Why You (Yes, You) Are Broke as Shit and Will Never, Ever, Ever Be Rich So Stop Deluding Yourself, Explained

Illustration for article titled Why You (Yes, You) Are Broke as Shit and Will Never, Ever, Ever Be Rich So Stop Deluding Yourself, Explained
Screenshot: MSNBC

Wait.

What?

How can you even say that?

How can I even say what?

Don’t play dumb.

I’m not playing. I’m naturally dumb.

(Sigh) How can you—a person who 1) knows nothing about me and 2) knows nothing about the future—say that I will never be rich?

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Because you won’t be. And I don’t need to be Nostradamus to know that about you. With ya broke ass.

So now you’re calling me broke?

Yes.

You’re just making shit up now. I have a job.

That’s nice.

And some savings.

I’m proud of you.

So how does that equal brokeness?

The same reason why you’ll never be rich, actually.

Can you explain this to me then, because nothing you’re saying is making sense and I’m 10 seconds from kicking you in the spleen.

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So let’s say we’re on a hoop court together, standing on the baseline. I have a ball, I’m blindfolded, and I’m trying to make a shot at the far end. If this is an NBA court, I’m 94 feet from the hoop. Would I have any chance of making this shot?

Technically, yes. But not really. The chance is so small that it’s not even worth mentioning.

Are you sure enough that you’d bet a year’s salary that I’d miss?

Yes, I would.

But, if I took 100 shots, I might make one or two, right?

Where are you going with this?

If we consider a million dollars to be the threshold for “richness”—and you happen to be Black—the odds of you becoming a millionaire are roughly the same as me making that full-court, blindfolded shot.

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From CBS News:

Overall, about one out of 10 American families were millionaires in the 2010 and 2013 surveys. (The Federal Reserve defines a family as a single person or couple living with other people who are financially interdependent.) But when the researchers broke it down by race, they found that 12.9 percent of Asians were millionaires, and 12.5 percent of whites. Hispanics and blacks? Only 1.4 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

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That can’t be right. What about LeBron? And Oprah? And Jeezy?

That’s three niggas out of 40 million. And none of them even shop at the same supermarkets ya broke ass do.

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The rich have special supermarkets?

That you’d even ask that is proof of your richlessness.

And yeah, not only can I safely say that you’ll never be rich, but you’re also standing close enough to brokeness to smell its feet. Maybe you ain’t broke-broke. You can afford knives and socks and HBO Max and shit now. But you’re definitely broke-adjacent. Even if you’re making 100k a year—which, if you’re Black, is also statistically unlikely—the distance from there to zero is much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much shorter than from 100,000 to one million. One million is 17 states away, and you just passed Exit Broke five minutes ago. You’re Tomorrow Poor, which means you’re not poor today, but could very easily be tomorrow.

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Well that’s a bummer.

Ain’t it? But, if there’s any consolation, it’s that...shit. There are no consolations. It’s all fucked up. Capitalism is a scam. Don’t have politics like you’re Tomorrow Rich when you’re Yesterday Broke. Put sugar on grits if you want to. Life is short.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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DISCUSSION

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Foxstar loves Bashcraft

The USA’s biggest problem is far, far, -FAR- too many people believe that they will get that magical scratch off, or some far removed relation with fat accounts and a will that remembers them will die and that POC will still buy into the idea that they will beat the odds and somehow end up rich. Never mind -staying- rich and building wealth, just rich.

The 2nd biggest is POC who believe if they can just hang in there and work one more 80+ work week, that they will finally get a seat at the table. The GOP has been selling that bullshit for the last 60+ years, so much so that it’s long passed from normal bullshit into legend.

As long as people continue to buy wholesale in that bullshit and voting against policies that could improve their life, even if it doesn’t make them rich, we will remain divided. And sooner or later, Trump 2.0 will find a way in and he will be even worse then 1.0, while giving the outward appearance that he’s cut from the same cloth as his racist base, who will eat that shit up and ask for more.