Giving Compass’ Take:
• A conversation between William Julius Wilson, Harvard professor, author of The Truly Disadvantaged and Brookings Non-Resident Senior Fellow; and J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, looks at the true divisions in America between race and class and where they intersect.
• Why is the role of geography in disussions about the divides between race and class in the U.S.?
• Read more about J.D. Vance’s perspective on what is driving inequality in America.
America’s divisions – of race, class and culture – were the subject of an in-depth conversation here at Brookings between William Julius Wilson, Harvard professor, author of The Truly Disadvantaged and Brookings Non-Resident Senior Fellow; and J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.
- Jobs matter: Being in a job matters not just for income, but for a sense of purpose and identity
- Black Americans face concentrated poverty: Vance and Wilson agreed that living in an area of concentrated poverty is worse than simply being poor, and that the greater odds of living in a poor area for black Americans are the result of discriminatory housing policies of the 1950s and 1960s.
- Social connections and family instability are crucial for poor Americans: Family structure, in particular, is strongly associated with economic mobility. Low-income children raised in two-parent families are more likely to get ahead than those raised in single-parent families.
- Rural communities cannot simply be abandoned: Developing regional economies is important so that individuals who want to move to opportunity can do so without losing their social contacts and cultural identities.
Read the full article on race and class by Camille Busette, Richard V. Reeves, and Eleanor Krause at Brookings
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