White college graduates have over seven times more wealth than black college graduates and nearly four times more wealth than Latino college graduates. White single parents have roughly two times more wealth than two-parent black and Latino households. Rather than education, family structure, or conspicuous consumption, scholars point to historic policies (e.g., Homestead Act, GI Bill, Social Security) that have excluded minorities from having similar wealth-building opportunities as white individuals. Furthermore, empirical evidence suggests that discrimination and structural racism are among contemporary drivers that prevent minority communities from obtaining equitable housing loans, adequate neighborhood resources (such as grocery stores and healthcare services), and access to jobs and education. A series of policy solutions including student loan forgiveness, universal basic income, federal job guarantee, baby bonds, and reparations have been presented as potential solutions.
On June 3, Governance Studies at Brookings cohosted an event with Contexts Magazine, featuring an expert panel that discussed the causes, consequences, and policy solutions to the racial wealth gap.
After the panel, speakers answered questions from the audience.