Today I'd like to talk about one of the things this community really, really doesn't like to talk about: the financial advances of being white.

The Financial Advantages of Being White

We were recently nominated for some industry awards! This was absolutely shocking. I have no idea who nominated us or how or why, but it instantly gave me two very strong, very different reactions.

The first was a  variation on Sally Field’s Places in the Heart acceptance speech. “I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” Borrowing, of course, the original speech’s explosively manic and self-congratulatory tone. We feel tremendously hashtag blessed to have found so many warm and welcoming people in our short stay in the personal finance community. And we are truly grateful to all of our readers.

My second reaction was, “Shit. We’ve been pulling our punches!”

See, one of the reasons Piggy and I decided to start this blog was that too much financial advice ignored the hard questions and contentious issues that drive personal finance. Take, for example, this question: why do some people have more money than others? 

See, one of the reasons Piggy and I decided to start this blog was that too much financial advice ignored the hard questions and contentious issues that drive personal finance. Take, for example, this question: why do some people have more money than others?

There are so, so many potential answers to this question. People are different! They have different personalities, abilities, interests, advantages, backgrounds, opportunities, drives, beliefs, and knowledge sets that combine into a set of financial circumstances unique to each individual. The personal finance community seems inclined toward examining only a few of these differences—the ones that are easy to talk about, the ones that cast a flattering light upon ourselves.

Today I’d like to torpedo all hope of winning industry awards by talking about one of the things that this community really, really doesn’t like to talk about. That subject is race, and by extension, the financial advantages of being white in a white supremacist culture.

Today I’d like to torpedo all hope of winning industry awards by talking about one of the things that this community really, really doesn’t like to talk about. That subject is race, and the financial advantages of being white in a white supremacist culture.

Friends, I’d like you to extend me a little trust. Take my hand and follow me on a journey. I’m going to try to inventory some of the gifts given to me by a white supremacist culture. I didn’t ask for these gifts—there was no registry, and I will not be sending thank-you notes. But they also didn’t come with a return address, and there’s no way to refuse them. The body I was born with—that of a white woman—comes with undeniable financial advantages. And the legacy of these advantages is terrible  to consider.

Let’s consider it anyway!

You ready?

I was more likely to be born alive

According to data collected between 1979 and 1992, black women are 2-6 times more likely to die from complications of pregnancy. During the period of the study, there were 25.1 deaths per 100,000 black women, 10.3 for Hispanic women, and only 6.0 for white women.

Why? Well, the study’s authors aren’t entirely sure. “Quality of prenatal delivery and postpartum care, as well as interaction between health-seeking behaviors and satisfaction with care may explain part of this difference” is their best guess.

Personally, I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that doctors don’t seem to believe people of color when they describe their own physical pain. Or it could have something to do with the fact that the medical community has a long history of abusing black and brown patients, making people in those communities gun-shy about seeking medical assistance until it’s too late (you’d be too if your grandparents were sterilized or infected with syphilis for the sake of scientific inquiry, don’t lie). It could also be because fewer people of color have health insurance, for reasons we’ll get into later.

Black and brown infants also die at higher rates. Again, it’s thought that insufficient healthcare access during pregnancy is responsible for this statistic.

My name is imbued with positive assumptions

The name my parents chose for me was among the top 50 most popular in the year of my birth. I’ve met many people with my name. They have all been white. There is one famous black person who shares it, but she uses a nontraditional spelling.

This doesn’t necessarily make my name a “white name.” There are no Name Police to govern such things. But it does shape the perception that someone with this name is extremely likely to be white. And that comes with many benefits.

In my youth, I was less likely than my peers with “black names” to be labeled a troublemaker by my teachers.

When I was old enough to start looking for jobs, the name on my resume would get me 50% more callbacks and interviews than equally qualified candidates with names perceived as black. I have never been selected for additional screening at an airport. When renting, potential landlords prefer my name over Hispanic or black-sounding names. When buying a home, I don’t face the same kind of lending segregation and vestiges of redlining that people of color deal with.

