Race and Taxes

If Joe Biden is serious about tackling the racial wealth gap, Emory law professor Dorothy Brown says he should start with the tax code.

Photo illustration: The Intercept/Getty Images


As part of his “Build Back Better” plan, President Joe Biden has promised to “advance racial equity across the American economy.” In her new book, “The Whiteness of Wealth,” Emory University law professor Dorothy Brown argues that meaningfully addressing the racial wealth gap will require wide-ranging reform of the U.S. tax code. Ryan Grim talks to Brown about what her research shows.

[Intro music.]

Ryan Grim: On today’s episode of Deconstructed, we’re going to be talking with Dorothy Brown, author of the new book “The Whiteness of Wealth,” on the history of race, inequality, and the tax code. The fight over the tax code is one of the main sticking points in the negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over the infrastructure package.

Before the Senate gets to a deal, though, the question of the filibuster is coming to a head.

In 10 years, if Democrats are permanently locked out of congressional power, with elections only held to determine the size of the Republican majority, historians will be able to look back at June 2021 as the month they let it slip away. Or, if they’ve averted that fate, this month could be why.

At a press conference earlier this week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer laid out the month’s agenda. While he cited a number of specific priorities, it’s not hard to read between the lines and see that it’s the filibuster that is truly on the calendar.

Sen. Chuck Schumer: We have seen the limits of bipartisanship and the resurgence of Republican obstructionism.

RG: He cited obstruction of a tech funding bill that had bipartisan support yet ran into McConnell’s buzzsaw. He mentioned the January 6 commission, filibustered by Republicans.

CS: Senate Republicans, at the personal request of Leader McConnell, continue their brazen attempts to whitewash the events of January 6, by filibustering the House-passed, bipartisan January 6 Commission.

RG: Schumer then made the obligatory homage to bipartisanship, setting himself up as the one willing to work in good faith, while Republicans do nothing but obstruct.

CS: Senate Democrats are doing everything we can to move bipartisan legislation where the opportunity exists. But we will not wait for months and months to pass meaningful legislation that delivers real results for the American people. So, looking ahead, when the Senate reconvenes on June 7, we’ll force a vote on H.R. 7.

RG: H.R. 7 is the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Republicans had blocked during Obama’s second term. Schumer also plans to have a vote on the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the D.C. Court of Appeals. Gun safety and LGBTQ equality legislation would also likely be on the schedule. In other words, lots of things Republicans will filibuster.

CS: And, finally, in the last week of the June work period, the week of June 21, the Senate will vote on S.1, the For the People Act, legislation vital to defending our democracy.

RG: The For the People Act, as we talked about in our episode back in February, would ban gerrymandering and override the voter suppression laws that Republicans are pushing at the state level. And experts say it needs to pass now to go into effect before the midterms. They can’t wait any longer.

CS: So, as the president continues to discuss infrastructure legislation with Senate Republicans, our committees are going to hold hearings and continue their work on Build Back Better with or without the support of Republican centers […] The American people gave us a Democratic Senate to produce big and bold change on the major issues confronting us. And that is what we are doing.

RG: Joe Biden zeroed in on June in a speech Tuesday evening in Tulsa.

President Joseph R. Biden: June should be a month of action on Capitol Hill. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed the For the People Act to protect our democracy. The Senate will take up later this month, and I’m going to fight like heck with every tool at my disposal for its passage. The House is also working on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which is critical to providing new legal pulls [applause] to combat the new assault on the right to vote. But it’s going to take a hell of a lot of work.

RG: Of course, the plan Biden’s laying out there is easier said than done. But this has been the strategy Sen. Schumer has telegraphed from the beginning: Get what he can get through reconciliation, then start ramming popular items against the wall of the filibuster in the hopes that Sen. Manchin will join in knocking it over.

Ending the filibuster was always going to be a multi-stage process. Adam Jentleson, author of the book “Kill Switch,” on the history of the filibuster, joined us back in February, and talked about it unfolding in multiple acts.

Adam Jentleson: By late spring, early summer, you’re going to have a pile of must-pass legislation that’s not going anywhere. And senators are going to face a choice between reforming the rules, and giving up, essentially, on the Biden administration a few months in.

RG: Act I was getting filibuster reform on the agenda and getting most of the Democratic Caucus TL behind it. That happened early on, with even Joe Manchin agreeing that the silent filibuster needed to end, and perhaps should be replaced by a talking filibuster. He backtracked under pressure — but that’s all part of Act I.

