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Cambridge Studies in Stratification Economics: Economics and Social Identity

The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy

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Why do black families own less than white families? Why does school segregation persist decades after Brown v. Board of Education? Why is it harder for black adults to vote than for white adults? Will addressing economic inequality solve racial and gender inequality as well? This book answers all of these questions and more by revealing the hidden rules of race that create barriers to inclusion today. While many Americans are familiar with the histories of slavery and Jim Crow, we often don't understand how the rules of those eras undergird today's economy, reproducing the same racial inequities 150 years after the end of slavery and 50 years after the banning of Jim Crow segregation laws. This book shows how the fight for racial equity has been one of progress and retrenchment, a constant push and pull for inclusion over exclusion. By understanding how our economic and racial rules work together, we can write better rules to finally address inequality in America.

232 pages, Hardcover

Published September 8, 2017

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Andrea Flynn

3 books3 followers

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Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews
Profile Image for Darren.
1,193 reviews49 followers
October 5, 2017
No society is truly equal but inequality should not be caused by one’s race, gender or another personal factor. This is a specialist book, looking at whether creating economic equality could solve racial and gender inequality.

It is written from a pro-U.S. perspective, which is no bad thing when the country allegedly is conscious about discrimination, despite the obvious inequalities that can be found. Poverty is not, of course, restricted to a certain demographic, just as sickness knows no boundaries, but there is a powerful argument that says inequality can disproportionate place people into an economically disadvantageous situation. It is sensitively written, rather than being a firebrand book, letting the stories and figures speak for themselves, noting that progress has been made on one hand with equality whilst it has been held back on the other. There is more to be addressed, but is it necessarily a simple action?

This is a book that demands your attention. It can be hard-going in places due to its authoritative, academic nature, but the subject also deserves a certain focus from the reader. Its coverage within the sphere of economics is broad, looking at underlying structures, wealth inequality, education and societal challenges, criminal justice and even the wider issues of democracy. A lot of the issues are described as ‘hidden rules of race’, and this sounds appropriate and in no way ‘tin foil hat’ territory. Consideration is also given to what could be changed and how this may be instigated. As you would expect in a book of this kind, there are extensive bibliographic resources to inspire further and deeper reading.

The authors do not pull their punches, rejecting some conventional viewpoints in the process to advocate their nuanced beliefs. It makes it an interesting book, even if you are not an economist nor directly affected by such inequalities and a worthwhile consideration to your reading pile nonetheless.
Profile Image for Jeremy.
249 reviews
November 4, 2021
If you want to better understand the plight of the minority here in the US this book is for you.
Profile Image for Tim Larsen.
61 reviews
November 22, 2021
I wash shocked to read that schools are more segregated today than have ever been since they were desegregated during the civil rights movement. And the economic divide between white and black has only been increasing since 1980.

This book was not an easy read, especially the first few chapters that are more on economics theory and more esoteric. Subsequent chapters discuss in more detail and specifics of why there is still disadvantage in America in 2021 for black people. This is really the important part of the book, touching on education, earning power, job opportunities, housing, healthcare, voting rights, and criminal justice and how they connect the dots from the atrocities of the past to the disadvantages of today. To anyone who says that race is no longer a disadvantage to anyone in 2021, they need to read this book.
Profile Image for Jane.
2 reviews1 follower
September 5, 2022
Eye-opening, even for an older person who has lived through the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
Much of this was familiar to me in general terms but it helped increase my understanding to read more of the details, e.g., how the G.I. Bill after WWII that was supposed to help all veterans ended up helping mostly white veterans because of the housing market practices and NIMBY fears.
What was new and particularly distressing to me was the section on the prison system and the huge numbers of incarcerated black men. Unconscionable.
The authors offer several steps we could take to change the current racial inequities, but by then I was so discouraged by, and despairing of, our country that it was hard for me to feel even the least bit optimistic. But perhaps the fact that we are at least talking about our failure as a people to act justly toward others is a sign of hope.
In any case, definitely a worthwhile read for all of us to help us see the enormity of the problems, admit our complicity in perpetuating them, and work together to seek solutions.
Profile Image for Kris Jarchow.
30 reviews
August 5, 2021
This is a good showcase of the hard ships happening today within minority groups. If you don't know much about this subject this is a good start. The downside is that the economic arguments are often self refuting meaning, a claim is made and often pages later another claim is made that refutes claim#1. Often the push-pull of the markets get under emphasized while the tone of "I guess minorities are just screwed" is hyperbolic at many points. I was trying to look at this from an econ perspective while thinking about next steps. This book provides neither accurate macro econ POV or solutions. Sadness is that anyone looking to rip these arguments to shreds have fodder but the plus side is that anyone oblivious will get a better understanding of the wholistic impact of society
Profile Image for Gregory.
156 reviews1 follower
January 1, 2021
This is the best book I have read so far on the subject of racism. It covers a lot of your economy, culture, etc. showing how much of it, by intention or not, is effects people of different races differently. It is all backed by data and studies and if there is a subject you would like to know more about it is well referenced.

The biggest weakest is that it starts out very abstract. And this is really because it is intended for an academic audience. If you just jump right into the meat chapters you won't miss much.
Profile Image for Reginald.
63 reviews6 followers
August 23, 2018
This book covers much of what I've personally learned, via reading AND was taught via Family of previous generations, AND because I'm a READER......who looked back in time via experience and clear warnings....Sadly, much of the information is the exact truth, still in today's society.....Personally, I'll be watching closely, as to what may be predicted to happen in 2019.....via other personal sources.

Why the 400 Years of African American History Act Is So Important....
Profile Image for Keri Holm.
15 reviews
February 7, 2021
I've done a lot of reading on this subject over the last year...this one brought the pieces together and unlike so many of the others, finishes off with some suggestions for how to begin to address some of the inequity. I would like to have seen more statistics and evidence of causality as opposed to the vast breadth of correlation statistics presented, but nonetheless, this was a really good read.
Profile Image for ronn.
24 reviews1 follower
February 12, 2020
A bit dry and academic-ish, but good overall. A 2nd, closer reading is in order and I have many stats and portions that would help in some of my research and policy insights.
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews

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