Black Americans Deserve Loan Discount (Letter)

For the publisher:

Would canceling student debt promote racial equity? well described the challenges that massive student debt poses to the economy and recent proposals to write off that debt, highlighting the disparity in student loan burdens by race and the role of structural racism in creating and perpetuating these disparities. The unwritten assumption in much of the current student debt discourse is that cancellation should be applied equally to all borrowers, which leads to many difficulties for affluent college graduates who take undue advantage of it. While canceling all loans may be what equality requires, it is not what equity requires.

One of the most effective ways for the Biden administration to keep promises made to black Americans during election season, the promises that propelled candidate Biden beyond the crowded Democratic primary field in South Carolina and to a victory Overwhelming impact on then-President Trump is for supporting targeted relief programs for black Americans. As labor economist Julianne Malveaux declared“What Biden needs to do that few presidents have wanted to do is target … if you have a population that has been hit hardest, you have to have specific remedies for that population.”

Black Americans have been hit hardest by the student loan crisis due to systemic racism. For President Biden to keep his election promise to bring racial justice “to the heart of every part of his economic agenda,” he must implement targeted policies such as a limited debt cancellation program for white borrowers. and a debt cancellation program for Black Borrowers with no cap on the amount of forgiveness.

Critics of student loan cancellation have spoken out justice and the relatively affluent students who could benefit from a student loan discount. Canceling student loans for black borrowers is not about treating “students who have avoided or paid off debt” differently; it’s about making whole black students who never had a chance to do it! Black student borrowers are hardly the wealthiest, with some fearing that they may receive undue loan forgiveness.

A targeted student debt relief program for black borrowers “would recognize the disparities that led black students to borrow in the first place” and should be part of the larger repair platform for which some have called. As Rep. Pressley said, “It’s not a question of where. It’s a question of and. Cancellation of black student loan and individual restitution and housing subsidies and business subsidies …

Importantly, this broad reparations platform would respond to what debt cancellation critics denounce as the “equity” of debt cancellation for student loan borrowers (many of whom are NOT graduates of). university) while doing nothing for “black people … who did not” have the opportunity to go to university. ”

President Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office authorizing his administration to prioritize closing the racial wealth gap, and he must now act in that order. The administration’s stance on student debt relief is a test of whether it will simply talk about the rhetoric of racial equity and espouse an aspiration to eliminate the racial wealth gap or be seen as an administration. which actually created targeted racial justice programs and narrowed the wealth gap.

– Ricshawn Adkins Roane

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