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The Cost Of Being Black; Understanding The Racial Wealth Gap

Tony Juliano


Today a conversation about the racial wealth gap and why it persists. Nationally, Blacks have a median household income that’s 60 percent of that of Whites; in Baltimore that number is even lower at just 54 percent. That’s according to a report from the non-profit Corporation for Enterprise Development

For millions of people, home ownership is the key to building wealth. African Americans and Latinos are less likely to own their own homes. And when they do, because of years of redlining in communities of color, they’re valued a lot lower than houses in traditionally white communities.

A new report from the public policy think tank Demos and the Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Brandeis University found that often, the go-to solutions cited to address economic inequality, do not close the wealth gap between whites and blacks and Latinos. For example, African Americans and Latinos are less likely to have graduated from high school or college, but when they do, their wealth is equivalent to white high school dropouts. And how about single parent, African American families? The median white single parent has more than two times the wealth of the median black two-parent household.  

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad is a Senior Fellow for the Racial Wealth Divide initiative at CFED.  He’s the author of a report that looks at the racial wealth divide here in Baltimore. He also writes a column about race and inequality for the Huffington Post.
Amy Traub is the Associate Director of Policy & Research for Demos, a think tank that does research to inform public policy to reduce political and economic inequality.  She is the lead author of their latest report: “The Asset Value of Whiteness: Understanding the Racial Wealth Gap." Demos and IASP also created The Racial Wealth Audit, which serves as a framework for policy makers to evaluate public policy proposals for their potential to reduce the racial wealth gap. 

A. Adar Ayira is Director of Programs at Associated Black Charities. She also serves on the advisory board of Baltimore Racial Justice Action. 
They all join Tom to discuss the factors that contribute to the racial wealth gap and what's being done to close it. 


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