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Posted by on Aug 12, 2011 in Business, Economy, Education, International, Law, Media, Places, Politics, Society | 24 comments

America: ‘No Country for Black People’ (Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland)

The shocking statistics about Black family income released by the Pew Research center have not only caught the attention of Americans. For Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza, columnist Mariusz Zawadzki writes with surprise that all the gains of the civil rights movement seem to have been either lost or diminished in the span of the last few years.

For the Gazeta Wyborcza, Mariusz Zawadzki writes in part:

Lincoln, Parks, King and Obama: In these for words, one could assemble a Hollywood version of the story. Unfortunately, a report just published by the Pew Research Center proves that the real-life version of the story is somewhat different.

The report examines the financial freedom of African Americans and other races. It outlines that in 1984, an average White family was 12 times wealthier that an average Black one. In 1991, it was ten times wealthier. In 1995 – White families were just seven times wealthier. But then the trend reversed dramatically. In 2004, average White families were eleven times wealthier than Black ones. In 2009, average White family income was $113,000, while for Black families it was $5,700. That means Whites are on average 20 times richer that Blacks!

Blacks are the pariahs of America. Thirty five percent of Black families own nothing except perhaps debt (which is true for only 15 percent of White families). Segregation, although outlawed, is a fact. Inner cities are inhabited by poor Blacks. Crime rates are high and the schools are terrible. The crowning example is the capital city of Washington.

Five percent of all Black men are sitting in prison. One in seven have been, is, or will be imprisoned.

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  • Allen

    No wonder the Republicans want to cut social programs. They wouldn’t be cutting anything that would affect THEM!


    The idea that social programs are an effective means of closing racial wealth gaps is not supported by evidence. Indeed, social programs tend to lead to dependency unless they are designed to be temporary and with built-in incentives to get out. Unfortunately, such measures are rarely even considered and, when they are, they are opposed by the progressive champions of social programs as unduly burdensome.

    Perhaps that is because progressive politicians actually benefit from the creation and maintenance of a dependent class that will continue to vote for them? The political incentives for progressives here seem to be the same as Republicans have for abortion: they want to be able to “have the issue” more than they want to actually solve any problems, so they give lavish attention to the issue on a rhetorical level, but carefully avoid actually doing anything to solve it.

  • Quelcrist Falconer

    That’s a nice chart, but I would not put to much faith in it.

    What would be median White net worth if you removed the top 3% of the population from the distribution?

  • Allen


    It would be the same.

  • Allen


    We are not talking about “closing gaps”. We are talking about just feeding, housing, and, clothing people. We have already given up on educating them. At least the Republicans have.

    Obviously a massive segment of our nation is not sharing in the nations wealth by no fault of their own, but indeed the fault of business and conservative government. Unfortunately the division is along racial lines which criminally indicts American political Conservatism in this country in my opinion.


    BTW, I don’t think Democrats can wave the education flag until they abandon their blind support for teachers’ unions’ demands for lifetime job protection regardless of qualifications or effectiveness and until they are willing to ensure that funding actually goes to classrooms instead of being diverted to salaries and benefits for bloated superintendent staffs and other bureaucratic infrastructure. That is why the school system with the most per-pupil funding in the entire country (Washington D.C.) is among the worst in student achievement.

    When you actually start looking at where the money goes instead of just blindly calling for more more more more more more more, you wind up learning a lot of very unpleasant truths about education policy in this country. I would be fine with increasing spending on education if I had some reasons to believe it would actually target the causes of underachievement. Unfortunately, as long as teachers’ unions control where the funding would go, there is no reason to have that belief.

  • Income differences are nowhere near as stark. The depression-era people tried to pass down an urgency to save to their kids, but the prevailing culture has been pushing debt. Poorer people are more susceptible to that push. The rise of the (&@*#, $^!) cash checking joints is the most recent example of that evil. Overall, households that save have been declining across the board until recently. Artificially low interest rates coupled with inflation hasn’t helped either.

    It’s no surprise that those who weren’t saving before were hit the hardest. I’m betting that these numbers will look a lot better in 10 years, since another generation will have learned (across the board) why it’s important to have some assets.

  • Allen


    Funny thing, we didn’t even keep statistics of blacks that starved to death during the depression. I guess it’s not surprising that some would down play the racial statistics now.

