#MacroSW 6/29: Toxic Inequality Chat w/ Dr. Thomas Shapiro

Jane-Addams
Image source: http://www.sociologyatwork.org/international-womens-day-jane-addams/

Chat archive available!

At #MacroSW, we often address inequality issues and the seemingly impenetrable macro systems that sustain them. We explored the AASWSW Grand Challenge: Financial Capability and Asset Building for All. Economic justice and equity were one of NASW’s top five social justice priorities for 2016. As Dr. Thomas Shapiro, the Director of the Institute on Assets and Social Policy and the Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, has said:

Inequality goes far deeper than just income and wealth. It determines who can overcome obstacles: some have them cleared from their path, while others have trouble recovering from even minor mishaps. At its heart, inequality is about access, opportunity, and just rewards. For too long, toxic inequality has defined the landscape of our country, dictating where people live, how they fare, and what futures their children face. Its mechanisms can seem invisible, even inevitable. But they are man-made, forged by history and preserved by policy. Changing them is up to us.

Professor Shapiro’s primary interest is in racial inequality and public policy. He is a leader in the asset field with a particular focus on closing the racial wealth gap.  He co-authored a groundbreaking study, The Roots of the Widening Racial Wealth Gap: 

shapriohorizontal.jpgExplaining the Black-White Economic Divide. The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality, 2004 was widely reviewed. With Dr. Melvin Oliver, he wrote the award-winning Black Wealth/White Wealth, which received the 1997 Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award from the American Sociological Association. In 2011 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the wealth gap in South Africa.

Shapiro - Toxic InequalityJoin us this Thursday, June 29 at 9pm EST, as we welcome Dr. Shapiro to #MacroSW and discuss his latest book,Toxic Inequality. Dr. Shapiro’s widely anticipated new book Toxic Inequality: How America’s Wealth Gap Destroys Mobility, Deepens the Racial Divide, & Threatens Our Future was recently released March 2017.

Chat questions:

  1. How do you define toxic inequality? Why is it important?
  2. Describe how wealth is a “fundamental pillar of economic security” (pg. 14).
  3. Describe the role of racial disparities in wealth and income inequality.
  4. How can social workers and others fight toxic inequality?