By Claretta Bellamy
Tanisha Boston has been feeling the effects of inflation, from the gas pump to the grocery store, for months. So in April, the 31-year-old Los Angeles resident shared her frustrations on social media, writing, “Please check on your LA friends, we are NOT okay!” under a photo of herself in front of a gas station charging $7 per gallon.
Boston said that soaring prices — coupled with recently losing a job — has meant she now relies on food stamps to get by. Even though she earns some income as a freelance wardrobe stylist and Instagram influencer, she said she’s looking for additional jobs to survive.
“I’m realizing that one income isn’t going to cut it,” she said.
According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation reached 8.5 percent in March — the highest since 1981 — putting everyday necessities like food, fuel and rent out of reach for many. And like most economic downturns, including the Great Recession and the pandemic, Black communities are disproportionately impacted. This means that Black households are now spending more of their post-tax income on necessities like food and energy, according to a new Bank of America report cited by Business Insider.
William Darity Jr., professor of public policy, African American Studies and economics at Duke University, said the underlying reason why inflation is so harmful to Black communities is the wealth gap. According to Darity, white households have more than $800,000 more in net worth than Black households.
“One of the key indicators of this is the virtually permanent two-to-one ratio in unemployment rates between Blacks and whites in the United States, which I view as a prime index of the degree of discrimination in American labor markets,” Darity said.