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Creating Momentum for Transformative Change: Addressing the Racialized Structure of Opportunity

Creating Momentum for Transformative Change: Addressing the Racialized Structure of Opportunity






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    Creating Momentum for Transformative Change: Addressing the Racialized Structure of Opportunity Creating Momentum for Transformative Change: Addressing the Racialized Structure of Opportunity Presentation Transcript

    • Creating Momentum for Transformative Change: Addressing the Racialized Structure of Opportunity john a. powell Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Moritz College of LawTIDES Momentum ConferenceSeptember 7-9, 2009San Francisco
    • 2My Biographyo I grew up.
    • 3My ParentsMy parents weresharecroppers inthe South.They left theSouth in search ofopportunity.
    • 4 HomeThey moved northseeking opportunity andbought a house.Today I would say theybought into a decliningarea or low opportunitystructure.
    • 5 My Old Neighborhood The vacant grassyplots are not parks.
    • Where are all the people? Suburbs Suburbs Central Suburbs City Thisfragmentationdepresses thewhole region. Suburbs
    • 7 What’s left behind?Vacant lots andabandoned houses
    • 8Where I Grew UpI grew up in a low opportunity structure in a declining opportunity city.
    • 9It is also known as Detroit. DeconstructedOpportunity Structures and Neighborhoods
    • 10Place and Life Outcomes • We all live in opportunity structures. Health • The opportunities available Childcare Employment to all people are not the same. Housing EffectiveParticipation Education • Opportunity is racialized. Transportation
    • 11 Some people ride the Others have to run up“Up” escalator to reach the “Down” escalator opportunity. to get there.
    • 12 Opportunity is Racializedo Structures and policies are not neutral. They unevenly School distribute benefits and Lower Segregation & burdens. Educational Concentrated Outcomes Povertyo Institutions can operate jointly to produce racialized outcomes.o This institutional uneven Racial and Increased distribution & racial Economic Flight marking has negative Neighborhood of Affluent consequences for all of us. Segregation Families
    • 13 Isn’t this just an issue of poverty?o No – even if it was, that would not be an adequate answer.o For those living in high poverty neighborhoods, structural factors can significantly inhibit life outcomes.  Low income urban blacks are many times more likely to live in structures where there is little opportunity.  It is not much better for rural blacks or Latinos.
    • 14Which community would you choose?
    • 15 A Tale of High and Low Opportunity Structures Low Opportunity High Opportunity• Less the 25% of students in • The year my step daughter Detroit finish high school finished high school, 100% of the students graduated and 100%• More the 60% of the men will went to college spend time in jail • Most will not even drive by a jail• There may soon be no bus service in some areas • Free bus service• It is difficult to attract jobs or • Relatively easy to attract capital private capital • Very safe; great parks• Not safe; very few parks • Easy to get fresh food• Difficult to get fresh food
    • 16I now live in a high opportunity structure.
    • 17 Opportunity Matters: Neighborhoods & Access to Opportunityo High poverty areas with poor employment, underperforming schools, distressed housing and public health/safety risks depress life outcomes  A system of disadvantageo People of color are far more likely to live in opportunity deprived neighborhoods and communities
    • 18
    • 19A trip in the past or back to the future?The real story of redlining starting with Philadelphia
    • 20Changes since then…. o Systems have become more complex. Example: mortgage finance went from a 2 to 3 party system Pre-Depression: Two Party Housing MarketParty Party 1 2 Seller Homebuyer (and/or) Lending The Post-Depression FHA Institution Era: Three Party Mortgage Market Party Party Party 1 2 Lending 3 Government Homebuyer Sponsored Institution Institution purchases, insures or underwrites loan
    • 21 …to this! Today: The web of actors and institutions involved in the sub prime lending and mortgage securitization marketCreated by Chris Peterson, University of Utah Law School
    • 22 From Redlining to Reverse Redlining: A historical view of redlining zones inPhiladelphia and areas of foreclosure in minority communities.
    • 23Columbus, OH: Non-White Population & Foreclosures
    • 24 Why is the growing foreclosure problem More than Just causing problem inForeclosures and a communities of color? Few Bad -Lenders targeted Borrowers: communities of color with subprime loansUnderstanding theCredit Crisis Impact -Lack of loan in Communities of information or understanding for Color consumers in many of these communities Why Were -Communities were Subprime Loans historically starved of Concentrated in credit These -Mortgage securitization Neighborhoods? and the growth of the subprime industry created incentives to 24 target new markets with mortgages
    • 25Who’s to blame? ************************************************************ The old inequality made the new inequality possible. Photo source: (Madoff) AP
    • 26Two Views Atomistic Systemic• The problem: bad apples • The problem: poisonous treeColorblindness as the goal. Fix the “soil”.
    • 27 The structures we live in are actually systems.27 Systems Thinking: The Newtonian Perspective: A D ABCDE C B Linear causation E Causation is reciprocal, mutual, and cumulative.
    • 28Consider the Broader Contexto We want to avoid negative feedback loops.o A structural analysis is deeply relational and time bound.  Example: the subprime crisis. “People got bad loans.”  A surface view solution: “Stop giving people bad loans.”  Contextualized view (SR analysis) solution: Fix the dual credit market, stop spatial segregation/redlining, work toward stable home-equity building, etc.
    • 29What are the implications of opportunity isolation? • Poor economic outcomes, lower educational outcomes, degraded asset development • Poor health conditions, higher exposure to and Individual risk from crime • Psychological distress, weak social and professional networks • High social costs, distressed and stressed communities, fiscal challenges Community • Weakened civic engagement and democratic & Economy participation • Underdeveloped human capital, poor labor outlook, poor economic development prospects
    • 30What are the costs of opportunity isolation? o Individual/family costs  Living in “concentrated disadvantage” reduces student IQ by 4 points, roughly the equivalent to missing one year of school (Sampson 2007) o Societal cost  Neighborhoods of concentrated poverty suppress property values by nearly 400 billion nationwide (Galster et al. 2007)
    • 31Remedying Opportunity Isolationo Adopt strategies that open up access to levers of opportunity for marginalized individuals, families, and communities  Invest in people, places, and linkages  Bring opportunities to opportunity-deprived areas  Connect people to existing opportunities throughout the metropolitan region  Targeted Universalism
    • 32
    • 33
    • 34Rethinking Structural Arrangementso Bringing people into structures that formerly excluded them may not be enougho Message is: individual is not properly “negotiating” the ladder when the ladder is too narrow or long … and we’re climbing alone  Insensitive, perhaps hostile structural arrangementso We need to re-think structures themselves
    • 35Questions or Comments?For More Information, Visit Us Online: www.KirwanInstitute.org