Expanding Opportunity for All: Responding to the Situatedness of Marginalized Populations john a. powell Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Moritz College of Law Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation Symposium on Race April 14, 2009
Racial inclusion, racial diversity, and racial fairness are not the same thing.
We can talk about diversity in terms of individuals or groups.
Adding individuals can increase diversity, but their true impact on the larger group depends on whether they are trying to fit into a “pre-made” space or whether they are allowed to alter the group space.
Analogy: “immigrant country” – space into which one assimilates vs. “settler country” – being able to “re-make” society
White (non-Hispanic): 17.9 million in poverty, 9.3% poverty rate
Black: 9.0 million in poverty, 25.3% poverty rate
Asian: 1.4 million in poverty, 10.7% poverty rate
Latino (all Latinos): 9.3 million in poverty, 21.5% poverty rate
Poverty Data Jargowsky, Paul A. "Stunning Progress, Hidden Problems: The Dramatic Decline of Concentrated Poverty in the 1990s." Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy. The Brookings Institution. May 2003.
Source: Brown University & Lewis Mumford Center
Structural racialization involves a series of exclusions, often anchored in (and perpetuating) spatial segregation.
Historically marginalized people of color and the very poor have been spatially isolated from economic, political, educational and technological power via reservations, Jim Crow, Appalachian mountains, ghettos, barrios, and the culture of incarceration.
Poverty Map: Boston Metro Area African Americans in poverty and high poverty census tracts
Many feel that this racialization of concentrated poverty has improved in recent years.
In 1960, African-American families in poverty were 3.8 times more likely to be concentrated in high-poverty neighborhoods than poor whites.
In 2000, they were 7.3 times more likely.
Fact Sheet from the Opportunity Agenda, Housing Neighborhoods and Opportunity. http://www.opportunityagenda.org/site/c.mwL5KkN0LvH/b.1433711/k.B7BA/Housing_Fact_Sheet.htm
The Cumulative Impacts of Spatial, Racial and Opportunity Segregation Neighborhood Segregation School Segregation Racial stigma, other psychological impacts Job segregation Impacts on community power and individual assets Impacts on Educational Achievement Exposure to crime; arrest Transportation limitations and other inequitable public services Adapted from figure by Barbara Reskin at: http://faculty.washington.edu/reskin/ Segregation impacts a number of life-opportunities Impacts on Health
Barriers to Fair Housing: The Web of Housing Challenges Housing Challenges Subsidized Housing Policies Discriminatory And Unfair Lending A Housing Market That Does Not Serve the Population Racial Steering And Discrimination Exclusionary Zoning
Prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin
“ Even where an employer is not motivated by discriminatory intent, Title VII prohibits an the employer from using a facially neutral employment practice that has an unjustified adverse impact on members of a protected class.”
Our own understandings of ourselves interact with the views that others hold about us.
“ We are all androgynous, not only because we are all born of a woman impregnated by the seed of a man but because each of us, helplessly and forever, contains the other -- male in female, female in male, white in black and black in white. We are a part of each other. Many of my countrymen appear to find this fact exceedingly inconvenient and even unfair, and so, very often, do I. But none of us can do anything about it.”
Analyzing Policies and Perspectives Targeted Universalism Systems Theory
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%).
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.
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.
Gaston County v. United States – North Carolina sought to reinstate a literacy test as a qualification for voting. The Court found a violation of the Voting Rights Act because segregated schools "deprived its black residents of equal educational opportunities, which in turn deprived them of an equal chance to pass a literacy test."
An apparently impartial literacy test was found to be a violation of the Voting Rights Act when one examined the institutional relationship between segregated education and voting restrictions.
Working collaboratively on strategies for addressing the needs of marginalized communities
The recently completed opportunity mapping project in Massachusetts highlights the unique challenges facing MLAC’s clients. These maps provide the context for analyzing fair housing policies and a variety of other social issues.
What characterizes an active member of a democratic society?
How do you measure social inclusion?
What blocks membership?
Who makes meaning?
What are the ‘everyday’ politics?
“ You know, even if 40 percent of the people in a community are poor, it means 60 percent are not. So we have to ask ourselves, what are those 60 percent doing and thinking? And in the case of these chronically-poor places, my experience and others' is that they're distancing themselves from the poor rather than looking for ways to bring them into the Boy Scouts or into the after-school program or into the same church as the more middle-class folks…”*
*Quote from “Why Poverty Persists in Appalachia,” PBS interview with Cynthia Duncan (author of Worlds Apart: Why Poverty Persists in Rural America) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/countryboys/readings/duncan.html
“ In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.”
~Peggy McIntosh – “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”