Despite an increasing awareness of income inequality in the US, it continues to widen, in part due to lack of effective redistributive policy. These policies are largely shaped by public opinion, and so it seems necessary to look at underlying patterns of social beliefs and preferences. In the US in particular, wage inequality has been rising since the 1980s, and most Americans agree that the government should do something to reduce the gap. Despite widening income inequality, however, public support for redistribution has stagnated. I argue that alongside other material factors, social norms of racial exclusion and optimism about equal access to social mobility in the US have sown an environment in which public support for redistribution, as a remedy for income inequality, remains low. I then discuss feasible norm-centered policies to promote social justice and cohesion.