LETTER:Ignorance is bliss

The important bases for wealth in this country are property and education.

Consider the following:

From 1619-1865, during slavery, Blacks were generally prevented from owning property or being educated.

From 1865-1954, Reconstruction and the “Jim Crow” period extended those limitations throughout much of the south until “Brown vs Board of Education” in 1954.

From 1862-1900, Blacks were largely excluded from homesteading after the Civil War; less than 0.3 percent of homesteaders were black.

In the 1930s, the Federal Housing Authority and other agencies helped homeowners during the Great Depression.

The federal government distributed maps that tinted financially risky neighborhoods in red.

Thus began the practice of “redlining” minority neighborhoods that persisted until the 1970s.

In the 1940s, the GI Bill provided support for education and home ownership to veterans.

By 1956, about half of white GIs, 7.8 million, used the education benefits and 4.3 million the homeownership benefits.

A much smaller proportion of the 1.2 million Black GIs were enrolled, in part due to restricted college admissions in The South and less educational preparedness.

The systematic exclusion of blacks from property and education underlies the wealth gap that exists between blacks and whites.

Flawed government programs and cultural bias both added to the systemic racism that still afflicts the US.

The American people must be awakened to the problem before it can be solved.

There is an old saying that “Ignorance is bliss.”

Boasting that “Florida is the state where ‘woke’ went to die” may enable Gov. Ron DeSantis to keep Floridians more blissful than others.

Paul Wessel