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Wealth: America’s Other Racial Divide

This video from CNN Business explains the racial wealth gap between black and white Americans and its causes. According to the report, the median wealth of white households is seventeen times that of black households, and home ownership, a major source of wealth, is 28% lower for black than whites. This was originally due to segregation and discriminatory practices by the Federal Housing Authority. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was meant to address this problem, but it was already too late, says the reporter. Whites had seen their property appreciate in value, giving them a head start. This was made worse in the 21st century by the exploitative practices of big banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America who charged minorities higher rates and fees for subprime mortgages. Between 2004 and 2010 the wealth of blacks and “Hispanics” decreased by 25%, while the wealth of whites decreased just 1%.

discussion

What does it mean when at the end of this segment the reporter says that the American economy “houses two realities”? Which two groups of Americans or two realities are the focus of this report?

What are two major sources of the wealth gap between black and white Americans? Specifically, think about the practices of the Federal Housing Authority and big banks.

How do the graphic images (infographics) and data in this video help support its main argument?

Besides legislation, how can we become aware and work to reduce wealth inequality between black and white Americans?