REVIEW OF the Economics of Race in the United States

By Onuzulike, Uchenna | The Journal of Race & Policy, Spring/Summer 2017 | Go to article overview

REVIEW OF the Economics of Race in the United States


Onuzulike, Uchenna, The Journal of Race & Policy


REVIEW OF The Economics of Race in the United States. Brendan O'Flaherty (2015). The Economics of Race in the United States. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-36818-7 (Hardcover) $46.51 Pages 465

Race and economics are intertwined in many aspects. It is difficult and often impossible to separate them. Brendan O'Flaherty's new book reminds us of this reality. It comprises 15 chapters covering a range of issues pertaining to race and economics, such as health and health care, employment and earnings, immigration, education, social life, children, homeownership, crime, wealth, and reparations. O'Flaherty investigates what type of progress (or lack thereof) has been made in the United States in terms of race and economics. He analyzes the complexity of racial and economic disparities by examining different racial and ethnic groups, including blacks, Asians, Hispanics, non-Hispanic Whites, Native Americans, American Indians/Alaskan natives, and native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders. He also reminds us that scientists now view racial essentialism as socially rather than scientifically grounded.

O'Flaherty admits early that "race is a dangerous topic, and I have to be careful. But not too careful" (5). He notes that race is and will long remain a contentious issue in the United States. He also acknowledges and grounds the book on the work of many black activist and scholars, including Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. O'Flaherty also draws upon the work of Gunnar Myrdal, a Swedish economist, former Swedish minister of trade and commerce, and 1974 Nobel Memorial Prize winner. In 1938, the Carnegie Foundation invited Myrdal to come to the United States to lead a team of social scientists working on "the Negro problem."

With respect to health care and racial disparities, O'Flaherty discusses many factors that affect these disparities, including obesity, income and education, marriage, health insurance and access, as well as hospitals. He contends that there is a legacy of the Jim Crow South that continues to negatively impact African Americans. …

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