The Black-White Wealth Gap Is Growing
An author of a new study explains why, and how to restore fairness to a system that favors the wealthy.
We should care about extreme wealth inequality because small amounts of financial resources can touch and transform the lives of families and communities. The broken chain linking achievement to reward means that many families have little financial security to smooth over a health crisis or the temporary loss of a job. The financial stress heightened by the recent recession is not just yesterday's news story -- it is the fabric of everyday life for most American families, particularly African-American ones.
A chance at getting a higher education, anchoring a family's security through homeownership, starting that business -- these are the opportunities squeezed from Americans by policies that distribute wealth to the already well-off.
Today Sheryl continues to dream of owning a house and sending her daughter to college. When we check in with her in 10 years, will we find even greater wealth inequality, or will opportunity have triumphed?
Thomas Shapiro, Ph.D., directs the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at The Heller School, Brandeis University, and is the author of The Hidden Cost of Being African and co-author of Black Wealth/White Wealth