|Born||April 3, 1978|
|Education||Brigham Young University (BA)|
New York University (JD)
|Employer||University of California, Irvine School of Law|
|How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy|
The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap
Early life and education
Baradaran was born in Orumieh, Iran, in 1978 and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1986. She earned her bachelor's degree cum laude from Brigham Young University and her J.D. degree cum laude from New York University. She served as a member of the New York University Law Review. She was an Academic Research Fellow at the New York University School of Law.
She joined the law faculty at the University of Georgia School of Law in 2012 and was the J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor, teaching contracts and banking law. Prior to that position, she taught banking regulation, property, and administrative law at Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School. Baradaran practiced law in the Davis, Polk & Wardwell financial institutions group in New York City. The Huffington Post described her as one of "a powerful cohort of Mormon women of color scholar-activists... who are powerful critics of racism, colonialism, and economic exploitation".
In November 2020, Baradaran was named a volunteer member of the Joe Biden presidential transition Agency Review Team to support transition efforts related to the United States Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve.
She spoke about her experience as a refugee from Iran in Slate in January 2017. She pointed out that she was one of the "immigrants and refugees from 'terrorist countries' that soon will be banned by executive order from coming [to America]". She concluded: "The irony for me is that it was Iran's tribalism and nationalism that put my family out in the first place. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's regime had said 'Iran First', too. They silenced the press, kicked out all the 'others', and ran the liberal intellectuals out of the country. I hope that's not what happens here. But even if it does, this is my home and I will keep working to make America great because I have so much hope in America".
Both Baradaran and her first book How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy (ISBN 9780674286061) have received national and international media coverage, the book having been featured in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Financial Times, the Irish Examiner, American Public Media's Marketplace, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, and TEDxUGA. In the book, she proposes postal banking, an idea that was endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. She gave a speech on the book and her thoughts on America's banking system generally to the American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers on 15 October 2015, again suggesting a return to postal banking, which was discontinued in 1967.
Her second book, The Color of Money: Black Banking and the Racial Wealth Gap was published in 2017 by Harvard University Press. She has also published articles including "Regulation by Hypothetical" in the Vanderbilt Law Review, "It's Time for Postal Banking" in the Harvard Law Review Forum, "Banking and the Social Contract" in the Notre Dame Law Review, "How the Poor Got Cut Out of Banking" in the Emory Law Journal, "Reconsidering the Separation of Banking and Commerce" in the George Washington Law Review and "The ILC and the Reconstruction of U.S. Banking" in the SMU Law Review. In 2020 her book The Color of Money inspired Netflix to commit $100 million to support Black communities.
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- "Washington Journal: Mehrsa Baradaran on Inequality in the U.S. Banking System". C-SPAN.org. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
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- Baradaran, Mehrsa (2014-02-07). "The Post Office Banks on the Poor". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
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- Elkins, Kathleen (2020-07-02). "Netflix commits $100 million to support Black communities—the employee who proposed the idea was inspired by this book". CNBC. Retrieved 2020-07-07.