Thursday, August 05, 2004

Rhetoric, Reality and Race

The rhetoric of those who would keep America divided by race runs flat into the wall of facts. Blacks still face special problems in many parts of America, but the statistics show that, financially, during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and the two George Bushes, their power has grown faster than that of whites. In America, money really is the key to opportunity; this must be good news to everyone except those who make their meat off keeping alive the impression that blacks can never succeed in a white-majority nation without rallying behind demagogues.

The Multicultural Economy, 1990-2009 is a report by The Selig Center for Economic Growth at Terry College of Business, The University of Georgia. It was released in May 2004.

The Selig Center’s estimates and projections of buying power since 1990 show that blacks and other minorities in the U.S. "wield formidable economic clout" and have been increasing their "buying power" in the consumer market. [Buying power is the total personal income of residents that is available, after taxes, for spending on goods and services.]

In current dollars (not adjusted for inflation), The Selig Center projects that the nation’s total buying power has risen from $4.3 trillion in 1990 to $8.6 trillion in 2004.

In 2009, the center projects, "the combined buying power of African Americans, Asians, and Native Americans will be more than triple its 1990 level of $456 billion, and will exceed $1.5 trillion, a gain of $1.1 trillion or 242 percent. ... All of these target markets will grow much faster than the white market, where buying power will increase by only 140 percent. ... The combined buying power of these three minority racial groups will account for 14.1 percent of the nation’s total buying power in 2009, up from 10.7 percent in 1990."

The Selig Center projects that the nation’s black buying power rose from $318 billion in 1990 to $723 billion in 2004. In 2009, the report projects, the nation’s share of total buying power that is black will be 8.7 percent, up from 7.4 percent in 1990. In its analysis, the report shows that, "The gains in black buying power reflect much more than just population growth and inflation."

As for the Deep South, where some people would tell us the barriers to black achievement remain as high as the CSA design elements on flags fluttering over state capitols, well, the rate of growth of black buying power from 1990 to 2004 in Georgia was 206 percent. That's almost double the national rate.