Publication in: Spring 2023 Issue

The Creation of a Nation: Race, Class, and Capitalism in America A Case Study: Asheville, NC
Chasity Leake
Interdisciplinary Studies
Faculty Mentor(s):
Linnea Carlson
Abstract / Summary:
The racial wealth gap in Asheville, NC, is rooted in broader persistent institutions of racial inequality. Stemming from slavery, the racist policies and practices enacted during the reconstruction period directly impacted homeownership rates and the ability of the African American people to accrue wealth. This research study examines (1), the broader history of racialized economics in America, (2), the history of race and economics in Asheville, NC, (3), and the current state of the racial wealth gap in Asheville, NC. I will examine both home value metrics in conjunction with homeownership rate data (differentiated by White Vs. Black), presently. Topographically mapping this information will produce a picture of the relationship between the black-and-white residential home value and ownership. Overlaying these two metrics, I will also integrate per capita income and poverty to illustrate home ownership significance in relation to the current state of the wealth gap as it applies locally to Asheville, NC. For data, I will use the mapping software of Policy Map. My results found significantly low rates of homeownership among African Americans as well as large concentrations of devalued homes in African-American-specific geographies within the city. The mapping helps to further outline the economic stagnancy of African American neighborhoods compared to white communities, as evidenced by low per capita income and substantially high poverty rates. These further outline the wideness of the racial wealth gap by showing both numerically and geographically the substantial differences in white and black wealth guided by values of homes, rates of home ownership, poverty, and white per capita income as it exists today in Buncombe County.
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