Act II is demonstrating to the public and to people like Manchin that the possibility of bipartisan cooperation with Republicans has left the building. That’s what June is about.

And Joe Biden specifically called out Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema for blocking his agenda.

JB: I hear all of the folks on TV saying “Why doesn’t Biden get this done?” Well, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House, and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.

RG: The contrast with Obama couldn’t be sharper. In 2009, when progressive groups pressured Blue Dog Democrats to back Obama’s agenda, Rahm Emanuel ordered them to stop, called them “effing r-words,” and went after their funding.

Now Biden is going after wavering Democrats himself.

[Musical interlude.]

RG: Congress returns from recess next week and the fight will begin on the Senate floor. The talks over infrastructure and the tax code will continue in the background. And one book some Democrats in Congress have been reading is the one by Dorothy Brown.

She’s the Asa Griggs Candler professor of law at Emory University and the author of “The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans—and How We Can Fix It.”

Dorothy Brown joins us now. Dorothy, welcome to Deconstructed.

Dorothy Brown: Thanks so much for having me.

RG: No, thank you for being here. The book is fascinating, thought-provoking, and, I think among a lot of people, anger-inducing, too. They have a hard time processing what they’re reading, or what they’re hearing about this book.

I’m curious, what has been the reaction so far from people that you’ve spoken to about this? And you’ve been doing this research for a long time. And I’m also curious: Do you get a different reaction from Black audiences —

DB: Yes.

RG: — relative to white audiences?

DB: Hands down yes. [Laughs.] Hands down yes.

RG: How so? Start with the white reaction: What’s, typically, the white audience response?

DB: So first, I’ll say I’ve been doing this research for 25 years, and it’s only within the last several months that white reporters have been interested in talking to me about race and tax. So, let’s start there.

It was after the summer of 2020, when people saw the George Floyd murder and started thinking, “I wonder what else I’m not seeing.” That’s when the calls started coming. So I would try to pitch race and tax stories to white reporters [laughs], and they were having none of it.

RG: Right. And when you talk about white reporters, and you talk about, particularly the tax press, I mean, you’re basically talking about the entire tax press corps, right?

DB: Yes. All of them. [Laughs.] All of them, right?

With very limited exceptions. So Jillian White at The Atlantic would call me up and get quotes. She’s an African-American woman. So there were rare exceptions, Erin Haynes, at the time was at the AP, she would call me up and get quotes. So Black reporters found me but the mainstream tax reporters, which are typically white and male, would never respond to pitches or anything that I was talking about.

RG: And I don’t want to throw it onto too much of a tangent. But it’s really interesting that you bring that up.

DB: Yeah.

RG: Because the tax press corps, in general, has made the argument that yes, diversity is a good thing. All industries ought to be diverse — we ought to be diverse — that’s a nice thing in and of itself, but it’s actually not necessary for the quality of the work that we’re producing as a kind of tax-focused press corps, because these are just numbers, we’re just crunching the numbers and we’re telling you what the answers are, we’re just telling you basic, black and white facts, so it doesn’t really matter who’s writing them.

What you just said, and your book itself kind of exposed, is that is not quite true.

DB: That’s right. It’s definitely not true. And the notion that taxes are neutral and objective is something I’ve been fighting in the academy as well as in the press corps.

So if you don’t have a lived experience of dealing with systemic racism, you don’t know what you don’t know. So most of the tax reporters don’t know what they don’t know and were often hostile when they heard it. Sometimes the reaction is, “Oh, no, Dorothy. It’s not race, it’s class.” And what I’ve had to do is explain to them that this impacts Black Americans at all income levels, proving it isn’t class, but race.

RG: Right. And so that’s often the main response you get from white audiences.

DB: Yes. Yes.

RG: So what about Black audiences?

DB: Black audiences are always like, “Tell me more. Tell me more. Tell me more.” I would get: “Oh my gosh, I knew something was wrong. I didn’t know what.”

So there’s an embracing that I would get when I would speak to Black audiences. But I would also say, when I spoke to lay audiences, non-academic audiences, regardless of race, I got profound support. To the point of, somebody once said, “You should run for office,” and I’m like, “Stop it.”

RG: Right. [Laughs.]

