Power, Wealth, and Poverty Structures Post #40


Farmer Direct Co-op on 3rd Party Verification from Agricultural Justice Project on Vimeo.

When we apply the question 'Whose Voice is Missing?' to a historical policy lens, it illuminates many causes of today's racial disparities. Examples of some of the laws that caused disparities in wealth based on race: *In 1866 Andrew Johnson vetoed the land policy that was part of the Freedman's Bureau Act (and in 1872 congress completely shut down this Bureau) that promised up to 40 acres (and many other supports to education and health) to freed formerly enslaved people after the Civil War. This resulted in continued dramatic inequities of land ownership and the funneling of formerly enslaved people into low paying wage labor to survive. Agricutlure was one of the jobs people were funneled into and this began the sharecropping era. *The Social Security Act of 1935 excluded farmworkers and domestic workers, the majority of whom where people of color. *The Fair Labor Standards Act, which still to this day excludes farmworkers from being able earn overtime and excludes them from the right to organize to improve their conditions and protest abuse and exploitation. *The GI bill of 1944 further contributed to white people being able to accrue more wealth than people of color as many African American Veterans were denied many of the GI benefits, such as lower mortgage rates. *The War on Drugs that resulted in the over-policing and over-sentencing of African Americans continued to hinder households' ability to accrue wealth, as did the prohibition of the barber profession in the Life After Incarceration policies and the restriction of people who served their sentence from ever receiving SNAP benefits. Not to mention employment discrimination and voting restrictions. The legacy of these disparities in public benefits and support are still felt today in the wage gap, education gap, homeownership gap, food insecurity trends, and more. For example, in 2013 the homeownership rate among white households was 72%, while the homeownership rate among households of color was 46.2%...a legacy of this discriminatory policy and many others, including the National Housing Act that resulting in red-lining. source: Bread for the World has a Racial Wealth Gap learning tool that includes an analysis of 13 policies past and present that have contributed to disparities based on race.

Published


Jan. 8, 2020, 10 a.m.

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Whose Voice is Missing Project Team

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