Back in the United States, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and other experts hosted a live-streamed town hall Monday night on “Inequality in America: The Rise of Oligarchy and Collapse of the Middle Class.” During the discussion, economist Darrick Hamilton spoke about the intersections of race, education and class.
Darrick Hamilton: “We know that if you are a head of household and you’re black and you graduated from college, your family’s wealth position is lower than that of a white family with a head dropped out of high school. So this feeds into the narrative of: Can we simply work hard, study hard and address inequality? The answer is no. Those things are important. Education is important in its own right. So, when Senator Sanders proposes that we should have tuition-free public education? Absolutely. But as an end unto itself, we exaggerate the economic returns to education, particularly for marginalized groups. And when we start getting into these narratives of a post-racial society, we’re not there. Now, we can come up with comprehensive programs that include everybody, but we need to do it differently this way so that we make sure nobody is left behind.”