Black Wealth/ White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality

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9780415913751: Black Wealth/ White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality

Black Wealth/White Wealth demonstrates how an analysis of private wealth uncovers a revealing story about race in America. An examination of how assets are created, expanded and preserved reveals a deep economic divide between blacks and whites. Charting the changing structure of inequality over many generations, the authors examine how and why many blacks have had difficulty accumulating wealth and opportunities for a better life. In combining quantitative data from over 12,000 households and interviews with a range of black and white families, the racial face of wealth in America is measured and conceptualized.

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About the Author:

Melvin L. Oliver is Vice-President of the Ford Foundation's Asset Building and Community Development Program. He is on leave from UCLA where he is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy. Thomas M. Shapiro is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University. He is the author of Population Control Politics: Women, Sterilization, and Reproductive Choice.

Review:

...an excellent job of quantifying our contributions to the American economic system. -- Savannah Tribune
Recommended reading. -- Emerge
Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro have written the definitive book about...black-white differences in assets. -- Contemporary Sociology
If anyone believes the `playing field' in America is level, then they should read this book. By focusing attention on wealth as opposed to income, Black Wealth/White Wealth changes the tenor and direction of debates on poverty, welfare and affirmative action in decisive ways. In a powerfully written book, Oliver and Shapiro present compelling evidence, incisive arguments and cogent policy suggestions to address the lingering racial divide. A must read! -- Maxine Waters, U.S. House of Representatives, California
Oliver and Shapiro have made an important contribution to our public debate on the roots of inequality between the races in America. By highlighting the effects of wealth inequality, the authors draw attention to some disturbing truths about the haves and the have-nots in our society. -- Senator Bill Bradley
This stunningly original look at wealth, welfare and race may well be the most important book of the year. Oliver and Shapiro challenge conventional wisdom and uninformed dogma to offer reasonable, practical, and fair solutions to our society's inequalities. Their extensive empirical research, dazzling historical sweep, and evocative interviews detail the role of inherited wealth and property in creating different life chances of people of different races. -- George Lipsitz, University of California, San Diego
An excellent book. Black Wealth/White Wealth is very important for anyone seeking a greater understanding of racial inequality in America. By focusing on the ownership of assets, Oliver and Shapiro demonstrate more convincingly than any recent study the fragile foundation of the black middle class and the vastly different ditribution and accumulation of resources that perpetuate the racial divide. -- William Julius Wilson, Lucy Flower University Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, University of Chicago
As a treatise on the extraorindary poverty of wealth in Black America, this book stands out as an enormously rich gold mine of both data and analysis on race and class. It is a tour de force that will revolutionize our thinking about an entire range of issues from the historical legacy of slavery to contemporary patterns of housing segregation. This book has the makings of a social science classic. -- Barry Bluestone, Frank L. Boyden Professor of Political Economy, University of Massachusetts, Boston
This is a landmark study--one of those rare books that initiates a paradigm shift in research about race and class. It is as important as the status attainment research done in Wisconsin a generation ago, and the policy implications are very different from thoseof most books on race and poverty. -- Joan Moore, Distinguished Professor, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Their analysis provides telling insight into the causes and persistence of American racial inequality: government policies of suburbanization and redlining helped boost wealth for whites over blacks, while discrimination against blacks long kept them from developing assets through self-employment. The authors' study uncovers 'the buried fault line of the American social system'. -- Publishers Weekly
Black Wealth/White Wealth offers a powerful portrait of racial inequality based on an analysis of private wealth. Taking issue with those who point to an expanding black middle class as evidence of greater racial equality, Black Wealth/White Wealth demonstrates how an analysis if wealth--total assets and debts rather than income alone--uncovers a qualitatively different story about race in America. -- Carolina Times
This book will be of great interest to both social scientists and policy makers. Oliver and Shapiro challenge the notion that all Americans can now compete on a level playing field and offer bold proposals for asset development and redistribution. -- Sheldon Danziger, Professor of Social Work and Public Policy, University of Michigan
Black Wealth/White Wealth challenges assertions that the failure of black entrepreneurship is rooted in a poor work ethic and an inability to defer gratification. (Oliver and Shapiro) support strong affirmative action initiatives and anti-discrimination policies that directly address historical and current discrimination. They also advocate policies that promote assest accumulation for those at the very bottom of the social structure, irrespective of race...They are calling for a level playing field. -- Voice Literary Supplement
Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro ... have produced an important, engaging, and nobly-inspired study of the economic bases of racial inequality in the United States. -- Business Library Review

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