In a world where there are Beckys and there are Lakishas, I am a Becky, and I have been well rewarded for it. That’s why it’s very funny to me that there are some white women who get super offended by being called “Becky.” However indignant one might be to feel the mild hydrogen peroxide sting of its application, a name like Becky is nevertheless an enormous net financial advantage.

That’s why it’s very funny to me that there are some white women who get super offended by being called “Becky.” However indignant one might be to feel the mild hydrogen peroxide sting of its application, a name like Becky is nevertheless an enormous net financial advantage.

My physical features are the default

I am not a stunning beauty, by any means. And the patriarchy is a tricksy beast—I suspect that very few young girls feel fully satisfied with their appearance.

Still, it was very nice that Crayola’s “flesh” crayon did, indeed, look like my flesh. It was nice to be photographed by cameras that are calibrated to my body. I loved never having to wonder if makeup would be available in a shade that suited me.

I never had difficulty finding good products for my hair, or people who know how to style or cut it. The onerous processes of braiding, relaxing, or reconfiguring hair so that it would be deemed acceptable by my school or work dress code is totally unknown to me.

No one has ever described me as exotic. I have rarely had my skin color or eye shape compared to foods. No one ever complimented me, with surprise, on my ability to speak or think. No one has ever asked “where are you from” and expected an answer other than “Iowa.” It’s really nice that no one has ever stared at me, spoke rudely to me, or followed me because I didn’t fit their preconceived image of a welcome person.

I had no shortage of heroes

Growing up, there were lots of protagonists in television, movies, books, comics, and plays who looked like me. No beloved book character was ever coopted into a race that wasn’t mine in a movie adaptation. (At least not that I can remember.) In my church, every painting of Jesus, the angels, and the saints made them look like my kin.

My family members never had a hard time finding dolls that looked like me. Maybe that sounds small. Maybe it is. But as far back as the 1940s, researchers have used dolls to explore absorbed racial bias in children. Black children preferred the white dolls overall, and ascribed more positive attributions such as “good” and “pretty” to them. The research concluded that such preferences were evidence of low self-esteem and learned self-hatred among black children. This self-hatred was more acute in children who went to segregated schools.

All of this damage was inflicted by the age of five.

The research concluded that such preferences were evidence of low self-esteem and learned self-hatred among black children. All of this damage was inflicted by the age of five.

Kenneth and Maime Clark, the researchers in this study, presented these findings in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. It was one of the key proofs that “separate but equal” were mutually exclusive priorities.

Tests skew in my favor

We have known for years that standardized tests and intelligence tests are inherently biased. Yet our school systems rely more than ever upon these tests to gauge school and student performance. Higher family incomes are extremely predictive of SAT scores, but race and ethnicity are even stronger predictors.

I perform phenomenally well on both standardized tests and intelligence tests. But then again, my parents were wealthy and white—so it seems I have merely conformed to statistical expectations.

Inherent biases within the language and format of these tests is partially to blame. But self-perception and fear of failure can also drive scores down. If women perform worse on science and math tests when reminded immediately beforehand of society’s low expectations for women in STEM, I find it very easy to believe the same effect can occur among students of color. Even for successful students of color, the risk of being viewed through a negative stereotypical lens can paralyze their academic successes.

Bilingual students are much more likely to be inappropriately relegated to special education programs or misdiagnosed as having a learning disability. This misalignment can permanently trap English language learners on a below-grade learning track.

My education was awesome

Efforts to integrate schools peaked before I was born, from the 1950s through the 1980s. After that, integration efforts slipped backwards due to the multigenerational efforts by American parents to keep their children from attending diverse schools. As one writer put it, the “unspoken belief that African-American and Latino children threaten the moral and intellectual development of other children has a strong emotional power that drives public education in America.”

