Next City: Making Black Lives Matter in Economic Policy

Next City, May 7, 2020: Making Black Lives Matter in Economic Policy

“We have to start with the assets right at our disposal, right in front of us,” Perry says. “There was language for that back in the day, folks used to say he or she is ‘a credit to the community.’ I wanted to make sure that the people who valued people like me understand they are right, that there’s a reason to value black assets. These are not maladapted behaviors and maladapted institutions. These are credible practices, customs, institutions, people that are worthy of investment.”

If it was forces outside black communities that hold back or undermine black people, black institutions and black places, it’s outside forces that need to correct for those historical headwinds.

“This economy definitely needs reparations, it needs tax credits and low-interest loans and other things for black people that white people have enjoyed historically,” Perry says.

At the same time, Perry also thinks it’s important for public policy to ensure having wealth isn’t required to secure access to housing, healthy food, health care, clean air, quality education, quality jobs, small business investment and other aspects of a healthy society.

“We need to radically shift the architecture of economic policy that replicates inequality by only rewarding people with wealth,” Perry says.

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