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The award-winning Black Wealth / White Wealth offers a powerful portrait of racial inequality based on an analysis of private wealth. Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro's groundbreaking research analyzes wealth - total assets and debts rather than income alone - to uncover deep and persistent racial inequality in America, and they show how public policies have failed to redress the problem.
First published in 1995, Black Wealth / White Wealth is considered a classic exploration of race and inequality. It provided, for the first time, systematic empirical evidence that explained the racial inequality gap between blacks and whites. The Tenth Anniversary edition contains two entirely new and substantive chapters. These chapters look at the continuing issues of wealth and inequality in America and the new policies that have been launched in the past ten years. Some have been progressive while others only recreate inequality - for example the proposal to eliminate the estate tax.
Compelling and also informative, Black Wealth / White Wealth is not just pioneering research. It is also a powerful counterpoint to arguments against affirmative action and a direct challenge to current social welfare policies that are tilted towards the wealthy.
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Melvin Oliver is Professor and Dean of Social Sciences, University of California-Santa Barbara.
Thomas Shapiro is Professor, Brandeis University.
"...challenges the assertions that the failure of black entrepreneurship is rooted in a poor work ethic and an inability to defer gratification. Oliver and Shapiro are not asking for 'special privileges' for black people. They are calling for a level playing field." -- Robin D.C. Kelley, Voice Literary Supplement
"...reveals for the first time the full economic damage caused by the special difficulties that blacks face.... These facts need to be publicized so that white Americans can be made aware of the extent to which the civil rights movement of the 1960s failed to achieve its goal of fairness for blacks." -- George M. Fredrickson, The New York Review of Books
"In Black Wealth/White Wealth," sociologists Melvin Oliver and Tom Shapiro documented the huge racial disparity in accumulated resources." -- Newsweek
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