Federal Wealth Policies in Support of Jim Crow

Abstract

Recognizing the specific ways that systemic racism has and continues to function in our society is essential to developing a political economy that effectively examines contemporary problems and issues, whatever they may be. To do so, this paper identifies key elements of an anti-racist perspective and uses them to illuminate critical aspects of our racial wealth gap. Given the nature of wealth – its inherent durability and transferability across generations – this paper demonstrates how the current racial wealth gap is the result of past wealth policies that privileged whites. Further, it demonstrates how our current wealth policies are not simply encouraging the concentration of wealth among the 1 percent, but also recreating a system of racial segmentation. In a time in which overtly racialized policies and laws are often illegal, our wealth policies now function as a modern version of past Jim Crow laws and norms. This paper relies on the Survey of Consumer Finances and Joint Committee on Taxation data to document its claims.

Keywords

systemic racism, racial wealth gap, wealth privledge, intergenerational wealth transfers

How to Cite

Williams R. B., (2017) “Federal Wealth Policies in Support of Jim Crow”, American Review of Political Economy 11(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.38024/arpe.140

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Robert B. Williams (Guilford College)

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