Ockemia Bean Humanities and Social Science
How Much Black Wealth is “Acceptable” in America Today
We are embarking on the 100th anniversary of the decimation of the thriving African American community in Tulsa, Oklahoman, also known as “Black Wall Street (BWS).” Evidence suggests the destruction of BWS and its aftermath was meant to physically, psychologically, and economically impede African American prosperity (Messer, Shriver, and Adams, 2018). A psychological mechanism that has never been studied is: how much black wealth is “too much” in white and black Americans?
Today, 100 years after BWS’s destruction, black wealth continues to suffer at the individual and generational level (Conley, 1999; Oliver & Shapiro, 1995). Putting aside systemic racism, red-lining, lending discrepancies, and other forms of black American suppression, looking at business ownership, control, and profitability alone tells a bleak story.
My research seeks to explore the wealth threshold for Blacks / African Americans that leads to a perceived threat or bias in both black and white perceivers. My study aims to fill a gap in the literature by testing an un-researched inclination that “black wealth” is an aversive concept to white and perhaps also to black Americans. If expected results are found, the research implications imply that another BWS could happen today—despite the apparent “progress” we have made since 1921.