March 23, 2023
For many Black Americans the doors to critical wealth-building tools that easily open for their white counterparts are locked or obstructed because of centuries-long discriminatory policies and practices. Without these same opportunities, Black Americans are often left behind, perpetually playing against a stacked deck.Structural racism not only shapes the outcomes that people experience in all sectors of life, but it also has psychological effects on what Black Americans think is possible. This psychological stress from dealing with persistent structural racism across society is called meta-oppression, a concept developed by Dr. Jacqueline Scott.Through a study of Black Chicago residents' experiences with the credit system, we found that Black Americans internalized feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and despair, all of which hindered their willingness to further engage with the credit system. By illuminating the diverse effects of structural racism on the lives of Black Americans, we hope to reveal key opportunities for policy and practice to interrupt meta-oppression and advance racial equity across society.