How Structural Racism Works: Tricia Rose



hi good evening everyone it's wonderful to see you here my name is Rick Locke I'm a professor here in political science and international public affairs and also am currently serving as the provost and it's really a great pleasure to welcome you here this evening and I am especially honored to be collaborating with Professor Tricia Rose on this important event which launches a series built around her scholarship that I believe holds significant value not only for our campus but for the broader community for our country and for the world racism or the belief that a particular race is inferior or superior to another and that certain traits are predetermined by a person's race has existed throughout history and certainly since the United States was founded racism in this country has been at the root of our darkest periods despite the efforts of many across the generations civil rights activists students soldiers and scholars we know that racism is pervasive today and remains at the core of our darkest days in some cases the manifestations are obvious we see disparities by race in our schools in our prisons and in a Housing and Economic Opportunity in other less obvious but equally pernicious ways we see the effects of racism in daily life through the media and through regular reports of microaggressions on our own campus in our community and across the nation at Brown we have been deeply engaged in efforts to confront and address legacies of structural racism and discrimination in our society and on our own campus many of you in this room have been leaders in this work and I thank you and welcome you creating a just and inclusive campus community is key to Brown's ambitions as a university we cannot be a truly excellent institution if we are marginalizing devaluing or excluding even inadvertently excluding entire segments of our community and advancing and sharing knowledge to contribute to a better world is essential to our mission we are fortunate here at Brown to have significant scholarly resources to draw upon in the work that we're trying to do from the Center for the Study of slavery and justice and the department's of Africana Studies history American and ethnic studies to the Center for the Study of race and ethnicity in America Brown has leading scholars committed to investigating history and shaping contemporary thought policy and practice tonight we are privileged to have Professor Tricia Rose the director of the Center for the Study of race and ethnicity in America to share with us her own research on the issue of structural racism what it is and how it operates through this and the future components in this series which are planned and I hope to see you there for the spring and also the fall semesters of 2016 we will deepen our own knowledge awareness and understanding about the origins and effects of racism providing opportunities to inform our conversations and to promote change when I came to Brown in 2013 I was fortunate to meet Tricia rose very early on over a series of discussions Sheehan shared with me nuggets of her emerging research and I found it compelling and also very interested then I was you know actually I'm still for I guess twenty nine more days director of the Watson Institute to explore opportunities to collaborate you know after all the mission of Watson is to promote a just and peaceful world and structural racism is a powerful force that inhibits our progress towards justice towards peace as well as towards prosperity in recent weeks as a result of a lot of the conversations that we've been having on campus I was able to convey Tricia that while she considers the work that she'll present today still very much work in progress but I was able to successfully convince her that brown as a community can greatly benefit by sharing her research now and I am grateful that she has agreed to do this and also to identify future opportunities for both students and faculty to engage this work to engage in this research and a variety of things associated with it now I imagine that many of you know of and about Tricia Rose she is certainly well known on this campus but also throughout the country through her research and her teaching she is an internationally respected scholar of post-civil rights era black US culture popular music social issues gender and sexuality she is most well known for her groundbreaking book on the emergence of hip hop culture which is called black noise rap music and black culture in contemporary America she was born and raised in New York City and spent her childhood in Harlem and in the Bronx she graduated from Yale University with a BA in sociology and received her PhD here at Brown in American Studies prior to returning to Brown as a faculty member she was a professor at NYU and at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2013 professor Rose was appointed to lead the Center for the Study of race and ethnicity in America and has worked to position the center as a hub for interdisciplinary campus-wide student and faculty research and public events to address the pressing issues of race and ethnicity in America today and throughout history she is also committed to making her work and the work of the center accessible to scholars into the general public and she is a frequent contributor to CNN and NPR and MSNBC etc she is a true treasure for Brown University a source of incredible research and in / inspirational teacher a wonderful colleague and I'm very grateful that she is sharing her research with us this evening please join me in welcoming professor Tricia rose okay I really am thrilled to be able to share this project I intended to do it at some point but it made sense to try we made more progress than I'd like to admit so I thought I think I can put 40 minutes of conversation on the table and so I'm very happy that this has been a subject that we're all engaged with much more intensely than we some of us may have not been recently so I'm really happy that there's this opportunity it is a work in progress though and that's not to make excuses for arguments that you may disagree with it's more to say I want to invite you to come you know reach out with ideas suggestions and for opportunities for research collaboration there will be potentially several research positions not full-time but part-time student positions graduate and undergraduate in the spring and in the fall that you can visit the CSRA website to get more information about but I want you to imagine that this is sort of starting that conversation because it's going to need all hands on deck this is not a topic that we can solve really by ourselves or individually but I also really want to thank Rick Locke because a year and a half ago when I started thinking about this and Sam Rosen who's sitting here you know decided to not take some really fancy job and come work for like three hours a week to talk about this with me I had any really share it with anybody in particular just general public conversations and I just happened as mentioned it in passing and Rick you know so but let me see the proposal and just vetted it over and over