Why Is It Called Black Tax? Explanation Black Americans Need to Know

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Almost every working adult might have paid black tax at some point in their lives, especially those of African descendants. If you have ever come across the term and wondered what it means, this post is for you. Here, we’ll answer the question, “Why is it called black tax?” and explain how it works and its origin. 

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What Is Black Tax?

A YouTube video from DW, The Percent 77 explains what black tax is

The term “black tax” originated in South Africa.  It’s a money burden that black people carry, especially those of African origin who have achieved a certain level of success and provide financial support to less financially stable family members. 

Black tax comprises not only the monetary transfers but also the toll it takes on successful family members. Most times, they end up not being able to build generational wealth like their white counterparts, who don’t share the same financial obligations. 

For more explanation of the black tax, buy one or two books from Amazon. On the online marketplace, you’ll find plenty of books on the topic written by bestselling authors. 

People Also Read: Wealth Disparity, Charging Deserts, and The Black Community

How Black Tax Works

In poorer black families, it’s traditional for everyone to come together to ensure that certain people in the family, usually the first children, achieve their goal of financial freedom. That could mean selling family land or other properties to send them abroad to study. 

It could even be putting funds together to ensure that a talented footballer in the family gets all he needs to succeed. When they succeed, they don’t forget the sacrifice made by their family members to ensure that they become successful. 

They also don’t forget how hard their family members work for minimal pay. These are the reasons most black people stretch their finances more than normal to help other family members who are struggling financially. 

While there’s no actual law, there is always a sense of obligation to help struggling family members. According to a study, folks considered as their family breadwinners are burdened by the responsibility and are often unable to save

On Amazon, a good number of books discuss the topic in detail. You get one or two to learn more about how it works. 

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People Also Read: 8 Side Hustle Ideas to Boost Your Income in the African American Community

The Origin of Black Tax in the United States 

It all started with the enslavement of black people, who worked against their wishes for the benefit of the white people. When slavery stopped, black slaves didn’t equal freedom within the country. 

During this time, many slaveholders received reparations for losing their workforce. On the other hand, emancipated slaves didn’t receive reparations for their enslavement. 

President Andrew Johnson even revoked the promised 40 acres and a mule after the death of Abraham Lincoln. This left many newly freed black slaves without starting income. 

In addition to that, some states in the U.S. passed laws to arrest anyone without a job. The state authorities later used the arrested black people as unpaid workers again. 

The wealth gap between white and black people was even worsened by economic systems put in place to prevent black folks from making progress. All these contributed to the black tax, where families had to come to push one person. When the person becomes successful, he’ll begin to shoulder the problem of the rest of the family members who aren’t financially stable. 

Check Amazon for books that discuss the slave trade and its impact on black people. Getting these books will help you learn about trade and its contribution towards black tax.

While the black tax is said to have started in South Africa, many people across Africa can attest to being responsible for their family’s financial needs. Having addressed the question “Why is it called black tax?”, you now know the financial responsibilities most successful black people carry. 

People Also Read: Financial Education in the African American Community: 8 Benefits

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Uchenna Agwu
Uchenna Agwu
Hi there! I’m Uchenna Agwu, and I love to write. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me reading books or watching documentaries (I’m a bit of a nerd). But I also like to get out and explore – whether that means going on hikes or checking out new restaurants.

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