Confronting Racial Disparities in America, From Cradle to Grave: A Reading List

Wealth Gap and More

[A]s surely as the law has outlawed racial discrimination, it has affirmed that Black Americans can be without jobs, have their children in all black, poorly funded schools, have no opportunities for decent housing, and have very little political power, without any violation of antidiscrimination law. (Alan Freeman, “Legitimizing Racial Discrimination Through Antidiscrimination Law,” p. 1050)

Following 200 years of slavery, the Civil War, the abandonment of Reconstruction, and 100 years of both legal and de facto nationwide Jim Crow, it should be no wonder that in the 21st century, the average “White” child is born into a family with ten to twenty times the wealth of a “Black” peer…

1 “Systematic Inequality: How America’s Structural Racism Helped Create the Black-White Wealth Gap

2 “The Black-White Economic Divide Remains as Wide as in 1968

3  “Whites Have Huge Wealth Edge Over Blacks (but Don’t Know It)

4 “The racial wealth gap: How African-Americans have been shortchanged out of the materials to build wealth

…regardless of family structure or parents’ education…

5 “What We Get Wrong About Closing the Racial Wealth Gap


…is twice as likely to live through infancy…

6 “Differences in US infant mortality rates among black and white babies

…is 2.5 times as likely to live in a two-parent household…

7 “More than half of black children now live with a single parent

…(though will likely spend less time with his father than his Black peer does with his father)…

8 “Fathers’ Involvement With Their Children: United States, 2006–2010

…is much more likely to go to a well-funded, academically superior school…

9 “White Students Get More K-12 Funding Than Students of Color: Report

10 “Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education

…is more likely to be put into advanced coursework as opposed to remedial or special needs coursework, regardless of comparative ability…

11 “Special Education’s Hidden Racial Gap

…the White child is likely to live in de facto segregated neighborhoods, attend de facto segregated schools, and worship in de facto segregated churches…

12 “Segregation’s Legacy: Fifty years after the Fair Housing Act was signed, America is nearly as segregated as when President Lyndon Johnson signed the law

13 “Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation: Why well-off black families end up living in poorer areas than white families with similar or even lower incomes.”

14 “The Return of School Segregation in Eight Charts

15 “School Segregation Is Not a Myth: Skeptics claim that concerns over racially divided schools are false alarms—but they’re missing the full picture.

16 “A New Day for Multiracial Congregations

…is much more likely to make it to college without being incarcerated, even if he commits the same or similar crimes as his Black peer…

17 “Poor white kids are less likely to go to prison than rich black kids

18 “Comparing Black and White Drug Offenders: Implications for Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice and Reentry Policy and Programming

19 “Fact Check: African-Americans don’t use drugs at a higher level than whites but ‘wind up going to prison six times more.’

…is more likely to graduate from college…

20 “Graduation Rates and Race: On average, white and Asian students earn a college-level credential at a rate about 20 percentage points higher than Hispanic and black students do, a new report shows.

21 “US Public Colleges Fail to Serve Black Students, Study Finds

…is likely to have one third the student loan debt after graduation…

22 “Black-white disparity in student loan debt more than triples after graduation

…is much less likely to be shot and killed by a police officer…

23 “Police are still killing black people. Why isn’t it news anymore?

24 “US police kill up to 6 times more black people than white people

25 “What the data say about police brutality and racial bias — and which reforms might work

…is more likely to secure a job, even with precisely the same resume as his Black peer…

26 “Hiring Discrimination Against Black Americans Hasn’t Declined in 25 Years

27 “New Study Confirms Depressing Truth About Names And Racial Bias

…is likely to be paid more for the same work…

28 “Disappointing Facts about the Black-White Wage Gap

…is likely to accumulate 3 times the net worth of his Black peer…

29 “The racial wealth gap: How African-Americans have been shortchanged out of the materials to build wealth

30 “The Road to Zero Wealth: How the Racial Wealth Divide is Hollowing Out America’s Middle Class

…is likely to have significantly more wealth mobility, while his Black peer is more likely to spend what he has to care for his aging parents…

31 “Wealth Mobility and Volatility in Black and White

32 “Blacks Carry Load of Care for Their Elderly

…is much more likely to own a home…

33 “Report: No Progress for African Americans on Homeownership, Unemployment and Incarceration in 50 Years

…will likely have greater access to healthcare, and the care his black peer does receive is likely to be lower quality…

34 “2012 National Healthcare Disparities Report: Highlights From the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports

…and in the end, the White child is even likely to outlive his Black peer.

35 “This Chart Showing The Gap Between Black And White Life Expectancy Should Be A National Embarrassment

How did we get here?

For a crash course, see:

36 “What Does 1619 Have To Do With 2019? A Crash Course

Dig a little deeper:

37 “The Case for Reparations: Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.

38 From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century

39 Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Assess the disparities Biblically:

40 “Addendum: I Believe Systemic Racism Exists Because of Biblical Anthropology, Hamartiology, and Soteriology

Get specific:

41  Persistent Disparities

42 More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City

43 The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

44 The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

45 Black Wealth / White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality

46 The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth

47 Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present

When white terrorists bomb a black church and kill five black children, that is an act of individual racism, widely deplored by most segments of the society. But when in that same city—Birmingham, Alabama—five hundred black babies die each year because of the lack of proper food, shelter and medical facilities, and thousands more are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and discrimination in the black community, that is a function of institutional racism. When a black family moves into a home in a white neighborhood and is stoned, burned or routed out, they are victims of an overt act of individual racism which many people will condemn—at least in words. But it is institutional racism that keeps black people locked in dilapidated slum tenements, subject to the daily prey of exploitative slumlords, merchants, loan sharks and discriminatory real estate agents. (Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton, Black Power, pp. 3-4)

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