Brooklyn Law Review


Nantiya Ruan


The racial pay gap in the US is staggering. Wealth disparities between Black, Latinx, and white households reflect the compound negative effects of discrimination, inequality, and lack of opportunities experienced by communities of color. One understudied way to address racial pay equity and the wealth gap is to examine how to widen career paths of high-paying, stable careers for people of color. Career paths are not equal. Some jobs are dead-end, minimum wage-paying, with little to no hope of promotion into a salary that catapults an earner into the next socioeconomic class. Others have growth potential, comfortable wages, and important employee benefits, like health care and retirement. In the corporate sector, with robust salaries and a growing number of jobs, the doors to high paying careers and promotional paths to leadership for people of color are too-often closed tight. This article theorizes that to combat racial pay inequity, and narrow the racial wealth gap, the corporate sector—especially the financial sector—must reexamine and realign their hiring, retention, and promotion practices to ensure success for the people of color that work for them. By relying upon socio-legal research and scholarship on the barriers facing workers of color in financial firms, analyzing the waves of structural reform efforts of employment discrimination class litigations, and providing a blueprint on how financial firms can disrupt bias and remedy racism and discrimination in their workplaces, this article hopes to spur a broader conversation on how to move the needle in racial pay equity.