Restrictive housing laws, covenants and policies that disproportionately impact the lives of people of color have had profound impact on their abilities to accumulate wealth.
One of the main reasons that immigrants from all over the world have come voluntarily to the United States since its inception was the promise of a better future. That is, America is the place that if you work hard, you can be successful economically and pass on that wealth and prosperity to your children. But the reality of that claim is and has been very different and difficult to achieve for many when looked at through the lens of race. Some of the factors influencing Black families’ economic marginalization: the massive land grant under the Homestead Act of 1862 that went almost entirely to white Americans, and redlining, which led to Black Americans being denied access to mortgages and homeownership — an important step in building wealth.
In the first instance, wealth in the United States has been based on many factors including visible assets such as land and money. It also includes invisible assets such as education, specialized knowledge and skills, and opportunity. The history of the economic development of the United States is highly racialized as well as class based. This section will provide information and resources that explore and give examples of the role of race and its intersections with class and gender around issues of land ownership, home ownership, policies, laws and practices that have worked together to maintain wealth disparities (structural differences) among Whites and other groups of color currently.