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North American Observation丨U.S. differentiation: the gap between ethnic minorities and whites has not narrowed for many years

On October 19, local time, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Bostic gave a speech and talked about the economic impact that American minorities have suffered more severely than whites during the epidemic. T

his is another time for top American economists to publicize Mention the racial division caused by the epidemic. Statistics show that most ethnic minority families faced financial crises during the epidemic, and the proportion far exceeded that of whites.

Today, the wealth gap between African-Americans and whites is as large as it was in 1968, and racial differentiation has become increasingly prominent.

△CNBC reported that Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Bostic called on the US government to introduce more targeted relief measures to help narrow the racial wealth gap
Most ethnic minority families face financial crisis

Bostic, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, delivered a speech on October 19. He talked about the fact that minorities have been hit harder than whites during the epidemic and called on the federal government to introduce measures to help narrow the racial wealth gap.

Outsiders have noticed that the long-standing problem of racial inequality in American society has worsened during the epidemic. Bostic mentioned that the series of relief measures introduced by the government have unequal distribution, the funds have not been able to help the people most in need, and the living conditions of ethnic minorities are worrying.

A previous survey conducted by the National Public Radio (NPR) also found that during the epidemic, the proportions of Hispanic, African, and white families in financial crisis were 72%, 60%, and 36%, respectively.

The analysis believes that the main reason for this divergence is that a larger proportion of the ethnic minority population is engaged in the service industry, retail industry and other industries that have been hit hardest by the epidemic.

This part of the population originally belonged to the low-income group before the epidemic. , The unemployment problem has further increased their economic burden. 

Reuters statistics show that although the unemployment rates of African Americans and whites have risen sharply during the epidemic, the gap between the two has reached its highest point in five years.

While minorities are getting more injured, the economic restart driven by huge bailout funds seems to have “forgotten” them. Many economists have found that various data since the resumption of production and work in the second half of the year have generally shown a “K-shaped curve”, and the downward line mainly represents the low-income class and ethnic minorities.

There are two main reasons for this phenomenon: one is that most high-income people can work remotely from home, while low-income people (many of whom are ethnic minorities) find it difficult to do so, so they are prone to unemployment;

Second, Although the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve have issued trillions of dollars in bailout funds, many experts have found that most of this money has flowed to the financial market, which has greatly pushed up the stock price.

Resulting in the wealth of the rich, not the low stocks. Income workers and ethnic minorities can only stare.

△A survey conducted by NPR found that during the epidemic, the proportions of Hispanic, African and white families in financial crisis were 72%, 60% and 36%, respectively

The economic gap between African Americans and whites has never narrowed

In fact, the economic inequality between African Americans and whites has always been a historical legacy that American society cannot solve. The Washington Post previously reported that the wealth gap between African Americans and whites in 2020 is still as large as in 1968. 

Today, one in seven white households has a net worth of one million dollars, while only one in 50 black families has a million dollars.

In 1968, the United States enacted the landmark Civil Rights Act to respond to the unfair treatment of African Americans in almost all areas of society and business over the years. 

Although 1968 was supposed to be an inflection point in the racial issue in the United States, at least at the economic level, the data does not support the emergence of any inflection point.

According to the latest 2019 Consumer Finance Survey released by the Federal Reserve, the median wealth of white American families is US$188,000, while that of African-American families is only US$24,000, which is less than 13% of that of whites. Such a huge family wealth gap keeps African Americans at an all-round disadvantage, and their children will “inherit” this disadvantage, further solidifying the racial wealth gap.

As the economist Moritz Kuhn said, historical data show that in the past 70 years, the United States has made no progress in reducing income and wealth inequality between African-American and white families.

Systemic problems are difficult to eradicate

In the context of growing ethnic divisions, some American scholars and politicians have proposed that African Americans should be compensated to make up for the harm caused by slavery and racial discrimination. 

At present, the US House of Representatives is discussing the introduction of related compensation bills, and a special committee has been established to study the specific compensation amount. 

Once the bill is passed, there will be a certain amount of compensation for African Americans indiscriminately.

According to a survey, 71% of African American respondents support the bill, but only 24% of whites support it. In addition, some states and cities, including California and Asheville, North Carolina, have approved compensation resolutions.

However, some experts have questioned this compensation plan. They said that undifferentiated compensation will only give the people who receive compensation the feeling of “getting something for nothing,”

and this one-time compensation will not eliminate the deep-rooted systemic racial discrimination problem in the society. On the contrary, it may intensify racial confrontation and cause Africa. The living environment of the descendants continues to deteriorate.

In addition, some economists have also proposed that the system should be used to encourage African-Americans to invest in the stock market and to popularize financial knowledge for them.

However, a series of proposals aimed at reducing the gap between the rich and poor of African Americans and whites are only at the level of discussion. Substantial progress.

The analysis believes that the economic inequality between American minorities and whites is a comprehensive manifestation of many contradictions in education, medical care, economic system, and social prejudice.

In the current situation of raging epidemic and ideological polarization, ethnic wealth is divided It will only intensify and completely reverse the situation, which is definitely not possible in a short time. 

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