Algernon Austin is an economist at the think tank Demos and the author of the book America Is Not Post-Racial.
"I think what sometimes people miss is, what are the comparisons?"
He points out that college-educated and high-earning black folks are in many ways more likely to be better off than black people who earn less.
But Austin, who did not work on NPR's poll, adds there is overwhelming data showing that when comparing educated and high-earning blacks to their white counterparts, the gap is substantial.
"The college-educated whites are going to have significantly more wealth, going to be less likely unemployed, they're moving further in terms of their careers," he said, "So in that comparison, what African-Americans see, reinforces the sense of inequality in American society."