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Too high a cost

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The "cost of being black" in the United States today, says Brandeis University sociologist Thomas Shapiro, is $136,174.

That's the differential in wealth Shapiro calculates between the average white professional with a college education and a good income and a black person with the same qualifications and same job. The gap is largely based on "non-merit" or on inheritance and head starts provided by white families in the form of college tuition payments and down payments on homes for their children.

While the number of blacks in "middle-class" jobs has increased tenfold in the past 50 years, the gap of widening inequality of wealth -- measured by savings, stocks, bonds, home equity and other investments -- has barely been breeched, says Shapiro, author of The Hidden Cost of Being African American, in which he analyzes survey data from 10,000 families, showing how these inequalities remain and persist.

Shapiro will bring his talk, "The Cost of Being Black in America: How Wealth Matters and What Can Be Done About It," to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus on Thursday, March 31, as part of the UCCS Social Science Symposium Series.

Winner of the C. Wright Mills Award and the American Sociological Association's Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award for his book Black Wealth/White Wealth, Shapiro says that, on average, an African-American family has 10 cents for every dollar of wealth that white families possess, and that while blacks have climbed the social ladder and have made great leaps in closing the middle-class income gap, they still lag far behind in terms of measurable wealth that can be passed on to the next generation.

Dr. Shapiro will share his findings and will suggest strategies for overcoming wealth inequalities in America at his UCCS talk. The public is invited and the event is free.

-- Kathryn Eastburn

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"The Cost of Being Black in America," a lecture by Dr. Thomas Shapiro

Thursday, March 31, 12:15 p.m.

UCCS campus, University

Center 303

For more, call 262-4153

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