The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans--And How We Can Fix It

The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans--And How We Can Fix It

A groundbreaking expos� of racism in the American taxation system from a law professor and expert on tax policy

"Important reading for those who want to understand how inequality is built into the bedrock of American society, and what a more equitable future might look like."--Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist

Dorothy A. Brown became a tax lawyer to get away from race. As a young black girl growing up in the South Bronx, she'd seen how racism limited the lives of her family and neighbors. Her law school classes offered a refreshing contrast: Tax law was about numbers, and the only color that mattered was green. But when Brown sat down to prepare tax returns for her parents, she found something strange: James and Dottie Brown, a plumber and a nurse, seemed to be paying an unusually high percentage of their income in taxes. When Brown became a law professor, she set out to understand why.

In The Whiteness of Wealth, Brown draws on decades of cross-disciplinary research to show that tax law isn't as color-blind as she'd once believed. She takes us into her adopted city of Atlanta, introducing us to families across the economic spectrum whose stories demonstrate how American tax law rewards the preferences and practices of white people while pushing black people further behind. From attending college to getting married to buying a home, black Americans find themselves at a financial disadvantage compared to their white peers. The results are an ever-increasing wealth gap and more black families shut out of the American dream.

Solving the problem will require a wholesale rethinking of America's tax code. But it will also require both black and white Americans to make different choices. This urgent, actionable book points the way forward.

Title:The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans--And How We Can Fix It
ISBN:9780525577324
Format Type:

    The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans--And How We Can Fix It Reviews

  • Dave

    I am somewhat cautious in giving this a rating, because of my difficulty in bringing together my disparate feelings about the content of this book and its overall presentation. As a piece of purely ac...

  • David Wineberg

    Americans of all colors are waking up to the incredible amount of discrimination built right into its system. Blacks in the USA still must fight to even remain in the middle class because the taxation...

  • Joann Im

    A powerful insight of racism in American taxation system that is not colorblind as perceived. The book opens with Dorothy Brown, a professor focused on tax law and how she pursued tax law to escape fr...

  • Susan

    At its basis, this is a great thought provoking book about the unintended consequences of our tax law. A lot of the book was redundant and circular, but I think that only underlines how all the pieces...

  • Sharon

    I read to halfway and then finally gave up. I had been contacted by an editor through NetGalley suggesting that since I had thoroughly enjoyed Isabel Wilkerson’s book Caste, I might enjoy this one, ...

  • Sara Broad

    "The Whiteness of Wealth" by Dorothy Brown centers around the way that tax law and the overall nature of the US economy oppress some and elevate others financially. This book is very eye-opening about...

  • Harold

    This fluctuates between being an analysis of tax law, which is rather simplistic, but written with the tone that it is profound, and a rather shallow analysis of black wealth, of which there are much ...

  • Diane

    I was skeptical about a book subtitled How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans, when the tax system doesn’t even know a taxpayer’s race. The subtitle was probably meant to be provocative, ...

  • Vidalia

    This book is the first one I've pre-ordered, and it was worth it! It really opened my eyes to how provisions of our tax code that I've always taken for granted (married filing jointly, tax free employ...

  • Daniel Aste

    Eye opening how the federal tax code has systemically prohibited black families from getting ahead, while individual wealthy white people have been able to make the IRS bend to their will all througho...