Boston Fed podcast examines racial disparities in the U.S. and why they aren’t closing
Six Hundred Atlantic season looks at gaps that won’t go away and the damage done
Different races often live in vastly different realities in the U.S. That’s a fact continually revealed in measures like wealth and education, or in neighborhood quality and crime rates.
These racial disparities have barely budged for decades, and they highlight perpetual disadvantage for the same groups – largely Blacks and Hispanics. The question is, “Why?”
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Research Department examined racial disparities at its 64th Economic Conference. And the Bank’s Six Hundred Atlantic podcast built on that work in Season 3, “Enduring Divides: Racial Disparities in Today’s Economy.”
Racial gaps are a political and emotional issue, but the Bank conference aimed to get past that by emphasizing data and research.
Boston Fed economist Jeff Thompson was the podcast’s chief consultant on Season 3, and he also organized the conference. During an interview for the podcast, Thompson said the evidence clearly shows racism has played and continues to play a role in these racial gaps.
“But there are other things going on,” Thompson said.
No single conference or podcast can get at the entirety of racial disparities in the U.S. But the podcast addresses several challenging questions. They include:
- Why is the U.S. still so racially segregated, and how big a driver is personal choice?
- What is a ‘ sharecropper’s education?’ And when will it finally be gone?
- Are we missing critical data when we measure the country’s relentless and damaging wealth gaps?
- What are areas of “concentrated disadvantage,” and are they having an outsized – and overlooked – impact on crime?