and read you know gave great comments and advice and suggestions and so this really grows out of that commitment as much as it grows out of the needs that we have now please find any place don't even be shy come on in um okay so now how many of you in the room have actually recognized I won't even ask okay for those of you who've known me in the classroom you know that these objects are very foreign to me it has taken me a few weeks to get clear this thing right here looks like something from James Bond but I'm gonna try to use it the reason I chose to use to do with the the speed with which I want to present certain types of ideas and move as quickly as possible and not lose people or myself but give me if I'm a little awkward because I am Jeff my my motto is you know power corrupts power point corrupts absolutely so here I am you know a victim but but I'm hoping we can you know like structural racism you know the underdog has a lot more power than it looks like okay okay so what is this how structural racism works project um hold on let's make sure okay look at that how exciting okay um what is the project what's the point I mean is it just about explaining what structural racism is to people I mean in part I mean that's a really ongoing job that's a job that apparently si is sort of like explaining things that never can be explained somehow it's always really surprising that it's going on so it is about describing it but really it's about of intending to produce at some point in the future which has not yet been designed a very visually engaging video based web project explaining describing it and working to recruit people to feel a level of emotional attachment to the urgency around ending it right so this the problem that I want to get at today isn't just knowing about structural racism I mean for goodness sake I took structural racism courses they weren't called that but that's what they were at Yale in the 1980s this is not new information in a sense there's new formations but it's not new the question is what are the impediments that make it so make us as a society as a whole unable to really turn the corner and confront it and gather around changing it so it's a visual and cultural and emotional project that's designed to expand public knowledge but also to build an anti-racist community and the broadest sense armed to work against it but structural racism is a very difficult topic to talk about a lot of research on social problems are difficult this isn't the only one they're daunting I was watching some video on climate change and thought god I thought racism was bad you know I was like we're we're in trouble note to self you know we get this one solved we got like six more weeks before the polar ice cap is gone you know we're like well you know we fixed it just in time um um but but structural racism is particularly difficult to talk about where we've all contributed to global warming but it doesn't quite feel as identity-based I don't there aren't too many of us saying yeah I'm really proud of you know contributing to global warming you know that that's not common in our personal identities but when it comes to questions of race questions of history questions of power questions of privilege and the notion of belonging race and racism really stand at the heart of many of our understandings and that makes it much more complicated when ideas the challenge either conscious or unconscious values come into play so it makes it harder to build investment in collaboration to work against structural racism and it's emotionally challenging for everyone it's different and challenging for different reasons and we often would make an easy assumption perhaps that you know some racial groups have one kind of emotional challenge and others have others but I've had fascinating conversations particularly with young people over the years who sometimes will tell me you know I'm gonna hear about the structural racism you know you students of color will say I don't want to hear about it I don't want to know about it it's just gonna get in my way right and then as you would expect this is going to empower you you'll know what the impediments are that was how I approached it for me it was like lightning I was like oh this explains why didn't somebody tell me this in the fifth grade you know that was my response but that's not everyone's response so it's a very emotionally challenging topic and that's part of the purpose of the format of the of the video but it's also going to require that we all do our best to kind of stay in our in our best lane as we grapple with it right there's a certain kind of emotional work we have to do as we listen and as we engage so there's an extensive body of research that makes quite clear that there's extraordinary racial disparity today it's everywhere in fact when I had the three-hour unedited completely confused version of this talk operating not that long ago just I won't use my watch to show how long that was it was just staggering to think about all of the axes that one could present so I had you know 15 slides all of which are cut now which we can talk about later that we're just sort of breaking it down in every possible sphere you know as if like the data was going to somehow prove the point but if you need evidence you call me but for now suffice to say every aspect of life jobs employment wealth discrimination and education criminal justice media housing health mental health insurance agencies loans banking every aspect of life that we can think about has significant forms of elements of structural racism or shall we say evidence of racial disparity that's operating if there's virtually no place of where it's not operating so this makes it overwhelming makes it large makes it significant now what we make of these numbers we'll talk about in a minute but this topic is also difficult for reasons that do not come into Maine view too much these days which is that there's been a pretty explicit ideological war over the past 40 years between the story of structural racism and the emergent and now dominant story of colorblindness and the war between these two stories is at the heart of the project that I want us to to talk about tonight but but also the project I'm hoping to to work on so these two stories the story of structural racism and the story of colorblindness have been the primary explanations and frameworks that determine our public and frankly a lot of our scholarly analysis for you know since the end of the soft end of what we call the civil rights movement so let's start with just some basic definitions there's lots of them in the world but we're gonna this is a composite structural racism in the u.s. is the normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics historical cultural institutional and interpersonal that routinely advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color that's the general operative definition of structural racism colorblindness or I'm calling it colorblind ideology is is it makes the argument that only the absence of accounting for race will bring racial equality and that we must reject all racial categorizations