Week 15- Alecia Minor

In chapter 8, “Welfare and Wealth,” it focuses on dealing what wealth and welfare is and how it goes about with different things such as income, housing, etc. Wage workers are generally more familiar with their income in terms of dollars per hour whereas salaried and professional employees are generally more familiar with their income expressed as their monthly salary. The authors defined wealth to refer to as the total value of one’s assets minus the cumulating of one’s debt. In the past, a problem with the way that wealth has been measured  was the way income was distributed in the population.

The causes of occupation segregation are legacy, blocked access, discrimination, and inadequate preparation (educational attainment). On average, only 62% of what whites earn is the earning of African Americans. Additionally, African Americans are more prone to be poor (twice as likely). The gap is actually greater among the affluent–where whites are 2.5 more likely to earn higher salaries than African Americans. Moreover, the wealth disparity we see between African Americans are congregated in higher earning occupations whereas African Americans are congregated in lower earning occupations. When we consider just the richest Americans, whites are at the top of this category and African Americans are at the bottom . Additionally, because of the history of slavery and Jim Crow segregation, whites have been able to work in the professionals, build business, and accumulate wealth over several hundred years, whereas African Americans have been able to do so only recently. Now, when we compare the rates of welfare receipt, these data indicate that African American are more than twice as likely to be receiving some form of cash public assistance as whites, and the rate of receiving public assistance is so high that just under half of all African Americans live in families that are receiving some form of cash public assistance. The income gap between African Americans and whites is a 420 times difference.

There are four components used to measure the “American Dream.” They are: (a) owning a single-family home, (b) being able to afford quality child care, (c) being able to afford a college education for one’s children and (d) being able to afford health insurance. Furthermore, $25 billion annually is the estimate amount African Americans lose each year due to predatory mortgage practices.

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