How Structural Racism Works



all right good morning everyone how are we yes this is bright and early isn't it I was worried when when they said well we have the 9 o'clock slot left and I thought oh my goodness and then I thought who's going to get up at 9 o'clock after campus dance so I see who that is and I'm grateful thank you really for coming out so early in the morning my name is Tricia rose and I'm the Chancellor professor of Africana Studies here at Brown I've been at Brown as a professor for 11 years and I actually I didn't put this year it should say classes 1993 which was not my undergraduate years which I wish it was my undergrad it was my graduate degree I did my PhD here at Brown and I'm really really excited to see you all here so I can share some of my research and and what I've been up to for the last couple of years but also because this research and a lot of the thinking behind it dovetails with my role at the Center for the Study of race and ethnicity which I have both a banner and the description of because our job and my interest in directing that Center is to help bring to the public ideas about race and inequality and research about these issues immigration policy racial discrimination indigenous issues to bring that kind of knowledge to the everyday public and create more informed conversations because frankly it appears that we're moving in the opposite direction in terms of complexity and deep knowledge about these issues and it's extremely important for us to have a relatively peaceful and just society in order to do so we need to know these things so this project is really exciting to me it's a tough project intellectually and materially but it's also tough emotionally so it's tough on a lot of fronts I hope you all brought your coffee did everyone bring are you or are you fully caffeinated we've sort of mainlined before you got here ok so that this is going to be a two-part presentation normally I do all of the presenting when I do these things but I have a key researcher Sam Rosen class of 2014 who also did a thesis with me on color blindness and its relationship to structural racism pretty much and he's also I'll give you his bio when I introduce it more fully but he's really done a tremendous job over the last couple of years with me thinking through the project so we're going to do two parts today I'm going to lay out for the first C almost two-thirds but a little bit less maybe half of our time the big bones of the project what are we doing why have we structured it the way we've structured it what are my main concerns what are the issues at stake sort of big picture and then we're going to drill down to a very specific case study which Sam is going to present so the goal here is to say here's this big picture well how does it play out on the ground how does it play out in a way that helps us understand and actually how it's impacting everyday lives in our own perception okay you with me okay there if I go too fast which I am known to do because I am from New York and we do everything fast because you have to please holler I tell students just like frantically wave and it works fine for you know families and and parents and friends as well so feel free to do that okay I'm going to start with the definition because of course you can't really talk about structural racism if you're not sure what you're talking about so what is structural racism before before we can figure out how it works so this is my operative definition it's there are many they share many of these traits and the basic definition is that structural racism in the United States is the normalization and legitimate that 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 now these words are long and the definition may seem long but it's important because they're key you look at this a couple of key words before we move along normalization normalization means that structural racism is built into the everyday practices we're not talking about exceptional behavior individual bad attitudes we're not talking about the occasional negatively intentional policy we're really talking about a process that happens in a normal everyday way that goes on in as part of our air that we breathe but that is often quite invisible to us not all of us but to some of us but it's important that it can go on while we're sleeping while we're fighting for justice while we're doing whatever we're doing legitimization is important because we legitimize institutions and I'm going to talk later about how this happens that are actually functioning in structurally racist ways the outcomes are clearly producing dramatic cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes and they nonetheless have quite legitimacy they have a lot of legitimacy this is not something that is marginal again and on the side the second piece of the definition that's really important is that structural racism is not just the past that has a legacy that's waning in the present it has present formulations so it's its historical yes but it's also present tense there are cultural elements to it that means it has to do with the way we talk about race we it's that that help produce it it's not just policies but it is institutions and policies we see it in government policy we see it in you know corporations and their policies we see it in educational institutions and of course it is also interpersonal and by interpersonal I don't just mean you know sort of screaming people at the Walmart which seems to be a new problem we're having in the United States but it does mean that right because that's part of it but it also means the ways in which we interact and the ways in which we create relationships with one another so our project is really it started as you know as many things in my life academically have started which is something that seems like I should be able to do it quickly and then takes like forever so this is one of those oh I can just explain structural racism to everyday people's in a multimedia project with a couple of videos put them online on YouTube you know pull up a website do some research BAM we'll be all six months okay two years later we're standing here in front of you like really still working it out for a lot of different reasons but we feel more and more convinced about the importance of the project and the importance of these areas so what's happened for us is that we're trying to focus on these five critical areas where structural racism is highly dynamic and consequential there are others so don't even worry about asking me that there are definitely other than these five but these five really applied to all of us in here hopefully not criminal justice but if not then that may itself be part of the puzzle right if you've never had a brush with the law but there are others for sure housing education mass media wealth and jobs are just critical fundamental anchors the outcomes in these areas determine fundamentally the quality of life the sense of safety and security and the opportunity that our citizens in this country have so I want to lay it out this way for a moment because this is usually how we talk about it we talk about wealth we talk about housing we talk about media whether it's representation and images of people of color or African Americans which is the group we're going to mainly focus on whether it's educational outcome or the criminal justice system we tend to look at these things in isolation from one another and this is not a bad idea when we want to drill down because if you want to look at the significance of say racialized wealth inequality which is dramatic and I'll point that out in a moment you want to figure out why and how so you have to go down and into it right you have to keep moving in more deeply but at the same time it's extremely important to think about how these gears as we're thinking of them work together and they are actually not operating in a single – your way that there are interlocking effects and this is