Anne Price: When we look at the wealth holdings of the Black middle class—well, let me just say this, which I think really does startle people to hear—that when we think about wealth, there perhaps has never been a Black middle class. And we can see that through even current data. When you think about that the Black middle class, in terms of wealth by income, have the same amount of wealth as white folks in the lowest income quintile, then you know that there’s something there that’s amiss.
We look at this in terms of education, that a Black person who’s graduated from college has less wealth than a white person who dropped out of high school. And it seems counterintuitive, but as education increases, those differences get wider and wider.
I call it the million-dollar problem. When we look at people with the highest levels of education—those with a doctorate, with an MD, a JD—you’re talking about a million-dollar difference in wealth holdings. So, we need to have a much more nuanced understanding of how class works when we think about wealth.