Renewing Beloved Community Understanding Structural Racialization and Opportunity
RENEWING BELOVED COMMUNITYUNDERSTANDING STRUCTURAL RACIALIZATIONAND OPPORTUNITY 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 Presentation to Genesis First Unitarian Church of Oakland August 29, 2010
Overview My Opportunity Story: thinking through a structural racialization lens A Brief Snapshot of Opportunity in the San Francisco-Oakland-Fresno Area Renewing Our Communities Thinking, talking, acting in new ways Activity: Telling your own Opportunity Story
My Opportunity StoryThinking through a structural racialization lens
My ParentsMy parents weresharecroppers in theSouth.They left the Southin search ofopportunity.6
HOME They moved north They moved north seeking opportunity and bought a seeking opportunity house. and bought a house. Today I would say they Today I would say bought into a low opportunity neighborhood. they bought into a low opportunity neighborhood. 7
My Old Neighborhood8 The vacant grassy plots are not parks.
Where I Grew Up I grew up in a low opportunity structure in a declining9 opportunity city.
A Tale of Two Neighborhoods… Low Opportunity High Opportunity• Less than 25% of students in • The year my step daughter Detroit finish high school finished high school, 100% of the students graduated and 100%• More than 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 12
Some people ride the “Up” Others have to run up escalator to reach the “Down” escalator to opportunity get there13
My ParentsMy parents weresharecroppers in theSouth.They left the Southin search ofopportunity.16
HOME They moved north They moved north seeking opportunity and bought a seeking opportunity house. and bought a house. Today I would say they Today I would say bought into a low opportunity neighborhood. they bought into a low opportunity neighborhood. 17
My Old Neighborhood18 The vacant grassy plots are not parks.
Where I Grew Up I grew up in a low opportunity structure in a declining19 opportunity city.
A Tale of Two Neighborhoods… Low Opportunity High Opportunity• Less than 25% of students in • The year my step daughter Detroit finish high school finished high school, 100% of the students graduated and 100%• More than 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 22
Some people ride the “Up” Others have to run up escalator to reach the “Down” escalator to opportunity get there24
Opportunity is….Racialized… Spatialized… Globalized…• In 1960, African- • marginalized people • Economic American families in of color and the very poverty were 3.8 times globalization poor have been more likely to be spatially isolated from concentrated in high- opportunity via • Climate change poverty neighborhoods reservations, Jim than poor whites. Crow, Appalachian mountains, ghettos, • the Credit and• In 2000, they were 7.3 barrios, and the Foreclosure crisis times more likely. culture of incarceration.
Systems Thinking We are all situated within “opportunity structures” Physical Social Cultural OutcomesThese structures interact in ways that produce racialized outcomes fordifferent groups…
Structural Racialization Context: The Dominant Consensus on Race National values Contemporary culture Current Manifestations: Social and Institutional Dynamics Processes that maintain racial hierarchies Racialized public policies and institutional practices Outcomes: Racial Disparities Racial inequalities in current levels of well- Capacity for individual and community being improvement is undermined Ongoing Racial Inequalities27 Adapted from the Aspen Roundtable on Community Change. “Structural Racism and Community Building.” June 2004
Historic Government Role29 A series of mutually reinforcing federal policies across multiple domains have contributed to the disparities we see today School Desegregation Homeownership/Suburbanization Urban Renewal Public Housing Transportation
ExampleThe Government and Homeownership Policies: Redlining“If a neighborhood is to retain stability, it is necessary that properties shall continue to be occupied by the same social and racial classes. A change in social or racial occupancy generally contributes to instability and a decline in values.” –Excerpt from the 1947 FHA underwriting manual 30
Example: How historic Redlining impacts opportunity in the Portland region today….The areas oflowestopportunitytoday(lightest) arealso the sameareas thatwere redlined(red andyellow)beginning inthe 1930s.
From Redlining to Reverse Redlining… Unsustainable credit: The darkest areas with the highest concentrations of persons of color also have the highest concentrations of Notices of Defaults, indicating unsustainable mortgage lending. In Oakland, Big Bank lenders made 70% of their high-cost loans in neighborhoods of color.Source: California Reinvestment Coalition. “From Foreclosures to Re-redlining: How America’s largest financial institutions devastated California
…And Reverse Redlining to Re-redlining:Banks unwilling to work out loan modifications… In Oakland, there were an average of 21.87 foreclosures for every loan modification made each month in the sample report in 2009. In the US, there were 6.77.Source: California Reinvestment Coalition. “From Foreclosures to Re-redlining: How America’s largest financial institutions devastated Californiacommunities.” February 2010.
Re-redlining contd.: And credit once again unavailable In Oakland: Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo are more likely to deny loans for communities of color than for non-minority neighborhoods In Oakland: there were three times as many PRIME loans in 2006 than in 2008…Source: California Reinvestment Coalition. “From Foreclosures to Re-redlining: How America’s largest financial institutions devastated California communities.” February2010.