record-keeping make no distinctions based on race in order to reach a colorblind context for a fair equal K equal society so it fundamentally relies on the idea that race is not operating now and that we must keep it that way by being color blind now I could spend a whole 45 minutes on how we got this colorblindness exactly you know what what the what the easy mechanisms were the kind of manipulation of Kings very famous phrase content of character not color of skin he didn't say anything about being blind you know I mean I know he's rolling over in his grave about that phrase I should have changed it who could know but but colorblindness is is extremely resistant to illuminating any categories of race and any and therefore any measurements which makes of course the whole structural racism argument completely antithetical to colorblind ideology but it also assumes in addition to that race does is it doesn't matter now it also means that we have to assume racial hierarchies are not already operating that societies fundamentally fair if it's left alone to its own devices that's the fundamental logic of colorblindness that by simply ending the ability to see color which has always fascinated me as a strangely depressing you know sort of self punishing idea but that's you know I'm like I like it but but it means that in fact that if we leave society on its own it will correct and produce adjust circumstance but since systemic forms of discrimination are widespread colorblind ideology actually hides them it has to work all the time to get rid of them to marginalize them to make them look a minimal or or off-the-beaten-path or not central and not systemic in any major way it also rejects policies that are designed and this is very important because colorblind ideology has been at the heart of the ending of any kinds of programs designed to redress a legacy of structural discrimination so you can't solve the problem by saying any anything that looks like affirmative action in any sphere becomes extremely problematic in the context of colorblind ideology and the Supreme Court's been you know very significant in ending transforming forcing dramatic curtailment of a variety of efforts to try to remedy even past discrimination I'm not even talking about newfangled present-day versions of it just the past so what happens with colorblind ideology is it phrases like affirmative action instead of them being as Johnson President Johnson intended this idea of sort of acting affirmative Lee in the spirit of an equals creation as in creation of an equal society instead they become special privileges and the whole language shifts entirely and there's privileges that advantage black and brown people not an effort to level the playing field and of course there are a small number well maybe not that small but not that big two in the middle a group of whites who actually would claim they have significant disadvantages now and the studies that show that I need to read in much greater depth because this one just you know is dumbfounding it takes the whole thing to levels that that you know need make you need a happy hour basically so I put it in this way and this is how sort of everyday people can back themselves into the logic of colorblindness and I just want to really note that before I read this and talk about it that you know this is of course there are vicious ideologues who we could say are sort of hated hatred filled trying to destroy society making sure that people of color oppressed down and never make it you know okay they exist unfortunately and they're more than I'd like but the vast majority of people who subscribe to colorblindness are not those people it's a it's a combination of a set of moves that produce an easy Association so this is sort of how I see it working out for the most part people would say to themselves well since most people believe in racial equality which includes myself and since the laws have been changed to outlaw discrimination and since I don't see color well we'll give you that one so I can't be a racist and since no special benefits are accrued to me based on whiteness question mark racism isn't causing these inequalities so you end up with a kind of if then if then if if all these things are true then I don't know what y'all problems are about right because this I've passed my own litmus test so what remains left here at the end of this kind of self check what remains left is actually the heart of colorblind ideology in the way it gets deployed and that's the behavior because colorblind ideology imagines that there are no structures impeding us so we have a kind of individual capacity and this must be about the behavior of those who are being discriminated against they must either bring it upon themselves or be uninterested and they have imputed cultural limitations that get understood as motivating their experiences with structural racism so but let's take a look at this in a concrete sense let's just very quickly take a sill just a super-fast look at 2010 unemployment rates it's this is simple data we don't need to do a lot of analysis for Owenton purposes here you see you know one and a half times or two and a half times unemployment for blacks and Hispanics in 2010 I will just quickly for those of you who don't study this sort of thing in general I'll tell you that when the recession hit and the mainstream cross-racial combined figure for unemployment reached something like 11% people went completely bananas it's a crisis society is gonna fall apart people need to work 11% unemployed we can't survive it black people seem to be doing all right with 16% pretty much all the time and it's never understood as a crisis right it's actually just normal where I just want to not only these numbers here but it's the context of what's considered a crisis but anyway here we have eight point seven twelve point five sixteen percent so let's see these two stories and actions in action what happens when we think about the motivations for this jobless rate how do we explain it why would there be a racial disparity because all disparity does is tell us that there's a difference it doesn't tell us why so we have to do is animate a story about what motivates this difference now structural racism argument would point to a myriad body of stories that talks very intensively about the way hiring discrimination works there's a lot of different about this there's the Devon page study race at work where young people are resumes are sent in everything's identical about them except for an indication that there's somehow of color and all the same school education you know no callback numbers are dramatically distinct then there's you know channeling and sequencing people get hired but they're hired sort of below their actual talent level and they're not promoted there's access to social networks and other kinds of limited opportunities everyone knows that the vast majority of jobs don't even make it to the to any kind of public reckoning you know opening position and advertisement in fact it's who do you know and once you have a highly segregated and a hierarchical set of perceptions who do you know is my