Melissa Harris-Perry Explains the Current Racial Wealth Gap

For every dollar a white household has, the average black household has two cents. Melissa Harris-Perry offers some historical context.

By Jorge Rivas Jul 13, 2011

For every dollar a white household earns, the average black household earns only two cents.

Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC this week discussing a report from the Economic Policy Institute that found that from 2004 to 2009, African-American families saw their incomes plunge by more than 83 percent, reversing generations of economics gains.

Harris-Perry said we can cite specific data from almost a hundred years ago that still contributes today to the wealth gap between whites and blacks in the U.S.

"Part of it is the immediacy of this recession, but I think we’re going to have to go back further in time to see where it originates. Even as the income gap had been closing between African-Americans and white households, the wealth gap had been consistently growing. So even as we were making more money on the dollar per white household, black households were still having less overall wealth. In other words, their homes were worth less money, their investments were worth less money and that really has everything to do with policies going all the way back to the New Deal when African-Americans were shut out of some of the very earliest home ownership opportunities."