Will America Ever Close Its Racial Wealth Gap?

Friday, February 23, 2018
WUNC: The State of Things

The black community owned 0.5 percent of America’s wealth at the end of slavery, and today that number has barely increased. A typical white household is 10 times wealthier than a typical black household, and the racial wealth gap is growing.

So what is the solution? Scholars Sandy Darity and Mehrsa Baradaran argue it lies beyond income and education. Policymakers must turn attention to increasing black families’ wealth through reparation programs, eliminating barriers to home ownership and increasing access to capital.

Host Frank Stasio talks with law professor Mehrsa Baradaran about her new book “The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap” (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press/ 2017). In it Baradaran argues the idea that black Americans can fix the wealth gap on their own is not only flawed, but also ignores the history of discriminatory policies that robbed black families of their capacity to build wealth in the first place.

Darity, director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, discusses his work on reparations and policy ideas to close the racial wealth gap. The two speak at an event at the University of North Carolina School of Law on Tuesday, Feb. 27 from 4:15 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Learn more here.