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Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth, and Social Policy in America 0th Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520216730
ISBN-10: 0520216733
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Many of the socioeconomic differences between blacks and whites in the U.S. have been attributed to differences in income. Several years ago, though, sociologists Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro suggested in their book Black Wealth/White Wealth that net financial assets can be used as a better indicator of the opportunities available to blacks and whites. Conley, an assistant professor of sociology and African American studies at Yale, goes way beyond this basic premise to argue that many of the inequities that exist between the two races are the result of gaping differences in accumulated family wealth. Moreover, he shows that when wealth is held constant, many differences diminish. Conley analyzes the reasons blacks own so much less property than whites. Without denying the impact of other factors, he suggests that his findings have major implications for social policies ranging from affirmative action to the privatization of social security. This book is based on Conley's dissertation, which was named best graduate thesis for 1996 by the American Sociological Association. David Rouse --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"Being Black, Living in the Red is an important book. In Conley's persuasive analysis the locus of current racial inequality resides in class and property relations, not in the labor market. This carefully written and meticulous book not only provides a compelling explanation of the black-white wealth differential, it also represents the best contribution to the race-class debate in the past two decades."—William Julius Wilson, author of When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor

"In Being Black, Living in the Red, Dalton Conley has taken the discussion of race and inequality into important new territory. Even as income inequality is shrinking, Conley shows, the wealth gap endures. That gap, he argues lucidly, explains much of the persisting 'two societies' phenomenon—it contributes significantly to inequalities in education, work, even family structure. Those concerned about equity in America will find this book indispensable reading."—David Kirp, author of Our Town: Race, Housing, and the Soul of America

"With methodological sophistication Dalton Conley's well written book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the precarious social and economic predicament that African Americans continue to experience."—Martin Sanchez-Jankowski, author of City Bound: Urban Life and Political Attitudes Among Chicano Youth

"Picking up where Oliver and Shapiro (Black Wealth, White Wealth) left off, Conley details how and why facets of net worth cascade into long-term inequalities. All sides will be impressed with Conley's thorough scholarship and richly detailed analysis."—Troy Duster, co-editor of Cultural Perspectives on Biological Knowledge

"Being Black, Living in the Red is the most convincing analysis yet of the importance of wealth for the life chances of African Americans. Thanks to Conley's stunning data and adroit theoretical discussions, social scientists and policymakers can no longer ignore wealth as they attempt to deal with the thorny issue of racial inequality. A must read!"—Melvin L. Oliver, author of Black Wealth, White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 217 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520216733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520216730
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,615,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is both meticulous and very clearly written. Every time I had, while reading Conley's analysis, a nagging question in the back of my head, he went on to address it in far more detail than had even occurred to me.
Perhaps because of this thoroughness, _Being Black, Living in the Red_ fundamentally altered the way I think about certain social policies, and about race and wealth in general. It also interested me in sociology of inequality, a field about which I had known nothing. The book is incredibly informative about a matter of great public importance, but I appreciated that Conley seemed wary of overstating his case. I truly felt I was getting an honest, and extremely skillful, evaluation of the evidence.
Under the circumstances, I'd be hard pressed to do anything but advise you to read this book at the first chance you get.
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By A Customer on July 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
What would the USA be like today if former slaves had were given the elusive "40 acres and a mule"? How are the black poor in America different from the white poor everywhere? Although I haven't yet read this book, I am familiar with the dissertation on which it was based. This book is a definate must read for anyone with an interest in poverty, ethnic studies or our modern power structure. Conley successfully anayzes the connection between poverty and property that will no doubt leave many readers with a fresh perspective on the hows and whys of many "underclass" issues. I am anxiously to read this updated version.
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By A Customer on June 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book expands the research base that identifies wealth as a key component of mobility, and an important factor that explains why blacks and whites have divergent outcomes. However, Conley may be overemphasizing the role of wealth, and forgeting that race is still a critical issues. In fact, his models show that wealth is only a small part of the story. A great deal of the unexplained variance in Conley's models may be attributed to discrimination in society. Although Conley mentions this briefly, more attention needs to focus on this aspect the issue. Nevertheless, the discussions of wealth are rich and well developed, making this an important addition to the literature.
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Format: Paperback
It finally answers the race/financial inequity question I have had my entire life, but couldn't quite put my finger on or articulate. Via non-academic prose and statistical analysis it touches a very sensitive and raw subject that has never been addressed in a way that seemed petinent to my life as this book does. This answers questions I have had my entire life.
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Format: Paperback
This is a compilation of hard data that answers the author of the "Bell Curve." Conley rephrases old arguments about wealth and race. In this book, he puts stereotypes of the African American to rest.
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Format: Paperback
I originally purchased this book when it came out about 7 years ago and just reread it again. It provides great insight into the inequality between races in this country. Highly recommended.
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