buddy fill in the blank and if some groups of people have the vast majority of access to those to those available positions and their friendship networks are like this TV show friends then that's who gets the job um then there's lots of studies here there is all you just one more cuz again these were all the 40 slides that are now in a little slide bin but there was a study by sociologist at Notre Dame in which abigail can't remember she she will come to me she did this amazing study that showed that US companies in general assumed that black people were drug users and did not actually even consider them for positions based on this perception she did she found this out through interviews but she also found out that the best way to control for this was to drug test all applicants for jobs cross race and ethnicity gender everything else and by doing so they found that it was easy they found that blacks were actually more likely to be hired because the stigma was replaced by something like a fact but then I found to myself goodness how can like a whole company decide that black people as a whole or drug users oh okay we'll get to that later but but anyway it's a fascinating thing I'm sure you think you fill out the application it doesn't occur to you that they don't even know who I am and they've made this massive set of assumptions that would produce significant discrimination but what happens with colorblind racism colorblind racism focuses on individuals and imagines that none of that is really going on that it's about culture behavior and discipline and other studies have shown tremendous data about the most widely endorsed account about among whites in particular point to a supposed lack of motivation or willpower on the part of blacks as a key factor in racial inequality so I will say you know it's a little bit depressing but true that this story over here is mostly winning in American society whether it's winning in absolute terms or just in that kind of subtle day to day well you know you did great treasure you must you know you must work hard like okay are we going down the rabbit path here we are we going yes like no we're not um you know this idea that you must be an exception you've done something that you know some other people just never do um it can be that kind of subtle or it can be all the way up to the basically all of Fox News and Republican Party platforms which pretty much rely on this ideology one way or another as a dog whistle racial or otherwise and it doesn't matter you know there may be other policies that they get right but when it comes to this it's entirely about behavior but so let me give you just a clear simple example um there's so many to choose from but in 2014 Paul Ryan came up with a 250 page report that was designed is called the the war on poverty 50 years later cuz he's an expert on that and so he writes this report none of which actually makes this argument but when he promotes the statement and the document itself he goes on Bill Bennett's radio show and says the following this is an explanation for why we have poverty and issues of inequality we've got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities in particular of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and culture of work and so there's this real culture problem here that has to be dealt with so you know you know again if we were to unpack all of the ways that joblessness takes place it would be staggering in the formation of actions by other people and you have this whole issue is really about just generations people just not even thinking about working like I don't even think about working my whole life anybody ever met a person like that I mean I would like that for myself but no no one says this this is a ridiculous thing now I really want to point out that you know these views are not just the hard core it's this the ideological work that needs to be done has to do really with the mainstream because there's been a tremendous saturation of this argument it's been everywhere in the mass media so it shouldn't be surprising then given both the the argument that's made by colorblindness but also the argument that that relies on culture that there's a huge racial disparity in what people think about when racial equality will be achieved so this one is Lawrence Bobo sociologist who was then at Harvard does a study that shows that 61% of whites think we've already achieved equality racially speaking and it's on the horizon for another 20 so 80% of white people think we're pretty much scot-free we're all we're almost home I don't know what they're doing okay they live they live in multiracial communities okay okay oh sorry see we're videotaping this I got to keep it keep it real I got to stay on the page okay all right seventeen percent of life people think we've achieved equality thirty-six think it's on the horizon and the other half are not so sure about when it's going to happen but this is a very big gap this is an significant gap in if nothing else perception we don't know what education is about but if the 61% of whites think we have already achieved it in a twenty another twenty think it's around the corner how in God's name do we convince those 80 percent of respondents that racism is an impediment you see so this perception drives a rejection of the consciousness you need to fight structural racism and now you know some people say this out of Pollyanna hopefulness you know it's just right around the corner and oh it's gonna be fine but there is a willful kind of resistance so the focus on behavior the belief that equality has already or will soon take place work together to facilitate the rejection of policies that many think would in fact work to counter structural racism and then we get the no special favors this is a you know the Bobo's analysis of the General Social Survey data in which he says between 94 and 2008 roughly three-quarters of white respondents felt that blacks should overcome prejudice without special favors just like other minority groups is claimed minority groups like the Irish the Italian and Jews now you know this is a very interesting problem because it illuminates the complexity around folding in ethnic groups that are marginalized versus the very significant category that race plays in halo buses Lopez's book a white bylaw is a fascinating study about the shifting line of where whiteness begins and ends and how important that line is for what your opportunities will be so anyway if you take these two charts and there's many many others again they're just they're just just the thumbnail today these these numbers suggest that structural changes mandated by policies are not going to find too much support among most whites and frankly if you look at no special favors that's 50% of black people if you look at the low the the line below it right that they're really not so interested in these of these so-called special favors either and so I when you think about something like Obama's obsession with the lifts all boats approach which I was particularly aggravated by I thought what would be the point of a black president if we're going to go this route again