The Elusive Black Middle Class with Imari Smith


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By Cheryl-Lyn Bentley. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

With rising costs of living, steadily increasing debt, and stagnant wages, middle class Americans may find themselves living paycheck to paycheck. But is there even a Black middle class? Imari Smith, a doctoral student in Duke University’s Joint Program in Sociology and Public Policy, argues that the Black middle class is a “subaltern middle class”, just one tier of a marginalized group. The Black middle class has never reaped the benefits of their middle class status and continue to be subjected to the same harms faced by Black Americans of lower economic status.

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Topics Covered:

  • Defining middle class and wealth
  • The hollowing of the middle class
  • Drivers of increasing household debt
  • Defining the “subaltern middle class”
  • How middle class status insulates from adversity
  • Barriers Black families face to accumulating wealth
  • Closing the wealth gap
  • Building Black Americans’ assets and wealth
  • Identifying who should benefit from reparations

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54 episodes