Words From The Wise: William A. Darity Jr.

“A very standard kind of claim by individuals who say that (and I think this is a false dichotomy) ‘class trumps race,’ is the claim that our patterns of wealth inequality probably track our patterns of income inequality. Well, no.”

Professor William A. Darity Jr.


Antonio Moore from ToneTalks first introduced me to the premier scholar Professor William A. Darity Jr. about a year ago, and I’ve been using his research as the bases to understanding the racial wealth gap here in the United States. Darity is a professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, Economics, and the Director of the Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. His research “focuses on inequality by race, class and ethnicity, stratification economics, schooling and the racial achievement gap, North-South theories of trade and development, skin shade and labor market outcomes, the economics of reparations, the Atlantic Slave trade and the Industrial Revolution, the history of economics, and the social psychological effects of exposure to unemployment.”

I want to share two informative clips with you all, but before I do, here are a few points from Professor Darity’s lecture on Wealth.

  •  Wealth is determined by an individual’s human capital; parental wealth is a key factor that determines personal or family wealth in the next generation.
  • Many get wealth and income confused. Wealth is a stock, income is a flow.
    • Wealth is a stock of accumulated value over time, net value.
    • Income is the flow of earnings; unearned income or earned.
  • Wealth is the most significant dimension of economic well-being.
    • It can provide us with a fund of resources that can be used in emergency situations without destroying bank accounts.
    • It can be a stress reducer
    • Wealth can also provide greater access to better schooling and housing.
    • Since we live in a plutocracy, ones participation in American politics is heavily influenced by wealth.

Professor Darity also speaks about reparations for African Americans, the fourth wall that society doesn’t want to break. If you’d like to discuss any of his information, feel free to comment below.

Until Next Time…






William A. Darity Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://sanford.duke.edu/people/faculty/darity-jr-william



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