it's a little essentialist of an argument but mine I was kind of just hoping but it's extremely important because there'll be no will it'll be total impossible backlash and this is why the ideology is so important but I just want to spend two seconds on why 50 percent of black people might say this and why I think it's important first of all there's a long history among the various positions that could be all considered under the rubric of black nationalism where self-determination is a critical anti colonial project and thus any special favors is there as a problem because it has to do with submitting to a political politically subordinated position inside of a society that doesn't find you to be acceptable so there's certainly some of that I'm sure going on and then there's frankly though the saturating influence of the ideology of colorblindness I have these arguments with students of all backgrounds and the invisibility of structural racism until you really look at the depths of what goes on it doesn't look so bad socially compared to other historical moments and then there's a you know the worry that you know help is an association with inferiority and there's so much effort to produce a mentality of inferiority to match the conditions that are being created that anything that looks like it might produce more mental barriers is often rejected so the story of structural racism has been on the ropes but it's not knocked out is my argument for sure I think we have a lot of potential here to make significant advances in making it more legible and that even if we change the name of it the principles behind it seem to me to be significant and of course is a wide range of research I'm only doing some here there's you know Bonilla Silva Lopez Shapiro Oliver Lipsitz Bobo Crenshaw Katznelson there's many many amazing people but most of that research happens in the Academy and they happen in journals and in books that the vast majority of people are not either if they're reading them they're not doing anything with them that's for sure nobody walks up to me on the street saying hey did you check out franchise latest you know collection I mean on Browns campus yes but I mean you know other places these are not books that there aren't even any bookstores first of all and these are on academic presses for which there are no you know you have to go to Amazon pretty much and have to already know about it but there have been some important journalistic trajectories recently where all of the particular in particular what's happened with police brutality and you know state murder has brought more attention to what the conditions might be around it so I'm just you know there's a couple things in particular one the articles about Ferguson in the New York Times and Mother Jones and and also on NPR and elsewhere in the wake of not just right after the murder of Mike Brown but a little bit later to talk about all of the ways these structural impediments were working to criminalize and penalize everyone in Ferguson County and then eventually a couple of other intrepid journalists said oh and by the way the other three counties over are actually worse and two to the left are actually worse than that so it was the beginning of this sense of like oh wait it's not just a band of psychos in Ferguson this must be bigger but then you know the ball gets dropped but there have been these moments of highly visible public spaces and Tennessee Coates article the case for reparations is another example where a highly visible accessible journalistic piece that basically borrowed a lot which I respect from many scholars to make that argument that's research that's been done but put it in a public venue where the possibility of reaching many people was much higher but there's a RZA there's a mainstream public narrative that is driven by colorblindness but that approaches this kind of information with three particular strategies and they're there others but these are three one is that these are structural all Malays write this you know just just a weird one-off something happened when went wrong that the criminal justice system works just sometimes it doesn't work you know just so there's these few times over here and oh well that one was just a procedural thing and this one the guy had mental problems and he lunged at him and this other guy he's six four and this you know so it's sort of like a perpetuation of anomalies and the other one is the one bad apple oh there's a rogue cop there's this one rogue cop right in 17 times you know nobody pays any attention to and he's just so rogue nobody notices but he's just one bad apple right but the the you know doesn't spoil the whole tree of course because the system works that's a the one is a structural and only the other ones that sort of personalized one and then the third one is just the demonization of either the victim of a community so just recently I was going through some I don't even know what kind of website but um Freddie Gray's family and others have asked them the media to stop referring to him as the son of an uneducated heroin addict it's like what wait just exactly what is the value of that information here it's like well if he was an educated non heroin addict then the police would not have done to him what they did is that that what we're really saying so like there's this constant sort of demonization and marginalization and and and reduction of the humanity of victims as a means by which to normalize status quo and render the visibility of structural racism foggy at best so we have these three conditions that that we have you know even if we buy structural racism which I'm going to just take for granted for the sake of argument that you do if we do that we still have these three these three impediments we have the narrative which is which is another problem but the real challenges on the ground are that the discrimination itself continues in new forms and practices so actually it's a constant project it does it's not the same thing it was even ten years ago you know someone wrote a really interesting piece about the end of redlining right with with subprime lending being the exact inverse of redlining right redlining was which we're going to talk about a minute we're not going to give you any loans subprime monies we're gonna give you a whole lot of really bad loans you know is this sort of like it never ends like it's like what's the newfangled way we can create bad outcomes and take a lot of money banks are very creative with this so there are new forms and practices so you can't tackle something very easily when it's always shifting right you have to figure out what are the core things that seem to be continuous the second thing is the way in which colorblind ideology and the stories hide what's going on and blames personal behavior and the third is the special favors narrative because anything that smacks of special favors people resist and they just have a knee-jerk kind of rejection doesn't matter what the data is so my argument is that research alone is not going to interrupt this interconnected set of perceptions if it were it probably would have done it by