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Racism and the Economy -- Federal Reserve Series

PlanScape Impact(s): Diversity and Inclusion ; Economic Development ; Governance/Public Policy ; Health ; Housing
Public Pinned Featured Report by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Last modified: September 09, 2021




Understanding the implications of structural racism in America's economy. 



Link to => About the Series <== 



Series Kickoff October 7, 2020


Racism forms the foundation of inequality in our society; it limits opportunity for people of color and threatens the health of our economy. While the global pandemic has intensified racial and economic disparities, the killing of George Floyd has provoked people from all walks of life to address the systems and structures that enable and perpetuate these outcomes.

Racism and the Economy series page

Learn more about the series and upcoming events.

The Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Boston, and Minneapolis have partnered to present a series of virtual events where community, business, and academic leaders will examine the economic impact of racism and advance bold ideas and concrete actions to achieve an economy that makes opportunity available to everyone.

The kickoff event on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, was the first in a series over the next several months exploring context and actions to address systemic racism in employment, housing, education, criminal justice, and other topics.

Raphael Bostic, Neel Kashkari, and Eric Rosengren, the presidents of the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Boston were joined for this virtual event by nationally recognized experts:

  • Angela Glover Blackwell, PolicyLink
  • Ursula Burns, former Xerox Corporation
  • Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Children’s Zone
  • Carmen Rojas, Marguerite Casey Foundation
  • Kai Ryssdal, Marketplace


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Series Kickoff Video



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Focus on Employment November 17, 2020


Employment Video




00:00 Opening Remarks, Raphael Bostic, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
13:51 Keynote Speaker, Valerie Wilson, Economic Policy Institute
32:52 Q&A with Valerie Wilson and Mary C. Daly, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
44:35 Proposal Presentations – Bolten, Dixon & Rogers
1:11:30 Respondent Panel – Auguste, Bastian, Gardere & Poo
1:34:32 Proposer and Respondent Discussion, Moderator – Kimberly Adams, Marketplace
1:50:27 Closing Remarks, Raphael Bostic, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
1:51:34 Closing Remarks, Eric Rosengren, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
1:56:26 Closing Remarks, Mary C. Daly, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Link =>  Recap Article 

Extracted Text 

Economist Valerie Wilson says a half century of racial inequities in the U.S. labor market can be mostly summed up in a simple ratio: 2 to 1.


Over the past 48 years, White job seekers have been twice as likely as Black counterparts to secure employment during any four-week period, Wilson said. She added the 2-to-1 ratio holds across all ages, education levels, genders, and macroeconomic conditions, all the way back to when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began breaking out unemployment by race in 1972.


“Over the last 4½ decades, only the most highly educated and most experienced Black workers have approached anything near unemployment rate parity with their White counterparts, and only during periods of exceptionally low rates of unemployment,” said Wilson, director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy.


Wilson was among several experts who joined three Federal Reserve Bank presidents on Nov. 17 in the second event of the “Racism and the Economy” series, which focused on racial inequities in the labor market. The seven-part series, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis, and San Francisco, examines structural racism, its impacts, and ways to dismantle it.


Examining occupational segregation The Nov. 17 conference focused largely on “occupational segregation,” the exclusion of Blacks and Hispanics from professional and managerial roles, and over-representation of these groups in lower-wage occupations such as food preparation, cleaning, and health care services and support.


Before the pandemic, the share of Blacks and Hispanics in such work was far greater than that of Whites, said Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic.


Those jobs typically offer low pay, limited advancement opportunities, and few benefits. Making better jobs more accessible to people of color would help erode broad racial inequities in the labor market, numerous speakers said. But discrimination inhibits equitable outcomes, said Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.


Dixon also cited policies dating back to New Deal programs that excluded half of all Black, Latino, and Native American workers from Social Security.


Some speakers also put blame on the Fed. Wilson said by raising the federal funds rate prematurely during economic expansions, the central bank may have shut down job growth before it reached workers of color.


Several speakers also note research that reveals that racial gaps in pay and access to higher-wage occupations persist regardless of education and skills. In fact, the job market status of Blacks is unchanged from 1950, if mass incarceration and the number of Blacks who have left the labor force entirely is accounted for, said William Rodgers, chief economist at Rutgers University’s Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.


“That’s why this conversation and what comes out of it is so important,” he said.


Proposing solutions Conference speakers proposed several solutions for eliminating racial inequities in employment markets, including:


Fostering enlightened self-interest in the corporate sector: Delta Air Lines chief executive officer Ed Bastian said executives should realize that improving recruitment, training, and advancement of workers of color boosts profits. More diverse perspectives produce more creative thinking, better decisions, and happier employees and customers, he said. Strengthening the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: The EEOC’s funding in inflation-adjusted terms has not increased since the 1980s even as the labor force has grown by about 50 percent, Dixon noted. The result is case backlogs and generally feeble enforcement of workplace anti-discrimination rules. Rethinking job applicant screening policies and algorithms: For instance, requiring a bachelor’s degree as a screening mechanism often doesn’t make sense, when job duties don’t truly demand it, said Byron Auguste, CEO and co-founder of the nonprofit Opportunity@Work. Such a requirement immediately excludes 75 percent of Black workers, 80 percent of Hispanics, and 80 percent of rural residents, Auguste said. Presidents on why racial disparities matter to the Fed The presidents of the Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco emphasized how racism shapes labor market conditions. The Boston Fed’s Eric Rosengren said that while economic discussions typically focus on the sheer numbers of jobs, the quality of those jobs is crucial. That’s become clear during the pandemic, during which people of color are being disproportionately affected, in part because they hold a larger share of lower quality jobs.


