“I am invisible, understand,” Ralph Ellison famously wrote, “simply because people refuse to see me.”

He was speaking of the double consciousness that accompanied the burden of blackness in America more than 60 years ago. But according to Yale professor Frederick Wherry, this conundrum is not just social and political but also economic—and that sense of invisibility persists in the 21st century.

It may come as no surprise that in the nation’s supposedly colorblind age, access to income, credit and financial solutions remains riddled with racial inequity—and those on the losing end are disproportionately African American.

According to the Policy Economic Research Council, approximately 54 million Americans are “credit invisibles”—which means that they engage in creditworthy activities, such as paying utility and phone bills on time, but are effectively invisible to credit agencies, which don’t take into account those kinds of payments when determining credit scores.

And the result has harsh real-world consequences.

Renting an apartment, qualifying for reasonably priced homeowners and car insurance, getting a job if you’re unemployed and securing a promotion if you’re already working are all things that can depend on your credit score.

Read the rest at TheRoot.com