Counting the Cost

Confederate statues fall, but economic racism lingers

Julianne Malveaux | 8/24/2017, midnight

So while Confederate statues are falling (not quickly enough—there are more than 700 of these odious symbols still standing), and Confederate flags are waving less frequently, the economic racism the Confederacy established is alive and well. Just ask the young Black couple redlined away from a banking opportunity, or the innocent arrested person who can’t pay bail. Ask the Black student whose loan burden is nearly twice that of her White counterpart, or the Black woman who pays more, and at a higher interest rate, for a car loan.

Sure, we have come a long way since those ugly days of enslavement or stark segregation, but some power comes from the “Benjamins.” And, according to some estimates, it will take more than 200 years to close the wealth gap. The statues may be falling, but economic racism is alive and well.

While I commend Republicans Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, John McCain and so many others for condemning their president for his abject and ugly racism, I wonder if any of them would be so forceful in condemning economic racism, or in advocating for reparations. Absent their willingness to do that, they can earn style points for their remarks, but they do not seem prepared to change the harsh realities of Black life in our country today.

I challenge those who would tear down the statues and take down the flags to show equal zeal in tearing down the walls of economic racism.

Julianne Malveaux is an author, economist and founder of Economic Education. Her podcast, “It’s Personal with Dr. J” is available on iTunes. Her latest book “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy” is available to order at www.juliannemalveaux.com at Amazon.com. Follow Dr. Malveaux on Twitter @drjlastword.

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