REI Colloquium – Emily Rosenman
“Philanthropic finance and the racial wealth gap: from financial exclusion to “racial justice investing” in the United States”
By Emily Rosenman, Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor of Geography
This talk examines the logics behind contemporary proposals to reduce racialized wealth disparities in the United States by increasing credit and capital available to historically-excluded racial groups. Corporate and philanthropic commitments to “invest” in racial justice increased dramatically after the murder of George Floyd, centered on the idea that wealth disparities are a key driver of racialized inequality in the US and that these disparities can be solved through for-profit investments. To understand how racial justice is conceived and marketed as an object of financial intervention, I analyze the historical and contemporary processes through which racial injustice has been conceived in economic terms as a “gap” between the wealth of white and racialized households. In particular, I ask how different actors perceive the responsibilities that private capital has to invest in racially-marginalized places and communities. In analyzing some of these financial tools, I illustrate how they largely sidestep questions of power and, paradoxically, distribution that animate many contemporary racial justice movements. The talk concludes with some possible democratic alternatives to the predominant forms of for-profit investments in solving racialized inequalities.
This event is open to the public. To attend, please send a request for the Zoom link to email@example.com by noon on the day of the event.