2008 03 30_tfn_race_class_commopp_regionalequity
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2008 03 30_tfn_race_class_commopp_regionalequity 2008 03 30_tfn_race_class_commopp_regionalequity Presentation Transcript

  • Community, Race and Leadership Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities 2008 Special Conference Session john a. powell Executive Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity & Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Moritz College of Law March 30, 2008
  • Presentation Overview
    • The Intersection of Race and Class
    • Individual vs. Collective Action
    • Regional Equity / Communities of Opportunity
    • The Strategic Impact of Funding
  • Race and Class An important intersection
  • What do we mean by race?
    • Race is a scientific fiction; it is a social construction.
    • Despite the lack of scientific support, the social reality of race is substantial.
      • The racial categories into which we group people are not as problematic as the social meaning and racial hierarchy we assign to those groups.
  • What do we mean by class?
    • Class broadly refers to a group of people with shared characteristics (usually socioeconomic) within a social structure.
    • Class is often conceptualized by using
      • Income
      • Wealth
      • Social Status
      • or a combination of these.
  • Race and Class
    • “ We hear it said nowadays that there is no ‘race problem’ but only a ‘class problem.’ The Negro sharecropper is alleged to be destitute not because of his color-but because of his class position-and it is pointed out that there are white people who are equally poor. From a practical angle there is a point in this reasoning. But from a theoretical angle it contains escapism in new form…And it tends to conceal the whole system of special deprivations visited upon the Negro only because he is not white.”
    • - Gunnar Myrdal (1944). An American Dilemma.
  • The Intersection of Race and Class
    • Class is often used as a proxy for race.
      • Less controversial
      • Less divisive
    • Some assume that racial disparities are best addressed through class-based analyses.
  • The Intersection of Race and Class
    • Among the problems with using class as a proxy:
      • Using a class lens is too narrow.
      • Class is used to evade the race issue rather than address it.
      • The meaning of class is complex.
        • Class is multidimensional.
        • It is difficult to define yet must be understood to be utilized most effectively.
  • Race and Class
    • Race left a lasting imprint on how we perceive class.
      • The entrenched racial divide continues today.
      • The white face on the suburban middle class allowed for stereotyping of the “Black welfare queen” – which prevented the development of a welfare state similar to Europe or Canada.
    • Racial associations and assumptions are made with certain occupations – an example of class and race interacting.
  • Race and Class in the Spotlight: Hurricane Katrina
    • Why were African American and poor neighborhoods impacted the most from Katrina?
      • The dynamics of spatial inequity, combined with patterns of racial segregation
      • Flood risk in New Orleans was not equitably distributed and followed historical patterns of segregation in the city
    After levee breaks, the Ninth ward rapidly floods in New Orleans. Photo by Ted Jackson/ NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE) Evacuees sit stranded in the streets outside the Convention Center of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina September 3, 2005. REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON Hurricane Katrina brought attention to the connections between race and class in the U.S.
  • Race and Class
    • The polarity is false. A class analysis cannot do the work of a race alone . We need to understand relationship between race and class to understand either one.
    • As related sociological phenomena, race and class analyses are strongest when employed together.
    • Race and class are mutually constitutive.
      • Differential treatment of indentured servants and Black slaves led to barriers in collective organization
      • Led to racial distinction – middle class individualism and the Black underclass as “unworthy”
  • Connecting Class and Race
    • Class may be understood even less than race, but it is important to recognize it as both a cultural and economic formation.
    • Transformative potential lies in realizing the link between race and class.
  • Connecting Race and Class
    • Race and class should be considered together
      • Allows for a holistic understanding of the effects of societal arrangements
  • Race and Institutions
    • Racism need not be individualist or intentional.
    • Institutional and cultural practices can perpetuate race inequality without relying on racist actors.
    • Racialized systems not only impact institutional arrangements but also particular institutions with consequences for the entire society.
  • Race and Institutions
    • “Race has been an important factor in building, sustaining, and shifting the social and political structures and organizational arrangements that control the distribution of opportunity and resources across all populations.”
    Talking About Race Resource Notebook, Kirwan Institute.
  • Linked Fate
    • Racialized structures and policies have created the extreme correlation of race and poverty in our urban areas.
    • People then assume that only those harmed or isolated are people of color.
    • In reality, these effects are far reaching and impact everyone – linked fate .
      • Whites living in opportunity poor communities are also affected.
      • Poverty creates regional distress; this harms everyone in the region, including the elite.
