two hands holding happy & sad families

b&b173 The Road to Zero Wealth with Dedrick Asante-Muhammad

If the racial wealth divide is left unaddressed and is not exacerbated further over the next eight years, median Black household wealth is on a path to hit zero by 2053.
What will you do with this information? Listen here:

This is a follow-up to the Ever-Growing Gap Report: The Road to Zero Wealth with Senior Fellow of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative, Dedrick Asante-Muhammad. He has appeared in several of our previous episodes, where we have also discussed the Racial Wealth Divide and interviewed other nonprofits through our Prosperity Now series.

You can also watch our interview with Dedrick here on our YouTube channel.

Music featured in this episode:
1). Road to Freedom – Basian Killjoy
2). Road To… – Honor
3). Hero to Zero – Atoms Fam (Cryptic One & Windbreeze)

Extra Resources:
The Road to Zero Wealth Report
Ever Growing Gap Report

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Episode Highlights:

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: Oftentimes the narrative around racial inequality is that it might not be where we want it to be, but it’s getting better…but what we’re showing in terms of racial-economic inequality, particularly as it relates to wealth, that no, it’s not getting better, we’re actually, the country’s going in a direction where racial wealth inequality is getting worse and worse.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: No group has actually recovered in terms of wealth, so the wealth they had previous to the Great Recession to the wealth of today. Incomes might’ve come back, home ownership for some communities have come come, but wealth has not come back.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: Even with the ups and downs of the economy, white wealth has been growing from $16,000 to $32,000 in 2013, but Black and Latino wealth has been, with ups and down in those 30 years, been declining. Black wealth has gone down to $1,700 and Latino wealth is at $2,000.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: Let’s look at middle class not just by income anymore, not just if you hit a middle quintile, but lets look at middle class by wealth, and redefine wealth.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: Whites with high school diplomas have more wealth than Blacks and Latinos with a four-year college degree.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: Most people don’t understand, or refuse to understand, that it was government assistance that helped create a middle class economy. It wasn’t that all of a sudden people started working in the 40s.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: The median wealth for Blacks, if it keeps going the way it has been going from 1983 to 2013, by 2053–this is why we call it the road to zero wealth–Blacks will have a median wealth of zero. Meaning 50% or African Americans will have less than zero wealth..and 20 years later Latinos…will also be at this space.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: It was radical change in policy to create the American middle class in the first place.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: 1983 to 2013, we’ve seen that the median wealth for the entire country has gone down from around $74,000 down to $64,000…White wealth during that time period was going up. It was only Black and Latino wealth going down.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: If you’re not financially secure it makes it much more difficult for you to serve the community and serve those around you.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: The importance of wealth is not the things you have but the resources you develop to help you take advantage of economic opportunities in the future or deal with economic hard times.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: For Black and Latino middle class higher income, we try to often times to have symbols of wealth, even though we don’t have the wealth to back it up. So it’s like I can’t really afford this car, but my white co-workers have this care, so I’m gonna have it to make it look like I have it, but what’s really important is that you have wealth, not that you go into debt, weaken your wealth, and have symbols of wealth…reality will always have a more profound impact than the symbolism.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad: Millionaires use other people’s wealth, other institutions wealth, to leverage and strengthen theirs, and so we need to do the same, even more so. There is wealth all around us. There’s assets, and in America you have this idea that it’s all about you, and if you don’t do it all yourself, you’re not really gonna be successful, but it doesn’t work that way. You have to work with others.

Dyalekt: It’s not your fault but it is your responsibility.