In a new report, The Asset Value of Whiteness: Understanding the Racial Wealth Gap, authors Amy Traub, Laura Sullivan, Tatjana Meschede, and Tom Shapiro accurately note issues of racial inequity are increasingly at the forefront of America’s public debate and probe the causes of the racial wealth gap.
The racial wealth gap – different from an income gap – persists not because of choices (e.g. attending college, saving more, etc.) made today but largely because of historic injustices. There are some who will fight tooth and nail against that statement and hold the view that today’s choices alone – or at least overwhelmingly – impact wealth accumulation. However, as the authors make clear, “Families that have accumulated some wealth are better able to manage unanticipated expenses like an emergency medical bill, or disruptions in household income such as a layoff, without falling into debt or poverty. Over the longer term, wealth can expand the prospects of the next generation, helping to pay for college, provide a down payment for a first home, or capitalize a new business.”
The full report is available for download at the Demos website. Worth a read for those truly interested in learning how we got to where we are and aren’t completely wedded to the belief past policies and practices have minimal impacts today.
Please take the time to read the 16-page report if you’re inclined to leave a comment.