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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A prevailing myth about the wealth gap between white and Black Americans is that it could be closed if Black people valued hard work and education like so-called model minorities, typically Asians and other recent U.S. immigrants.

Reality check: Data shows that to be untrue. A 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics study finds that across races in the U.S., "Once families decide to invest in their children’s higher education, little difference exists in the level of expenditures between racial and ethnic groups."

The big picture: The success of recent immigrants and "model minorities" has much to do with U.S. immigration laws. Since 1965, the U.S. "has given preferential admission to those with higher-than-average levels of education; white-collar, professional, and technical employment; and thus household incomes," University of Texas history professor Madeline Y. Hsu wrote in 2015.

  • Even as newcomers, "'successful' immigrant groups actually retrieve a comparable class position as the one they held in their country of origin," the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity notes.

Between the lines: A 2019 study from Georgetown finds wealth is a better predictor of college acceptance and future success than intelligence or high test scores.

The intrigue: Research also shows that post-graduate education helps Black Americans less than it does white or Asian Americans to attain wealth and higher incomes.

  • "The median family incomes of all nonwhite groups trailed their equally educated white counterparts," a 2017 St. Louis Fed study found.

Of note: The "model minority" myth also hurts these groups, studies show, in part by lumping diverse groups who have significantly different economic and educational outcomes together, and by putting undue stress on members of those groups.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 13, 2020 - Science

Watching a star's death by black hole

Scientists have spotted a bright flash of light emitted by a star as it was destroyed by a black hole 215 million light-years away.

Why it matters: Black holes are some of the most extreme and difficult to study objects in the universe, and these types of rare events could help researchers piece together more about their nature.

Updated 15 mins ago - World

Russian police detain over 3,000 protesters demanding Navalny's release

Photo: OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.