Master your Minecraft

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    What I'm Giving | December 5, 2014

    William Gibson: IMG William Gibson: What I'm Giving

    At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached... Continue »


This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.

Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality

The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Over the past three decades, racial prejudice in America has declined significantly and many African American families have seen a steady rise in employment and annual income. But alongside these encouraging signs, Thomas Shapiro argues in The Hidden Cost of Being African American, fundamental levels of racial inequality persist, particularly in the area of asset accumulation--inheritance, savings accounts, stocks, bonds, home equity, and other investments-. Shapiro reveals how the lack of these family assets along with continuing racial discrimination in crucial areas like homeownership dramatically impact the everyday lives of many black families, reversing gains earned in schools and on jobs, and perpetuating the cycle of poverty in which far too many find themselves trapped.

Shapiro uses a combination of in-depth interviews with almost 200 families from Los Angeles, Boston, and St. Louis, and national survey data with 10,000 families to show how racial inequality is transmitted across generations. We see how those families with private wealth are able to move up from generation to generation, relocating to safer communities with better schools and passing along the accompanying advantages to their children. At the same time those without significant wealth remain trapped in communities that don't allow them to move up, no matter how hard they work. Shapiro challenges white middle class families to consider how the privileges that wealth brings not only improve their own chances but also hold back people who don't have them. This "wealthfare" is a legacy of inequality that, if unchanged, will project social injustice far into the future.

Showing that over half of black families fall below the asset poverty line at the beginning of the new century, The Hidden Cost of Being African American will challenge all Americans to reconsider what must be done to end racial inequality.

About the Author

Thomas M. Shapiro is Pokross Chair of Law and Social Policy, Heller School of Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. Black Wealth/White Wealth, which he wrote in collaboration with Melvin Oliver, received wide spread acclaim and won several awards, including C. Wright Mills award, the American Sociological Association Distinguished Scholarly Award, and The Myers Center Award for Human Rights.

Table of Contents

Part I: Assets

1. The Color of the Safety Net

2. The Cost of Being Black and the Advantage of Being White

3. Inheritance--"That Parent Thing"

Part II: Making Racial Inequality

4. Middle Class in Black and White: How Level is the Playing Field?

5. The Homeownership Crossroad

Part III: Leveraging Assets

6. Where People "Choose" to Live

7. "Getting a Decent Middle Class American Education": Pursuing Advantage in Schools


Appendix I: Tables

Appendix II: Methodology




Product Details

How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality
Shapiro, Thomas M.
null, Thomas M.
Oxford University Press
New York
African American Studies
Sociology | Race
Sociology | Race and Ethnicity
Sociology | Race & Ethnicity
Series Volume:
no. 29
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
14 line illus.
9.58x6.08x.97 in. 1.10 lbs.

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » African American Studies » General

The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 256 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780195151473 Reviews:
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at