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By Thomas M. Shapiro

Over the last 3 many years, racial prejudice in the US has declined considerably and plenty of African American households have obvious a gentle upward push in employment and annual source of revenue. yet along those encouraging symptoms, Thomas Shapiro argues within the Hidden rate of Being African American, basic degrees of racial inequality persist, relatively within the region of asset accumulation--inheritance, reductions money owed, shares, bonds, domestic fairness, and different investments-. Shapiro unearths how the inability of those family members resources besides carrying on with racial discrimination in an important components like homeownership dramatically impression the standard lives of many black households, reversing earnings earned in colleges and on jobs, and perpetuating the cycle of poverty during which a long way too many locate themselves trapped. Shapiro makes use of a mixture of in-depth interviews with virtually two hundred households from la, Boston, and St. Louis, and nationwide survey info with 10,000 households to teach how racial inequality is transmitted throughout generations. We see how these households with deepest wealth may be able to movement up from iteration to new release, moving to more secure groups with higher faculties and passing alongside the accompanying benefits to their little ones. while these with no major wealth stay trapped in groups that do not let them movement up, regardless of how tough they paintings. Shapiro demanding situations white heart classification households to contemplate how the privileges that wealth brings not just increase their very own possibilities but additionally carry again those who wouldn't have them. This "wealthfare" is a legacy of inequality that, if unchanged, will venture social injustice a ways into the longer term. exhibiting that over 1/2 black households fall lower than the asset poverty line at first of the hot century, The Hidden price of Being African American will problem all americans to reassess what has to be performed to finish racial inequality.

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Extra info for The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality

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Part I ASSETS This page intentionally left blank 1 The Color of the Safety Net Vivian and Kathryn There’s nothin’ I can do about it. . Maybe I might meet a millionaire or somethin’, you know, but I doubt that very seriously. I wish that I wasn’t in a lot of debt, though, because I had got out of debt, and now I’m back in debt. V A RRORA , 40 YEARS OLD , is the struggling single mother of a young teenage son, Lamar, and 4-year-old twin girls, Bria and Brittany. Vivian, who is African American, grew up in Watts, which is one of the poorest sections of Los Angeles and where about one in every three families falls below the government’s poverty line.

An Asset Poverty Line One of the disappointments of attempts to allay poverty is that policies only consider jobs and transfers that substitute for income. Changing The Color of the Safety Net 37 the lens of analysis to wealth dramatically shifts our perspective on poverty and gives us new tools. 7 percent in 2001 ($18,104 for a family of four). Using these numbers we could say that the rising tide of the long boom during the 1990s seemed to lift many, if not all, boats. 7 But sociologist Mark Rank suggests that to understand the true nature of poverty, we must see it in a different light.

Mainstream sociological theory sees differences in jobs, skills, and education as the primary causes of inequality, and substantial wealth transfers embarrass this theory. The classical sociologist Emil Durkheim, for example, predicted that family inheritances would decline over time in favor of giving to charitable and nonprofit organizations, but studies examining actual bequests invalidate this prediction. 1 Andrew Carnegie’s belief that giving relatives money only makes them lazy (a belief he put into action) may correspond with this perspective, but the empirical evidence tells a different story.

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