Why We All Need To Talk About The Racial Wealth Gap

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Racial injustice has rightly been in the news a lot lately, but one thing people aren’t talking about nearly enough in this vein is the racial wealth gap. To get the conversation started that we should all be having we sat down with Leo Jean Louis, a millennial debt free coach, to unpack the issue, and get a sense of just how dramatic an issue it is for Black Americans. 

Louis knows his personal finance stuff — he’s paid off over $224,000 of debt and he recently did a series called “systemic racism” on his Instagram account.

For those of you who do not know what the racial wealth gap means exactly, per Louis:

“It’s the existence of racism in every level of society. The wealth gap being one area where you can clearly see it but it exists in education, in employment, in housing, in criminal justice, you name it. So the wealth gap is super, super, super important to know…. The wealth gap is basically disparities that exist amongst people…  particularly blacks and whites.”

There have been a number of studies throughout the years that have highlighted the wealth gap between black and white Americans. One particular study showed the following, per Louis:

“A typical white family’s wealth is $171,000… a typical black family’s wealth is $17,500. So [a white American has] nearly ten times the wealth of a black person, which is crazy.”

There is a long history as to how this came to be from slavery to the Fredman’s bank to the Tulsa race massacre to the GI bill (which helped white soldiers but excluded black soldiers) to redlining to the prison pipeline. Louis encourages everyone to look up these events and get educated on how they impacted the racial wealth gap.

“If there was less of a [wealth] gap then maybe there would be more progress,” Louis says. “Financial literacy is a big issue– not just for black people but especially for black people.”

Watch our full conversation with Louis below, you aren’t going to want to miss it, and get educated on this pervasive issue.


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