Patents & Race

Guest: Lisa Cook, Professor of Economics, Michigan State University

Modern traffic light. The gas mask. Elevator doors that open and close automatically. The electric curling iron. A process for making coconut oil. All of those things were invented by African Americans in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s just a partial list, but Michigan State University economist Lisa Cook wonders what’s not on that list. Her research shows periods of extreme violence and hatred against Blacks in America also coincide with a plunge in patents being awarded to African Americans.

Listen here.