- Paperback: 217 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press (June 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520216733
- ISBN-13: 978-0520216730
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,109,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth, and Social Policy in America 0th Edition
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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
"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' phenomenonit 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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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.
However, the author's execution of his project, while informative and well written, is given to over-interpretation and, in some instances, it seems fair to say, misinterpretation. In truth, while race and class are not statistically coterminous, the role of personal wealth in the status attainment process is weak to non-existent. In summing up his ambitious analysis, however, the author loses sight of this and makes unsubstantiated claims for the efficacy of personal wealth.
Nevertheless, this remains a good read. I suppose my disappointment stems largely from the fact that personal wealth was not a more effective addition to the usual socioeconomic composite. I thought the author was really on to something, but not in this analysis. Still, this is an engagingly ambitious book that any student of social stratification would benefit from reading.
It is worth noting that the author, who is white, grew up in a predominately black area. This, I'm sure, helps to explain his sensitivity to issues involving racial minorities, since that for all practical purposes he once was one. Furthermore, when I read what I have written above, I realize that I did not give the author enough credit for the conceptual effort he put into this research, whatever the results. This is, indeed, a good book written by someone capable of thinking originally and executing quality research. He does, moreover, demonstrate decisively that race effects cannot be reduced to class effects, a finding or real interest.