After President Obama was elected there was sweet talk of America having become a “post-racial society.” If Arizona’s new immigration law isn’t enough of a wake-up call, a new study by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University should set off the alarm: It found that the gap in wealth between white and African-American families quadrupled over the last generation. Following the same families over a 23-year period beginning in 1984, researchers found that the financial assets among white families grew from a median value of $22,000 to $100,000, while the African-American families still had less than $5,000 in 2007.

Different data sets from the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finance (SCF), which is collected every three years, corroborate that the black/white wealth gap grew between 2004 and 2007. A study released by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development in March found that the average single black woman under 50 had only five dollars to tap in the case of a financial emergency. According to SCF data, not only African Americans but all non-white groups had lower wealth levels than whites. Our nation is rolling backward on the track to racial equality.