Wealth gap between Black, white has nearly doubled
This article was originally posted on LiberationNews.org 07/05/12
The wealth gap between white and Black people in the U.S. has nearly doubled over the duration of the current crisis in global capitalism, according to data released by the Census Bureau.
Black households had a median net worth of $4,995—a stark contrast with the $110,729 claimed by white households. The median net worth for Latino and Asian households fell as well—with Black, Latino and Asian households seeing their median net worth fall by 60 percent between 2005 and 2010. By comparison, white households lost 23 percent of their net worth.
In every crisis of capitalism, vast amounts of wealth are shifted between and within classes. When small or middling businesses collapse, more powerful capitalists are able to absorb their holdings and grow larger. Millions of working-class families have lost their homes and life savings in the latest crisis. Under capitalism, an increased concentration of wealth and power over time is the norm. People from oppressed communities are especially vulnerable to expropriation and economic hard times.
Households of color often lack significant safety nets to see them through tough times due to their status as super-exploited workers. Blacks and Latinos have historically suffered because of the racist nature of American society, having lower incomes, rates of literacy and life expectancy and inferior education, and higher rates of unemployment, imprisonment and health problems.
Racism is advantageous to the capitalist system. In addition to dividing the working class, super-exploitation—exploitation of labor over and above the “normal” exploitation that is the basis of capitalist profits—of oppressed nationalities produces astronomical profits for capitalists.
Historically, this has been been the experience of people of color in the U.S., from enslavement, as visited upon African and Indigenous peoples, or other forms of coerced labor as experienced by the Mexican and Chinese workers who built much of the American West, the myth of the hardy white frontiersman notwithstanding. Without revolutionary changes, any reform efforts are only band-aids on a larger wound, short-term gains always in danger of being rolled back when they become inconvenient for the ruling class.