Ockemia Bean

How Much Black Wealth is “Acceptable” in America Today

We are embarking on the 100th anniversary of the decimation of the thriving African American community in Tulsa, Oklahoman, also known as “Black Wall Street (BWS).” Evidence suggests the destruction of BWS and its aftermath was meant to physically, psychologically, and economically impede African American prosperity (Messer, Shriver, and Adams, 2018). A psychological mechanism that has never been studied is: how much black wealth is “too much” in white and black Americans?

Today, 100 years after BWS’s destruction, black wealth continues to suffer at the individual and generational level (Conley, 1999; Oliver & Shapiro, 1995). Putting aside systemic racism, red-lining, lending discrepancies, and other forms of black American suppression, looking at business ownership, control, and profitability alone tells a bleak story.

My research seeks to test what the tipping point wealth number is leading to threat and implicit bias in black and white perceivers. My study aims to fill a gap in the literature by testing an un-researched inclination that “black wealth” is an aversive concept to white and perhaps also to black Americans. If expected results are found, the implications of the research imply that another BWS could happen today—despite the apparent “progress” we have made since 1921.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you so much for providing me with the opportunity to develop my skills as a researcher; I am ecstatic about conducting my very own study this summer. Through gained experience from SURF, I hope to conduct an experiment that will, at its conclusion, produce findings that will positively contribute to the field of Social and Behavioral Psychology. As a re-entry, transfer, student-parent in pursuit of a Ph.D., I sincerely believe that this experience will enhance my trajectory, contributing greatly to my preparation as a Ph.D. student and ultimately my success as a Ph.D. candidate; thank you!
  • Major: Psychology, Interdisciplinary Studies Field
  • Mentor: Dana Carney