In this episode, Juliette talks to Lee Pelton, the President and CEO of The Boston Foundation, about his experience with double consciousness as a Black man. He shared how equity is now central to everything done by The Boston Foundation in order to close the racial wealth gap. He highlights that closing this gap would benefit everyone economically and offer security and well-being for all regardless of race or ethnicity.
Growing up in a working class Black enclave located in the middle of a predominantly White neighborhood, Lee became interested in making the invisible visible for young people, so they could see all of the opportunities and connections that would otherwise be unavailable to them. Lee believes that equity is about closing opportunity gaps between students instead of providing equal inputs as equality does, while acknowledging there are still narratives around zero-sum games which can lead to hate rooted from fear and ignorance.
Listen to hear Lee explain some examples such as Black homeowners facing appraisal levels 38% lower than their White counterparts due to historical challenges preventing people of color from creating wealth through home ownership, credit scores not taking into account rental history when assessing credit worthiness, banks experimenting with no down payments on mortgages, and cultural education around different cultures’ views on debt being necessary for lenders understanding alternative methods for evaluating creditworthiness without disadvantaging potential borrowers.
08:17 – It’s really an opportunity gap and so, equity is about closing the opportunity gap. That’s the difference between equality and equity is opportunity. And equality is about inputs. Equity is about outputs.
20:42 – This is part of a trend. It’s not anything new that equity sits in the center of everything that we do. I should say one of our most significant projects is an effort to close a racial wealth gap.
33:13 – I often quote James Baldwin who said that not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it’s faced, and that’s truth telling. And so, none of the issues that we have discussed today happened by accident. I would encourage us, ourselves and others, to understand how we got here. There’s a history here that we need to understand, and understanding it will help us resolve those issues.
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This episode is brought to you by Eastern Bank, the largest commercial bank headquartered in MA.