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Letters to the Editor: Programs to Close the Racial Wealth Gap

October 1, 2021
Letters to the Editor: Programs to Close the Racial Wealth Gap

Opinion: Programs to close the racial wealth gap

The Washington Post

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August 6, 2021 at 2:58 p.m. EDT

The Aug. 1 editorial “Narrowing the racial wealth gap” did an excellent job describing the crisis that is the racial wealth gap and chronicling its damaging history. The suggestion that race-neutral policies are the solution to eliminating the racial wealth gap, however, is incorrect and dangerous.

Race-neutral policies continue to delay much-needed progress toward equity for Black and Brown communities. When we design policies around a “general” population without solving for the particular obstacles that Black and Brown communities face because of discrimination, we inevitably leave those communities behind. Race-neutral policies are the reason Black homeownership, a key factor in closing the racial wealth gap, is no better today than in the 1960s. Our nation must have the courage to enact race-conscious remedies so that Black and Brown communities and the entire economy can benefit. Thankfully, we have the opportunity to pass these policies right now. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) recently introduced the Downpayment Toward Equity Act, which would provide $100 billion in first-generation homeowner assistance to individuals whose parents do not own a home. It is this type of creative, equity-centered legislation that will successfully drive progress toward ending the racial homeownership and wealth gap.

Nikitra Bailey, Washington, D.C.

The writer is senior vice president of public policy at the National Fair
Housing Alliance.

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