Poverty Isn’t a “Black” Issue

Poverty Isn’t a “Black” Issue

Note: This post was originally published on my author blog on 15 January 2016.


I recently stumbled across an article on Gateway Pundit titled, “Tavis Smiley: On Every Leading Economic Issue Black Americans Have Lost Ground Under Obama.” In it, the author, citing sources without linking to them, states that, for various recent time periods:

  • Minority household income has fallen by nine to ten percent.
  • Non-white families’ net worth has fallen by around 20% while white families’ net worth has risen slightly.
  • White households were thirteen times wealthier than black households.
  • The black unemployment rate in 2014 was 10.1% while black labor force participation had dropped.

Whether the author was cherry-picking data or not really has no bearing here. Poverty has always been a larger problem in non-white households. What most people completely miss is that the poverty rate of minorities isn’t a “black” issue or an “Hispanic” issue: It’s an everybody issue.

Over the past seven years, President Obama has continued the progressive liberal tradition of fomenting race and class wars. He has, as many other minority leaders have, encouraged minorities to think of themselves as something other than part of the whole.

It’s well past time that attitude was discouraged.

The United States has always been called a melting pot, and for a very good reason. Every culture that immigrates here leaves its mark, even as it assimilates into the American culture, a continually morphing entity. African slaves, for example, contributed a wealth of foods, music, and beliefs to the South. Where would we be today without Negro spirituals? A helluva lot poorer.

We live in a time of abundance, of equal opportunity, of the free distribution of knowledge and information to anyone with access to a computer. In the US, that’s everyone. Even the small percentage of people who don’t own a computer have either a cell phone or ready access to a free technology center, like a local library. We as a nation contribute billions of dollars in foreign aid, in part to help poverty stricken nations, and yet, we still struggle with poverty here at home.

It’s a baffling situation, but it isn’t one restricted to those hit hardest. Poverty is a societal problem best solved on the grass roots level, in communities. But when I say that, I don’t mean that it’s a problem for the “black” community to solve. I mean it’s a problem for the physical community to solve. I mean it’s a problem for every member of that community, black, white, red, yellow, or pink polka dotted with purple stripes.

Poverty harms every member of society, regardless of how much “wealth” we do or do not possess. It scars us all. I don’t have the solution (God knows, I wish I did), but one thing is certain: We will never fix poverty if we don’t stop confining the solution to one race or another, and instead work together, like the one community we are.

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