It can be easy to forget how important a high-quality job is these days, Rosengren said, adding he finds himself complaining after a long day of virtual meetings.


“But then I'm reminded that I do not encounter a dangerous work environment each day, that I have money to feed my family and many others don't,” Rosengren said. “I am not faced with the decision of leaving my children alone in an empty house in order to keep my job, or wondering what will happen to me or my family if I get sick and have no sick days to use.”


“The quality of jobs influences the quantity of jobs for many people of color,” he said. “More needs to be done.”



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 Focus on Education January 12, 2021




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Education Video


 Discussion with Jeffrey Canada

Policies Proposal  

Alan Page


Panel Discussion

Khan Academy 

Teacher of the Year Closing Reflection Takeru Nagayoshi Pandemic Impacts 


Better investment in the teaching profession and black/brown teachers retaining and recruiting


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Focus on Housing 3/1/2021


Housing Event Announcement  


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Housing Video 



Single family only home zoning: 38:11 

Eliminate systemic racism in appraisals

Offering restorative housing reparations

Respondent Panel 

Proposer & Respondent Panel Discussion

Neell Kashkari on Reparation

Feb accountability



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Focus on Entrepreneurship 6/2/2022




 Racism and the Economy: Focus on Entrepreneurship

June 2, 2021
12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET | 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. CT
Virtual video event presented by all 12 District Banks of the Federal Reserve System

The sixth installment of our virtual event series focuses on the impact of racism on entrepreneurs of color. The session will examine solutions that challenge persistent disparities and explore the potential for entrepreneurship to serve as one pathway to transform economic outcomes for communities of color and the broader economy.

Keynote speakers

  • Robert E. Weems Jr., Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Professor of Business History, Wichita State University

Additional speakers

  • Raphael Bostic, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Kelly Burton, Executive Director, Black Innovation Alliance
  • Nicole Childers, Executive Producer, Marketplace Morning Report (moderator)
  • Charles Evans, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • Patrick Harker, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
  • Victor Hwang, Founder and CEO, Right to Start
  • Robert Kaplan, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
  • Neel Kashkari, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
  • Monika Mantilla, President and CEO, Altura Capital, and Managing Partner, Small Business Community Capital
  • Sanjay Singh, Advisor, Pack Health, and Co-founder, Alabama Capital Network
  • Carmen Tapio, Founder and CEO, North End Teleservices, LLC



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 Video Recording




Right to Start: Victor Hwang


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Focus on Criminal Justice 2021-07-13




Tuesday, July 13, 2021

12:00 p.m. – 12:10 p.m. ET Introduction & Opening Remarks

Raphael Bostic, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

12:10 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. ET The Challenge for Building a Racially Equitable Criminal Legal System

Phillip Atiba Goff, Yale University and Center for Policing Equity
Kelly Lytle Hernandez, University of California, Los Angeles, and Million Dollar Hoods
Victor Rios, University of California, Santa Barbara
Nicholas Turner, Vera Institute of Justice

12:45 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. ET A Conversation Between Keith Ellison and Neel Kashkari

Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General
Neel Kashkari, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

1:10 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. ET Understanding Connections Between Segregation, Policing, and the Economy

Yvette Gentry, Metro United Way
Walter Katz, Arnold Ventures
Clark Neily, Cato Institute
Kevin Washburn, University of Iowa College of Law

David Muhammad, National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform

1:50 p.m. – 1:55 p.m. ET Break


1:55 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET The Impacts of Nonviolent Convictions and Monetary Sanctions

Jennifer Doleac, Texas A&M University
Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County District Attorney
Andrea Young, ACLU of Georgia

David Muhammad, National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform

2:30 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. ET Reflections on the Criminal Legal System and the Economy

Raphael Bostic, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Neel Kashkari, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Eric Rosengren, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Chanda Smith Baker, Minneapolis Foundation

2:50 p.m. – 2:55 p.m. ET Closing Remarks

Eric Rosengren, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston




Raphael Bostic, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta:
Causes and Effects of Criminal Justice System:
Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General and Chairman Neal Kashkari:
Jennifer Doleac: Reform Proposal
Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County District Attorney:
Andrea Young, ACLU of Georgia:





Focus on Health September 9, 2021








Video Recording


Life Expectency Disparities: ; Hispanic Perspective ;  Bill Fritz: Structured Racism

Detroit Experience: Stress 

Policy Proposal

Proposal: ;  Asian American Experience: lack of data disaggregation, miscategorizaiton Birth Impact:; Video from Cheyenne River Siouix Tibe


Health Partner: data  Co-designing:; Trust:  Media reporting (standardization):

How to create change: lack of incentive toward equity; Expanding pipeline:; Cultural humility: partnership with community, co-designing; Trust: (data collection)

Founder of "We Got Us" video:

Summary with Federal Reserve Presidents:  Neal: ;  Trust, information source, working with community:; Vacine Hesitancy: creative intervention, GDP depends on healthy workforce, Prioritization: - economic driver, changing demographics, embrace immigration; Commitment of leadership:











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