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Thomas Shapiro on Toxic Inequality

Thursday, April 20 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Come hear Thomas Shapiro discuss his new book Toxic Inequality at the JP Forum!

Thursday, April 20th | 7pm-9pm
First Church JP

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Since the Great Recession, most Americans’ standard of living has stagnated or declined. Economic inequality is at historic highs. But inequality’s impact differs by race; African Americans’ net wealth is just a tenth that of white Americans, and over recent decades, white families have accumulated wealth at three times the rate of black families. In our increasingly diverse nation, long-time LP resident and sociologist Thomas M. Shapiro argues, wealth disparities must be understood in tandem with racial inequities-a dangerous combination he terms “toxic inequality.”

Toxic Inequality reveals how these forces combine to trap families in place. Following nearly two hundred families of different races and income levels over a period of twelve years, Shapiro’s research vividly documents the recession’s toll on parents and children, the ways families use assets to manage crises and create opportunities, and the real reasons some families build wealth while others struggle in poverty. The structure of our neighborhoods, workplaces, and tax code-much more than individual choices-push some forward and hold others back. A lack of assets, far more common in families of color, can often ruin parents’ careful plans for themselves and their children.

Racialized pandering in the current political climate mobilizes support for racist policies and detracts from fundamental causes.

Toxic inequality may seem inexorable, but it is not inevitable. America’s growing wealth gap and its yawning racial divide have been forged by history and preserved by policy, and only bold, race-conscious reforms can move us toward a more just society.


Thursday 20 April 2017
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


First Church JP
6 Eliot St
Jamaica Plain, 02130 United States
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