Breaking Brown

December 9, 2016

Hard Work and Education Aren’t Enough to Close Wealth Gap, Says Duke Professor

Hard Work and Education Aren’t Enough to Close Wealth Gap, Says Duke Professor

Last week I discussed the findings of Duke University Professor William Darity, one of the leading economists in the country, during my Breaking Brown Live broadcast. Darity’s work is significant in that he dispels the notion that African-Americans can close the wealth gap with whites through hard work and education alone.  Darity provides context for his conclusions at the 6:00 minute mark:

This week Antonio Moore, who had previously explored Darity’s work in a study called  The Color of Wealth in Los Angeles, interviewed Darity about the wealth gap. Here are the the most insightful takeaways from the interview (You can find the interview in its entirety at the bottom of the page):


“It’s what you can receive from your parents and grandparents by way of resources ..”


“We’ve never had the foundation for a significant amount of wealth transfer to the next generation…”


“We overstate the value of education for the purpose of economic gain..”


“The capacity for closing these gaps is not something that’s within the hands of black folks to do without there being any kind of social policy changes, policy supports, or transformations in this society as a whole. We can’t do it by ourselves.”

“We need a reparations program. We need something that takes the form of a redistribution of create a situation where black folk do have a similar set of opportunities to white folk.”


“We should not try to shape our expectations based on folks [like Jay-Z] who are far, far outliers who may have had to make some decisions that are really ethically compromised to get to where they are..”

“People should not judge what their capabilities are based on people who are gross, gross exceptions…”

Regarding celebs like Beyonce, who tell blacks “you just might be the next Bill Gates”, Professor Darity questions her own wealth position, suggesting that we “look at how much debt they’re carrying relative to the assets they’ve accumulated…”


“Your capacity to be successful in the business world is contingent upon having a backup of wealth to support your efforts…”

“There’s nothing that insulates black folks from being treated viciously and unfairly.”

0 likes Black News , ybw
Share: / / /

36 thoughts on “Hard Work and Education Aren’t Enough to Close Wealth Gap, Says Duke Professor

  1. Johnw11 says:

    It’s good to see this Great social scientist’s work getting noticed outside of scholarly journals where few members of the general public are exposed to his observations.
    I’m proud to say that I’ve been a student of this man’s work specific to intergenerational wealth and the role public policy plays in Blacks’ socioeconomic well-being, or lack thereof, for years. In his writings over the years, he has discredited many victim blaming claims such as Blacks are poor because they don’t “save” enough and other such nonsense. 
    If the Black collective is to be informed, and mass political ignorance (personality politics) defeated,  it will be due the observations of people like Prof. Darity, and not by fools presented to Blacks as “leaders” and “experts” on TV and elsewhere in the public sphere.
    Good to see him presented here.

  2. Mustafa Uthman says:

    We really need to stop it with all this talk about the wealth gap. As long as white folks print the money they’ll give it to themselves. They set all the terms. The value of money or anything else for that matter is what you attach to it.

  3. Calvin L Miller says:

    Okay well give all your money away and quit working. A year after that then come see me with that attached value crap. A few months in a third world couple would teach some of you folks just how good you got it.

  4. Mustafa Uthman says:

    Calvin L. Miller we all know we have to work but what is comparing our wealth to white folks going to accomplish? The reason why the modest homes in white neighborhoods cost more is because that’s what white folks determine their worth. Black folks complaining about white flight instead of working to better their own neighborhoods.

  5. Mustafa Uthman says:

    An Historic Tour — 2255 W 25th St, Los Angeles, …:

  6. Robert Thomas says:

    did this negro just say, “a few months in a third world country will teach some of you how good you got it”???
    talk about a Peasant Mentality…

  7. Chase Ingram says:

    MustafaUthman, Robert Thomas sometimes its the simplicity of statements that twists our folk up, some of us cannot see the real picture until the white lenses come off.
    Until we as a people wake up and cease with evaluating ourselves according to white (money) values, we will never be able to grasp the knowledge dropped in this original post.
    Young Calvin does not see that none of us have to “go” anywhere to witness the third world existence, 2nd class citizenship that all too many of us already live.
    The devaluation of the black man, woman and child in these untied states is REAL, sad that too many of us can’t see it.

  8. Mustafa Uthman says:

    For those who aren’t familiar with Los Angeles my “Historic Tour” post is of a home in a Black Neighborhood in Los Angeles that is considered by some to be the “Hood”. We have to learn to value what we have. We make our neighborhoods what they are. Everyone knows who lives in LA that we follow whites, they leave, Hispanics move in to what were predominantly Black neighborhoods “our migration south has something to do with this too”, then the hispanics clean up the place and whites move back in. I grew up in Ladera Heights section of LA and Inglewood.