DB: So the public was hungry for it. And it’s what led me to think I could do a trade publication and I didn’t have to do an academic press. So when I spoke to the public, they were hungry for more and it transcended race.

RG: Right. And I think there will probably be a lot of people listening to this, who their first reaction will have been the same thing? “No, it’s probably more class than race.”

And I think one thing that might help it click for people is the homeownership component that you write about.

DB: Yes.

RG: That schools, for instance, are funded by property taxes. But the size of property taxes, of course, depends on home values. But, in turn, home values, even today, depend on, to a significant degree, the size of the Black population in a neighborhood. You write about how once a neighborhood gets beyond a 10 percent Black population, home values either start going down or start rising at a significantly lower rate — which means that, as a direct result of racism, these neighborhoods are going to have worse schools, they’re going to have worse services, and people in them are going to be able to grow wealth much slower than in a different neighborhood.

DB: Yes. Absolutely.

RG: Did I get that right? And if so, what can be done about that?

DB: So it’s even worse than you describe when we talk about property taxes and schools, that what we see is in the white neighborhoods, they’re able to raise significant revenue with low tax rates, because the base is so wide, it’s so large, it’s just so valuable. In Black and Latino communities, what we see is the base is really narrow, but the tax rates are very high; parents are willing to tax themselves a lot to provide better schools, but because the valuation is so low, it’s underfunded.

So the easy solution is to stop funding schools based on property taxes. It’s either the state does a statewide valuation, right? And the state pays for it, not based on the zip code you live in, but a determination of this is the kind of education we want all of our students to get, and we will make sure to pay for it.

RG: Right.

DB: Right? That’s the easy fix. And that’s the one that’s politically impossible. [Laughs.]

RG: Right. [Laughs.] Right.

Although, as you write about, bizarrely, Trump actually moved us closer to that.

DB: Yes! Yes.

RG: Could you explain to people who might be confused about how that could be possible?

DB: [Laughs.] What is Professor Brown saying that’s pro-Trump? What she’s saying is, so what the Trump tax cuts did, was significantly expand the standard deduction, which means you don’t have to itemize, you can deduct a lot from your taxes. Because for decades, the standard deduction amount only changed nominally. So what the Trump tax cuts did was increase them dramatically.

Previously, one-third of taxpayers itemized. Now, about 10 percent itemize — meaning 90 percent of us don’t care what deductions exist. So now might be an opportune time to get rid of itemized deductions.

RG: Right. And so the Trump administration kind of pushing forward what is a racial justice goal, in a way —

DB: Nah. Nah.

RG: I think really goes to — well —

DB: Nah. [Laughs.]

RG: It goes to this question that you say you hear so much from white people, which is: Well, what was the intent? Is there a racist intent to the tax code? I want to unpack that question for a moment first, and I want to get your reaction to it.

To me, it’s kind of fascinating and also revealing that it’s so often the first thing that you hear.

DB: Yes.

RG: Because it reveals what so many white people are truly concerned about. Their biggest fear, their biggest concern is being called racist. And part of that means you seek out and you condemn instances of explicit racism wherever you can find them.

DB: Right.

RG: But when you step back from it, the biggest concern people should have from your research is what it found.

DB: Right.

RG: In other words, millions of real people are being disadvantaged by the tax code, and the first priority ought to be figuring out exactly how it’s happening. The second priority should be figuring out how to stop it from happening. Once you’ve done that, then, OK, you can go back and begin the hunt for the racist lawmakers who wrote the tax code. But that’s kind of beside the point, in a way.

DB: Yes.

RG: How do you respond to that question, when people immediately go to: Well, was the goal of the tax code to be racist?

DB: Yeah. Great question. I get it all the time. And I start by saying, “Yes, I get this question a lot.”

And I don’t make a judgement as to whether or not the legislators were racist, because it’s really irrelevant to the impact. I don’t hurt any less if someone was well-intentioned, but still created a tax system that discriminates against me. It feels the same whether you target me because I’m Black, or it’s just: stuff happens because I’m Black. I’m still Black, and I’m still harmed. And that’s what I want to talk about.

So I think the first few times — remember, I’ve been doing this for 27 years — the first few times I think I engaged and I learned: No, no, no, no, if you start talking about intent, you will never get to the problem. Because it’s this layer, upon layer, upon layer, where we’re talking about white people’s intentions, and not the harm being perpetrated on Black Americans.