  • Individual vs. Collective Action
  • “High-synergy” Society
    • Individual good is linked to community advancement
      • vs. individual advancement at the expense of community
    • Change the way we think about ourselves, our communities
      • Leads to change in institutional arrangements
  • “Low-synergy” Society
    • Exacerbates inequalities by limiting opportunities for:
      • Self advancement and civic contribution
      • Mobility
      • Wealth creation
      • Health
  • Low Synergy: Neighborhoods and Schools Lower Educational Outcomes for Urban School Districts Increased Flight of Affluent Families from Urban Areas Neighborhood (Housing) Segregation School Segregation (Economic)
  • Economic Segregation and Racial Segregation in Public Schools: Cleveland, OH & Akron, OH High poverty schools (Red and Yellow) are concentrated in African American neighborhoods (Areas in Gray)
  • Transactional vs. Transformative
    • A transactional intervention is one that may impact outcomes across several domains but does not fundamentally change the way structures and institutions operate.
    • A transformative intervention is one that works to permanently transform structural arrangements.
  • Conditions for Change
    • Moving from a transactional to a transformational paradigm requires:
      • Structural change
      • Re-defining the self in relation to others
      • Eliminating racial segregation
      • Adjusting the poverty lens
  • Conditions for Change (1)
    • Structural change
      • Institutions should allow for participation and dissent of individuals in a democratic society
      • For those in poverty, this participation is denied as they lack access to power, influence, and choice; thus, poverty is maintained
        • Structures act as filters, creating cumulative barriers to opportunity
      • Reorganization of institutions to encourage the “emergence of differences” is one example of transformative thinking
  • Conditions for Change (2)
    • Re-defining the self in relation to others
      • Linking individual and community well-being
  • Conditions for Change (3)
    • Eliminating racial segregation
      • Racial segregation undermines our ability to reach a transformative society
      • Racial Segregation = Opportunity Segregation
    School Segregation REGIONAL EFFECT Housing Segregation Labor Market Segregation
  • Conditions for Change (4)
    • Adjusting the poverty lens
      • Re-define, re-think, and re-frame
        • Re-define: from an “income-to-needs” ratio to “Human Development Index”
        • Re-think: unconscious vs. conscious racism
          • Our emotional responses to poverty determine our willingness to help
        • Re-frame: from a “welfare and charity” approach to an “opportunity for all” approach
  • Conditions for Change
    • Challenge: Avoiding Universalism
    • An example of Transactional thinking
      • Uneven distribution of pathways to opportunity
      • Universal programs do not account for the differences in experience among Whites and people of color
        • Poverty-reduction programs, social security
      • Inability to reach opportunity through these universal programs is seen as an individual failure
  • Regional Equity / Communities of Opportunity
  • Equity as a Diagnostic Tool
    • The “Miner’s Canary” metaphor
      • Disparities facing communities of color are indicators of larger societal challenges
  • Capital Market ‘Credit crunch’ Affected neighborhoods are being reduced to ‘ghost towns’ Reduced spending and retail flight Families lose their homes, wealth and safety Banks, police and courts saddled with foreclosures SUBPRIME LENDING: We didn’t care about the canary...
  • Disparities and Regional Health
    • Wasted Creative Capacity . The wasted creative capacity associated with a lack of social, economic and educational opportunity drags down the competitive strength of the entire region.
    • Fragmented Economic Voice . To attract investment in the global economy, regions must act collectively to promote themselves, and they must align key infrastructure and assets to be more innovative, efficient and competitive.
  • Disparities and Regional Health
    • Paying for Exclusion . Residential segregation is fueled by exclusionary housing policies, but these policies come at a price for all residents.
    • Inefficient Infrastructure and Government Services . Regions that are highly fragmented into hundreds of local governments are often inefficient with respect to infrastructure and government services.
  • To thrive, regions must be competitive in the global economy
        • Inequality is a sign of an economically and socially inefficient region
        • These disparities make the region less competitive, nationally and globally
  • Regional Equity
    • “At its core, regional equity seeks to ensure that individuals and families in all communities can participate in and benefit from economic growth and activity throughout the metropolitan region… In today’s economy, the region is the backdrop against which opportunity and exclusion play out in America.”
    • Source: Policy Link, Regional Equity and Smart Growth: Opportunities for Advancing Social and Economic Justice in America. 2004.
  • Regional Equity: More than Reducing Disparities
    • Goal: Investing in People and Places
    • In practice: Providing opportunities in
      • Housing
      • Education
      • Workforce development
      • Economic development
  • Effects of Regional Inequity
    • Reduced productive and creative capacities of people
    • Reduced economic development
    • Limited affordable housing
    • Sprawl
  • Equitable Regionalism
    • The city’s economic future is dependent on its most plentiful natural resource, human capacity and innovation .
    • Without addressing the social, racial and interregional inequities facing the region, the future of the entire region is compromised.
  • A Transformative Agenda: Achieving Regional Equity through an Opportunity Based Model
    • Everyone should have fair access to the critical opportunity structures needed to succeed in life.
    • Low Opportunity neighborhoods limit the development of human capital.
    • A Community of Opportunity approach can develop pathways that result in increased social and economic health, benefiting everyone.
