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美国一直努力消除种族贫富差距,但做错了!

Antonio Moore 2018年05月29日

把种族贫富差距归结为黑人自身缺陷的所有说法都是谬论。

几十年来一直有人在说,消除种族贫富差距的关键不是系统性改革,而在于美国黑人本身要辛勤工作并付出更多努力。4月初,《经济学人》/舆观(The Economist/YouGov)的一项调查发现,40%的白人认为只要更加努力,黑人就有可能过上和白人一样好的生活。

我和杜克大学教授威廉·达里蒂、纽约新学院大学教授达里克·汉密尔顿共同撰写了一篇新报告,名为《在消除种族贫富差距问题上我们错在哪里》(What We Get Wrong About Closing the Racial Wealth Gap)。我们在报告中指出,付出更多努力,模仿“成功的”少数族裔群体或者我们提到的其他一系列“神话”将解决贫富差距不断扩大的问题是错误观点。我们还通过研究成果系统性地说明,把种族贫富差距归结为黑人自身缺陷的所有说法都是谬论。

下面这些例子是在种族贫富差距问题上流传最广而且最有破坏性的错误看法:

黑人只是需要更好的工作和教育

平均来说,一家之主拥有大学本科学历的黑人家庭的富裕程度比不上家中主导人物甚至没有高中文凭的白人家庭。这在一定程度上是因为黑人学生使用学生贷款的可能性较大,学生贷款数量较多,而且更有可能因为经济问题从大学退学。

有些人相信,如果更好的教育不是解决种族贫富差距问题的万能钥匙,那么辛勤工作就一定能消除这个差距。然而,在一家之主有工作的情况下,白人家庭的富裕水平是情况类似的黑人家庭的10倍以上。此外,一家之主没有工作的白人家庭的净值也高于一家之主从事全职工作的黑人家庭。

我们得开始向黑人提供银行服务

以现有基础设施而言,黑人拥有的银行无力让黑人的财富全面大幅增长。就算这些银行的资产规模翻两番,它们也不会成为美国经济的主要力量,更不用说全球经济了。同时,由于黑人财富的起点是如此之低,以至于现有黑人消费群体能支撑起黑人版摩根大通的说法无异于天方夜谭。

不存在差距

对于黑人名人不断增多表明种族财富差距正在缩小的说法,我们同样持否定态度。实际上,奥普拉·温弗瑞、Jay-Z和勒布朗·詹姆斯的巨额财富只是掩盖黑人贫困局面的“堕落面纱”,对帮助广大美国黑人消除种族贫富差距几乎毫无作用。

此外,在企业中,黑人名人基本上一直是人们想象出来的黑人权力的代表。许多最富有的美国黑人的财富都来自某个娱乐领域,他们则频繁地被刻画成企业的主要拥有者,但并没有人说明他们在某家公司有多少股份或多少控制权。当媒体聚拢起来的几位非洲裔黑人成为企业界巨大黑人力量的代表时,就更难证明有必要通过政策来消除种族财富差距了。

我们能做什么?

针对种族贫富差距问题的解决方案可能需要出台重大再分配措施,或者通过其他公共政策的干预来帮助美国黑人积累财富。其形式可能是针对黑人的政策,比如高额补偿,或者是为所有美国人消除贫富差距不断扩大的社会破坏性——由于美国黑人的富裕程度格外低,这样的措施将让他们更多地受益。

达里蒂和汉密尔顿开创性地提出了“婴儿债券”概念,按照这个制度,美国政府将在所有美国人出生时基于其家庭富裕程度在他们的账户中存一笔钱,这些孩子到了18岁就可以使用这笔资金。

消除美国种族贫富差距所需的想象力要求我们敢于走出“神话”。在这个问题上,带给我们答案的并不是这些神话,而是实实在在的国家政策。(财富中文网)

安东尼奥·穆尔是一位在洛杉矶办公的律师,也是艾美奖提名纪录片《高速公路:体制裂缝》(Freeway: Crack in the System)的制片人之一。他是《赫芬顿邮报》、新闻网站Newsmax、The Grio和Inequality.org撰稿人,所写文章涉及种族、入狱人数激增和经济问题。在推特和YouTube上也能寻觅到他的踪迹。

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

For decades we have been told that hard work and greater effort on the part of black Americans, not systemic reform, is the key to closing the racial wealth gap. Earlier April a poll from The Economist/YouGov found that 40% of whites think that blacks could be just as well off as whites if they only tried harder.

In a new report I co-authored with William Darity of Duke University and Darrick Hamilton of the New School, “What We Get Wrong About Closing the Racial Wealth Gap,” we state it to be false that trying harder, mimicking “successful” ethnic groups, or a number of other myths we address will correct the issue of growing wealth disparity. In our findings we systematically demonstrate that the narrative that places the onus of the racial wealth gap on black defectiveness is false in all of its permutations.

Here are a few examples of the most widespread and damaging myths about the racial wealth gap:

Blacks just need better jobs and education

On average, a black household with a college-educated head has less wealth than a white family whose head did not even obtain a high school diploma. This is in part because black students are more likely to borrow student loans and take on higher student loan debt, and are more likely than white students to drop out of university because of finances.

Some believe that if higher education is not the panacea for the racial wealth gap, then hard work can close the difference. Yet white households with an employed head have more than 10 times higher wealth than similar black households. Furthermore, white households with an unemployed head have a higher net worth than black households with a head who is working full time.

We need to start banking black

The existing infrastructure of black-owned banks lacks the capacity to produce wide and substantial increases in black wealth. Even if they were to quadruple their assets, black banks would not be major players on the American economic landscape, never mind the global landscape. Moreover, since black wealth is so low in the first place, it is a fantasy to anticipate that the existing black consumer base could build a black-owned equivalent of JPMorgan Chase.

There’s no gap

We also dismiss the suggestion that the growing numbers of black celebrities prove that the racial wealth gap is closing. In reality, the multimillion-dollar fortunes of Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z, and LeBron James has only covered black poverty with a decadent veil, doing little to help close the racial wealth gap for a broader black America.

In addition, black celebrity has largely been placed at the vanguard of an imagined black power in the corporate world. While many of the wealthiest black Americans derive their fortunes from some form of entertainment, they frequently are portrayed as major corporate owners, without it being made clear how much stake or control they have in a given company. When a handful of African Americans are held up in the media as evidence of significant black corporate power, the necessity of adopting policies to eliminate the racial wealth gap becomes harder to establish.

What can be done?

Solutions for confronting the racial wealth gap will likely require a major redistributive effort or other public policy intervention to build black American wealth. This could take the form of a race-specific initiative like a dramatic reparations program, or a program that addresses the social destructiveness of growing wealth inequality for the entire American population—which would disproportionately benefit black Americans due to their exceptionally low levels of wealth.

The groundbreaking idea of “Baby Bonds,” created by Darity and Hamilton, is a system whereby the government would put money into an account for all children in the U.S. at birth based on their familial wealth level. Those funds would become accessible to them when they turned 18.

The imagination required to move toward closing the racial wealth gap in America requires a daring that moves us beyond mythology. Real national programs, not myths, will move us toward answers for closing the gap in wealth between the races.

Antonio Moore is an attorney based in Los Angeles and one of the producers of the Emmy-nominated documentary Freeway: Crack in the System. He has contributed pieces to Huffington Post, Newsmax, The Grio, and Inequality.org on the topics of race, mass incarceration, and economics. Follow him on Twitter and YouTube.

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