Black Wealth in the Age of Trump

Monday, November 21, 2016
The Atlantic

"White Americans have about 13 times the wealth of black Americans, a Pew Research report found in 2014, the widest the gap has been since the 1980s. The wealth discrepancy between black and white Americans is the consequence of decades of housing, land, and education discrimination. Bringing black wealth in line with white would require large systemic and policy changes to tackle those underlying problems—and the political will to do so. William Darity, Jr., an economist and professor at Duke University, studies the intersection of inequality, wealth, and race in the U.S. I spoke with him about the recent presidential election and whether or not Donald Trump’s proposals for helping poor and middle-class Americans would extend to poor and middle-class black Americans. The conversation below has been lightly edited for clarity.

Gillian B. White: Some have argued that economic inequality more than race, gender, etc., played a huge role in this election—that working-class whites got fed up and voted for change. Does that ring true to you?

William Darity, Jr. : I’m part of a coterie of economists who have been engaged in the development of a subfield we call “stratification economics.” At the heart of stratification economics is the premise that satisfaction for any individual is connected to their perception of the maintenance and improvement of the relative position between the individual and the social group (or groups) with whom they identify. Clearly, more strongly white-identified Americans have viewed white supremacy as threatened. And they have responded in like fashion by supporting Trump."

Read the full interview: