b&b 220: How the Racial Wealth Divide Affects Your Wallet Part 2

In part two of How the Racial Wealth Divide Affects Your Wallet Pamela and Dyalekt continue the conversation on how the racial wealth divide affects your wallet, financial resilience and the policies that have led to the racial wealth divide and dive deeper into how these policies are perpetuated by art media and culture.

Music in this Episode:

Chicken & Watermelon feat JAMPoet by PRODUX

FOOLERY [PROD. BY TOM] by Uncle Tom, and Associates

Who Will?  by Phynite

Episode Highlights:

Pam: The concept and the building up of the white middle class was not that white people worked really hard in the 50s and 60s, it’s that the government subsidized creating white home ownership.

Pam: Everyone works hard, but white people got this extra leg up from the government and while that policy did exist the narrative that sits above it is that if you just work hard enough then you’ll be able to get yours.

Pam: I think this this dichotomy of the good guy bad guy thing in the bad guy always getting what’s coming to them is something that Disney really injected into the culture.

Pam: This idea of art and media and culture really shaping how the racial wealth divide has come to be. We need to bring art, culture, and media back into the hands of the community and recognize how powerful it is. I really believe that the reason why the society downplays the power of art and media is because they know that it’s so powerful that it can create movements.

Dyalekt: A lot of the kind of came to a head in the 40s and 60s, you know as technology was increasing and making it easier to mass produce and send things out and people talked a lot about the word propaganda and how there was art that was used as propaganda to prop up the war efforts. There was this idea that propaganda and art were kind of two separate things. People started separating the idea that if your art is meant to create some social purpose, then that art is propaganda, especially if it’s something that we don’t agree with or it doesn’t adhere to our values

Pam: What’s so powerful about art and media in general is that in not only creates a status quo but maintains a status quo. When you think about your own individual finances and you look, at how your money aligns with your values, I want you to just as you listen to this episode start to question some of the values that you may have developed based on external factors. There’s a lot of people out there who want you to believe what they believe, who want you to fall into the status quo because the status quo benefits the wealthy elite. There is this narrative that they have crafted around this that has may or may not have shaped your values up to this point and we just want to ask you to question just a little bit and see if these values that may have been affected by external forces.

Dyalekt: The phrase Uncle Tom is a slur. I think very popular in 60s and 70s again, I only know that because of art and media. For black community talking about a person who’s a sellout. And the reason for that is this very popular book made folks nervous. So what they did is they took the TV of the day, the minstrel shows, to make it simultaneously seem like black people were stupid and lazy and also they were doing really well and we shouldn’t worry about them, which is hilarious in that it’s still what people like to say about black people today.

Pam: There’s still this idea that black people are doing just fine and if they just saved a little bit more money, if they were just smarter with it, if they worked harder then maybe they would maybe wouldn’t have a racial wealth divide.

Pam: There was a row of black businesses in Tulsa that got burned down by white town people. Basically they fired bomb the place and they threatened to do it again if black businesses rebuilt themselves. We have an old newspaper clipping from the time and the headline is 85 whites and negroes die in Tulsa riots as 3,000 armed men battle in streets, 30 blocks burned military rule in city. They call it a riot it was definitely a massacre.

Pam: The thing about the word riot is when you when you get an insurance policy, there are these things called exclusions. An insurance policy is required to pay out a claim unless there’s an excluded event. So often there’s excluded events like terrorism is an excluded event for instance. So if there’s an act of terrorism, if there’s like a flood sometimes that’s an excluded event unless you have like a flood writer.

Dyalekt: And in all of these black communities, every place that had insurance had an exclusion for riots.

Pam: If you’re building was burned down or if there was damage caused because of a riot then your insurance policy would deny your claim. Not only were these black business owners threatened by the townspeople to not rebuild their businesses, but even if they wanted to do so these insurance policies they paid money for because it was literally in the paper that it was classified as a riot. These insurance policies were not required to pay any claims to these black business owners. So they could not even financially rebuild the businesses that were burned out And so that is how language impacts us economically in ways that I feel like are so insidious that we don’t even realize.

Dyalekt: Yeah, you know another one that is happens today to give you know the parallel because we always like to talk about the unbroken line that these things aren’t stuff that just happened as we’re talking about they build on each other and they continue to grow. In newspapers when they want you to be afraid of a suspect, they will use the present tense to make it seem like they’re looming, they’re at large and when you’re not supposed to be afraid of someone they use the past tense.

Dyalekt: Dog whistle politics, what people mean when they’re talking about dog whistle politics is they’re saying something politically that is espousing something that may be a radical idea, but under the cover of it being something innocuous and small that everyone does every day.

Pam: Dog whistle politics are usually things that people can get behind. One of the examples is the war on drugs, drugs are bad. When we talk about the war on drugs the aid for Nixon’s war on drugs recently came out in 2016 and admitted that the war on drugs specifically targeted black people and hippies.

Pam: they use the phrase war on drugs because it sounded scary. It sounded like something you’d get behind. ‘Oh drugs are bad, they’re ruining communities, they’re destroying lives, they’re killing people’, of course, we should eradicate drugs from the community.

Dyalekt: Hippies were people who were multiracial who aligned themselves with black power, who aligned themselves with women’s rights. They created this coalition of folks that we see today when we’re talking about marginalized people who work together or should work together.

Pam: One what’s interesting too is also when I hear the word hippie, I think of a white person. I think it’s just really interesting that you hear you hear this phrase and you hear the word and how quickly a stereotype conjures.

Pam: I think today we can see the analogue for this narrative when we look at what people are calling the opiate epidemic in white communities, why isn’t there a war on drugs now? Really when we look at the war on drugs it was really the genesis of mass incarceration.

Pam: Let’s talk about the phrase welfare queen it was coined in the eighties by Ronald Reagan and I just want you to stop and think about what image comes up in your head when you hear the phrase welfare queen. Who is she?

Pam: Microaggressions actually affects people’s finances, it’s straight up affects people’s economic situation when you’re at a job and you feel like that someone says or does something to make you feel uncomfortable but it’s not it’s not big enough, it’s not obvious enough that you can say anything, it’s just these little cuts chipping away you and eventually you might have to quit that job. You may have to do more self-care more often, you might not be able to concentrate on saving, it might be causing you an amount of stress that doesn’t allow you to actually feel financially stable.