Same Battles, Different Century? 

As a race, I believe we have advanced in certain areas, and in other areas, I see a standstill or decline. The question of whether the Black race is advancing, standing still, or regressing, is a tricky one to answer. Are we facing the same battles? There are so many factors to consider, there is so much data to analyze, and the personal bias of it all lies somewhere in between. It depends on who you ask, the demographic of that person, and so on. Let’s look at a few pieces of data that concentrate on wealth, violence, and housing, the top issues facing the black community. 


Finances lay at the top of the pyramid when it comes to the answer to this debate. The amount of money you have determines not only where you live but how you live. Your finances determine what food you eat or if you eat any food at all. Therefore, access or the lack of access to wealth plays a large part in how advanced the Black race is or can be. The subject of generational wealth and the lack of it in the black community is also an important part of this discussion.

I beg the question if the typical white family has eight times the wealth of the typical Black family and the Black families median and mean wealth is less than 15 percent that of white families, how could the typical black family ever catch up? This isn’t to say that the Black family hasn’t made progress, it’s just to say, financially we still have a long way to go. 

Contrastingly, while black individual wealth exists, a majority of the black family community still struggles with low income. In an article called, “Most Black Americans say they can meet basic needs financially, but many still experience economic insecurity,” it is explained that Black Americans face more economic insecurity than Americans overall. While it is explained that most Americans can cover their basic financial needs, it is noted that most Black adults don’t have an emergency fund and that for Black adults with more than one job, multiple incomes are often essential to meeting basic needs.

It is important to remember that being able to simply provide for yourself and your family can stand in the way of any future progress. In other words, if someone is already in debt, it can be harder to get out of said debt, to progress into, say…gaining an education, which can lead to better employment. Again, while there are exceptions, and there are Black financially wealthy individuals, the majority represents the opposite. 


According to an article published by Statista Research Department called “People shot to death by U.S. police 2017-2022, by race,” the trend of fatal police shootings in the United States seems to only be increasing. It continues by pointing out that the rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans was much higher than that for any other ethnicity, standing at 5.9 fatal shootings per million of the population per year between 2015 and December 2022. I honestly, don’t think I need to provide too much data to back up this fact and think it is more beneficial to look up this data on your own.

Reading over each name, circumstance and the number of years that this brutality has been going on is more devastating and beneficial than for me to just tell you. The news reports – whether they be through social media, television, or word of mouth – that we observe and absorb every day tell us more about its continued and prevalent existence than I ever could. And if you are a reader who lives in the same color skin as I do, the violence our community faces from this brutality should be more than sufficient for you to understand. 

What I will do is provide a link to the #SayTheirName website that archives the countless names of black people killed by law enforcement in remembrance of the precious lives lost:

And if I haven’t already made this abundantly clear, police violence does and has stood in the way of black progress and our community, and has a long way to go to overcome such a thing. 

Unfortunately, police brutality isn’t the only violence that blacks face within the community. Black-on-Black crime takes a tremendous toll on the black community as well. It has been reported that African Americans bear an increasingly large share of the harm from crime. While violent crime has increased in general, violent crimes being committed by African Americans is increasingly high, accounting for a large portion of said crime; the spike in crime is hurting a lot of people, and black communities bear the heaviest burden.

In a 20-year homicide trend chart found on the Metropolitan Police Department’s District Crime Data at a Glance page, it is reflected there has been a gradual increase in homicides. Some sources have reported that these increases may be due to the pandemic, and the resulting financial strain it has put on the black community. Whether this is the case or not, Black-on-Black crime is also evidence of the decline of progress within the Black community.  


As discussed, finances play a major part in where and how you live, but sometimes having adequate finances isn’t enough. The color of your skin may be what stands in the way of you acquiring your dream home and generational wealth. It has been reported that only 46.4 percent of Black Americans, compared to 75.8 percent of white families, achieve homeownership. The roadblocks to black homeownership include lack of capital for a down payment and closing costs, lack of access to credit and poor credit history, lack of understanding and information about the home buying process, regulatory burdens, and continued housing discrimination. As I said, in some cases finances may not be an issue but in other cases they are. 

It is also important to focus on the fact that these issues originated from prior issues. The top of these issues is the lack of access to education, whether it be financial literacy or being literate overall. As I mentioned, your demographic plays a huge part in where and how you live. In other words, if you come from a financially unstable family, grow up in a financially unstable neighborhood, or go to a financially unstable school, you have less of a chance of being financially stable. Not to mention there being multiple reports of black applicants being denied mortgages because of discrimination, at a staggering 15 percent, compared to a white applicant denial rate of 6 percent.  

I honestly can’t give a straight answer to such a large issue. Yes, throughout history black people have made huge amounts of progress, including but not limited to overcoming slavery, civil rights (a certain amount of them), breaking certain stigmas about what the average Black American can do, and the list continues. But we still face police brutality, Black-on-Black violence, and housing discrimination; the list continues for these as well.

Even so, with this knowledge, I believe we can take heed, acknowledge our triumphs, take note of things that need work and make more progress toward our future. With positive elements like social media awareness around Black issues, black awareness about black issues, writers like me and The DC Voice team changing the narrative and informing the public about these issues and certain initiatives to correct them, black artists, black leaders, and educators, we can answer the ongoing question of how we can tip the scale.

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