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What the current protests have to do with economic inequality

Protesters in front of the White House on Tuesday. Ownership of stocks, the unemployment rate and average wages are just some of the places we see the racial wealth divide in this economy. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Dorothy Brown, professor at the Emory University School of Law, about the economic inequality black Americans face. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Kai Ryssdal: Obviously, the proximate cause of what is happening in this country today, and in the past couple of days, is not the racial economic divide, right? That’s not the immediate instigating factor, but you cannot discuss what’s happening without that, right?

Dorothy Brown: Correct. In fact, I could draw a line from what is happening to the economic divide. When we think about state and local government budgets and how much of taxpayer dollars, including black taxpayer dollars, that are spent on policing as opposed to social programs, yes, there’s a direct line.

Ryssdal: This is a situation that, as you and I have discussed before on this program, is not within the power of any one president — single term or two terms — to fix. There are some structural issues […]

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