As one writer put it, the “unspoken belief that African-American and Latino children threaten the moral and intellectual development of other children has a strong emotional power that drives public education in America.”

For the first six years of my life, I went to a private Catholic school. The school was excellent. In the entire K-8 institution, there was exactly one single student who wasn’t white. He was the adopted South Asian child of two white parents.

What makes white, highly segregated schools likely to be better than diverse schools? Well, it’s complicated! There are smarter people than me who’ve dedicated their careers to studying this phenomenon. If it’s a subject that interests you, there’s tons of great research on the subject.

But basically, school quality is mostly a question of investments, and for a variety of interconnected reasons, white communities have more to invest.

Fuck you, Bill! ;)

My community has more resources to invest in me

My parents, grandparents, and more distant ancestors struggled. But very few, if any, of their struggles were institutional in origin and universal in visitation. They weren’t subject to an intergenerational campaign of kidnapping, enslavement, rape, murder, intimidation, incarceration, violence, segregation, deprivation, experimentation, underrepresentation, appropriation, and (perhaps most gallingly, given everything else) denial.

There are very few things that investments of time, money, and attention won’t improve. Homes, schools, neighborhoods, and communities flourish with access to these things and crumble without them. And having just one of them isn’t enough.

My community hasn’t had to address the legacy of all these inequalities. That leaves them with considerably more time, money, and attention to invest in itself. And in me.

My community hasn’t had to address the legacy of all these inequalities. That leaves them with considerably more time, money, and attention to invest in itself. And in me.

Communities of color have fewer of all three of these resources to invest, and they’ve been pretty unsuccessful at getting white communities to invest on their behalf. That’s why schools in Detroit are so dilapidated they have mushrooms growing in their bathrooms, mold growing on their food, and floors literally crumbling beneath the children’s feet, and it isn’t treated as a national emergency.

I am well represented

In the United States, white people are overrepresented in both national and local governments.

The federal government matters a lot. Why, for example, did Texas get a strong national disaster response after the recent hurricanes, but Puerto Rico didn’t? Many reasons, almost all of them to do with race.

As huge and visible as white supremacy is on the national stage, I’m of the opinion that local institutions matter more. That includes city counsels, school boards, and police departments. Ferguson, Missouri comes to mind as an example of representation imbalance and its consequences. Two thirds of Ferguson residents are black, yet 95% of its police officers are white. The horrible consequences of that misrepresentation are well known.

We do not control the institutions that allow us to be racist.

White people can, and do, adequately represent their constituents regardless of race. But clearly there is something wrong in the dynamic of homogenized racial power. It breeds insensitivity and ignorance at best—and outright hatred and violence at worst. As a women, an atheist, and a young person, I’m deeply underrepresented. But as a white person, I’m swimming in the invisible privileges of several hundred years of concentrated political power.

White people can, and do, adequately represent their constituents regardless of race. But clearly there is something wrong in the dynamic of homogenized racial power. It breeds insensitivity and ignorance at best—and outright hatred and violence at worst.

My skin color shields me from consequences

An interesting 2016 study done with eye-scanning technology proved that preschool teachers watched children of color significantly more for signs of potential behavioral issues. Further, they rated the hypothetical misbehavior of black children as less severe; counterintuitively, this was because these black children were held to lower standards. The teachers expected misbehavior, and were thus less surprised by it.

This probably explains why white children are 3.6 times less likely to be suspended from preschool than children of color.

Unequal consequences persist long past school. Police officers are 50% more likely to let a white person slide on a speeding ticket. White offenders are significantly less likely to be arrested on minor drug charges, even though white people are more likely to deal drugs than black people. And we’ve talked before about the gross injustices in our ironically-named “justice system.” I have been pulled over for traffic violations, but never ticketed. I have purchased weed (or whatever the kids are calling it these days) and sold pills, but no one ever took an interest. In my wild youth I shoplifted several thousand dollars worth of merchandise, but no loss prevention officer ever looked at me twice. I’ve brought scissors on an airplane, but was never ejected or even given additional screening. I violated my school’s zero tolerance policies, but found there was tolerance after all.