RG: Right. It’s almost as if you can go back and show that the intentions were benign, then you don’t have to look anymore at the malign result: We didn’t mean for it to unfold this way, it’s unfortunate that it did, now let’s just move on.

But my take on it, as somebody who’s been looking at this for more than 20 years, is more along the lines of this: If you take as a given that racism is kind of a central thing in the United States, then policies that advantage white people relative to Black people will be easier to pass, in the aggregate, over the long run. Policies that advantage Black people over white people will be much harder to pass.

DB: Mhmm. Harder. Yes.

RG: And that doesn’t mean that people are sitting around and writing the laws for those purposes. But it means in the aggregate, you’re going to elect politicians who are eventually going to enact, overtime, laws that advantage white people, because there are more white people, and particularly when it comes to white wealthy donors, there are many, many, many more of those. And so the system just ends up producing that result, whether you want to say it was designed specifically by racist people or not.

DB: Yeah! Once I started delving into these policies — so, for example, the tax treatment on home sales, dates back to 1951. In 1951, it was the first time the majority of white Americans became homeowners, and suddenly we get this bill that gives them a tax break when they sell their homes. But in 1951, you had the federal government with policies discriminating against Black homeowners. It’s happening at the same time. So it’s hard for me to think those were coincidental.

In 1951, Black people didn’t have equal rights. We didn’t even have Brown v. Board of Education. So the thought that some white lawmakers would think Black Americans were second-class citizens and therefore have that mindset when they created the law, isn’t that much of a stretch.

See, most people don’t realize our 2021 tax laws date back decades. It’s not recent. It’s 1913, 1948 when we had the joint return, 1951 when we had the first exception for home sale. So once you pull the history thread, you start to go: Wait a minute! They may not have said anything, but we know what they were thinking; we know who they were creating the benefits for from a race perspective.

RG: A similar thing kind of flows out of the marriage penalty question.

DB: Yes.

RG: At the time that it was enacted, as you write, very few Black taxpayers even existed, very few white taxpayers existed. The income tax was for the very top. And I want to get you to tell the story of how it comes about. But you wind up, effectively, with some lower-income families who have roughly the same earnings, paying a penalty to get married. And so that may not have been designed to target Black Americans; it may have been. But if it disproportionately impacted white ones, you can imagine that we would have fixed it by now.

DB: Yes. Speaking of the Trump tax cuts! [Laughs.]

RG: Right. Right. So how did this marriage penalty come about, which is a case of class and race? So poor and lower-middle-class people of all races pay this penalty. How did we wind up in this situation?

DB: So it started with the joint return. The minute we made our tax bill dependent upon whether we were married or single, and that it would change depending upon whether we were married or single, we set in motion a chain of events that ultimately became the marriage penalty.

So we have this couple, the Seaborns, Charlotte and Henry Seaborne who go all the way to the Supreme Court, so they can get their marriage bonus; so they can get a tax cut. And we have Congress ultimately making that the law for everybody: If you’re married, and you have a single wage earner, and the other spouse is a stay-at-home spouse, you get a tax cut. That’s what we got in 1948. There were no marriage penalties, but there were marriage bonuses.

And even in 1948, you could have predicted this would impact white Americans more than Black Americans, because white women in 1948, were rarely working outside of the home. Black women, on the other hand, have always worked outside of the home, including Black wives. So back in 1948, this marriage bonus was disproportionately benefiting white couples, not Black couples.

So it’s one thing to not get a tax cut. That’s bad. It’s another thing that when you get married, you pay higher taxes. And that’s what happened as a result of the 1969 Tax Reform Act. Well, who complained about Henry and Charlotte getting a tax return? Single Henrys. Single men with the same income as Henry paid higher taxes because they didn’t have a wife. So they went to Congress, and they complained, and Congress fixed it by minimizing — but not eliminating — the marriage bonus, but for the first time ever created a marriage penalty. So for the single Henrys to not pay so much in taxes, couples, like my parents, wound up paying more. Why? Because their incomes were roughly equal.

And what I showed in my research is whether it’s low-income, middle-income or high-income, Black Americans are more likely to have equal co-earners as spouses. But not white Americans! White Americans, I saw, were more likely to have equal earners in the middle class category. But in the high income? Oh, no, they were single wage-earner couples. So the richest white Americans were getting a tax cut.

