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Faculty and Scholarship

Professor Dorothy Brown authors book on racism in the tax code

Emory Law |
The Whiteness of Wealth

Tax law professor and expert on tax policy Dorothy Brown has written a book on racism in the American taxation system, released today by Penguin Random House Publishing. The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans and How We Can Fix It draws on decades of cross-disciplinary research to demonstrate color bias in the tax code.

Brown’s narrative introduces the reader to families across the economic spectrum whose stories demonstrate how American tax law rewards the preferences and practices of white people while pushing Black people further behind. From attending college to getting married to buying a home, Black Americans find themselves at a financial disadvantage compared to white peers, Brown argues, with an ever-increasing wealth gap and more Black families shut out of the American dream. She contends that solving the problem will require a wholesale rethinking of the American tax code.

The Whiteness of Wealth has been called “important reading for those who want to understand how inequality is built into the bedrock of American society, and what a more equitable future might look like,” by Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times best-selling author of How to Be an Antiracist.  It has already captured national attention; the book and Professor Brown have recently been featured in Bloomberg, New York Times, Politico, Businessweek and other media.  Mary Anne Bobinski, dean and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law, said, “In this new work, Professor Dorothy Brown brings decades of insightful scholarship to a broad audience by revealing the far-reaching and insidious impact of our tax system on Black Americans, providing suggested reforms for policy-makers, and offering advice to those who are negatively impacted by the current system. Emory Law is delighted by the widespread recognition of Professor Brown’s pathbreaking scholarship and is grateful for her ongoing contributions as a teacher, mentor and academic leader.”  

Brown is Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law at Emory Law, where she has focused on federal tax law and critical race theory in her courses and scholarship. A nationally recognized scholar in tax policy, race, and class, Brown has published dozens of articles, essays, and book chapters and is a regularly engaged expert by media including Bloomberg, CNN, National Public RadioThe New York TimesNational Law Journal, and Forbes. She graduated from Fordham University and Georgetown Law and received her LL.M in Taxation from New York University.