Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Racial Wealth Gap Is Not A Democratic Conspiracy

This Yahoo! article about the racial wealth gap caught my attention today; well, the article and, as always on Yahoo!, the comments following it.

I'm trying to figure out why so many people take offense whenever an article like this is written.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't see this article as "trying to incite race wars" or "making people hate whites". It is simply stating factual information and statistics, and explaining why those statistics are a problem.

It is an unfortunate fact that the wealth gap builds upon itself through generations. Is it possible to overcome poor roots to be successful? Of course it is. But if, on average, whites have more wealth than blacks and hispanics now, then, on average, that will continue to be true in future generations. It's simple math.

Of course there will be minorities that excel despite their background. There will be whites that struggle despite their background. There are always exceptions to the rule.

It seems that people really have a hard time understanding statistics. When someone mentions an "average", they are not saying that EVERY member of the group falls in line with that number. Averages are not conspiracies; just because someone doesn't want to hear the reality doesn't mean it isn't there. Yes, some people are content to use their background as an excuse to not work hard, not try hard. It happens, and it is not helpful to the debate. But the fact is that some people (from all races) just never get the opportunity to really succeed, and the poorer kids get fewer opportunities. This is the problem that keeps feeding itself; less money -> less opportunities -> less success -> less money.

So you see, it's just not as simple as "work hard and you can be successful as anyone". I believe that anyone has the ability to improve upon where they came from if they work hard; the thing is, sometimes the gap between starting points is so large that an improvement on an awful position is still far behind what anyone would consider truly successful.

All the people that are so quick to say things like "just save your money" or "well I know this one black guy who is rich, so this article is obviously liberal propaganda" should really step back, take a moment, and really think about this. Take off the political glasses; this isn't about Democrats and Republicans. Poverty affects everyone in the country; everyone is quick to complain about "paying taxes so the poor don't have to work", but for some reason, everyone wants to dismiss the issue as if the answer is as simple as a kid putting coins in a piggy bank. I'd like to think that, if it were really that simple, people wouldn't be poor; believe it or not, an overwhelming majority of poor people have enough dignity that they would prefer to earn their own living instead of having to rely on government support.