I have waved realistic toy guns around, knocked on strangers’ doors for help, walked through urban neighborhoods, and reached for my ID—and I was certainly never shot for it.

My mother also never had to teach me to live in fear of such outcomes.

Progress!

I have more credibility and attention as a crime victim

Conversely, if I had ever been the victim of a crime, I always knew I would be believed.*

I get to enjoy the social phenomenon known as Missing White Woman Syndrome. We are the world’s damsels, presumed to be weak, sheltered, and innocent—which makes our victimization dramatic and important.

And this is not a uniquely American obsession. A 2008 study proved that white Canadian women receive 27 times more news coverage than First Nations women—and their articles contain more images, details, and passionate statements. Crime victims who aren’t white are rendered invisible in a world deaf to their humanity and their problems.

I feel so safe in this world. Even if I’m doing dumb, bad, dangerous, or illegal things, my whiteness insulates me from consequences when others must feel their full brunt.

I feel so safe in this world. Even if I’m doing dumb, bad, dangerous, or illegal things, my whiteness insulates me from consequences when others must feel their full brunt.

*So long as the crime wasn’t sexual assault, of course!

Traditional credit and lending practices statistically favor white people

The most impactful factor to your FICO score and credit score is your payment history. But this information is pulled from credit sources that white people are statistically way more likely to have. If you don’t have a house, student loans, a credit card, or a new car, your score suffers. It doesn’t matter how many months of rent, utility bills, or other non-credit on-time payments you make.

Mortgage and credit discrimination is alive and well in America. Measuring trustworthiness in credit therefore biased. White folks are far more likely to have good credit scores and enjoy the host of financial advantages that come with them.

Bills are easier to pay when you’re white

We’re a finance blog. And lots of the stuff in this article up until this point has been somewhat squishy—proven in the lab, expressible as statistical evidence, but hard to quantify in concrete monetary terms. And while all of these factors certainly contribute to a race-based financial advantage, there’s no way to put an exact price tag on those gains.

But I gotcha numbers for this section. So hold onto your butts.

My earnings ratio is 46% higher than Latinas and 37% higher than black women. I estimate my lifetime earnings at around half a million dollars. Which means my intrinsic racial privileges have netted me an extra $185,000 to $230,000 compared to my black and brown sisters.

I estimate my lifetime earnings at around half a million dollars. Which means my intrinsic racial privileges have netted me an extra $185,000 to $230,000 compared to my black and brown sisters.

~*RACISM SOLVED*~

It’s easier to get a job when you’re white

You’ve gotten this far! So you’re probably not too surprised to learn that race plays a big hand in employment.

I was underemployed starting in 2009. In that year, the unemployment rate for white women in my age demographic was 7.3%. For Latinas, it was 11.5% and for black women it was 12.4%.

My underemployment ended when the unemployment rate for my demographic dropped from 7.3% to 6.1%. In other words, I needed the unemployment rate in my demographic to drop by a relative 16.5% in order for me to find employment. Hispanic women did not see a comparable rebound until 2013; black women, not until 2014.

That means that if my skin were another color, I would’ve lost an additional 1-2 years of income as a result of the recession. For me, that figure came close to $25,000 to $50,000.

All told, my napkin math is this: of the $500,000 I have made in my lifetime, $281,000 is attributable to the systemic privileges that come with the color of my skin. If I were a black woman working exactly as hard, making all the same financial decisions, I might’ve made only $219,000 instead of more than twice that.

As researcher Coli Holbrook said, “I have never been so disgusted with my own data.”

Obviously this isn’t an exact number. We can’t ever know what my life would’ve been like if I were born into different circumstances. But this imperfect calculation stands as a representation of something much harder to quantify: the incredible inheritance that white supremacy has gifted me. It isn’t something I asked for. It isn’t something that I want. But that doesn’t absolve me of the responsibility of dealing with it.

