The Black community has felt the wrath of racial bias when trying to generate upward mobility in America. We’re hit hard by the ever-growing racial wealth gap where for every $100 in white family wealth, African Americans only hold $5.04. Many of us have also experienced the impact of institutionalized racism when applying for loans, seeking jobs, and trying to further our education. Shawn D. Rochester, financial literacy expert and author of the acclaimed book The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America, is aiming to change the narrative about Black wealth by educating and empowering our communities.
Rochester—who has dedicated his career to teaching disenfranchised groups how to progress financially—believes that overcoming the racial wealth gap starts with exposing individuals to the basics of financial literacy and circulating the Black dollar in Black communities.
“We are missing 6 million jobs, 1.4 million businesses with staff and over $8 trillion of net worth in the Black Community. The Black Tax provides that understanding in a powerful and paradigm shifting, data-driven way and lays out an economic framework that we can use to address these massive gaps,” said Rochester in a statement. “We have spent far too much time focusing almost exclusively on civil and social issues, it is time to focus on economic advancement, business development and employment in our community specifically.”
Rochester will delve into the impact of racism—both past and present—at an upcoming black economic empowerment breakfast hosted by the Harlem Business Alliance; a non-profit organization focused on education, equity, and entrepreneurship. “When it comes to accumulating wealth in America, there has never been a level playing field for the Black Community. We are calling on community leaders, influencers and entrepreneurs to rally their base,” said Regina Smith, Executive Director, Harlem Business Alliance. “The systemic and institutionalized racism stemming from centuries of slavery and the Jim Crow era continues to have a devastating impact on our community.” The breakfast is slated to take place on October 17.
There has been a major push to economically empower the Black community. Entrepreneur Sheena Allen, 29, launched an online banking platform called CapWay as an avenue to help underserved communities learn more about the importance of financial literacy.