America’s Racial Wealth Gap: The Fortitude of J Vibez

The transmission recently failed on J Vibez’s warhorse of a 2007 white Chevy Impala, a setback the young nonbinary native of Jackson, Mississippi, has taken in stride and is “pushing through” with a little help from their friends and the Uber app, while saving for a new ride.

It was the car that J had slept in for a cold three months in the early days of the COVID lockdown, unhoused because their status as an independent contractor rendered them ineligible for unemployment benefits. But J Vibez, 24, says that being born into a generation that’s already suffered two recessions, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, nonstop police violence against Black youth, a global pandemic and a fresh wave of ongoing climate disasters, helps them have a sense of perspective about this particular hardship.

“I had to give that old car away,” J deadpans. “Time for a fresh one.”

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