This imperfect calculation stands as a representation of something much harder to quantify: the incredible inheritance that white supremacy has gifted me. It isn’t something I asked for. It isn’t something that I want. But that doesn’t absolve me of the responsibility of dealing with it.

Where do we go from here?

I don't... I don't understand the question.

I’m going to stop my list here. Not because it’s complete—not by a long shot. But because I think you all see where I’m going with this.

This is a problem.

The interesting question is, whose problem is it?

Traditionally, erasing the historic and systemic vestiges of racism in America has been the providence of people of color. They’re the ones who are disenfranchised by the system. That makes them the ones most incentivized to do the work of real change.

But I think that’s fucked up. If you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you know we don’t cotton to this idea. Powerful entities should be held responsible for getting their shit together and changing the way the world works, even if they benefit from the status quo.

Most days I don’t feel all that powerful. But when it comes to race, I am, whether I choose to be or not. That’s why I want to be held responsible for getting my shit together and changing the way the world works, even if I benefit from the status quo.

Most days I don’t feel all that powerful. But when it comes to race, I am, whether I choose to be or not. That’s why I want to be held responsible for getting my shit together and changing the way the world works, even if I benefit from the status quo.

On Thursday we’ll be releasing a follow-up article. We’re going to talk about how we can fix this problem. And by “we,” I literally mean Piggy and I, two white women—but I also mean “all of us,” the people in the personal finance community. How can we make our community more honest and more welcoming to people with diverse experiences? And what can we do together to try to enact meaningful change? It’s an ambitious plan, but if you’ve enjoyed our tradition-smashing oeuvre up to this point, I think you’re in for a treat!

Until then, I’ll be meditating upon my blessings.

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29 thoughts on “The Financial Advantages of Being White

  1. The only thing I wish was having more heroes and potential mentors in America that look like me.

    It was great when I was living in Asia for 13 years. Not so great when I went to school in Virginia. But pretty cool now that I live in San Francisco.

    Just got to make the most of what you got!

    Sam

  2. I think that if we aren’t willing to have frank conversations about race, we are doing ourselves a huge disservice. I’ve written about this several different times. I had no control over being born white. The fact that I am white does not mitigate all of the blood, sweat, and tears I’ve put into getting myself where I am today. BUT it does change at least some of the paths I’ve taken, the resources that I’ve had access to, and even what society has expected of me. It’s that bootstrapping bullshit. Force up and force down cancel out. You physically cannot pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

    Also, band-aids. Every year, I talk with my students about them when we talk about race and privilege and the fact that the civil rights movement is still happening and which side of this do you want to be on. Because you had better believe we ARE talking about this. If they can have honest (and nervous and awkward and difficult) conversations about it at 12, we can do better as grown-ups. And bloggers.

    ::gets off soapbox::

    1. Thank you for having these conversations with your students. I had a history teacher in high school who challenged us to examine the privileges that we had and the ways in which we benefited from them (even if we were marginalized in other ways) and he changed my life. You’re doing important work and I appreciate that you make this a priority.

  3. Yes. This should be required reading for all my fellow beneficiaries of white privilege. It’s a thing, and it’s our job to educate ourselves about it and talk about it and work to dismantle it. And the fact that we talk a lot about numbers and about allegedly ‘neutral’ topics like personal finance doesn’t exempt us from that responsibility.

    Thanks for this. Thanks for name-checking white supremacy.

  4. I can’t figure out how to insert a gif into a response, but please imagine the RuPaul “Can I get an amen?” gif here. I am a white woman who is trying to leverage her own privilege at work to hire/promote black and brown women, because I work in tech where the lack of black and brown women is even more stark than other fields. White women all too often kick women of color and native women down the ladder with a “we’ll get to you later” when Shine Theory is really where we need to be putting our efforts. If marginalized women are lifted up and can succeed in this country, it raises all of us up. Thank you for taking the space to discuss this (with so many excellent resources!) and keep on fighting the good fight.

