Singer, Actress, Fashion Designer and Businesswoman Rihanna on a Fenty Promotional Campaign
Singer, Actress, Fashion Designer and Businesswoman Rihanna on a Fenty Promotional Campaign

COVID-19 has reversed decades of progress that has been made in shortening the chasm of extreme economic inequality. Dynastic wealth increased by leaps and bounds. At the height of the pandemic in America alone, the total amount of wealth controlled by U.S. billionaires’ swelled by more than $565 billion, as 21 million citizens fell into unemployment. “The wealth of the 50 richest Americans increased 10X more than that of the average U.S. family,” Forbes reminds us. Pandemic job losses in America, we now know, were concentrated largely among women, minorities and low-wage workers. The black-white wealth gap left African-American families more vulnerable to the pandemic. The Institute for Policy Studies and notes that even though the wealthy gave much during the pandemic, the giving only highlighted the frightening dimensions of inequality. As philanthropic expert Chuck Collins notes, “[Billionaire wealth] is growing so fast, it’s simply outstripped their capacity to give it away.”
The racial wealth gap in the age of COVID is even grimmer, according to a recent Brookings report. In 2019, preceding COVID-19, the median white household held $188,200 in wealth — more than 7 times that of the typical Black household. By second quarter of 2020 in COVID America, white households —accounting for 60 percent of the U.S. population — held 84 percent of total household wealth in the U.S, totaling $94 trillion. By comparison, in that same quarter, African-American households — who account for 13.4 percent of the U.S. population—held just 4 percent, or a total household wealth, or $4.6 trillion. What is to be done?

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  1. Well written article but I didn’t learn anything new. Would have liked more examples of black billionaires and some specific areas of giving. Robert Johnson, for example, has made some impactful investments in the black community that will have life changing and lasting impact.