The Plight of African Americans under Economic Inequality

In Kai Wright’s article, “Preying on Black Ambition,” he quotes President Obama as saying: The key to “winning the future,” is to get educated. Yet further in the article, he quotes the Economic Policy Institute’s finding that, in 2008,  “45 percent of African-Americans born into the middle class were living at or near poverty as adults, and that for “too many, school has greased the downward slide.”

While the country’s middle class is collapsing for everyone, that trend is most profound among African-Americans.

Black college enrollment shot up by nearly 35 percent between 2003 and 2009, nearly twice the rate at which white enrollment increased, as African Americans were getting all manner of schooling as they sought either an advantage in or refuge from the collapsed job market. As with the mortgage market of the pre-crash era, those who are just entering in the higher education game have found themselves ripe for the con man’s picking. They’ve landed, disproportionately, at for-profit schools, rather than at far less expensive public community colleges, or at public universities. And that means they’ve found themselves loaded with unimaginable debt, with little to show for it, while a small group of financial players have made a great deal of easy money.