The Wealth Gap

Annual average unemployment rates, by race and education, 2017 - bar transparent copy.png

These numbers feed directly into the wealth gap between whites and blacks in the United States. With higher levels of unemployment at every education level, it stands to reasons that accumulation of wealth would be more challenging for African-Americans. In 2016, the median net worth of whites measured nearly ten times that of African-Americans. The mean, or average, net worth shows an even more stark difference between whites and African-Americans and reflects the concentration of wealth at the top of the scale.

Projected growth based on economic empowerment

2019 - 2020

YEAR by YEAR GROWTH FOR BEE (Black economic empowerment)

BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) provides for equity, specifying initiatives and the degree to which equity is measured. In terms of employment equity, certain prerequisites must be complied with by participating companies. These include the promotion of non-racial, gender-sensitive workplaces as well as a respectable workplace that provides reasonable work conditions, respect to sustainable development of the environment and cultural diversity. The Employment Equity Act is the main source of rules, regulations and prerequisites that must be adhered to by companies and is used to develop further involvement by people of color in participating companies.

BEE ( Black Economic Empowerment ) provides for elements of skills development and focuses on the development of the competencies of black employees in the different enterprises and the level of training the employers offer their employees. Despite high levels of a low-skilled labour force and low levels of a high-skilled labour force, there is still not enough attention paid to the investment of skills development amongst laborers. To address this problem, BEE requires evaluated companies to instill mentorship programs within their companies. Companies must provide proof of the submission and implementation of these programs in their companies and this must be portrayed in an annual BEE report.

Systematic Exclusion of African Americans

Net worth by race, 2016 - transparent copy.png

These differences are the direct result of historical and systematic exclusion of African-Americans from the wealth-creating mechanisms of US society. This exclusion, which was comprised of legal, political, and societal constraints, had a direct impact on economic development within African-American communities. More insidiously, these exclusions led to a lack of solid understanding of the monetary and economic systems and the development of a culture of consumerism as a perception of acquisition of wealth, rather than an actual accumulation of intergenerational wealth through property and business ownership. Although the numbers are bleak, there are bright spots. Between 2013 and 2016, median net worth growth for African-American families rose, even though not sufficiently to even begin to close the white- black wealth gap. According to Forbes, in 2015 African-American women controlled an estimated 1.3 million businesses, which represents an increase of 322% since 1997. And, African-Americans control roughly $1.3 trillion dollars of buying power in the US economy. Unfortunately, most of that buying power does not directly benefit our own communities. However, there are measures we can take to change this trend. By promoting financial literacy, investing, saving, and entrepreneurship, we can create jobs in our own communities. Spending our dollars within our own communities by supporting black-owned businesses will allow those businesses to generate more jobs, which creates a positive cycle of economic growth for the community. This film strives to promote economic empowerment through economic literacy. finances-20170927.htm