, 14 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Just a reminder that the entire bedrock of intergenerational economic prosperity across white america is built on the government having given white people centuries of “free stuff” while purposefully not giving those same resources & opportunities to others.
Shall we revisit some of the specifics? Well, of course, there was slavery, the 4 million enslaved black people having been worth more than every bank, factory, and railroad combined. And then after emancipation received zero recompense for 250 years of free labor.
There’s the 1790 Naturalization Act, in which only “free white persons of good character” could be naturalized citizens. Only white ppl could vote, serve on juries, hold office, & often own property. White racial preference in immigration didn’t end until 1965. 175 years later.
There’s the Homestead Act, which gave away hundreds of millions of acres of land west of the Mississippi almost exclusively to white people. Providing the bedrock for millions of white families to build homes & businesses & intergenerational wealth.
Even before that, there was the 1830 Indian Removal Act which forcibly relocated, and often killed, Cherokee, Creeks and other Indigenous communities to make room for white settlers to come take over the land.
There is the Social Security Act of 1935 which, as many know, was created to guarantee Americans income after they retire, *but* it was written to purposefully exclude black ppl from having access to its benefits. Ira Katznelson’s book “Fear Itself” is the central text on this.
Don’t worry there’s more!

There’s the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 which granted unions the power of collective bargaining (which is good!) *except* these unions often excluded black ppl from their membership. It was written into the law that they were allowed to do so.
Then of course, there was the Federal Housing Administration and the practice of redlining. Black ppl, for generations, weren’t given loans to purchase homes.

Between 1934 and 1962, the federal government backed $120 billion of home loans. More than 98% (!!!) went to white ppl.
There are economists who estimate that up to 80% of lifetime wealth accumulation depends on the intergenerational transfers of assets & resources. Meaning the systemic advantages of whiteness are passed down from parent to child to grandchild & so on.
So the benefits of each of these laws & policies (& the dozens more that there isn’t time to outline) designed to specifically benefit white ppl, compound themselves across each generation. Put differently, lots of ppl getting things they didn’t do anything to earn themselves.
So when you hear people talking about a reluctance to give away “free stuff” know that this country has, for centuries, given away plenty of free stuff to white people that allowed them to accumulate wealth & power & recourses that other communities never could.
The problem people have with giving away “free stuff” (and this isn’t just a hot take, the social science bears this out) is that people are more reluctant to support “giving away free stuff” (which itself is a misnomer) when it means giving it to people who don’t look like them.
If you’re looking for more on this a great place to start is @MehrsaBaradaran’s book (in addition to Ira Katznelson’s Fear Itself.) Mehsra also has lots of great citations in there that can point you in the direction of further reading.

Forgot to include the GI Bill! (But if you read the Katznelson book you’ll learn plenty more about this)

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