now because the research is staggering so the how structural racism works project is is an attempt to figure out how do we tell this story in a way that builds the kind of emotional momentum the colorblind ideology built you know how do we actually make people feel connected to it in some way so the first part was to sort of decide okay how do we tackle where it's happening and how do we condense it in such a way that might make it sort of graspable because again it really is everywhere so I just made it what I guess you'd call a kind of educated / executive personal choice decision that these five areas are incredibly significant not only consequential but dynamic and interactive and so these are the five wealth and jobs is a little complicated because it can be wealth or it can be jobs but I kind of want to do both so I don't know we'll just come back to that but I think they both have to be involved but these areas I'm calling them five even though it's kind of like five and a half areas are extremely important and they're going to be at the core of examining these processes of structural racism but as they're listed here you see them and as they are in this image they are operating in their own spheres right you know there's a real sense that the media and criminal justice and housing wealth and education have their own circumstances and they're operating independently this is often how we talk about this we talk about them as single sphere we look for housing discrimination and we look for a legacy of it but we don't think about how it connects to all these other factors so part of the vision of the project is to put these gears in relationship to one another now the gear metaphor is also in progress I give you five critiques of it any time in the qat I'm not sure it's going to work but the main purpose of it for as a placeholder right now is to one explain that the system is designed to reproduce these disparities right so it's not a one-off it's not a bad apple it's a history of intentional constant reproduction through different mechanisms and that they're interactive and interconnected along multiple pegs that that you could start this in any number of places and connect them in different ways and that they reinforce each other so it's not a single sphere set of problems if we end mass incarceration tomorrow we'll still have a tremendous level of problems in many other spheres that are interactive with mass incarceration but entirely independent of it in many ways and connected to other things so it's interdependent interactive and compounding so this is thinking of it this way and figuring out how to tell the story this way seems to be one of the one of the goals so far so okay so let's say we're take the housing gear now this gear could have like ten more pegs with policies but just imagine this gear here to describe some of the main policies that have happened over time in to create really black communities slash you know constrained ghettoized black communities often the policies that have done that Ament along with many other things so these are just a handful there are many others but when you take them together they have pretty much gutted the ongoing stability of predominantly black or all or mainly african-american and Latino communities so they've devalued these communities and the property owners in them and their property created incredibly high hurdles for ownership of homes and businesses and in an indirect way transferred risks that would otherwise be disparate across society that by creating pockets of privileges and resources and buffer zones troubles and problems are dis accumulated from one area and hyper accumulated in communities of color so these transferred social risks risks not only reproduce themselves and command a compound themselves but they preserve racialized benefits for whites and finally just a couple of things it stigmatizes the very idea of community and you'll see in a minute how how that happens so that just the idea of black community is itself stigmatized Patricia Williams has a terrific little book on this where she talks about how you know it's a long story so I won't tell it because I don't have enough time but basically she talks a bit about how her own identity as a black community member is something she herself should be afraid of right because it creates its own sense of risk and that your own association with yourself it's actually a dangerous activity for your own financial well-being but so let's take care let's look at redlining for a moment because it's such a big one redlining and the homeowners Loan Corporation and the FHA operated from 33 to 1977 until it was outlawed to redline American city neighborhoods with we use a color-coded system for determining which neighborhoods were suitable and which residents were suitable for loans so they took city you can find these maps all over Google they stare still in existence means you can see the old maps um and if it was Green and you were put in green you got a rating of an A and that the basis for the rating was entirely racial it was about on being an all-white neighborhood and lacking a single foreigner or Negro if you got a red marking now there were there were grades in between so the more you became of color would say dangerous mixed-race communities with Latinos asian-americans and blacks but that was I forgot the exact color it was between red and green but there was a gradation system but the worst possible rating were for which there was no lending where neighborhoods where any black people lived and where they were therefore given the lowest rating and ruled completely ineligible for home and business loans it didn't matter how many and it didn't matter what their social class was not that it should but it's just a point to be made and these were partnerships between government private businesses designed to stabilize and expand home ownership for some communities but not these others and there were literally that had nothing to do with credit had nothing to do with jobs and it had everything to do fundamentally with a state and government and private enterprise transfer of value and privilege to the category of whiteness Lipsitz George Lipsitz calls this a possessive investment in whiteness that the nation makes an investment in whiteness and then of course people are going to want to hold on to it because it has value and they're going to want to protect it because it is being rewarded ok operating in the same landscape another significant bill was the GI Bill now this was actually a colorblind bill it was meant to be for all GIS returning home from World War two and GIS in general and the plan was to expand middle-class possibilities for families and of course this was a highly patriarchal law because there weren't too many women in the military at the time so this was kind of a patriarchal idea of sort of starting families and giving them a starter home as as the head of the household but so 8 out of 10 men born in the 1920s 16 million veterans were eligible and participated in this program the government spent ninety five billion dollars on the on giving support for home