Why does racial inequality persist despite the decline in overt and covert racism? How do racial advantages get transmitted across generations? Which policies can help level the playing field and promote racial equality? This accessible and relevant book tackles these important questions, yielding new insights and perspectives to this debate.
Instead of standard accounts that emphasize racial discrimination, the book argues that racial inequality persists because of the “locked-in” nature of the white advantage. Once created, racial inequality can be self-reinforcing, with the possibility of continuing indefinitely, even in the absence of intentional discrimination. In other words, racial inequality is a “path-dependent” process in which history plays a critical role in explaining the divergent trajectories across groups. Specifically, the book argues that “racial inequality reproduces itself automatically from generation to generation, in the everyday choices that people make about their lives” (p. 4). This is a rather sobering conclusion in an era when a few pundits have daringly declared a “postracial” America.
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