3rd Edition

Inequality in America Race, Poverty, and Fulfilling Democracy's Promise

By Stephen Caliendo Copyright 2022
    308 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    308 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Why does inequality have such a hold on American society and public policy? And what can we, as citizens, do about it? Inequality in America takes an in-depth look at race, class, and gender-based inequality across a wide range of issues from housing and education to crime, employment, and health. Caliendo explores how individual attitudes can affect public opinion and lawmakers’ policy solutions. He also illustrates how these policies result in systemic barriers to advancement that often then contribute to individual perceptions. This cycle of disadvantage and advantage can be difficult—though not impossible—to break. "Representing" and "What Can I Do?" feature boxes highlight key public figures who have worked to combat inequality and encourage students to do the same.

    The third edition has been thoroughly revised to include the most current data and cover recent issues and events such as Trump Administration policies, the #MeToo movement, and U.S. Supreme Court decisions affecting issues of racial representation and voting rights. Concise and accessible, Inequality in America paves the way for students to think critically about the attitudes, behaviors, and structures of inequality.

    New to the Third Edition

    • New to the Third Edition

      • Considers the heightened discussion of racial reckoning that has been occurring since the summer of 2020.
      • Covers the disproportional effect to communities of color of the Covid-19 global pandemic and related recession
      • Takes an early glimpse into Biden Administration priorities compared to Trump Administration policies on education, immigration, housing and urban development.
      • Updates feature boxes, including a spotlight on U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative.
      • Discusses the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, the #MeToo and #TimesUp Movements, and much more.

    List of Illustrations,

    List of Feature Boxes,


    Introduction: The Politics of Inequality

    1. Representation and the Roots of Inequality

    2. Income and Wealth

    3. Housing

    4. Education

    5. Crime and Criminal Justice

    6. Immigration and Employment


    8. Gender

    9. Affirmative Action

    Conclusion: The Space Between Power and Powerlessness




    Stephen M. Caliendo is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Political Science at North Central College. He is the author, co-author, or co-editor of multiple books, including The Routledge Companion to Race and Ethnicity and Race Appeal: How Candidates Invoke Race in U.S. Political Campaigns.

    Praise for Inequality in America

    "Uncommonly balanced and fully accessible."―Publishers Weekly

    "A well-researched and insightful perspective on economic inequality and its conflict with American ideals."―Booklist

    "A welcome addition to American politics classes. Caliendo's textbook covers an array of important topics within the broad field of American income inequality. . . . In addition to providing foundational definitions, Caliendo's textbook offers an excellent introduction to the drivers of income inequality, with a particular focus on racial income inequality."―Political Science Quarterly

    Inequality in America introduces students to otherwise somewhat closed scholarly debates on inequality and its pertinent issues. The richly textured coverage of vital public policy questions related to inequality and its data-driven foundation are the strengths of the book. Students will find the format of the book appealing. Interesting features such as the "Representing" sections of each chapter help hone the respective chapters' themes and coverage. Moreover, the "What Can I do?" section in each chapter offers very useful and empowering strategies for students to take up as they try to negotiate the many challenges that confront their generation."―James Taylor, University of San Francisco

    "Inequality in America is an important addition to an introductory course in American government. It is clearly written and accessible to students, while thoughtfully addressing the complex institutionalization of inequality, and its effects, in the United States. Though there are texts that address racial politics more generally, this book is unique in its specific focus on the systemic nature of inequality and its focus on the intersections of race, poverty, and gender."―Catherine Paden, Simmons University

    "Inequality in America is a thorough and comprehensive review of the state of race- and socioeconomic-status-based inequality from a multidisciplinary perspective. The author includes a great mix of political science, history, economics, and sociology. I highly recommend this book for anyone teaching an undergraduate course on U.S. inequality."―S. Michael Gaddis, The Pennsylvania State University