Obama’s Policy Agenda: Implications for Black Communities and the Role of PhilanthropyPresentation Transcript
Obama’s Policy Agenda: Implications for Black Communities and the Role of Philanthropy john a. powell Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Moritz College of Law ABFE Annual Board Retreat February 10, 2009 New Orleans, LA
The current recession – racially disparate effects
The need for racially sensitive policies
Assessing the current stimulus package
Implications for communities of color
How do the issues connect?
Opportunities for foundations
The Current Recession: Racially Disparate Effects
“ In this economy, people of color benefit the least compared to their white counterparts during economic booms and suffer disproportionally more during economic downturns. As W.E.B. DuBois once said,
‘ To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.’”
The current recession has affected everyone – but not all to the same degree.
Although the U.S. has been in a recession for more than a year, people of color have been in a recession for nearly five years and have entered a depression during the current economic crisis.
Although the black poverty rate fell 8.5% from 1989 to 2000, the African American family poverty rate increased 2.8% from 2000 to 2007.
Poverty rates for Hispanic families grew .5% from 2000 to 2007. The Hispanic family poverty rate (19.7%) is roughly twice that of the overall poverty rate (9.8%).
The Recession in Racial Terms Unemployment rates by demographic group projected to 2010 Mishel, Lawrence and Heidi Shierholz. “Without Adequate Public Spending, A Catastrophic Recession for Some.” EPI Issue Brief # 248. 1-13-09 35.7% 16.3% Hispanic 55.7% 30.9% Black 30.1% 16.4% All Teenagers: 13.1% 5.9% Hispanic 18.2% 8.6% Black 8.9% 4.3% White By race/ethnicity: 10.2% 4.8% Unemployment Rate (overall) Projected 2010:2 2007:4
The Recession in Racial Terms The Future of Underemployment without Recovery Package Mishel, Lawrence and Heidi Shierholz. “Without Adequate Public Spending, A Catastrophic Recession for Some.” EPI Issue Brief # 248. 1-13-09
This ratio was at a record high of 63.5% in 2000. Once the 2001 recession and weak economic recovery hit, these gains were lost and have yet to be recovered. Austin, Algernon. “What a Recession Means for Black America.” EPI Issue Brief # 241. 18 Jan. 2008.
The Need for Racially Sensitive Policies Targeted Universalism
You say crisis, I say opportunity
“ You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama's new chief of staff, told a Wall Street Journal conference of top corporate chief executives
A crisis creates a sense of urgency
No one can deny that the system is broken
An opportunity to learn what worked and what did not
Civil War Reconstruction
Depression New Deal
2008-2009 Recession ?
Learning From Our Mistakes?
If we fail to pay attention to populations and the resources that communities possess, we are likely to repeat the mistakes of the New Deal.
White Americans may benefit disproportionately
How do we avoid the New Deal mistakes?
We must be intentional.
Policies should be targeted and programs should be structured so that they reach certain populations and communities.
We Need A New Paradigm
Targeted policies alone are not desirable because they appear to show favoritism toward a certain group, thus stigmatizing them.
Universal policies alone are not useful.
They fail to account for the fact that people are situated differently in the economic and social landscape of society
“ Universal” policies are often based on a non-universal standard
Ex: Social Security: able-bodied white males working outside the home full-time for pay
Thus… Targeted Universalism
This approach supports the needs of the particular while reminding us that we are all part of the same social fabric.
Universal, yet captures how people are differently situated
Inclusive, yet targets those who are most marginalized
Example goal: Every school as a performing school
What does each school need to get there?
What does each student, family, teacher, community need?
What are their strengths and constraints?
Targeted Universalism recognizes racial disparities and the importance of eradicating them, while acknowledging their presence within a larger inequitable, institutional framework
Targeted universalism is a common framework through which to pursue justice.
A model which recognizes our linked fate
A model where we all grow together
A model where we embrace collective solutions
Ex: Economic Stimulus Package
The economic stimulus package fails to directly account for race.
Yet, race is a key component of many major economic issues.
Ex: Subprime/Foreclosure crisis:
People of color are more than three times as likely as whites to have subprime mortgages.
Borrowers of color were more than 30 percent more likely to receive a higher-rate loan than white borrowers, even after accounting for differences in risk.
Besides considering race-sensitive design,
we must be concerned about the impacts.
Rogers, Christy. “Subprime Loans, Foreclosure, and the Credit Crisis – A Primer.” Dec. 2008.
Assessing the Economic Stimulus Plan The Implications for Communities of Color
Analyzing the Stimulus and Our Values
Questions to consider:
What are our public values for the next century?
Does the stimulus package advance fair investment in all people and communities?
Does it promote economic and environmental sustainability?
Does it have transparent controls for personal, institutional, and regulatory accountability?
Is it sensitive to the needs of racially marginalized groups and communities?
Assessing the Stimulus Package
Projections indicate that the stimulus package will not impact all groups to the same degree.
People are not only spatially segregated, but segregation also occurs by sector.
Stimulus: Projected Distribution of Jobs by Race
African Americans are underrepresented relative to their presence in the U.S. population (13%). Hispanics/Latinos, also at 13% of the U.S. population, are overrepresented.
These overestimates/underestimates are often industry specific. Consider the construction industry, a key component to the stimulus plan’s infrastructure building: Call out of construction sector jobs by race
Applying Targeted Universalism
These “shovel ready” stimulus package jobs “can benefit unemployed people of color and women if specific incentives and enforcement tools are enacted to ensure fair access to these opportunities.
All stimulus projects should require local resident hiring goals and create a link to community-based groups as the first line contact for construction jobs.
Local hiring requirements are a proven approach to bring jobs to under-represented constituencies in construction trades. These requirements can be applied to permanent jobs as well.”