RG: You also talk about college a lot — a lot of different aspects of college. But let’s talk about the student debt piece of it. You write, which might surprise people who might think that this is only a class issue, that even wealthy Black students wind up with higher student debt than wealthy white students. What’s that a function of?

DB: What’s going on, Ryan? [Laughs.]

RG: Right! [Laughs.] What’s going on here?

DB: And what’s going on is wealthy Black Americans have their wealth differently than wealthy white Americans. Wealthy white Americans have more of their wealth in the stock market, less of it in their homes; wealthy Black Americans have a lot of their wealth in their homes — wait for it — with much less equity, because they live in racially diverse or all-Black neighborhoods. So their wealth is not liquid, and cannot be used as easily to benefit their children. So even Black students or Black children of wealthy Black Americans wind up in higher-debt situations than their white peers whose wealth protects them from college debt.

RG: And I’m curious if there’s data on something that I’ve observed personally in my own kind of social circle. I grew up pretty poor. But I now live in a very nice neighborhood.

DB: Yes.

RG: And I’m surrounded by people who are doing quite well. And one thing I’ve learned that I didn’t realize before is that it’s not just the parents that help these people out, but it’s the grandparents, too.

DB: Yes. Yes, yes, and yes.

RG: I always knew like, “Oh, nice to have rich parents who can pick up this or that,” but it turns out like a lot of people who I know whose kids are going to private school, like how do you swing $30,000 a year? Oh, their grandparents pay for it.

DB: Absolutely.

RG: Is there data on that?

DB: Yes.

RG: And that goes back to the legacy of racism.

DB: Yes.

RG: Because even if the parents of a Black child are wealthy, the chance that their parents are also rich is vanishingly small.

DB: Yes, absolutely.

So there’s research on what’s referred to as family financial transfers. And what you find are Black college graduates are more likely to send money home to their parents and grandparents, then white college graduates, who are more likely to get money from their parents and grandparents. And there’s research that shows that even Black college graduates who get good-paying jobs are not the same as their white peers: they start off with higher debt, they don’t have grandma and grandpa to give them a down payment for a home, they don’t have that family wealth to pay for their kids to go to private school. So Black college graduates, if they’re lucky enough to get a good-paying job, they’re sending money home, they’re taking care of siblings who might be about to be evicted. They’re doing all kinds of things with their money — let me just point out — that is not tax deductible. But those gifts that their white peers are getting? Tax-free.

RG: Right. It reminds me of that famous study of the monopoly players — I’m sure you’ve seen this one — where halfway through the game, one of the players just gets given an extraordinary amount of money, and then the game keeps going. And they notice behavioral changes in the person that has all the money and is winning. And, at the end of the game, they will tell the people running the study why they won the game, and the reasons will all be about their ingenuity and there —

DB: Oh yes! Merit! Meritocracy, my friend! Merit! I just played it better. [Laughs.]

RG: And you see that unfold among people who have a good job, they have a good paycheck, and they’re using that paycheck to pay their mortgage. And so, I got this good job, I’m paying my mortgage, this is a meritocracy. And they just don’t worry about the fact, like you said, that their parents are the ones that put down the $200,000 cash for their down payment.

DB: Yes. And they may not have a mortgage, because that may be grandma’s house. And when grandma died, grandma left it to them. [Laughs.]

RG: Right. Right. Right.

So now that Trump and Paul Ryan rewrote this tax code, Democrats are likely to take another look at it —

DB: I hope so.

RG: — through reconciliation, this term or next. So what would you advise them to do to solve some of these racial inequities in the tax code? If you could do five things.

DB: Oooo. OK. Let’s go.

One: Individual filing. No more joint returns.

RG: What would that mean for people who are currently doing a joint return?

DB: It would mean whenever we went to individual filing, a stay-at-home spouse wouldn’t file a tax return because they don’t have any income, but a working spouse would file an individual tax return. So it would basically mean, like we did in 1913, every taxpayer would be responsible for their own taxes. There’s no joint filing anymore. And I would be taxed on my income and my deductions.

RG: Now, could you do this and keep the typical Democratic promise that they won’t raise taxes on anybody making more than either $250,000 or $400,000, depending on who the politician is.

DB: So your first question was, how would you recommend Democrats deal with the racial disparities in the tax code.

RG: Mhmm.

