Dr. Sandy Darity Makes It Plain With The Science: Class Doesn’t Explain Black-White Wealth Gap

Dr. Sandy Darity Makes It Plain With The Science: Class Doesn’t Explain Black-White Wealth Gap


Photo of William Darity Jr. Photo by Justin Cook/Minneapolis Fed

Renowned reparations scholar and Duke University professor Dr. William “Sandy” Darity used statistics to prove his point on why people shouldn’t use class to explain the Black-white wealth gap.

“At some point those who persist in claiming that inequality in the US is primarily a matter of class need to address the following three data points,” Darity wrote in the opening tweet of a Twitter thread on Saturday, June 11.

The award-winning author then went on to detail the data points he was referencing.

“1. One quarter of white households have a net worth>$1 million. That’s true for only 4 percent of black households,” Darity continued in the thread. “2. Whites in the bottom 20% of the income distribution have a higher median net worth than all blacks and multiple times that of blacks in the bottom 20%.”

Darity concluded, “3. Whites in the working class have 2-3 times the median wealth of professional-managerial blacks. See especially Table 2 here.” In the last tweet, he also included a link to the study that was the source of some of the statistics.

In addition to the three aforementioned indicators of the racial wealth gap, the study explicitly stated race is a higher indicator of potential wealth attainment than class.

“It means that if you belong to a historically marginalized racial or ethnic group, your racial status is the stronger predictor of your economic position than your education, income, and in this case, employment status and position,” the study said.

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People on Twitter weighed in on Darity’s thread about the racial wealth gap. Many agreed heavily with him, but one user said her research showed the wealth gap was also due to non-racial issues.

“However class based issues are approached still leaves a very significant angle on how racial injustice impacts any sort of class analysis, and can’t be avoided in any meaningful solution,” @rasmansa responded.

“It is primarily a matter of class. It’s just that racist discrimination and relative privilege does a really good job at getting enough people on board to maintain the status quo,” @SaudiHaramco wrote. “As long as black and white people fight over privilege, nobody fights against exploitation.”

“Race and class are both huge for US inequality, and race is *essential* when discussing class in the US,” @sasshole tweeted.

“I helped my daughter write a econ paper 4 college on personal $ & certain non racial factors were apparent: 1.Home ownership was a huge factor (I’m a real estate broker & that surprised me) 2.Being Married. 3.Avoiding criminal conviction. 4.Graduating High Sch & some college,” @AuthorLRiddle chimed in.

“Racism explains why home ownership rates are different. Remember the housing bubble? Redlining? Wells Fargo “ghetto loans”?” @SarahGrynpas responded.

“Those “non-racial factors” bare an uncanny resemblance to the intended socioeconomic consequences of using race ideology to shape American public policy and social relations,” @ross_alam responded.