The Race Tax: Economic Predation in Black America

Thursday, March 24, 2016 | 5:00pm

Exorbitant rent for inferior housing.  Payday lenders on every block. Police forces that see your neighborhood as a source of municipal revenue rather than a community in need of protection.  In America today, low-income minority neighborhoods suffer not only from a shortage of economic opportunity but also from an abundance of predatory industries and practices.  While forms of economic exploitation have helped cities balance their budgets and businesses and investors amass fortunes, it has compounded the struggles of African American communities and contributed, in no small measure, to the racial wealth gap in America today.   Critics call it the “race tax,” and its roots are buried deep in the soil of America’s segregated cities.  This spring’s Woodson Forum will bring together four of America’s leading scholars on economic predation in Black America’s past and present for an engaging, informative discussion of the devastating effects of often hidden practices.  By shining a light on enterprises and institutions that prey on the urban poor, this event aims to generate greater awareness of the challenges facing many Black Americans today and a deeper understanding of issues informing the BlackLivesMatter movement.