New research from the ACLU is shedding light on just how badly black Americans were economically damaged by the Great Recession of 2008. The racial differences in loss are extremely stark.

The ACLU’s new study, out today, examines black and white homeowners, and how they fared during and after the recent financial downturn. In a nation in which white households boasted 20 times the average wealth of black households in 2009, the recession hit black homeowners—who tended to have a higher percentage of their wealth tied up in their home—particularly hard. Among the ACLU’s findings:

  • While median white household wealth stopped falling in 2009, median black household wealth continued to fall for two more years, costing black households an extra 13% of their wealth.
  • “By 2031, white wealth is forecast to be 31 percent below what it would have been without the Great Recession, while black wealth is down almost 40 percent. For a typical black family, median wealth in 2031 will be almost $98,000 lower than it would have been without the Great Recession.”

When we speak of civil rights and fighting racism, let’s not forget about enacting policies that push wealth down the economic ladder. That could end up being the single best way to make America a more equal place.

[The full report. Photo: AP]