Sep 9, 2021, 11:00 AM, Posted by Najaf Ahmad
To dismantle structural racism, says a renowned economist, our nation needs a new narrative—and systems and policies that advance racial and economic justice.
Darrick Hamilton, the Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy at The New School, has gained national recognition for shaping policy solutions to close the racial wealth gap, which refers to how hundreds of years of structural racism have deprived Black families of resources that accumulate and transfer from one generation to the next. The typical White family has 10 times the wealth of the typical Black family and seven times the wealth of the typical Latinx family. This stark and persistent racial wealth gap has harmed generations, driven disparities and appears to be growing, even after controlling for household characteristics and long-term education and income gains by Black people.
Hamilton’s early experiences provided an ethical orientation toward justice that shaped his career as an economist. Growing up in Bedford-Stuyvesant while attending the Quaker-run Brooklyn Friends School exposed him to two worlds in which fundamentally similar people experienced markedly different life trajectories—primarily due to one group benefitting from greater resources than the other.
In this Q&A, he shares powerful insights on the impact of the racial wealth gap, strategies to address it, and reflections on how events of the past year are shifting narratives and providing hope for change.