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Does the focus on celebrity dull the impact of poverty?

The Decadent Veil: Black America’s Wealth Illusion

Writer Antonio Moore has some thoughts on America’s focus on wealthy Black celebrity, and how it shapes how we view Black people’s financial standing in this country. Via HuffingtonPost:

As black celebrity invited us into their homes through shows like MTV cribs, we forgot the condition of overall African American financial affairs. Despite a large section of the 14 million black households drowning in poverty and debt the stories of a few are told as if they represent those of millions, not thousands. It is this new veil of economics that has allowed for a broad swath of America to become not just desensitized to black poverty, but also hypnotized by black celebrity. How could we not, our channels are filled from ESPN to VH1 with presentations of black Americans being paid a king’s ransom to entertain.

As black celebrity has been shown to millions of people, millions of times, the story of real lives has also been lost, and with it the engine that thrust forward the demand for social justice by the masses. The heartbeat of social action is to recognize your mistreatment, and demand better. With each presentation of Kobe Bryant’s 25 million dollar a year contract, or Oprah’s status as the sole African American billionaire a veil of false calm is created within the overall American economic psyche about the immense black wealth disparity. Young black men from ghettos across America that used to dream to make great changes in racial inequity now just dream to be a millionaire and be like mike and dunk a ball or dance on a stage. The decadent veil not only warps our vision outward to a larger economic world, but it also distorts outside community’s view of our actual financial reality.

As reported by MSNBC the median net worth of the few black households in the top 1 percent was $1.2 million dollars, while according to the Census median net worth for all black households was about $6,000 in total.

A black family in the 1 percent is worth a staggering 200 times that of an average black family. If black America were a country we would be among the most wealth stratified in the world.

It is because of this concentration of wealth that any view of averages is destroyed for black America, the disparity between rich and poor is too high. When a few families have a massive percentage of wealth it pulls the average up so astronomically that it makes the mean present a false narrative.

Did you realize the gaps were that large? What are your thoughts?



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