Thursday, July 23, 2009

How Long Can The Black Middle Class Last?

Americans, and I mean all Americans, are in the midst of some of the worst economic times since The Great Depression. We are all struggling in some form. That's why I think it is so intriguing to find conversations taking place about the black middle class. Usually, all most Americans hear about when the media does cover African-American economic issues is their supposed use of entitlement programs. But, many of us are not receiving any type of government assistance--not yet anyway. It is also important to note that CNN is not the only media outlet taking African-American economic issues head on. Penn State has a great dialogue going on entitled, "Conversations: The Black Middle Class."

Which begs the question, just how are you doing? Are you doing better under an Obama administration? Have you benefited from any of the Stimulus funds? Will the black middle class fade with the manufacturing industry, particularly the big three auto makers (even though Ford just posted a profit for the second quarter).

And while you're figuring out what you're going to say, and please say something, here are a few facts for 'ya. Hey, you know I couldn't let you read without learning something!

  • A new study of 401(k) plans has revealed that black and Hispanic workers save significantly less for retirement and tap into their accounts more frequently than white and Asian employees.
  • data collected by the Federal Reserve shows that minorities are most at risk of damaging their financial futures due to poor credit card management. African American households, in particular were shown to spend larger percentages of their incomes paying credit card and other high interest rate debt, heading closer to foreclosure bankruptcy while enriching lenders.
  • Because of their dependence on non-standard loan agreements, African-Americans are still the most vulnerable ethnic group to foreclosures.


SweetIceT said...

I think a large segment of African-Americans have forgotten the lessons learned by the foreparents and have developed an unrealistic (and unhealthy) concept of wealth. Many of us value things and the appearance, and spend beyond our means - it's guns and butter (Ving Rhames made that famous in 'Baby Boy'). Perhaps it may because African-Americans have been deprived of their share of the economic pie that any slice of the pie is OK - even it's crumbs. Our foreparents understood the importance of savings and thrift, planning for major purchases, etc. However, those lessons are seemingly being lost with each generation of African-Americans.

If we're looking for a government to fix our economic woes, then you are sadly mistaken. We are responsible in large part and we have to correct the problem in large on our own. However, this means returning to a type of lifestyle of yesteryears - for example, relying on your own money instead of paying a hefty sum of loot to someone else for the 'privelege' (or penalty) of using their money, which means in the long run, you have less money! Or leaving savings, stocks, bonds, and investments for our chlidren instead of an insurance policy which is exhausted by the mounds left behind to be paid off.

IF IT DON'T MAKE DOLLARS, IT DON'T MAKE CENTS (SENSE) - that should be the new manta of the African-American community.

How long can the African American middle class? Not long - if we continue to do what we've always done, we will continue to get what we've always gotten.

Brian said...

With the recession still hanging on, seems all middle class is in danger. So many lost jobs and homes, and no relief in sight.

Brian said...

In this recession, I am afraid our middle class all the way around is going to disappear. This is a very scary time, and so many people have lost their homes. Hopefully, our road to recovery is just around the bend.

By the way, I love the adding in to teach the reader things. Knowledge is power, and the power that is needed is to learn to accept each other. Cudos on your site and keep up good work.