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The Anatomy of Racial Inequality

The Anatomy of Racial Inequality

With a New Preface

Glenn C. Loury

ISBN 9780674260467

Publication date: 08/17/2021

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“Lifts and transforms the discourse on ‘race’ and racial justice to an entirely new level.”
—Orlando Patterson

“Intellectually rigorous and deeply thoughtful…An incisive, erudite book by a major thinker.”
—Gerald Early, New York Times Book Review

Why are black Americans so persistently confined to the margins of society? And why do they fail across so many metrics—wages, unemployment, income levels, test scores, incarceration rates, health outcomes? Known for his influential work on the economics of racial inequality and for pioneering the link between racism and social capital, Glenn Loury is not afraid of piercing orthodoxies and coming to controversial conclusions. In this now classic work, reconsidered in light of recent events, he describes how a vicious cycle of tainted social information helped create the racial stereotypes that rationalize and sustain discrimination, and suggests how this might be changed.

Brilliant in its account of how racial classifications are created and perpetuated, and how they resonate through the social, psychological, spiritual, and economic life of the nation, this compelling and passionate book gives us a new way of seeing—and of seeing beyond—the damning categorization of race.

“Paints in chilling detail the distance between Martin Luther King’s dream and the reality of present-day America.”
—Anthony Walton, Harper’s

“Loury provides an original and highly persuasive account of how the American racial hierarchy is sustained and reproduced over time. And he then demands that we begin the deep structural reforms that will be necessary to stop its continued reproduction.”
—Michael Walzer

“He is a genuine maverick thinker…The Anatomy of Racial Inequality both epitomizes and explains Loury’s understanding of the depressed conditions of so much of black society today.”
New York Times Magazine


  • Intellectually rigorous and deeply thoughtful… The Anatomy of Racial Inequality as much as anything, might be considered Loury’s declaration of independence, his fully articulated position as a neoliberal… Loury’s book deals with racial stigma quite directly, but in its political and philosophical aspects as a cause of black disadvantage… The Anatomy of Racial Inequality is an incisive, erudite book by a major thinker.

    —Gerald Early, New York Times Book Review


  • Glenn C. Loury is Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of Economics at Brown University. An award-winning economic theorist, he is the author of One by One from the Inside Out: Essays and Reviews on Race and Responsibility in America and coauthor of Race, Incarceration, and American Values.

Book Details

  • 256 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press