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

by admin | December 9, 2016 1:36 pm

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[1], 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):

ON HOW WEALTH WORKS

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

ON THE LACK OF BLACK WEALTH

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

ON EDUCATION

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

ON THE NEED FOR GOVERNMENT HELP

“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 wealth..to create a situation where black folk do have a similar set of opportunities to white folk.”

ON BLACK CELEBRITY

“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…”

ON THE NEED FOR CAPITAL

“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.”

Endnotes:
  1.  The Color of Wealth in Los Angeles: http://inequality.org/color-wealth-city-angels/

Source URL: http://breakingbrown.com/2016/12/hard-work-education-arent-enough-close-wealth-gap-says-duke-professor/