  • Regional Equity: An opportunity based approach
    • Strategies for connecting to opportunity:
      • A people-focused approach that gives families more choice in where to live and go to school
      • An in-place strategy that seeks to bring investment and resources into distressed communities
      • A linkages approach that connects low-income neighborhoods and residents to opportunity through improved transportation and social or business networking
  • What is Opportunity Based Housing? A Regional Intervention to Support Equity
    • Affordable housing must be deliberately and intelligently connected to high performing schools, sustainable employment, necessary transportation infrastructure, childcare, and institutions that facilitate civic and political activity.
  • Housing is a critical intervention point into the complex web of opportunity. Housing is a component of a larger set of interrelated structures that are both affected by housing and have impacts on the attainment of safe, stable housing. Fiscal Policies Housing Childcare Employment Education Health Transportation Effective Participation
  • Housing Opportunities Lead to Equity
    • Parents who have access to affordable housing have more money to spend on transportation
    • More money spent on transportation provides them with access to a broader range of jobs
    • A better job provides more money, which provides their children with better educational opportunities
    • Well-fed children with stable housing will do better in school
    • Having access to greater educational opportunities and doing better in school allows these children to achieve regular employment
  • Regional Equity: The Impacts of Sprawl
    • Sprawl and fragmentation cause detrimental impacts to inner city communities of color in multiple areas:
      • Education
      • Disinvestment
      • Economic Opportunity
      • Housing Opportunity
  • Sprawl, Inequity, and Education 50 years after the Brown Decision, America’s schools have re-segregated into affluent white districts and poor under-funded African American and Hispanic districts Structural Inequality Produces Dysfunctional Schools Institutional Arrangements
  • Sprawl, Fragmentation, and Disinvestment in Communities of Color
    • Decades of suburban flight have drained low income inner city neighborhoods of people, business, and investment.
    • High vacancy rates and poor investment harms the quality of life for inner city residents and limits the resources (tax base) for low income communities.
  • Sprawl, Inequity, and Economic Opportunity
    • A 2001 Brookings Institution study found a significant relationship between fragmentation and job decentralization in the 100 largest metro areas.
    • Job decentralization (or job sprawl) blocks access to employment for residents of the central city and inner-ring suburbs.
    “ Job Sprawl” in Michigan
    • Jobs have moved away from the labor pool in many metropolitan areas, making connecting job-seekers with jobs a challenge which is compounded by poor public transportation.
    • 40% of all suburban jobs cannot
    • be reached by public transportation.
    • Public investment disproportionately
    • favors highways over public transportation.
    Sprawl, Inequity, and Economic Opportunity
  • Sprawl, Fragmentation, and Housing Opportunity
    • Sprawl and fragmentation reduce access to the housing market for low income residents (especially people of color).
      • Suburban zoning regulations artificially drive up the cost of housing and do not allow enough rental housing.
        • New housing is unaffordable to low income residents and most people of color.
      • Disinvestment in the inner city reduces
      • the asset value (wealth) of homeowners in
      • inner city neighborhoods.
  • The Cumulative Impact of Sprawl, Fragmentation, and Spatial Racism: Opportunity Segregation
    • The cumulative impact of sprawl, fragmentation and spatial racism work together to segregate low income residents from opportunities such as:
      • Good schools, meaningful employment, safe and stable neighborhoods
      • This is “opportunity segregation”
  • Cleveland Regionalism Report
    • Commissioned by the Presidents’ Council
    • Funding from the Cleveland Foundation
    • First major discussion on regionalism structured and led by African American and City leadership
    • Move away from city versus suburb model
  • The Strategic Impact of Funding
  • Strategic Impact of Funding
    • Game theory suggests that small, networked groups change faster than big ones, and that “bridge” members among groups are key
    • Grab the low-hanging apples, but align them with long-term goals and link them to other “apples”
    Paul Ranson, Apple Tree with Red Fruit, c.1902
  • Coalition Building
    • Action-linked intervention should focus on multi-racial and multi-ethnic coalitions
      • Leadership and coalition building will be vital to creating the political momentum for change
      • Regional actors must have an inclusive series of conversations that foregrounds equity
      • The capacity to coordinate and move various initiatives forward must be developed
      • Residents can assist in developing public support for the policy reforms needed to revitalize the region
  • Linked Fates…Transformative Change
    • Our fates are linked, yet our fates have been socially constructed as disconnected, especially through the categories of class, race, gender, nationality, region…
  • Questions or Comments? For More Information Visit Us On-Line: www.KirwanInstitute.org
  • Appendix Obama’s Speech on Race March 18, 2008 in Philadelphia, PA
  • A Transformative Discourse on Race
    • Senator Barack Obama’s March 18, 2008 speech on race in Philadelphia, PA:
      • Discussed the salience of race explicitly
      • Made indirect references to linked fate
      • Acknowledged the stresses of all groups
      • Recognized that individual interests are structured by social and institutional arrangements