Commentary: #ThisIsNotNormal, it really isn’t and must be reversed

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
East Bay Times

"Pre-election America was no picnic for women, particularly women of color. In my work with the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, we recently released a report on women, race and wealth that looks at the stark differences in wealth accumulation between white and black women across age, marital status and educational attainment. Wealth, the sum of what you own minus what you owe, is an important marker when assessing the overall well-being and economic stability of a person. More than income, it encompasses things like your savings, value of your home, retirement accounts, etc. Wealth helps you in emergency situations and allows you to live without constant anxiety. Our data show that the typical single black woman in her 20s and with a college degree is $11,000 in debt. Married black women with a college degree in their 30s are $20,000 in debt. At the median, white women do not show debt at any age, regardless of educational attainment or marital status. In fact, single white women without a college degree have $3,000 more in median wealth than single black women with a college degree. Single white women with a bachelor’s degree have seven times the wealth of single black women with college degrees."

"Should 'normal' really include this kind of disparity between black and white women? I don’t think so. And the data from this report is all pre-election. This was our 'post-racial' normal. How can black women and their families continue to afford to live anywhere, let alone stay in the Bay Area when they have very little wealth to draw from to buy property here or even rent? Is the push-out of black families a tolerable normal. I am emboldened by the surge of activism and political awareness that is emerging in post-election America. But I hope that what we are fighting for is not a return to the old normal. I hope we are fighting for a society that sees any disparity as unjust and intolerable. I hope we are fighting for a new, just normal."

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