    1. I have received your psychic gif. You CAN get an amen, because yes, yes, yes re: “we’ll get to you later.” And later, of course, never comes. Good on you for making a deliberate effort to make it right!

  5. Um yes holy shit this post is so spot-on. And it’s definitely our job as white people/beneficiaries of everything having white skin gets you in life to do the work to change things. It makes me so mad that we expect people from marginalized groups to clean up the various shit piles they have to deal with. SO looking forward to Thursday’s post.

  6. A few of my white blog friends have touched on white privilege but this is one comprehensive (though incomplete because we both know you’d need 5000 more words to get to “complete”) list and I appreciate the hell out of it. I’ve got a list of how frakking privileged I am as an AA and the actions I’m taking to dismantle my part of the structure. We can do this. We can proactively lift up demeaned minorities (historically, black people and Hispanics get the worst of it always) and look for ways to open traditionally biased paths in our areas of expertise. For me, that includes: reconsider where the unconscious bias is in our hiring practices, changing how we interview and judge results of interviews, find where we’ve unconsciously put up roadblocks that keep out black and Hispanic people and then called it “hiring the best fit”. If your culture only likes white and Asian people, it’s only going to hire white and Asian people as the “best fit”. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and embrace the skills you’ve “never expected” to see in people who don’t look like you.

    Stop expecting successful people to look like you and your approved friends. Stop thinking that you’re lowering standards if you accept women and minorities and start understanding we already know you think that way and we have to work twice as hard and produce twice as much quality work.

    Then maybe we’ll start to get somewhere.

    1. I texted Piggy a photo of a skeleton covered in cobwebs, meaning “I just finished a new article, and it’s so long that this is what you’ll look like when you’re trying to edit it.” It’s true, I strived (strove?) to be comprehensive but honestly a thousand-page book couldn’t catalog everything.

      Hiring practices are a huge piece of the puzzle. I feel like HR departments know what they need to do (blind hiring, transparent pay structures, high-touch programs for young people of color) but they’re dragging their feet because they don’t have a sense of urgency about it. BITCH, THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!

    2. Kat, Revanche, Erin, Kitty, YES to all this! Specifically on the topic of cultural fit: I recently encountered the idea of “cultural contribution over cultural fit.” The idea being: diverse organizations are stronger and more innovative, so when hiring, you can ask colleagues to help prioritize candidates who will contribute perspectives & skills that your team doesn’t already have. I definitely plan to use this language in the future if/when the topic of “fit” comes up. (Thanks to the ever-insightful Vu Le on his blog Nonprofit AF: http://nonprofitaf.com/2017/07/why-we-need-to-end-the-culture-of-cultural-fit/)

  7. Thank you so much for writing this, especially as two white women recognizing their societal privilege. Do you know how hard it was for me to find personal finance bloggers who talked about their privilege? Everyone talks about early retirement, speeding up their mortgage payments and going on vacations to exotic locations. No one talks about how the deadly cocktail of white culture and the capitalist labour market gave them a leg up above everyone else. As a queer, woman of colour, I found this discouraging (yet ultimately incentivized me to start a blog myself).

    Just to add to the conversation about names, here’s an article about how having an Asian last name leads to fewer job interviews: http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/02/23/516823230/asian-last-names-lead-to-fewer-job-interviews-still

  8. Thanks for going deep on this! In Canada, these kind of racial differences are most visible between Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups. What my country did to First Nations communities is truly horrific and we’re only now coming around to saying sorry for screwing up GENERATIONS of people. Until I moved to Northern Ontario, I didn’t fully appreciate the scale of the situation. I wish I did before, but it’s just not publicized in the South in the way it should be (because the victims aren’t white). Really looking forward to Thursday’s post!

