Systemic Racism Makes the Risk of Being Poor Greater Even for Black Boys Born into Well-Off Families

Systemic Racism Makes the Risk of Being Poor Greater Even for Black Boys Born into Well-Off Families

A new study from researchers at Stanford University, Harvard University, and the Census Bureau has found that the widening wealth gap between Black men and White men is driven entirely by the difference in wage and employment rates, and that this wealth gap is present even among Black and White men who grew up in the same neighborhoods, attended the same schools, and lived as children in households with similar incomes. To some, these findings have proven revelatory; but others have shared sharp critiques, sparking fears that the data and analysis could further deficit-based cultural analysis of Black men and boys, and Black families overall.

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Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective

EA’s Take on the Issue:

Looking at 26 years of data (1989-2015), the researchers found that parental marital status, education, family wealth, and differences in ability do not explain the stark income inequality between Black and White males. They found that the neighborhoods where Black boys did as well as their White peers shared three factors: less racial bias, low poverty rates and a larger share of fathers or father figures present.

Check out the coverage from New York Times
The Study, and Executive Summary

When I See Racial Disparities, I See Racism: Discussing Race, Gender and Mobility

EA’s Take on the Issue:

The reaction to the economic mobility study has been intense. In response to its coverage, the New York Times heard from hundreds of readers who had questions about a variety of related topics, including outcomes for other racial groups and women and girls of color, and queries about the study’s methodology, analysis, and treatment of factors that are root causes of economic inequality. The Times compiled some of the questions from readers and responses from two of the original article’s reporters, two of the economists who conducted the study, and two professors who study race in America.

Read their reactions here.

Who Benefits from Research on Racial Disparities?

EA’s Take on the Issue:

In another thought-provoking column, Hechinger Report writer Andre Perry argues that the spotlight on racial disparities ultimately helps widen the gap between Black people and their peers of other races. Instead of focusing on the negative impact of racism on Black boys, he suggests the more appropriate focus is on how racism enables White people to maintain wealth.

Read his views here.


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