This week, I was pleased to have two opportunities to talk about some new data that came out recently on the racial wealth gap from the Institute for Assets and Social Policy.
On Wednesday, I spoke with Tanya Free, the host of the show Tanya Free and Friends, which airs live weekly on Richmond, Virginia's AM WCLM station. The guiding question for this week’s show was “How much does race still matter?” The two-hour segment covered a lot of important issues, including the rise of extremist groups, developing more black-owned businesses to support community wealth-building, and the role of consumer protection in the housing crisis and recovery. Listen to the racial wealth gap part of the conversation by pressing play and dragging the slider to the 23 minute mark. During the conversation, the show hosts and I agreed that racial wealth disparities in this country are complex in origin, but that we do have some promising strategies to address this inequality. For example, Tanya Free and her co-hosts pointed out a few ways individuals can begin to build up savings, including placing more emphasis at the family level on the importance of saving, starting the saving process as early as possible and not waiting until you think you’re wealthy to begin that process. They also recommended seeking help from a trusted and knowledgeable advisor when possible.
Today, New America released a Sidebar podcast in which I discussed the IASP study and origins of the racial wealth gap with Elizabeth Weingarten, New America's assistant editor, and Reniqua Allen, a New America Fellow who studies the black middle class. We spoke about how racially discriminatory policies gave rise to many of the disparities we see in homeownership rates, employment segregation, and residential segregation. Reniqua Allen emphasized the importance of unions and public sector jobs in ensuring economic stability and mobility for all Americans but particularly Americans of color. We also fleshed out the important distinction between wealth and income.