ownership to veterans but FDR was unable to get the bill passed unless he gave specific control mechanisms for who would get the money to Southern states and local district managers and once you made that which is also what happened to Social Security for the exclusion of domestic worker benefits for example you create a context in which you basically don't have to give any money to black veterans which is pretty much what happened some were given benefits but they were profoundly underrepresented and but it was through a colored blind legislation Fair Housing Act of 1968 is happy news except in the version I'm going to tell you right now which is that it was fought for and it was lobbied for and it was an amazing a piece of legislation along with many other civil rights acts of you know anti-discrimination law and this banned discrimination in all the places this is just a few intimidation and coercion because there was constant threats to black people if they moved into white neighborhoods there was racial steering wheel I know we don't have any homes over here but we have them over here it blockbusting in which neighborhoods were intentionally broken up so that profits could be gleaned and so white flight could be accelerated and slumlords could exact higher prices for worse maintained properties and redlining so it was passed by Johnson with a name of you know creating this is in some sense an anti-discrimination law that's trying to level the housing playing field but the inner the person who had to deal with it was Richard Nixon because it happened at the end of Johnson's term and Nixon was not also excited about this he called it forced integration and consistently interrogated his staff fired people who tried to implement it and one of them was actually George Romney but that's another story but ultimately basically wanted to know how narrowly can he understand this law and still abide by it but he wasn't naive about its effects and a private memo to his closest advisers he wrote I realized that this position will lead us to a situation in which blacks will continue to live for the most part in black neighborhoods and where there will be predominantly black schools and predominantly white schools so this was not like hey I don't know what the outcome will look like so between 1974 and 1983 not a single dollar was withheld from any City or town that may have been practicing housing discrimination so if you if you again we don't have time here today to go into the depths of how it works but I guarantee you somebody did and not one single dollar here's a law what happens nothing right so this is again while colorblind ideology is so dangerous because it relies on the use of a law and not the actual application and and implementation of it of course Ronald Reagan choked off the enforcement even further on and all of the new laws people tried to pass to get around them so what we're talking about here is a set of practices and policies and behaviors on the ground that have created structurally speaking incredibly fragile and economically deprived and highly burdened neighborhoods neighborhoods that are carrying the risks and accumulated disadvantages that are produced in other parts of society in very compacted spaces in fact the entire logic of the notion of a ghetto which was not a black phenomenon originally but when you say the word today pretty much that's what people think is actually a construction right it is an intentional construction but the power and legacy of housing discrimination is is much more powerful when you think about it in relationship to these spheres that are around it so very briefly you know I want to just help you think about how these gears might interact so the most obvious one for those of you already studied this material is that the primary way we fund education and public schools in the United States is through what taxes what determines property taxes the value of your house so now if you've had a hundred years of no home ownership because you have been denied loans or high-risk loans that mean you have high levels of foreclosures that you actually qualified not to have but we're given anyway and economic discrimination in other spheres you're not going to have a tax base to generate the kind of resources for schools in your neighborhood so here you have an educational outcome where the institution of education is understood as the great leveler right this is going to be the great equalizer everyone works hard in schools a meritocracy system they get out the other end and everything works out so what you see here is a very clear and easy kind of educational intersection and there have been really vivid stories about neighborhoods working very hard to hold on to these resources now so I don't know if you remember the Kelly Williams Bowl our story that took place in Akron Ohio and the the oh the Township I forgot the name the full name of it it'll come to me just west of Akron Ohio in which she sent her two daughters to this all-white Township it's literally a quarter-mile away it's 85 percent black Akron you know 96% all-white something-something Township this is not good and they basically followed her around and took had a private eye investigate to prove that she did not live in the township that she lived in Akron even though her father lived in the township that was an adequate exome explanation enough and they because she wouldn't agree to a fine and to pay for the taxes for the school in the other Township they were going to throw her in jail mind you this is an open enrollment state in actually all areas are supposed to participate in the educational system equally you're not even supposed to have boundaries basically open enrollment means anyone can apply to any school in the state but what rich neighborhoods opt out they opt out of open enrollment and then just pay the state back because they have so much money in property taxes they literally write a check to the state of Ohio and say we don't need to participate we do in closed enrollment here take your dough right but they were going to charge you know Kelly Williams Bowl our so these become really significant kinds of intersections now there are many others I don't I'm not going to have time to go through here but you can imagine pretty easily if you think for example even if we take the notion of ghettoization and think about it as we've been talking about you know these neighborhoods here you obviously have a tremendous capacity for racialized policing right you have if you segregate people and put them under full surveillance you have a capacity to create two tiers of a dude of a system without really anybody else noticing so you notice before all of the last three years of focus on police brutality there was a Truman list but there was a tremendous amount of skepticism Oh police wouldn't do that I've never seen a policeman do that well if you live over here you saw a policeman do this all the time it's not a question right so you have a deep interaction here where for example you can have a war on drugs in this neighborhood right if this assuming this here is a black neighborhood you can