DB: [Laughs.] And I started with one. And then you switched up on me, and said, “Yeah, but would you let them —?” And I’m like, I’m not going to talk about that. The reason I’m not going to talk about it — and, of course, I’ll talk to you about it, Ryan — but the reason I don’t want to talk about it is I want to talk about what tax changes would need to be made to eliminate some of the racial disparities in the code.

And what I would say to the Biden administration is if you really care about that racial equity executive order you signed, then you need to take this seriously. And if I give you suggestions, you can’t say: But I can’t raise taxes on blah, blah, blah. Well, figure out a way to do it! That would be my response.

RG: Mhmm.

DB: So I would say Canada has had individual filing for 100 years. We could do it.

RG: Right. OK. So number one: No more joint return. Number two?

DB: Number two: No subsidies for homeownership. Gone! Bye-bye. No tax-free gain, no mortgage-interest deduction. Gone. The homeownership market is racist and the government needs to be out of it.

RG: Yep.

DB: Number three: Tax not-for-profit, billion-dollar colleges and universities. Tax their endowments much more than the excise tax does to increase Pell Grant funding.

Number four: Require employers to publish race-based statistics on their workforce in exchange for a deduction for reasonable salaries.

And five: Include wealth-building gifts and inheritances into taxable income.

RG: So back on number three, with colleges.

DB: Yes.

RG: What type of tax on endowments would you need to fully fund, say, free public college across the country?

DB: That’s a question I can’t answer because I haven’t done the math. But I will tell you there is a lot of money to be raised from taxing billion-dollar endowments.

And I will say this: I think in my book, I say any institution with $750 million or higher in an endowment should be taxed. And we could have it progressive, we could have a sliding scale, such that Harvard and Stanford pay higher as billion-dollar endowed schools. But there’s plenty of money there to increase Pell Grants.

And why did I pick Pell Grants? Because Pell Grants disproportionately benefit bBack Americans. So I was very intentional. One, I’m raising it on wealthy white institutions, and I’m using it to pay for Black college students.

RG: One of the things you hear about the wealth gap a lot in conversations, is the role that billionaires play in driving the Black-white wealth gap. What can be said accurately about that data? You see sweeping claims that say: Well, if you just eliminated billionaires, you’d eliminate a huge portion of the Black-white wealth gap. How sweeping a claim can people legitimately make there?

DB: I think there are two different things. There is a point of view that says we shouldn’t have billionaires, and therefore we should tax them away. And there’s also the claim that says billionaires are putting their thumb on the scale with their philanthropy of engaging in behavior that may be harmful to society. And then there are those that talk about the wealth tax, right? We should have a wealth tax for billionaires, like Senator Warren’s proposal.

So I think you can come at it from any number of perspectives. Where I come from is I don’t believe you should tax billionaires out of existence. I want billionaires, because I want them to pay taxes [laughs] — that I can then use to fund Pell Grants and other things.

But to your other question: How would that help the wealth gap? You have to ask: Where is the money you’ve just raised going to go? If you were to take all the money that we raised from this hypothetical wealth tax, and said, “We’re going to give it to every Black American,” well, first of all, somebody is going to sue you. And they’re gonna win, because this Supreme Court is not going to find that Constitutional. But what I propose in my book is you could give a wealth credit, based on low wealth, that transcends race and should easily pass the Supreme Court muster.

RG: I guess, the flip side of that argument that eliminating billionaires does a lot to shrink the Black-white wealth gap is not that it would necessarily make any Black people at the bottom better off, but there are also so many white people who are poor —

DB: Yes. Yes. Yes.

RG: That you’re comparing two people who are broke, and then there’s no gap between that, which I guess you could celebrate as equity, but not as a decent society.

DB: Yeah. And what you also have to think about is, if we were to give x hundreds of thousands of dollars to every Black person, hypothetically, they would be using it in an anti-Black system. So they would use it to buy a home. Oh, OK. Well, we know what that’s gonna do. Right? So, to me, before we talk about fixing the racial wealth gap, we have to talk about the system in America for producing wealth that is built in anti-Black bias. Until we do that, opening the window and throwing money out.

RG: Right. Exactly.

Well, Dorothy Brown, thank you so much for joining us on Deconstructed.

DB: Thank you so much for having me.

[End credits theme music.]

RG: That was Dorothy Brown. And that’s our show.

Now, we don’t often do straight-up author interviews, and we’d love your feedback on whether you’d like more of that. Email us at Podcasts@theintercept.com or ryan.grim@theintercept.com.

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