The Color of Money Book Summary - The Color of Money Book explained in key points

The Color of Money summary

Mehrsa Baradaran

Brief summary

The Color of Money by Mehrsa Baradaran examines the racial wealth gap in the United States and how it has been perpetuated by the banking industry. It offers insights into the historical roots of this issue and proposes potential solutions for creating a more equitable financial system.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    The Color of Money
    Summary of key ideas

    Roots of Racial Wealth Gap

    In The Color of Money, Mehrsa Baradaran dives into the history and origins of the racial wealth gap in America, specifically focusing on the economic trends that have disproportionately affected African American communities. The book begins by highlighting the era of slavery and how its legacy shaped economic policies and practices that seriously limited black wealth accumulation.

    Baradaran paints a vivid picture of the Jim Crow era, with its exploitative sharecropping system, segregation, and predatory lending schemes. All this continued to further widen the wealth gap, making it near impossible for black Americans to achieve economic mobility, despite the hard work and labor that they were relentlessly putting in.

    Failed Promises of Black Banks

    The book further discusses the result of the Freedman’s Bank’s failure, an event that showed the inability of black banks to bridge the wealth gap without robust governmental support. It explores efforts by black communities to form their own financial institutions as a response to their systematic exclusion by mainstream banks. However, the black banks were undercapitalized, lacked reserves, and were overly susceptible to economic downfalls, contributing to their overall inefficacy.

    Then the author moves onto the era of the Civil Rights Movement and emerging Black Power Movement. She describes how ideas around “black capitalism” took root, fueling the idea that black-owned businesses and banks could radically change the socio-economic landscape. However, Baradaran exposes this as another diversion tactic that failed to solve systemic economic inequality.

    The Mirage of Self-Help and Self-Sufficiency

    Baradaran debates the ideology of self-help and self-sufficiency as portrayed by politicians and certain economists. She argues that this narrative dissuades black communities from seeking necessary government intervention to achieve true economic justice.

    The book emphasizes that the racial wealth gap is ingrained in American society due to targeted economic practices, institutional racism, and governmental neglect. With compelling facts and arguments, Baradaran shatters the illusion that black banking and “self-help” could offer a genuine solution to systemic economic inequality.

    Reparations and Reinvestment

    The final sections of The Color of Money discuss potential avenues to address and bridge the racial wealth gap. Baradaran talks about the necessity of reparations and large-scale public policies to achieve economic justice. She argues that simply banking black or buying black is not enough to tackle systemic issues without robust government support and interventions.

    In conclusion, The Color of Money is a comprehensive and revealing examination of how systemic racism has permeated American economic practices, creating a persistent and widening wealth gap. Baradaran argues passionately for the necessity for government intervention, reparations, and policy reforms to address structural inequity, a challenge the US must face to achieve genuine racial and economic equality.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Color of Money about?

    The Color of Money by Mehrsa Baradaran is about the racial wealth gap in America and the role of the banking industry in perpetuating it. The book explores the historical roots of this disparity and offers solutions for creating a more equitable financial system. It sheds light on the complex issues surrounding economic inequality and highlights the need for systemic change.

    Who should read The Color of Money?

    • Individuals who are interested in understanding the historical and ongoing racial wealth gap in America
    • Readers looking for insights into the impact of banking policies on marginalized communities
    • Those who want to explore potential solutions to create a more equitable financial system

    About the Author

    Mehrsa Baradaran is an author and professor of law. She specializes in banking law, financial inclusion, and racial wealth disparities. Some of her main books include "The Color of Money" and "How the Other Half Banks." Baradaran is known for her research on the racial wealth gap in America and her emphasis on the importance of banking access and financial systems for marginalized communities. She has received recognition for her work and has been a guest on various media outlets to discuss her findings and recommendations.

    Categories with The Color of Money

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial