Race, Place, and Opportunity: The Role of Structures in (Re)Producing Inequality
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Race, Place, and Opportunity: The Role of Structures in (Re)Producing Inequality






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    Race, Place, and Opportunity: The Role of Structures in (Re)Producing Inequality Race, Place, and Opportunity: The Role of Structures in (Re)Producing Inequality Presentation Transcript

    • john a. powell Executive Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Moritz College of LawThe Thomas Jefferson District of the Unitarian UniversalistAssociation of Congregations 2010 Anti-racism Conference-Building the World We Want: Race, Place and CommunityOctober 9, 2010  Richmond, VA
    •  Race, place, and the distribution of opportunity  Opportunity isolation  How structures create, maintain, and perpetuate racial disparities How race operates in U.S. society  Social construction of race  Implicit bias  Framing Ensuring equitable access to opportunities for all 2
    • District Vision Statement:“We are a vibrant, diverse faith community of healthy congregations that is a propheticmodel of anti-racism and anti-oppression. Weare called to collaborate with other faith andcommunity groups to transform our society.” 3
    • Inequality has a geographic footprint. 4
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    • PhysicalSocial Cultural Outcomes & Behaviors 6
    •  Opportunity includes access to:  Healthcare  Education  Employment  Services  Healthy food 7
    • Individual/family costs Societal cost Living in “concentrated  Neighborhoods of disadvantage” reduces student concentrated poverty IQ by 4 points, roughly the suppress property values by equivalent to missing one year nearly 400 billion nationwide of school (Sampson 2007) (Galster et al. 2007)) People of color are far more likely to live in opportunity-deprived neighborhoods and communities. 8
    • It’s more than just a matter of choice. 9 Photo: Sxc.hu; roniebow
    • Racialized… Spatialized… Globalized…• In 1960, African- • Marginalized • Economic American families in people of color and globalization poverty were 3.8 the very poor have times more likely to be been spatially • Climate change concentrated in high- isolated from poverty opportunity: neighborhoods than • Jim Crow, • the Credit and poor whites. Foreclosure • ghettos, crisis• In 2000, they were 7.3 • barrios, etc. times more likely. 10
    •  Different communities are situated differently with respect to institutions and opportunity. Community A has Community B has Community C has no insurance and no insurance, but access to both no hospitals in there’s a hospital insurance an a the area. down the street. hospital. 11
    •  Problem: 3 people are out to sea and a big storm is coming Goal: To reach the people within 6 hours Assumption: If we can reach them within 6 hours, we will save them all. 12
    •  But the 3 are not all in the stormy water in the same way… Which person would be most likely to survive the 6 hours it would take to reach them?? If water is a “structure,”(housing, education, etc.) some groups are able to navigate the structure more successfully than other groups. 13
    •  Example: Controlling for risk factors, African Americans were 15-30% more likely than whites to get subprime loans for purchase and for refinance  Likely refinance targets: elderly, often widowed, African American women in urban areas  For Latinos, similar numbers for purchase, not for refinance  Many Latino homebuyers were recent, first generation homebuyers who could not be automatically underwritten (multiple income earners, cash, local credit, etc.)Sources: Graciela Aponte (National Council of La Raza) and Debbie Bocian (Center for Responsible Lending) presentationsat The Economic Policy Institute panel “Race, Ethnicity and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis” on June 12, 2008 in WDC; and 14“Baltimore Finds Subprime Crisis Snags Women” in The New York Times online, Jan. 15, 2008
    • • “If they wanted to, they could pull Is it culture? themselves up by their bootstraps.”Is it interpersonal • “If only people would stop racism? stereotyping and discriminating….” • “Institutions can interact in ways Is it structural? that are discriminatory.” Is it some or all of the above? 15
    •  A series of mutually reinforcing federal policies across multiple domains have contributed to the disparities we see today.  School Desegregation  Suburbanization/ Homeownership  Urban Renewal  Public Housing  Transportation 16
    • Structures and policies School are not neutral. They Lower Segregation & Educational unevenly distribute Concentrated Outcomesbenefits and burdens. PovertyInstitutions can operate jointly to produce racialized outcomes. Racial and Increased Economic Flight Neighborhood of Affluent Segregation Families 17
    • Example: A bird in a cageExamining one wire cannotexplain why a bird cannot fly.But multiple wires, arrangedin specific ways, reinforce eachother and trap the bird. 18
    • Structural Barriers Some people ride the “Up” Others have to run up escalator to reach the “Down” escalator to opportunity. get there. 19
    • One Dimensional:One variable explainsdifferential outcomes Multidimensional: The individual bars working together to cage the bird … to an understanding of processes and relationships 20
    •  We need to think about the ways in which the institutions that mediate opportunity are arranged – systems thinking. 21
    •  Our relationship to these systems and the responsiveness of systems is both uneven and racialized. While understanding the relationships that exist within a system is important, we need to look for nodes of influence and power. Where are the levers that can enact change? 22
    • Our perceptions of race are shapedby our subconscious attitudes and byhow messages are framed. 23
    •  The racial categories into which we group people are not as problematic as the social meaning and racial hierarchy we assign to those groups. People talk about race as though it is essential. This provokes some important questions:  How is race constructed? By whom? For what purpose? What work does it do? 24
