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The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by [Mehrsa Baradaran]
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The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 154 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Combining a rich historical sweep with in-depth analysis of the mechanics of banking, Baradaran unpacks the brutal dilemma facing black banks―how to create black wealth in the context of a segregated and unequal ‘Jim Crow’ economy. Baradaran’s brilliant and devastating analysis leads to an irrefutable conclusion: the racial wealth gap is the product of state law and public policy, and will only be reversed when the same governmental tools that created segregation and discrimination are deployed to end it. (Beryl Satter, author of Family Properties: How the Struggle over Race and Real Estate Transformed Chicago and Urban America)

Observers as different in time and ideology as Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, and Ronald Reagan have argued that black banks represent perhaps the best hope for securing a just society. As Baradaran powerfully maintains, however, any effort to restrict responsibility to banks alone or black people alone will always be doomed to failure. A swift, beautiful, and chastening book, The Color of Money reminds us, yet again, that black poverty is not really an economic problem, but rather a political problem requiring political solutions. (N. D. B. Connolly, author of A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida)

Baradaran provides a pivotal understanding of how our racialized history structured the disparity between the black and white share of the nation’s wealth and how it continues to inhibit the development of black capital and black banks. Her book puts to rest, once and for all, the trope that self-help, buying black, and black banking are the panacea to black prosperity. (Darrick Hamilton, The New School for Social Research)

In this important book, law professor Mehrsa Baradaran uses the history of black banking from emancipation to the present as a vehicle for exploring the origins and persistence of the racial wealth gap in America. This is more than a history of financial institutions, though. It is a probing, revelatory study of racism and capitalism in the making of modern America, one that reveals how segregation, racial prejudice, and black economic disadvantage became mutually reinforcing. (Andrew W. Kahrl, University of Virginia)

Baradaran…provides a deep accounting of how America got to a point where a median white family has 13 times more wealth than the median black family. (Gillian B. White The Atlantic 2017-09-01)

Baradaran’s point is to show how white and Black Americans effectively live in two separate economies…As a work of history, the book contains a disturbingly coherent narrative of racist plunder spanning from the Freedman’s Bureau bank to today’s payday lenders…Baradaran’s book is a must read for anyone interested in closing America’s racial wealth gap. (Guy Emerson Mount Black Perspectives 2017-12-05)

About the Author

Mehrsa Baradaran is the author of The Color of Money and How the Other Half Banks and a celebrated authority on banking law. She is Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Robert Cotten Alston Associate Chair in Corporate Law at the University of Georgia School of Law and has advised a number of politicians on postal banking, including Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren. The Color of Money was a finalist for the Georgia Author of the Year Award. --This text refers to the paperback edition.

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