Emily Flitter, "The White Wall: How Big Finance Bankrupts Black America" (Atria/One Signal Publishers, 2022)


In 2018, Emily Flitter received a tip that Morgan Stanley had fired a Black employee without cause. Flitter had been searching for a way to investigate the deep-rooted racism in the American financial industry, and that one tip lit the sparkplug for a three-year journey through the shocking yet normalized corruption in our financial institutions.

Examining local insurance agencies and corporate titans like JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, and Wells Fargo and reveals the practices that have kept the racial wealth gap practically as wide as it was during the Jim Crow era. Flitter exposes hiring and layoff policies designed to keep Black employees from advancing to high levels; racial profiling of customers in internal emails between bank tellers; major insurers refusing to pay Black policyholders’ claims; and the systematic denial of funding to Black entrepreneurs. She also gives a voice to victims, from single mothers to professional athletes to employees themselves: people who were scammed, lied to, and defrauded by the systems they trusted with their money, and silenced when they attempted to speak out and seek reform.

Flitter connects the dots between data, history, legal scholarship, and powerful personal stories to provide a “must-read wake-up call” (Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, president of KNOWN Holdings) about what it means to bank while Black. As America continues to confront systemic racism and pave a path forward, The White Wall: How Big Finance Bankrupts Black America (Atria/One Signal Publishers, 2022) is an essential examination of one of its most caustic contributors.

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Nicole Trujillo-Pagan

Nicole Trujillo-Pagán is a sociologist and Associate Professor at Wayne State University who studies race, the Latina/o/x population, and socio-spatial mobility. You can follow her on Twitter @BorderStruggles.

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