Dorothy Brown, Emory University School of Law

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Spotlight Spotlight interviews advocates, community leaders and policymakers who have dedicated their careers to improving our communities, our nation and the world.

Dorothy A. Brown is a professor of law at Emory University and teaches several tax classes and a critical race theory seminar.  A nationally recognized scholar in the area of race, class, and tax policy, she has authored dozens of articles, including Race and Class Matters in Tax Policy, published in the Columbia Law Review.

Who inspired you to do the work you are doing?

The late Jerome Culp wrote an article that asked the question: “How do you know if there isn’t a race and tax problem if you never aked it?”

I read it; called him; and told him that I was going to ask the question. The article set my research agenda for the forseeable future.

What is the biggest challenge facing the United States and how would you fix it?

I am a tax law professor and I see taxes everywhere. So, I think the growing inequality is one of the biggest policy challenges facing the Unites States and I think our current tax code increases the inequality. Taxing income from stocks differently than income from wages disadvantages most Anericans and rewards the richest among us.

Where can we find more of your work?

My faculty web page at Emory Law School has a list of my writings which are available here:

What advice do you have for young people interested in your field?

Stay informed. You are never too young to read the newspaper. Listen with a critical ear. Not everything you hear is right. Arm yourself with facts and argue back. Write a letter to the editor if somehting gets you angry!

How do you find balance with a career as demanding as yours?

I spend time away from work. I love to shop, read, watch movies, and enjoy the company of friends. Some of my favorite TV shows include Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal because they have strong, intelligent female characters of color. My guilty pleasure is shopping at Jeffrey in Atlanta.

Who would play you in a movie and why?

I would love to have Viola Davis play me in a movie. She is a BRILLIANT actress; extremely bright, and socially conscious. And I love her hair when she wears it natural!

What are your comfort foods?

My macaroni and cheese. If I say so myself, it’s pretty amazing.