Rewrite the Racial Rules: Building an Inclusive American Economy

By Andrea Flynn, Dorian Warren, Felicia Wong, Susan Homberg

The Roosevelt Institute, 6/6/16


According to the executive summary of the report:

“This report argues that, in order to understand racial and economic inequality among black Americans, we must acknowledge the racial rules that undergird our economy and society. Those rules—laws, policies, institutions, regulations, and normative practices—are the driving force behind the patently unequal life chances and opportunities for too many individuals.

We focus here specifically on the historic and current inequities and injustices experienced by black Americans. For too long narratives about individual deficits, racial bias, and income differentials have been used to explain these disparities, and many experts and policymakers have mistakenly assumed that “colorblind” economic policies alone can sufficiently address these obstacles. But these explanations and the routine ideas for addressing them are either erroneous or overly simplistic.

At every level of education, black Americans are paid less than their white counterparts. At every level of income, black Americans have less in assets than their white counterparts. Compared to white Americans, black Americans have higher rates of unemployment, accrue less wealth, and have lower rates of homeownership. But just as critically, even middle-income black Americans have unequal access to the quality-of-life goods—education, health, and safety—that economic success is expected to guarantee. The reasons for this are a complex web of racial rules.”

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