    •  The fact that race is constructed implies that it has a history and that it is constantly changing. People tend to misunderstand and underestimate the significance of this. How does our perception of race change? What forces are causing these changes? 25
    • Racial attitudes in the U.S. have improved significantly over time. We have moved from segregation into a period of racial egalitarianism. Interracial relationships are becoming more accepted. We elected a biracial President. The United States continues to be strongly divided by race. Nationally, the black unemployment rate tends to be about twice as high as the white rate. A black male born in 2001 has a 32% chance of spending time in prison at some point in his life, a Hispanic male has a 17% chance, and a white male has a 6% chance.http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/pu 26blications/rd_reducingracialdisparity.pdf
    •  Both these perspectives are true – how we frame issues of race matters. Consider the false dichotomies we often use when we think and talk about race. These binaries are actually frames.  Black / White  Post-racialism / Civil Rights  Race is not important / Race matters 27
    • Howmessages are framedaffects how they are perceived. 28
    • Implicit Bias • People are meaning-making machines. •Individual meaning •Collective meaning •Only 2% of emotional cognition is available to us consciously We unconsciously think about race • Racial bias tends to reside in the even when we do not explicitly unconscious network discuss it. 29
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    • Racialized outcomes donot require racist actors. 31
    • Distributions of Responses on Explicit (Self-reported) and Implicit Measures Groups Explicit Implicit Compared Nonwhite Neutral White Nonwhite Neutral WhiteBlacks/Whites 12% 56% 32% 12% 19% 69%Asians/Whites 16% 57% 27% 11% 26% 63%Note: Percentages represent the percent biased in favor of group. Source: 94 California Law Review (2006), p. 957. 32
    • www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrqrkihlw-s 33
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    • Are you right-brained or left-brained?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkJVqhEcHiY&feature=related ORhttp://www.moillusions.com/2007/06/spinning-sihouette-optical- illusion.html 35
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    • Indoors. Outside There is aunder a tree. windowThe woman through which has an item shrubberybalanced on outside can her head. be seen. Your response is indicative of your cultural orientation. 37
    •  Repeatedly exposing people to admired African Americans can may help counteract pro-white / anti-black IAT results… 38
    •  BUT, a more productive strategy is to show both admired African Americans and infamous whites. Joy-Gaba, J . A., & Nosek, B. A. (in press). The Surprisingly Limited Malleability of Implicit Racial Evaluations. Social Psychology. 39
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH1S9DgLXQU&feature=channel_page 40
    •  Be aware of implicit bias in your life. We are constantly being primed. Debias by presenting positive alternatives. Consider your conscious messaging & language.  Affirmative action support varies based on whether it’s presented as “assistance” or “preference.” Engage in proactive affirmative efforts – not only on the cultural level but also the structural level. 41
    • Aligning our values and our structures 42
    •  Maps can visually track the history and presence of discriminatory and exclusionary policies that spatially segregate people. Identifying places with gaps in opportunity can help direct future investment. 43
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    •  Adopt strategies that open up access to levers of opportunity for marginalized individuals, families, and communities  Connect people to existing opportunities throughout the metropolitan region  Bring opportunities to opportunity-deprived areas  Invest in people, places, and linkages 45
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    •  Advocate for an opportunity-based approach to community development and housing advocacy  Support both in-place and mobility-based strategies to affirmatively provide access to opportunity  Adopt a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach to advocacy  Design strategies that are sensitive to the unique challenges and strategic opportunities of each community 47Graphic: sxc.hu; shlomaster
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    •  We usually focus on how spirituality inspires social justice work, but not on how working for social justice informs spirituality. Caring about other’s suffering is not just about relieving their suffering but about one’s own spiritual development. Social Spirituality Justice
    • Our values andstructures impacteach other.It’s not enough tohave the rightvalues. We needthe right structures. 51
    • 1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. http://www.uua.org/visitors/6798.shtml 52
    • “We started the journey, a spiritual one, to be truly ‘whole,’ to accept, respect, value each person while responding to his/her behaviour on its own merits. Then we worked to change our own church institution, and finally started on all of those of American society. Sorry, we still have a long way to go. And this is where you must carry on!” ~ Tomas Firle, member, First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, CA 53p. 586, The Arc of the Universe is Long
    • www.KirwanInstitute.org www.race-talk.org KirwanInstitute on: 54
    • The Self – Two paradigms 55
    •  Current paradigm: Hobbesian, isolated  Perceives individuals as autonomous-independent selves  Egoistic, possessive, separate, isolated, rational This has led to increasing hyper-individualism and fear of the other  This framework creates and marginalizes the racialized other  Racial disparities are seen as a subjective, personal experience  Creates false separations – negates shared humanity 56
    •  What is the alternative vision?  A model of connectedness  Individuals as part of something bigger  Inter-being, unified, not egoistically separate Individualism and interconnectivity are not mutually excusive When linked correctly, interconnectivity supports individuality 57