    You cannot hide the truth. The darker you are in this country, the more invisible you are to Republicans.

  • ndh

    Author confuses net worth and income consistently throughout, obviously they are not the same thing and the numbers look quite different for one vs. the other.

  • adelinesdad

    It would be interesting to see the break-down by age group, since that is a huge factor in net worth. For example, how does the median 30 year old white household compare to the 30 year old black household? How that difference compare to a 60 year old of each race? That should give us a little better picture of the progress over time or lack thereof.

    I, for one, am actually surprised the median for white households is so high. I assume it’s because there are a lot of older white people near retirement (No, it’s not Bill Gates… we’re talking about the median here), and their minority counterparts unfortunately aren’t in nearly the same shape. But, if we want to measure progress, the question is how well-off will the next generation of minorities be?

  • Quelcrist Falconer

    It would be the same.

    I seriously doubt it, Black & Hispanic net worth would probably go down slightly but White Net Worth would nose dive.

    A picture is worth a thousand words.

  • Quelcrist Falconer

    It would be the same.

    Sorry. I was thinking mean, not median.

  • CStanley

    Just a hunch but I bet housing explains most of the changes. Public policy during the 90s and early 00s was all about encouraging homeownership, and one rationale for that was to boost the wealth of black individuals and families through home purchasing, much like most white Americans have been encouraged to do over many decades. Both groups took a hit when the housing market collapsed, and a portion of each group would have been also wiped out by foreclosures, but the groups hardest hit would be those in which nearly all of the previous gains were due to fairly recent home purchases.

  • “You cannot hide the truth.”
    I agree:
    White, overall median annual income, all workers over 25: $33,030
    African American, overall median annual income, all workers over 25: $27,101
    Hispanic or Latino, overall median annual income, all workers over 25: $23,613
    Asian, overall median annual income, all workers over 25: $36,152

  • Allen

    Prof- But you tried….

    The poverty level now is $22,000. So a heck of a lot of people are below the poverty level overall which indicates that our people’s standard of living is pretty sad compared to our GNP.

    Besides, Your Census stats are 2006, BEFORE our economy reacted to the Bush deficit/debt and before the mortgage meltdown. The above graph is 2009 and an indicator of a national trend that is very racist.

  • DLS

    The dinosaurs will say (recalling the ignorant as well as ambitious 1960s), “We need more policies … more programs…” (also ignorantly, presuming it’s the federal government that would be doing all this)

  • DLS

    The urban-centered underclass or the middle class upward that is ignored? Averages are BS here. (like life expectancy when fighting rises in the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare, e.g..)

    (Is Colin Powell, serious Presidential material, despised by the far Left as an Uncle Tom, the same as a typical gang-banger? No.)

  • JSpencer

    As always the devil is in the details, but there is no getting around the huge disparity in living conditions between whites and people of color. Prison stats are also shocking. Clearly the problems aren’t being addressed well by either party.

  • JSpencer

    Btw, if I was a teacher I’d be pretty tired of all the bashing by now. I think most of the education problems in this country are actually related to parenting.

  • Allen


    You know full well that the Democrats would address these problem if they were not constantly stone-walled by Republicans in their never ending quest for the perfect social Darwinist society. Actually Republicans are hanging by a thin propaganda thread, because year by year more and more of their so called “philosophy” becomes clearer to the public. That’s why they had to invent this T-Party BS. For Jesse’s sake we have already seen their Voodoo economic plan completely discredited. All they can do spin damage control!

  • Allen


    Uh no, America’s education problems are due to poverty and over crowded classrooms. A symptom of a horribly under funded public education system and a gross inequality with equitable distribution of wealth. In other words the capitalists are robbing our people blind.

  • superdestroyer


    Funding has little correlation with school performance. Poorly funded Utah schools filled with blue collar whites massively outperform the well funded public schools systems of almost any urban Also, blacks underperform whites when you correct for parents income and education. Actually, white students whose parents are blue collar, high school graduates outperform black students whose parents are white collar, college graduates.

    If you want to talk about racism and education, you should explain why a black male with an SAT of 1000 is more likely to attend college than a white male with an SAT of 1000. My guess is that colleges enjoy discriminating against whites.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Ahhhh. I was wondering when superdestroyer would join this discussion…

  • Allen


    How many did you “out perform” SD?


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