AFRICANGLOBE – When talk show host Larry Elder declared that racism is not a major problem and that Black Americans are thriving economically, he added: “If Black America were a country, it’d be the 15th wealthiest nation in the world.”
As reported by the Tampa Bay Times’s PunditFact blog, “Elder referred us to an annual report by Target Market News called ‘The Buying Power of Black America’, which publishes the only estimate we could find of the total earned income of African-Americans. In 2011, the report he provided us, Target Market News put the income spent by African-Americans at $836bn [£524bn].”
But as author Theodore R Johnson of the Atlantic points out, the stats do not support Elder’s presumed monolithic Black America.
“Nearly all the sources of Black America’s attributes are grounded in America’s history, economy, geography and government structures,” he says.
As NYU economics Prof Gian Luca Clementi tells the Tampa Bay Times, “factors like government expenditure and private investment mean that buying power and [the total income produced in a country] aren’t comparable.”
Even so, statistics published in the Atlantic paint a picture of two countries:
“The first is of a strong nation with considerable manpower and purchasing power. The second is of a troubled, fragile state suffering from socioeconomic disparities and structural subjugation in ways that degrade life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
According to the US Census and the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook, the median wealth per Black American adult is $4,955, below the median wealth per adult in Mexico, China and Brazil. And in the United States, the average poverty rate is 15.1% overall, versus 27.4% in the Black community.
“Black household wealth is just over the median wealth of an adult in Palestine,” writes Johnson.
WEB Du Bois outlined a similar concept in his address A Negro Nation Within a Nation.
“As for the belief that Black America is an immense, multifaceted asset to the United States, his instincts were right,” writes Johnson. Black Americans boast enormous capital that has been exploited over the course of the nation’s history and has yet to be fairly and fully employed to increase prosperity for Black Americans.