have a war on drugs in this neighborhood even though black people do not use drugs at any rate higher than whites in fact they use many of them less but nobody else ever gets their pockets turned inside out on a constant basis stop and frisk only works in a segregated context you can't just go around stopping and frisking Wall Street bankers it doesn't really work out so well housing generates tremendous amount of wealth it's the most significant wealth transfer for most citizens if you have any family issues with health or with educational needs its second mortgages it's home property this the transfers of all this wealth away from minority communities and into wealthy white communities has been tremendously significant intergenerational it's not just a one-time transfer it's the it's the money that keeps giving we talked a bit about education but then I want to talk here a little bit about what's happened in the same last 40 years which is the kind of fixation and culturalization of black ghetto life the idea that the ghetto is a black cultural space and that it's not a structural formation and that it's not the product that's street culture and gangs and drugs and guns and sex trade and fill-in-the-blank whatever the alternative economies you know largely in very fragile and disruptive communities get understood as a black thing right a cultural thing and if you really pay attention to what happens in this same 40 year period it's an ever narrowing description of black life so that it's only real black when it functions as a mirror of the stereotype of the ghetto so the ghetto becomes not as form of structural racism not a form of deprivation of circumstances and oppression but a kind of cultural choice you know like I chose the ghetto I open up the paper I want to live somewhere they say a ghetto apartment I Circle it I go visit because I'm interested I think I can just do my thing in the ghetto right and so then you have you know ghetto ah Polly if you remember that brief game Monopoly for the ghetto which you know thank God they pulled that one but you know there there are these many many principles and you know commercial hip-hop is those of you who know my other work is about pretty much becomes its most profitable in the marketplace when it takes that framework as its primary understanding for commercial mainstream artists so there are many other examples we could talk about here and there's a monumental set of forces that are happening so of course this is daunting but at the same time there have been amazing points of entry and part of the value of this structure as opposed to others at least as I see it now is that it provides lots of points of entry that can be accumulative in value so one quick example and I'll give more if need be but I want to stop now to make sure we have time to talk but you the band the box movement I don't know how many of you know about the band the box a few hands that's pretty good that's great so the general principle at first was to outlaw the use of of the requirement that that anyone who was a felon or went to jail would have to check a box to say so which is just adding stigma on top of stigma like you know as if you you you zero it's a permanent life sentence you're always on your way to jail right you can't just have done it so if you have if you check the box you know they found of course oh lo and behold you know ex-cons didn't get hired what a shock and what a surprise and then be a black ex-con oh good terrific that's going to be really helpful so they are trying to ban the box for jobs but what the movement is moved to is ban the box for housing applications because if you find housing applications now they say you know have you been felon or been a prisoner and now there's been a movement to even not allow people who live in public housing to have relatives who are returning from prison to live in public housing so you have a sentence that is now you know destabilizing your whole family and community that you never end so the band the box has been a really terrific movement that has moved across there have been tremendous fair lending organizations of this county in Maryland I guess it was Montgomery County that a wealthy county that actually required developers to put affordable housing in their programs otherwise they wouldn't approve the plans and they've been successful for many many years although there's a lot of pressure to stop it to create at least a multi-class multi-race county under tremendous pressure organizations like Color of Change are also really exciting to me because of the way they've intervened in the narrative and in the political activism sort of galvanizing using mainly social media to have leverage but they've been really significant around banning some of the cultural work recently like the show cops on Fox television which has been 25 years of just you know free-for-all of racial insult on these questions around criminalization of the poor so the goal here is to figure out how to pay attention to these intersections and to use existing research but to make sure that we're really invested in building public community about ideas that may not yet have mainstream support there's no way we're going to know all there is to know about structural racism so of course we want to keep learning and keep growing and we want to share this information because the people who know it best are the people who are applying for loans and having these experiences applying for insurance and getting triple the rate because of their zip code but even in this media rich environment the power to marginalize important information remains strong and I really this to me is a mandate seems to me for education for college and graduate and professorial work that we can't just imagine that these ideas can just be put on a in a journal put in a newspaper or commented somewhere and that they're just going to have the proper level of reach and I think at this point it's actually a little bit irresponsible to have this kind of information have this kind of crisis and to not be interested in figuring out how to connect with people and to put this in the public eye so at this this this project at its heart aims to encourage everyone some people who know something's wrong some people who may not yet know something wrong but need a little bit of encouragement about what's wrong but they know the ones who do know they may not be sure what it is but they want a pathway to make it right and so I'm hoping that we can use the visual and the emotional engagement to bring these ideas to the public thank you very much for the graduate students and the undergraduate SIF you have research time and you want to participate just go to our website and there'll be a form to fill out and one of us will get in touch with you to see about including you and I just want to thank also Mina and Sam and Amanda who've been just really great researchers especially Sam who from the beginnings been a partner in crime for all the hard work and and also Christina downs who did those amazing gears so thank you all have a great night

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