Center for Social Inclusion. “Economic Recovery for Everyone: Racial Equity and Prosperity.” Talking Points.
http://www.racewire.org/ An alternative analysis: Comparing projected state spending with the racial demographics of each state
Seeing the Connections
Attempts to address singular issues in isolated ways will ultimately fail
Targeted interventions must recognize the interconnected nature of our structures
While many policy areas can appear distinct, we must think of them collectively.
Is this an urban policy issue?
An environmental issue?
A jobs/economic issue?
Systems Theory Highlights These Relationships
Systems Theory is a transdisciplinary model that focuses on a web of relationships and processes and not on linear, singular causation or the intent of one or even a few individuals.
In a complex systems model, actions and inactions have multiple effects, and the delayed or distant consequences are often different from more proximate effects.
From a systems perspective, causation is cumulative and mutual.
Outcomes are caused by many actors’ and institutions’ actions and inactions over time and across domains.
Outcomes are the result of causes that accumulate over time and across domains.
Visualizing Systems Theory
System Interactions Source: Barbara Reskin. http://faculty.uwashington.edu/reskin/ We must pay attention to how people are situated by looking at multiple indicators and the relationships that exist between those indicators.
Ex: Connecting Housing Policy & Education Policy
With lower profits and decreased access to capital, fewer corporations are investing in affordable housing (construction or renovation) while homelessness is on the rise.
The economic recovery bill passed by the House (1-28-09) “would temporarily allow state housing agencies to exchange some credits for federal grants, which they would then distribute to developers to support the production of affordable rental housing.”
This is an opportunity for us to re-think how we target LIHTC projects to high-opportunity areas.
Fischer, Will. “Exchange Plan in House Recovery Bill Offers Best Fix for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. February 2, 2009.
Ex: Connecting Housing Policy & Education Policy
LIHTC often concentrates housing units in racially isolated school districts.
This exacerbates the educational challenges facing low-income children, particularly children of color.
Racially Sensitive Policies
We must embrace a systems thinking perspective when forming policies.
What do racially sensitive policies look like?
Targeted : They recognize the nature of our interconnected structures / larger inequitable, institutional framework.
Pay attention to situatedness : They account for the fact that people are situated differently in the economic and social landscape of society.
Driven by outcomes : It may seem great if unemployment is cut in half, but if all the jobs go to white males, serious problems remain.
Racially Sensitive Policies (con’t)
What do racially sensitive policies look like?
Transparent : - Transparency allows for gauging progress and making corrections if necessary.
Multi-faceted : Incentivize a systems approach. Reorient how we think about policy.
Include people of color in the process : Their input is vital.
Serve as a bridge to the next economy : These policies should be the stepping stones for the future.
Race-Sensitive Policy Analysis of the Stimulus
How do we make the stimulus fair, sustainable, accountable?
Incentives for inclusion of people of color
Investment in public transit (prioritize projects that connect people to jobs)
Grants and loans for small and minority-, women-, and community-disadvantaged businesses
Collect data by race and gender to understand impacts of economic recovery policy
Wiley, Maya. “Economic Recovery for Everyone: Racial Equity and Prosperity,” Center for Social Inclusion, 12/2008.
Opportunities for Philanthropy
The stimulus offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to influence federal and state policy.
Foundations need to shape and direct the flow of money.
Intervene in the public dialogue:
Targeting the flow of stimulus money dispersed to states
Connecting education and housing policy through the targeted use of LIHTC funds
Draw on your experience and research
Present a clear, informed perspective regarding communities of color that have been devastated by the economic recession
Opportunities for Philanthropy
Long term :
Employ strategic communications regarding race
Help push national dialogue to overcome the common binary of (1) we’re in a post-racial world where race ‘doesn’t matter’; (2) we’re stuck in the past where race is ‘everything’
Emphasize productive discussions around race that thoughtfully inform policy design and advocacy
Increase the participation of marginalized groups in policy design
Improve data collection, monitoring, and evaluation of state and federal programs
Questions or Comments? For More Information, Visit Us Online: www.KirwanInstitute.org
Obama’s Policy Agenda –
Selected notes from www.whitehouse.gov
Economy – ‘ American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan’
Double the production of alternative energy in the next 3 years
Modernize more than 75% of federal buildings; improve the energy efficiency of 2 million American homes
Make the immediate investments necessary to computerize all of America’s medical records
Equip schools, community colleges, and public universities with 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries
Expand broadband across America
Invest in the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries
Create a White House Office on Urban Policy
Fully fund the Community Development Block Grant
Increase access to capital for underserved businesses
Strengthen core infrastructure, including roads and bridges
Increase the supply of affordable housing throughout metropolitan regions
Reduce recidivism by providing ex-offender supports
Foster healthy communities – playgrounds, parks
“ Zero to Five Plan”- a comprehensive plan that places emphasis on early care and education so children are ready to enter kindergarten
Expand Early Head Start and Head Start
Increase access to affordable, high-quality child care and after school programs
Reform No Child Left Behind – lessen emphasis on standardized tests
Make math and science education a national priority
Address the dropout crisis
Simplify the application process for financial aid in higher ed
Strengthen employer coverage, make insurance companies accountable, and ensure patient choice of doctor and care without government interference
Provide affordable, accessible health care for all Americans, build on the existing health care system, and use existing providers, doctors, and plans
Promote public health - Require coverage of preventive services
Make health insurance work for people and businesses, not just insurance and drug companies
Reduce costs and save a typical American family up
Invest in alternative and renewable energy, end our addiction to foreign oil, address the global climate crisis and create millions of new jobs
Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars -- cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon -- on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America
Ensure 10% of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25% by 2025
Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050