The blogosphere is abuzz with talk lamenting the Pew study that found that African-American households lost about 53% of inflation-adjusted median wealth during the Great Recession. Most of the articles focus on the fact that white people only lost 16% of their wealth without acknowledging that African-Americans are adults, have power, and can make wise decisions.
There is a mentality amongst many African-Americans that white people are “out to get” us. Though there are systems in place that have historically kept African-Americans from sharing in the benefits of being an American, many of the missteps that have kept us from benefiting socially, financially, and emotionally are due to our own choices.
I can’t tell you the number of articles, blog posts, etc. that talk about predatory lending as if unscrupulous bankers are forcing people of color into horrible loan products. I see very few articles, blog posts, etc. that admit that not only are people of color, sometimes, uneducated in the arena of personal finance we aren’t even interested in learning about it.
The sooner we learn that being African-American doesn’t automatically grant you clemency for making bad choices, the better off we’ll be. It’s never been about blacks and whites as much as haves and have-nots. The only color that matters today is green. The golden rule, she that has the gold makes the rules, has never been more true. We’d better start making wise financial choices, creating generational wealth, and imbuing our children with the skills to manage and grow that wealth over time because now, the only color that matters is green.
Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today and the author of three books on personal finance. Visit her at www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com.
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