Today,Institutions continue tosupport, not dismantle, thestatus quo. This is why wecontinue to see raciallyinequitable outcomes evenif there is good intentbehind policies, or anabsence of racist actors. (i.e.structural racialization)
Lesson:How we allocate our resources interms of People, Places, andLinkages matters….
A Brief Snapshot of Opportunity for Childrenin the San Francisco-Oakland-Fresno regionWhat are some key intervention points toimprove opportunity for children?
Focus: Children in Poverty ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES: Child Poverty Rate by Race/Ethnicity (1999) Metro Area Black 28.0% American Indian 16.0% Asian/Pac. Islander 10.0% Hispanic 15.0% Non-Hispanic White 5.0%Source U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Census, Summary File 4.
What will the fallout from the recession mean for our children? In 1999, child poverty was already alarming for certain groups in the metro area, for example Black children at 28%. We can expect that poverty rate for children will only grow as the recession continues… As one pediatrician has warned, “We are seeing the emergence of what amounts to a ‘recession generation.’” Increases in child poverty, homelessness, and temporary relief indicate that children across the U.S. are experiencing “a quiet disaster.”Source: Bob Herbert, “Children in Peril.” New York Times Op-Ed published April 20, 2009. Herbert is quoting Dr. IrwinRedlener, president of the Children’s Health Fund in New York.
Focus: Segregation in Schools EDUCATION: Segregation of Public Primary School Students, Dissimilarity by Race/Ethnicity (2007-08) Metro Area Hispanic---Non-Hispanic White 61.1% Non. Hisp Asian---Non-Hispanic 54.9% White Non. Hisp. Indian---Non-Hispanic 35.4% White Non-Hispanic Black---Non-Hispanic 63.7% WhiteSource National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data. Public Elementary/Secondary SchoolUniverse Survey. Downloaded from Diversity Data.org
Focus: Poverty in Schools EDUCATION: Poverty Rate of School Where Average Primary School Student Attends by Race/Ethnicity (2007-08) Metro Area Hispanic 63.3% Non-Hispanic White 21.0% Non-Hispanic Black 62.3% Non-Hispanic American Indian 42.8% Non-Hispanic Asian/Pac. Islander 36.6%Source National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data. Public Elementary/Secondary SchoolUniverse Survey. Downloaded from Diversity Data.org
What does segregation and poverty inschools mean for our children? Research shows: A consistent “negative effect of high poverty concentrations in school on students’ academic achievement.” (Trent, 1997) The poverty of a school, far more than the poverty of an individual, determines students’ educational outcomes and impoverished students do better if they live in middle-class neighborhoods and/or attend more affluent schools. (Schellenberg, 1998) When a school reaches a tipping point of 50%, all students outcomes are depressed. And once poverty in a school district reaches 60% or above, the district can no longer rely on its own internal efforts to improve outcomes. (Schellenberg, 1998)
Renewing our CommunitiesGrowing opportunity for all
Strategies for Growing Together Think in new ways Talk in new ways Act in new ways
Transformative Thinking transformative thinking to combat structural racialization; we need to find new approaches. personal and social responsibility are important: we should maintain them in our advocacy and analysis approaches should consider the structures and systems that are creating and perpetuating these disparities and work to reform them for lasting change. Challenging policies, processes, and assumptions 45
Talking in New WaysI. How do we talk about race?II. Targeted universalism—a new frame for dialogue (beyond disparities)
I. How to Talk about Race47 Focus on structures and systems rather than explicit individual action/reaction Focus on the subconscious—the implicit bias that is stored within the mind Focus on relationships—build collaborations and engage in real discussion
II. Targeted universalism as communication strategy Moves beyond the disparities frame Focuses on the universal goals shared by all the communities while being sensitive to the targeted strategies that are responsive to the situation of marginalized communities
Acting in New WaysI. Engagement and empowermentII. Targeted universalism as policyIII. Strategies for connecting to opportunity
I. Engagement and Empowerment The less resourced a community is, the more critical organizing becomes
How Institutions can strengthen engagement Not just “outreach”. That is, anchor institutions cannot simply make their offer and “sell” the community hoping they will buy it.
II. Promote Universal Policies in Targeted Ways • There is no “one size fits all” • “One vision, many paths” • Process: • What is the goal? • How do we tailor strategies to different groups, who are differently situated, to lift them to that goal?
Activity: Telling your own OpportunityStory Personal lens: What in my life and my parents’ life opened up and created opportunities for me? What in my life and my parents’ life has restricted opportunity for me? How has this impacted me? How has it shaped the story of my life? How does access to and restriction from opportunity impact my children’s lives? Community lens: Do opportunity structures exist in my community? What’s there, what’s missing, and for whom? Are they responsive to community needs? How do I impact these structures? How can the community?
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