Right now, the net worth of a typical white family is $171,000.
This is literally 10 times more than Black households: $17,000.
How did this happen?
As a nation, how did we end up with such a sickeningly massive wealth gap?
Well, it’s not exactly a big mystery.
Since the origin of this country, Black people especially (as well as other people of color, and yes, even white women) have been aggressively shut out of the ability to build wealth.
You want to purchase a home so you can bequeath property to your children one day? Sorry, you can’t.
You want a small business loan from the bank to start your empire? Nope, not happening.
Oh, you managed to hustle and launch a business anyway, even without a bank’s support? Well, white supremacists are going to burn your shop to the ground.
This has been the Black experience for the last 400 years. Shut out. Burned down. Barred from entry.
Here’s a very brief history lesson—not a complete account, just a few key moments:
1865 – Black people are freed from slavery. However, Black people are still forbidden from entering certain States, cannot vote, cannot attend most schools, and cannot move through the world safely within their own bodies. The threat of violence is ever-present, and remains so to this day.
1921 – Black entrepreneurs are thriving against all the odds, creating prosperous neighborhoods like Greenwood (called “Black Wall Street”) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Black success infuriates white supremacists, who retaliate violently. Greenwood is attacked. 1,000 buildings are destroyed. Hundreds of Black people are murdered. It is a massacre that sends a clear message: “If you are Black, and you dare to prosper, you will be slaughtered.”
The echo of this message rattles in our DNA to this day.
It is why my Black clients are often afraid to ask for higher pay, afraid to be too visible, afraid to reach too high.
Because on some deep cellular level, it feels dangerous to become “too successful.”
1926 – Thousands of U.S. cities are still operating as “sundown towns,” which means Black people are not permitted to walk around after dark. You must leave before sunset or face threats and violence, including lynching.
1968 – The Fair Housing Act is signed into law. An important victory, sure, but discrimination still continues. Even to this day, Black people are twice as likely to be denied a mortgage than white people, even when their income level is the same. I have personal experience with this.
1970 – The U.S. Census reports that 42% of Black households own homes.
2017 – By now, the number of Black homeowners has actually dropped down to 41%. Things are worsening, not improving. (Why? Likely due to predatory lending targeting Black neighborhoods aka reverse redlining).
I share this information not because I want to depress you, but simply to lay out the facts. This happened and it’s still happening. It’s wrong. And it’s real.
So, now what?
What can you do next?
You can accept defeat and give up.
Or, you can give the middle finger to white supremacy and to the patriarchy…by becoming incredibly, outrageously, stupendously wealthy.
You can decide that you’re gonna learn how to play the wealth game, on your own terms, and win.
You can be involved in a redistribution of wealth by building a successful company, hiring Black people, queer people, trans people, people of color, differently abled people and women. Give them a safe place to work and empower them to be their full selves in the workplace. Help them build their own financial well-being, too, through profit sharing and other forms of compensation.
You can catapult forward, make up for those lost centuries, and build serious wealth…even in a society that makes it exceptionally difficult for you to do so.
This is possible. I’ve done it. You can do it, too.
My team and I can help.
We’re here to serve you in a variety of ways. Just a few places where you can get started:
– Listen to The Hello Seven Podcast. It’s inspiring, informative, and free.
– Join The Hello Seven Facebook Community. It’s free, too.
– Join We Should All Be Millionaires: The Club. Over 500 humans have joined the Club, and are getting awesome results. Money chimes, daily. If you want to hang out with badass humans, and increase your income by 30% (at minimum) within the next year, this Club is where you need to be.
I am the first Millionaire in my family. You can be the first in yours.
You can be the one who breaks the cycle; the one who changes your family’s financial story forever.
Your wealth is an act of defiance. It represents so much more than just having a comfortable lifestyle and providing for your household, although that is certainly beautiful.
Your wealth represents an ugly chapter of history finally coming to an end.
It represents the world turning in the right direction.
Black wealth matters. People of color wealth matters. Women’s wealth matters.
When you become rich, you are leaving the world better than you found it.
Forever committed to you making bank,
PS. It’s time for you to become so wealthy that even your great-grandkids will inherit your portfolio of real estate. And a college fund. And a stable full of ponies. And beyond. The Club doors are open for a short time. Join us.
PPS: The inspiration for the title of this blog post came from my friend, Farnoosh Torabi, who is hosting a Black Wealth Matters series on her popular podcast, So Money. Listen to my recent episode on So Money where we talk about the good white liberal response and how small business industry leaders need to do better.