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Mind the Gap! Resources


What's wrong with these headlines?

Combating the Poverty Crisis in Black America[1]

African Americans: The State of Disparity[2]

In 1999 Martin Gilens wrote in “Why Americans Hate Welfare” that:

  • 65 percent of poor Americans shown in network television news are African American.
  • 62 percent of poor Americans shown in newsmagazines are black.
  • In surveys, over half of the public says most poor people are black; only one out of four say most poor people are white.
  • In reality, African Americans make up only 29 percent of the country's poor.

Today, this gross inconsistency, between people’s racialized perception of poverty in the United States and the actual diversity of experiences, persists and continues to undermine the movement for economic justice.

Being Mindful of the Gap

People of color and people with limited financial resources are disproportionately oppressed by the wealth gap. Mind the Gap! recognizes this fact and aims to keep it central to the campaign. We also realize that these communities have historically been mislabeled (e.g. calling people welfare queens, referring to things, people, and behaviors as ghetto, and assuming a person’s class based on his or her race) and abused by racism and classism. Thus, we believe it is imperative that racialized- and class-based statistics be presented in a way that avoids perpetuating negative stereotypes.

Statistics and facts are powerful and essential tools for inspiring change. However, failing to confront the stereotypes that race- and class- based information may foster immediately limits our movement for economic justice. It may characterize the wealth gap as a problem only afflicting people of color with limited financial resources. Or as an issue that is less pressing or irrelevant to white people with greater financial means. This promotes false images that ignore the extent of inequality, alienates certain groups (e.g. wealthy people of color or white people living in poverty), and further marginalizes peop