A new and sad study explores the cryptic intersections of class and race. Via a research group from Stanford University, Harvard University, the Census Bureau and other prestigious organizations, it was concluded that white boys who grow up rich typically remained wealthy as adults. However, Black boys who grew up rich were far more likely to become poor in 99% of the U.S.
The researchers compared 10,000 American men now in their late 30s, split evenly between white and Black, revealing that approximately 20 percent of the Black men who grew up rich became poor as an adult; only 17 percent of Black men who grew up rich remained rich. For white men, 39 percent remained rich, and only 10 percent became poor. Ibram Kendi, a professor and director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, told the New York Times, “One of the most popular liberal post-racial ideas is the idea that the fundamental problem is class and not race, and clearly this study explodes that idea, but for whatever reason, we’re unwilling to stare racism in the face.”
The numbers were not the same for Black and white girls. Reportedly, their eventual earnings were even, the NYT explained, “While Black women also face negative effects of racism, Black men often experience racial discrimination differently. As early as preschool, they are more likely to be disciplined in school. They are pulled over or detained and searched by police officers more often.”
These stark numbers can be attributed to structural racism. “The research makes clear that there is something unique about the obstacles Black males face. The gap between Hispanics and whites is narrower, and their incomes will converge within a couple of generations if mobility stays the same. Asian-Americans earn more than whites raised at the same income level, or about the same when first-generation immigrants are excluded. Only Native Americans have an income gap comparable to African-Americans. But the disparities are widest for Black boys.”
Hopefully, this study can dismiss the notion that poverty trumps race. Sadly, racism still affects the everyday lives of people from education to heath to wages.