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The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide Paperback – June 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book shows how class and race intersect and suggests that economic and racial inequality are so intertwined that only a double assault on both can bring justice to an unjust society." —Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States

"Regardless of their points of origin, all American families engaged in vigorous bootstrap tugging, but with widely divergent results. This important book debunks wealth creation mythology. Read it!" —Bill Fletcher Jr., president, TransAfrica Forum

"Never mind the income gap. Measuring and explaining the wealth gap gets to the foundation of the power differences that exist in the United States. This book is an important contribution to critical work on race and economics." —Julianne Malveaux, author of Wall Street, Main Street and the Side Street

"Urgently confronts how race and class are entwined in the United States. Guided by a compelling vision of greater equality, this fine book combines clarity with learning both to instruct and to imagine a better future." —Ira Katznelson, author of When Affirmative Action Was White

About the Author

Meizhu Lui is the director of the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. She was previously the executive director of United for a Fair Economy where where, with Bárbara Robles, Betsy Leondar-Wright, Rose Brewer, and Rebecca Adamson, she co-authored The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide (The New Press).

Bárbara Robles is an economist and a former member of the board of directors of United for a Fair Economy where, with Meizhu Lui, Betsy Leondar-Wright, Rose Brewer, and Rebecca Adamson, she co-authored The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide (The New Press).

Betsy Leondar-Wright is an economic justice activist, sociologist, and author. She is currently the project director and senior trainer at Class Action, a non-profit that raises consciousness about class and money. She was previously the communications director at United for a Fair Economy where, with Meizhu Lui, Bárbara Robles, Rose Brewer, and Rebecca Adamson, she co-authored The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide (The New Press).

Rose Brewer is a professor of African American and African studies at the University of Minnesota. She is a co-author (with Meizhu Lui, Bárbara Robles, Betsy Leondar-Wright, and Rebecca Adamson) of The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide (The New Press).

Rebecca Adamson is a co-author (with Meizhu Lui, Bárbara Robles, Betsy Leondar-Wright, and Rose Brewer) of The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide (The New Press). Color of Wealth was written when the authors were all affiliated with United for a Fair Economy, a national nonpartisan organization based in Boston that campaigns against growing income and wealth inequality and inspires action to reduce economic inequality.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press; Copyright 2006 edition (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595580042
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595580047
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
Eye-opening doesn't even begin to describe this enlightening volume about the socioeconomic divide among whites and non-whites in this country and the role the government plays in reinforcing the separation. Organized by five key members of the nonpartisan United for a Fair Economy organization based in Atlanta, the book handily dismantles the Horatio Alger myth, especially for minority members, by detailing how economic predation has persisted even as significant strides have been made in the far more discernible civil rights arena. The co-authors - Executive Director Meizhu Lui, Communications Director Betsy Leondar-Wright, current board member Bárbara Robles, past board member (until 2005) Rose Brewer, and Rebecca Adamson of the First Peoples Worldwide - have assembled not only a comprehensive history but also a fulsome, current picture of the economic discrimination that has festered pointedly against four different groups - African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos and Native Americans.

Not coincidentally, the five women come from five different ethnic groups (including white), which allow them to compare their individual experiences and provide personal validation (and sometimes challenges) of their findings. Perhaps the most compelling fact unearthed is the substantial divide in net worth between blacks and whites. Previously, focus has been mostly on income disparity, which while significant, has been almost passively accepted. Specifically, median household income for whites in 2003 was about $48K, while for black households it was about $30K. However, looking on the balance sheet, the co-authors uncovered the revelatory fact that whites had a median net worth of $121K in 2001 versus just $19K for blacks.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kelly O'Brien on July 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Heavily researched, but written in a very accessible way. You will learn volumes about wealth disparities and how they got that way, and you will learn something about yourself too. Highly recommended for anyone with interests in social and economic justice, racism, and just getting ahead in America.
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Third World on October 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is a solid piece of scholarship for the most part. The last quarter, however, dissipates into more reformism. It is interesting to see statistics on the wealth differential between Whites and other Ethnic Groups and the causal factors concomitantly, e.g. racism, Ethnocentricism, greed etc. The historical analysis as to what created the divide is thorough. That said, the prescription in the end makes one wonder if the scholars' really grasped the Historical antecedents that they presented to begin with. What occured in the past to create the disparity was not accidental. On the contrary. Whites today have the same mindset as their ancestors did in regards to wealth and securing it. How can they not? It's the same continuum. The society reinforces it. Just ask Tim Wise. Whites need only be on auto pilot to maintain this unjust system. The only solution is a complete social revolution, this - in the long run - will move people of color into equality while simultaneously changing the psyches' of Whites. Anything short of that can be consigned to phantasmic thinking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael McCoy on November 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
Required reading for college, but I got a lot out of it. Pretty disturbing stuff though, Lui really opens your eyes to the "American Nightmare" that haunts the "have-not class" (99%ers and minorities) while the rest of America's "having class"(white people and the 1%ers) has sweet American dreams. I know it sounds kind of corny but I'm trying to summarize here. I would recommend it to anybody who thinks this is the land of equal opportunity. mM
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karen M Shepler on June 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are interested in racism in all its forms, this is a great book to read. It deals with the economic divide between the races, its causes and suggestions for the rich to deal with the issue. Everyone could benefit from reading this book, particularly those who work with the poor. A good companion to Bridges Out of Poverty by Ruby Payne, it would be a great study book for book clubs, churches and organizations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By diamond on February 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The information you will find in this book, you will not find in history books used in our public schools. It reveals the truth of the systemic injustices of the United States. I have always known theoretically these truths, but this book communicates them very pratically and is articulated in language that is easy to read, grasp, and follow. It is a must read!
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