”
Boston may not be a Southern city, but it is still white-dominated. According to census data, whites make up 73 percent of the population and Blacks only 7 percent. There are only four prominent middle-to-upper class majority Black neighborhoods in Boston. In comparison, Washington, D.C. has 119 and Atlanta has 110.
Some may be quick to point out anecdotal instances of racism, but it is the systemic racism that is the bigger story in Boston. Only two Black politicians in Boston have been elected to statewide positions; less than 1 percent of Blacks are board members at publicly traded firms in the state; less than 5 percent of Black workers are officials or managers, and there is a lack of Black-owned bars and restaurants in downtown Boston.