  9. Fidel Cooper says:

    Calvin L Miller I came from a third world country and owned a home there and a home here, and living quite good. So please get your third world analogy right. The guys on this post is right. White people design the system to benifits themselves not us. A few of us will live relatively comfortable but we’ll never be were we wants to be unless we start to pull our resources together and boycott everything that the white man peddle in our communities.

  10. Mahasa Howard says:

    Mustafa Uthman
    I agree, money is nothing more than paper and the value of it comes those who value it.. I said this time and time again.. I also received the same hate and mockery because the blacks that value money do not want to stop putting it up on high.. When we learn that people with value are not those who have paper in the world but those who bring something to the table. We have stopped being a manufacturing people trying to live and look like our European citizens.. We need to go back to producing so we can bring value to ourselves.

  11. Felicia Ervin says:

    I say the value of money is what your bills attach to it.

  12. Patricia Bernard says:

    Mustafa Uthman…well said…if money has no value, the rich get screwed….that ought to be the game…how to empower the poor without money …our dependence on money is self-defeating as we don’t control the worth…but its a concept that majority just cannot grasp as they are unable to think..

  13. Patricia Bernard says:

    Many years ago, Jamaicans were at a turning point in their wealth, the US came in overnight and forced a devaluation of our money and overnight made many parent who had worked hard and saved all their lives and thought they had a comfortable nest egg, found themselves with nothing…..its also happening in Zimbabwe….now Zimbabweans sell their money like souvenir just to get something for it….

  14. Mustafa Uthman says:

    Felicia Ervin you are correct your bills do determine the value of your money. This is why the collective “We” need to reevaluate how we spend our money.

  15. Khalid Gadson says:

    Wealth gap.. what wealth gap? Stop it people.. nothing you buy will make you happy.. nothing.. it’s all made from the dirt anyway

  16. Renee Garvey says:

    Gotta own businesses/industries… Create not constantly consume.

  17. “We really need to stop talking about this wealth gap” = We really need to stop telling the truth and keep lying to each other. Queue Steve Harvey….

  18. Traci Waters-Fashoro says:

    Grossly depressing to say the least!U0001f621

  19. Yolanda Summers says:

    There’s an interesting documentary on YouTube called ‘Confessions of an Economic Hitman’. It’s narrated by a former CIA Agent, a white male, who speaks extensively on how the United States used its powerful position in the world and powerful military to help out it’s major corporations. White owned corporations who were doing business in third world countries around the world. It made sure that these corporations were given favorable deals, sometimes obscenely favorable deals, on the resources controlled by these other countries, and allowed to have favorable terms, so that they could extract massive resources at rock bottom rates (sometimes FREE) and profit handily from them. 

    The reason I brought that up is to simply show how black people are at more of a disadvantage on the wealth scale than we could even imagine. All of these major corporations are owned and controlled by White Men who often had the aid of some of the highest people in their governments to help them procure these massive contracts globally. It’s all an inside game. These men in turn hire their own (other white people) and partner with white owned vendors who do the same. They reserve the good paying jobs for their own kind. 

    Black people can combat the wealth disadvantage by becoming similar to immigrants in our spending habits and business ownership. We can insulate ourselves from a lot of the racism we all know exist by simply choosing to remain in our own neighborhoods, invest in our neighborhoods and do business with our own people. Jewish people don’t run out of Jewish communities into white communities when they get money. Blacks do. Asians also remain in their own communities regardless of how successful they are because they know that they have a steady source of support within their own communities. Blacks run from black communities into white communities where we are often outnumbered, isolated and where we have no ready support network there. We are also still fully dependent on whites for our livelihood when living in these neighborhoods. Just stay and build up our own.

  20. Yolanda Summers says:

    Yvette Carnell So true.

