Thomas M. Shapiro, Tatjana Meschede, and Laura Sullivan of the Institute on Assets and Social Policy (affiliated with the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University) have released a new Research and Policy Brief, “The Racial Wealth Gap Increases Fourfold”. Shapiro et al. summarize their findings in the opening paragraph of the brief:
“New evidence reveals that the wealth gap between white and African American families has more than quadrupled over the course of a generation. Using economic data collected from the same set of families over 23 years (1984 2007), we find that the real wealth gains and losses of families over that time period demonstrate the stampede toward an escalating racial wealth gap.”
In their coverage of this, the BBC quote Shapiro as saying, “There continues to be a persistence of racial segregation.” Later, they quote him as saying, “I was shocked by how large the number was…. I’ve been in this research business, and looking at similar kinds of issues, for a long period of time, but even in my cynical and jaded moments I didn’t expect that outcome over one generation.”
I was going to offer some theological commentary, but I’m too pissed off by this news. This is about the only time I’ve wished I were a hellfire and brimstone preacher.