Addressing the racial wealth gap


UW-W Accounting Alumna Sydney Nelson

Jaelyne White, Business and Technology Editor

Did you know that closing the racial wealth gap would add $1 – $1.5 trillion dollars to the U.S economy by 2028? 

That’s just one of many eye opening facts UW-W Accounting alumna Sydney Nelson presented in “Empowering Black Youth with Financial Literacy: One solution to addressing the racial wealth gap” at the African American Heritage Lecture Nov. 14. 

I realized that adults have a “conscious” bias when it comes to financial matters and youth, in the sense that they will not talk about it around those of another generation, because the adults don’t believe the youth would understand. I encourage youth to stand up and be courageous when it comes to taking control of their financial future. Politely insert yourself into those conversations and ask questions. It’s your wealth, your financial future, and your duty to learn how you can make the best decisions possible,” said Accounting graduate Sydney Nelson upon reflection of her lecture.

Nelson’s lecture contained many statistics of the overwhelmingly large equality gaps in The United States. Such as that white families have ten times the wealth of black families. Also, 28 percent of black families vs. 70 percent of white families own their homes in the city of Milwaukee (this is the nations leading gap). 

“As I prepare to enter into the student affairs career field professionally, this lecture helped me to understand where students may be coming from financially when I work with them during their time in college. Knowing where a student comes from financially can help me provide the right resources for them,” said Keith Maleug, Academic Network and King/Chávez Scholars graduate coordinator.

Nelson not only addressed problems that minority students face but also offered advice to youth in general. She brings up her past of couponing with her mother and how she still to this day uses couponing apps while shopping to save on cash. The story of Nelson choosing between two colleges, one that wouldn’t offer her much money and still come with a hefty price tag, followed by loans…or a school that didn’t cost nearly as much with a business program that was prestigious in her family.

My favorite part was the open dialogue with questions and answers. She made it more interactive with the zoom audience so you felt more engaged in the event,” said John Dominguez, Jr., Director of Engagement and Student Success.

Despite having to have these conversations virtually, all it has taken is the simple use of technology, and an inspired UW-W alum to educate the students of Whitewater on such pressing issues, specifically important to the year of 2020. Nelson personally enjoyed the interactive portions of her lecture as well. It was fun and undoubtedly helped her feel more involved with the students, undeterred by the virtual situations colleges across the world have to go through.

Nelson’s lecture can be found here. She also can be contacted via LinkedIn if anyone has any questions about her lecture or would like to learn more about financial literacy.