By Jane Zebrack
June 15, 2021
The fundamental difference between black and white Americans is one of wealth,” Jones said. “Wealth is something that’s accumulated over lineages and translates into things like property and housing.”
The researchers designed a mathematical simulation to model the effects of reparations having been said 10 years ago, which if “suitably executed” would have eliminated the racial wealth gap: the average Black household would have at least $840,000 more in net worth, according to Darity.
As a result, Black Americans “would not have been compelled to take low paid jobs requiring significant personal contact deemed essential” and “would have been able to obtain better quality housing, particularly less crowded housing, thereby further reducing the likelihood of infection,” Darity wrote.
The simulation predicted that this redistribution of wealth would have led to a 30% to 60% decrease in COVID-19 transmission across the entire population. Reducing transmission in the highest risk group reduces transmission throughout the entire population, Richardson said.
Moreover, reparations that generated greater balance in housing and risk from frontline work between Black and white Americans would have benefited everyone, not just descendants of enslaved persons. To put it simply, “it’s good for society to have less inequality,” Jones said.