Obama: 'Legacy of Discrimination' Spurring Minority Poverty

With black unemployment returning to double the rate of whites, President Barack Obama told a New York town hall audience on Friday that minority populations are struggling economically in part because of past discrimination and because of "anxiety" over embracing his vision of wealth redistribution.

"We know, in part because of the legacy of discrimination, that communities of color have less wealth," said Obama. "If they have less wealth it means that mom and dad have a more difficult time financing college. Well, you know, we should make sure that every young person, regardless of their color, can access a college education."

Obama said the solution lies in taxpayers rejecting a zero sum economic philosophy.

"Part of what’s happened over the last several decades is, because times have been tough, because wages and incomes for everybody have not been going up, everybody is pretty anxious about what is happening in their life and what might happen for their kids, so they get worried that if we’re helping people in poverty, that must be hurting me somehow, that’s taking something away from me,” said Obama.

Obama added: “There’s a tendency to suggest somehow that government is taking something from you and giving it to somebody else and that your problems will be solved if we just ignore them, or don’t help them,” said Obama. “And that I think is something that we have to constantly struggle against, whether we’re black or white or whatever color we are.”

Past discrimination, Obama explained, is spurring economic inequality today.

"What we’ve also see is the legacy of discrimination, slavery, Jim Crow, has meant that some of the institutional barriers for success for a lot of groups still exist. African-American poverty in this country is still significantly higher than other groups. The same is true for Latinos, same is true for Native Americans," Obama said.

Obama said even if discrimination could be eliminated, there would still be a need to redistribute wealth and that social pathologies are an outgrowth of "a long legacy of poverty."

"Let’s assume that we eliminated all discrimination magically, with a wand, and everybody had goodness in their hearts, you’d still have a situation where a lot of folks are poor and whose families have become dysfunctional because of a long legacy of poverty.”


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