African Americans represent 30% of
To some, COVID-19 has exposed the economic, educational, and health inequities in this country, but to people of color, it has only amplified what we already know. Despite our national narrative that hard work equals success, generational wealth and income are tied to race. Median black family assets are just 2% of white families with similar qualifications.
I grew up in a middle-class, entrepreneurial family with parents who ensured that I never saw their struggle, although they planted seeds in my subconscious. As a child, I didn't understand why they insisted I attend the best public schools in our city, which happened to be predominately white.
They knew that the resources that I would have at the predominantly black school in our neighborhood would not prepare me, in their mind, for a successful corporate career, or as I now understand, my destiny. I wanted to attend a
My first lesson came from my mom who said that I had to be twice as smart and work twice as hard to reap the same results as my Caucasian peers.
So I earned my MBA and gained knowledge and experience, but yet have been unable to find consistent professional employment equal to my skills and experience.
Many people of color share this same experience, earning just
There is a disturbing national trend wherein our children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The crack epidemic of the '80s led to mass incarceration of African Americans, while the heroin/opioid epidemic has created mass funding for treatment and recovery for white Americans. African Americans make up 70% of the state's prison population.
Another lesson was when my father said that welfare was institutionalized slavery. Our social welfare programs are designed to keep people in poverty.
When a person starts to pull out of poverty, benefits are cut immediately and drastically, when one doesn't yet have enough resources and assets to stand on one's own.
The stigma around safety nets that balance quality of life for workers and the terms disadvantaged and underserved are designed to distract us from a lopsided government subsidizes for the wealthy in stimulus packages for their corporations, tax benefits for passive income, and tax increment financing to build stadiums and parking lots as they are commended for great wealth management.
Additionally, if you find yourself in a societal safety net, you are expected to say thanks and not point out abuse, corruption or inefficiencies. A local shelter discharged a client during the pandemic when she had an expectation of a clean and safe environment and when she advocated to get resources for her family so they could find permanent housing for the future.
I am reminded of a quote I saw in
I leave you with this, what will you do to remove the chains?
the executive director of the