“Race, Homeownership, and Wealth – An Examination of Social Class and Racial Differences in Wealth”: A Summary


“Race, Homeownership, and Wealth – An Examination of Social Class and Racial Differences in Wealth”: A Summary

The gap between various racial groups has been the subject of debate in diverse social constructions. Home ownership has been used as the primary policy objective to address the issue of racial inequality in the American society. Shapiro states that there are fundamental differences between wealth and income (76-77). Wealth refers to a family’s total financial resources minus debt. On the other hand, income refers to the payment or earnings that an individual accrues by engaging in gainful employment. There is a distinct gap that exists between whites and blacks when it comes to wealth and income. The black people do not have the resources they can use to plan for the future. Moreover, the income or amount of wealth the black people enjoy is not sufficient to provide quality education to their children and give the next generation a better head start.

There has been persistence in inequalities in the post-civil rights period. Although the ethnic minorities have made significant advances in various dimensions of life, income inequalities and wealth accumulation remain a challenge. Shapiro argues that wealth accumulation in America can be defined as individual and institutional (83-84). Housing and home ownership appreciation is the foundation of the institutional accumulation. Governments play a significant role in wealth creation. Some federal policies have been created to allow the middle-class to accumulate wealth. The mortgage market was created by the federal policies. Income inequalities, employment, and educational achievement gaps remain steady among the blacks and Hispanics (83-84). However, the whites still top the wealth and income paradigm.


  1. What is the main reason for wealth and income inequalities in America?
  2. What role can the government play to bridge the income and wealth gaps?

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  1. Shapiro, Thomas M. “Race, Homeownership, and Wealth- an Examination of Social Class and Racial differences in Wealth.” Mapping Social Landscape: Readings in Sociology, edited by Susan J. Ferguson, McGraw-Hill, 2013.
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