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How Taxes Keep American Wealth White (Rebroadcast)

This illustration shows a man counting US dollars in Caracas, Venezuela.
This illustration shows a man counting US dollars in Caracas, Venezuela.

Building wealth has never been easy, but the racial wealth gap has always been apparent.

As recently as 2016, the median wealth of a white household was $171,000 dollars. That’s eight times the median $20,600 of Hispanic households.

For Black households? Just $17,000, according to Pew Research Center. 

In her new book, “The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans—and How We Can Fix It,” tax lawyer Dorothy Brown argues that the tax code is partially to blame.

“The role tax policy plays in perpetuating the black-white wealth gap represents an ongoing failure to provide an equal opportunity to black Americans that neither the left nor the right truly understands. The conservatives are correct about one thing: The black-white wealth gap can be decreased if people make different decisions. But it is the decision-making by white Americans that is largely responsible for black outcomes today.”

So what needs to change? And what should people keep in mind as they try to build wealth for future generations?

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5

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