This essay scrutinizes the persistence of inequality in the United States through a human rights lens and grapples with the troubling disparities unearthed by two works: American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass and Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality. These two highly enlightening and, simultaneously, deeply troubling and depressing books elucidate the myriad locations at which inequalities persist and the historical, social, psychological, and legal foundations of, and explications for, such disparities in the African American community.
This work proposes a human rights paradigm that provides a methodology to analyze, deconstruct and unravel the existing systematic inequalities in Black/white wealth. First, we examine the historical relationship between Blacks and whites in the United States in the context of property, wealth, and economics. Then, in Part II, we reveal the disturbing reality that not much has changed. Next, we make a two-part suggestion of how to ameliorate, or at least begin to remedy, current economic inequalities by proposing the application of a human rights paradigm of economic discrimination as violence. Finally, we analyze the role of republican liberalism in Black/white economic inequality and reveal how, despite its equality-based dialect, it has translated into a model that has enabled inequality.
Berta Esperanza Hernández-Truyol & Shelbi D. Day, Property, Wealth, Inequality and Human Rights: A Formula for Reform, 34 Ind. L. Rev. 1213 (2001), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/536