"Dr. King's Nightmare"

The richest 400 people in our nation have as much wealth as the entire African-American population in the United States. According to a new analysis by Bob Lord of the Institute for Policy Studies, the so-called “Forbes 400” has as much wealth as 41 million people. Mr. Lord called this stunning statistic, “Dr. King's Nightmare.” Wealth inequality is a huge issue in our country, but the racial wealth divide is even worse. While the home-ownership rate for White Americans is over 73 percent, only 43 percent of African-Americans and 47 percent of Latinos own their property.

This persistent divide between whites and minorities is the long-lasting result of our nation's history of discrimination, and it persists because many of these deep-rooted policies are engrained in our society. Decades of racial disparity have kept minorities from catching up financially, and the most recent recession erased many of their modest economic gains. Those at the top have continued to hoard billions and concentrate wealth, while the net worth of African-Americans and Latinos has actually shrunk. The median wealth for White Americans is $97,000, while African-American families average less than $5,000.

People can claim that racism is dead in American, and that Dr. Martin Luther King's Dream has been fulfilled – but these facts show otherwise. Our kids may drink from the same water fountains these days, but their families still have different opportunities based on the color of their skin. It's been more than 50 years since Dr. King dreamed of a better future for our nation, and it's about time that we start living up to it.

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