Mind the Gap: A new paper debunks the persistent myths about the racial wealth gap.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The massive gap between black and white wealth is structural. All serious research on the subject finds the gap is an enduring feature of the American economy produced and reproduced by politics, policy, and law. But to the extent it even registers in mainstream thinking, the popular belief is that black Americans are themselves responsible for this broad inequality. The specific diagnosis varies. One view faults family structure—out-of-wedlock births and single parenthood set black communities up for failure. Another blames attitudes toward education. Yet another looks at consumerism, blaming black Americans for frivolous expenditures at the expense of saving and entrepreneurship. Each presents a different face for the same claim: that black culture is broken, and fixing the culture will resolve the economic disparities.

A new paper from William Darity of Duke University, Darrick Hamilton of the New School, and a team of researchers seeks to debunk these narratives and establish that the racial wealth gap was not produced by supposed black pathology and cannot be closed by individual effort. Darity and Hamilton focus on 10 myths about the racial wealth gap.

Read the full article here.