  9. Frankly, this is why you should win at least one award. The niche has been overpowered by “there’s no such thing as privilege!” bull for so long, and I’d love more than anything else for someone speaking actual truth to be recognized. We need to change for every single reason you laid out. Reality can’t be altered until we look it straight in the face.

  10. Awards nominations?! Congrats! Yes, we really do like you.

    Another wrinkle to consider is the all too common issue of what/who is considered “white.” If you are perceived as white, you are often afforded many of the privileges that go along with it, even if you don’t identify as entirely white. Perhaps you do not always reap as many benefits as other white people, but you are still in a better position than most POC’s. You can still benefit from white privilege and those of us in that position must acknowledge that fact.

    I am mixed Polish and Middle Eastern and I look very white. I have benefited from that in most of the ways you have described above, even with my weird “ethnic” name and it is maddening to observe. I have seen an opposite phenomenon in some of my relatives , who have said how they had thought of themselves as white as children until they got older and realized that most people did not perceive them or treat them as such.

    1. Sooooo true! “Passing” is its own very complicated thing. I’ve known several people who “passed” as white/heterosexual/gentile/whatever and were treated to an earful of bigoted comments about their own race/orientation/religion/whatever. With the bigoted person clearly expecting them to automatically commiserate.

      I look forward to the sci-fi future where we acknowledge that race is a meaningless social construct.

    1. The feeling is totally mutual. Your article on success narratives was AWESOME and is totally linked to in our next installment!

  11. I see you went there. Pleasantly surprised to scroll through the comments and not see one mention of Black on Black crime, out of wedlock children, or IQ differences. I’m new to the personal finance blogosphere but any other time all of what you’ve laid out is brought up those rebuttals are sure to pop up.
    If we’re going to talk about race in terms of personal finance the biggest piece you missed with this is the wealth gap. Even amongst people with graduate or professional degrees the median white family holds 3.5X more wealth than the median Black family. Education, 2 parent homes, career field…none of it makes up the gap. I spend a lot of time on my blog discussing what wealth means to Black people, how we can preserve, grow, and pass it on.
    I think it’s important for allies to know that this is generational and why it is. Personally, I know that people living in poverty can’t budget their way out of it. I can’t address that through personal finance. I try to reach Black people who have made it into at least the middle class in terms of income so that we can learn how to enter the middle class when measured in wealth. Most of us are poor. Most of us could not live for 3 months above the poverty line without our income. Even those of us who are “successful” have a tenuous grasp on it all. For us personal finance isn’t just something cool to do so we can retire at 45 and travel. It’s about survival. I have yet to see anyone in the personal finance space really tackling how far behind Black Americans are (through no fault of our own). Hopefully, this post and others will get more people talking, especially the other Black personal finance personalities.
    I rambled, but this post just elicited a lot of thoughts and it’s after midnight.

  12. Gee….. The stats are not good… I had hoped that we were doing better.
    We really need to do more as it is deeply unfair that your potential in life is influenced by the colour of your skin!!!!
    Thanks for telling the story!

  13. This post is amazing. I think one of the reasons why racism is still so ubiquitous is because people refuse to acknowledge the differences. It’s only when people can acknowledge their privilege that we can start noticing it and then trying to quash it. Fun fact: as a white woman, I’ve been pulled over less than six times in my life, and have never received a ticket. I DEFINITELY should’ve gotten a ticket.

  14. Loved loved this post!!!Trust you guys to give us something off the road. The post sure does ruffle few feathers because it is stating the truth, without sugar coating it.
    See, the thing is that the more we harp on an issue (be it gender, race, political preference) the more importance we give it and the more it spirals out of control. Yes, there are discrepancies, but that is the natural law, so instead of “squashing it” or “overcoming it” we start from peeling the layer via a) why do these discrepancies exist b) if they exist for a reason, can we get comfortable with that reason c) will removing this discrepancy create a bigger hole in the existing system. So yes, there are financial advantages to being white ( I am waaayyyy from being white or even beige), but they fuel the society in the capacity that we haven’t gotten around to understanding.

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