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Rev. Jesse Jackson

Rev. Jesse Jackson

Posted: May 19, 2010 03:51 PM

Racial Wealth Disparities Report Underscores Immediate Need for Civil Rights Intervention

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A new study released by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy revealed that even when African-Americans had a good education and well-paying jobs, they could not achieve the wealth of their white peers in the workforce. As a result the wealth disparity between white and black households has more than quadrupled, regardless of income bracket.

Disparities are driven by racial discrimination because civil rights laws have all but been abandoned over the past decade. I am making a request that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy to examine ways to strengthen enforcement of civil rights laws.

For example, Attorney General Holder's initiative -- launched this year to toughen enforcement of civil rights and fair lending laws -- is critical. African-Americans and Latinos have disproportionately been affected by the home foreclosure crisis, with ample studies showing these communities were steered to subprime loans when they qualified for prime rate loans.

The IASP study found that middle-income white families hold much more assets (stocks, bonds, business interests, real estate other than primary residence) than do high-income black families and that many black families hold more debt than assets and at least 25 percent of black families had no assets to turn to in times of economic hardship.

This crisis deserves a White House conference. We vote in record numbers. We serve in the military. We're playing on athletic fields. We're No. 1 in infant mortality. We have lower life expectancy. There's and obvious health gap, but more than that, a broad range of structural gaps that must be addressed. We sing, dance and entertain.

Yet, there's a painful indifference to the reduced life options of African-Americans.

 

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