  21. Johnw11 says:

    Yolanda Summers  Great comment. I would, however, like to give some feedback of disagreement, if that’s OK.
    First, you are correct in stating that “…black people are more of a disadvantage on the wealth scale than we could even imagine.”
    My disagreement is with your solution, which does not take into account your own assessment, and ends up reciting stereotypical bromides and platitudes about how Blacks should be more like Asians and the intrinsic shortcomings of Blacks, etc.
    You say “black people can combat the wealth disadvantage by becoming similar to immigrants in our spending habits and businesses ownership.” And you then conclude that will “insulate” Blacks from racism, which is a direct contradiction to your citing what happens in “Confessions of an Economic Hitman,” which said nothing about Blacks not being like Asians, or that Blacks could shop their way out of racism = socio-economic exploitation, etc. (But that’s another discussion.)
    The idea that Asians (consisting of about 48 different ethnic groups) are allegedly doing well as a collective because they live and shop with each other, have Chinatowns, etc., is stereotypical nonsense. I don’t know where this nonsense got started, but wherever, it needs to go back because it is a lie.  All Asians are not doing well, many Asians have double-digit poverty levels (, “For Asian Americans, Wealth Stereotypes Don’t Fit Reality), according to census data, the most successful Asians Americans are Indian immigrants (Pew Research Center), not Chinese.
    In fact, the idea that Blacks move away from Black communities when they “move up” is also not true, middle-class  Blacks are more likely than most demographics to live among the Black poor (NY Times, 6/24/15. “Middle-class Black families, in Low Income Neighborhoods,” also The Wall-Street Journal, 8/2/11, “Affluent African Americans live in Poorer Neighborhoods.”)
    Rather than Blacks abandoning Black communities, it is the Asians like the Chinese who are abandoning Chinatowns as they immigrate to the U.S. with “lateral mobility,” i. e., having been well-off before coming to America (The Atlantic, 5/18/16. Suburbs: the new Chinatowns). The article states that highly skilled Chinese immigrants move to affluent white areas and not the traditional Chinatowns, because they want better schools, etc., that they feel more comfortable with equally educated whites than lower socioeconomically situated fellow Chinese in Chinatowns.  Speaking of “lateral mobility,” for example, in Arcadia, CA., mainland Chinese millionaires are buying, Gold Rush style, multimillion dollar homes for their children who’ve yet to come to the U.S., the homes will be ready for them when they get here. According to the Youtube video “The California Town Where Chinese Millionaires House Their Kids — and Mistresses,” and other sources, they’re buying these houses with “lateral’ wealth not only for their nuclear families’ children, but also for what’s known in some sectors of Black culture as “side pieces” children too. 
    In fact, Chinatowns are being faded out by well-off Chinese moving out, not locating there in the first place, and also by gentrification wherein Chinatowns are being taken over by affluent whites (New York Daily News, 10/3/13, “More white People Moving into Chinatown as Section Sees Real Estate Prices Rise:study.”)
    In conclusion, Blacks should stop comparing themselves to other groups, as well as stop the delusion that wealth under current structural conditions will insulate Blacks from racism. There is no historical evidence of that. In fact, if history is a guide — as it always should be– the opposite is true. Indeed, in addition to day-to-day racism experienced by Blacks of all socio-economic demographics, prosperous Black communities are the first ones attacked. In fact, it is the poor Blacks who’ve had to rescue the well-off Blacks from physical annihilation such as happened in the “1906 Atlanta Riots”  when the middle -class Black community known as “Dark Town” was attacked by white mobs (ESPN Journal of Black Respectability Politics,” Jon Jeter, Medium. com., 9/6/16).
    According to most economic data, Blacks have a range of 0.6% to a little over 2% of U.S. wealth, despite being from 13% – 14% or so of the population, which means Blacks are being deprived of 80% or more of their fair share of U.S. wealth. Simply exchanging that grossly under-representation of wealth from hand to hand will not bring parity. The 80%, or so, of wealth that Blacks are being cheated out of must be demanded if ALL Blacks are to have a quality standard of living, and not  just a few, who themselves are far, far, behind whites when it comes to possessing wealth.
    While it is understandable and normal for the human mind to “deny” and  “rationalize” — mostly unconsciously — the hard facts that are wished to be avoided; there is no way around having to face white supremacy and demand economic justice!

  22. wuhanarig55 says:

    hard to believe I got silver Lexus IS 350 Sedan only from working
    part time off a pc at home…
    why not check here………….

  23. zojado565 says:

    uptil I saw the paycheck for $7608 , I accept that…my… friend woz
    realey bringing home money SEE MORE…………..

  24. wiyadonimu says:

    our Grandmother Paige acquired a wonderful ointment Hyundai Sonata A mix of both 4 door by a number of part-time doing work on-line which has a mobile computer…

    discover more……….>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  25. jelig says:

    our Grandmother Paige acquired a wonderful ointment Hyundai Sonata A mix of both 4 door by a number of part-time doing work on-line which has a mobile computer…______________________________

  26. Trueletter son says:

    true but but but if you weren’t lucky enough to be born wealthy you still got to work hard to start building wealthy.

  27. Trueletter son says:

    yea but if you don’t have some money you will have very little value in this world.

  28. midupaw says:

    my Aunty Annabelle recently got a stunning silver Mercedes SLS AMG Convertible only from

    parttime off a computer… straight from the source………….

  29. Pingback: Cialis prices
  30. Pingback: Viagra uk
  31. Pingback: Cialis prices
  32. Pingback: Cialis 5mg prix
  33. Pingback: Viagra purchasing

Leave a Reply to The Heartache of Leaving a Legacy as an African American – Jack Dappa Blues Radio & TV Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Support Independent Black Media

Support Independent Black Media

Make a One Time Donation

Subscribe to our Exclusive Paid Newsletter