Why "race neutral" policy fails black small business owners: Lessons learned from the paycheck protection program and mapping an equitable path forward

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Utilizing critical race theory as the analytical lens, this chapter explores how the Paycheck Protection Program, which did not specify preference to race of applicant, nevertheless resulted in racialized outcomes. The chapter examines the program's primary features to understand whether the appearance of race neutrality obscures a White normative standard embedded within the program. The examination reveals that the program's design was more aligned with the White small business owner experience and that policymakers failed to adequately consider the unique needs of Black small business owners in formulating the program. The author argues that the program was therefore more accessible to White small business owners, was more beneficial to them, and helped to perpetuate the White advantage in small business outcomes. The chapter concludes with the recommendation that future small business policies should follow a targeted universalism approach. Suggestions for redesigning the Paycheck Protection Program, or similar small business policy, are provided.

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Sustainability and the Future of Work and Entrepreneurship for the Underserved

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