key to our argument this is key to our approach that we think about how various aspects of society produce structural inequalities in ways that are interdependent interactive and compounding this is extremely important because again if we find a despair in say job discrimination or unemployment there's a tendency to say well if we just fix that we're good right but if you look at the interlocking effects and you come to the realization that in any one fear you have discrimination and inequality past present and in policy and in thinking and it's really driving inequality in other areas you can't possibly think in a single sphere way to solve any given problem that we're dealing with so we're making an argument that it's not just structural in the big picture sense in isolated ways but it's interlocking and interdependent so this whole talk could be statistics of data and we're not going to do that I'm going to give you just a just a thimbleful of it but I'm going to assume that many of you have been paying attention to these issues otherwise you wouldn't have roused yourself probably at 7:30 in the morning to come here to listen to me talk about it if it was completely unfamiliar to you so just very quickly a black unemployment today is worse than it was in 1964 but more importantly it hovers it twice the white unemployment rate pretty much all the time and I want to draw your attention very quickly to the Great Recession when unemployment rates for whites was around 9 or 10 sometimes 11 percent and it was a national catastrophe crisis how can we survive 10 or 11 percent while black unemployment hovers at 12 to 15 percent all the time it was 19 percent during that recession so if you if you want to figure out how to survive that crisis we have people to talk to um school segregation school segregation has gotten worse since the early 1990s and that segregation is driven really by housing segregation which I'm going to partially which I'm going to talk about in a moment but what's important too is that due to a variety of structural conditions largely in housing and elsewhere the more homogeneous a black school gets and the less white it gets the poorer it gets so race is an indicator also of economic disadvantage as it plays out in schools and elsewhere now criminal justice is a huge sphere we could talk about many things but there are a couple of key things one is that for the past thirty years we have quadrupled the number of people in prison mostly from drug arrests number one blacks our jails at six times the rate of whites despite the fact that why it's used in sell drugs at a higher rate I know you may find that hard to believe if you follow mass media and news reports and the sense you think that all african-americans do is sell buy and consume drugs in the United States so if you actually think about the consequences of this this would mean that we couldn't have if we followed who's actually doing the drugs we would we couldn't possibly have the disparity that we have but we have a policing process that confirms and looks for and seeks out and finds the the drugs that we're looking for in segregated neighborhoods and then another key point is that we do not sentence blacks and whites for the same crime equally blacks receive longer sentences for the same crimes and this is on top of the fact that whites are not likely to be charged with crimes in the first place so that longer sentence plays out even even more significantly wealth is a massively significant component of the the process of structural racism but just since the 1980s the black-white wealth gap has quadrupled and the gap at this point is roughly 11,000 dollars in wealth for african-americans to a hundred and forty two K on average the median wealth for white families that is a staggering gap that no amount of hard work we'll breach it just simply will not be closed with hard work key points to keep in mind about structural racism overall one is that we do not have to be aware of it or any of these factors in order for the system to work to is fueled by and relies on racial ideas and stereotypes to perpetuate outcomes and this is important because I'm going to show how the way we think about race and those stereotypes we activate and the unconscious bias we activate actually produces the outcomes in the material world and whether you know and this is important because changing policy by itself won't change necessarily what's going on unless we tackle we tackle ideas and they matter because they they really hide structural racism right in front of us and I'm going to give you an example and the most important thing though is that we can know ourselves to be unrest in every bone in our body and still be functionally deeply advantaged by this system and participate in it all the time this is a difficult thing to really confront because we've talked about ourselves as Americans as having transcended this kind of racial outcome and investment since the 1960s that's been our main story that we're now a meritocracy that we've ended structural barriers that were post race I know right now this seems like a weird old-school fantasy that we thought ah I know I know I didn't believe it when it was said I was I saw this kind of thing coming was like oh no this isn't going to be pretty but now what did most people think oh my gosh we've got one african-american you know sort of we have half an african-american in the white house how exciting you know and this month everything's gone structural racism poof magic so but this discriminatory outcomes do not have to rely on racist or discriminatory intentions so how a structural racism made invisible the first is this obsession with the illusion of meritocracy now let me first say that the fact that we do not have a merit ah see in my opinion does not mean that people don't deserve good jobs that they haven't worked hard that they're not smart it means that the system is structured for some people's hard work to matter a lot more than other people's hard work and therefore it's not a functional meritocracy if because with rewards if a meritocracy is that rewards in society go naturally to those who are the best performers and that positions or achievements of individuals depend on their abilities and effort and does not depend on class race or other group advantages then obviously we're not a functional meritocracy we have lots of merit we try but we do functionally fail and this is very important to confront because it is the myth of this meritocracy that actually helps drive our misguided thinking about rates in the first place so inside of the meritocracy myth is the belief that we ended racism with the civil rights movement Lawrence Bobo of political scientist at Harvard has done lots of attitude studies and one of them shows that over 60% of whites think that we've reached racial equality now I would be like right now tick tock still right now and 20% say is coming soon so that's 80% well let's be a little higher I actually brought it down to an even number it's more like 83 percent 16 percent of blacks think that we've reached racial equality but a 32 percent think we're going to get there which just speaks to the hopefulness of people of African descent because there's not a ton of evidence of us getting there soon I told you you needed to have caffeine for this situation right I did warn you I gave you a heads up it's not pretty data but this perception really matters because if we believe that racism ended with the civil rights movement and we're mostly just cleaning up a few kind of leftover vestiges of these problems then when we find deep disparity right it contributes to alternative explanations we don't say oh yeah structural racism because it's not in our parlance it's not our understanding we come up with various types of you know mechanisms to compensate one of my favorites is the anomaly well yes over here but I know a guy who hired five african-american you know I'm like oh that's fantastic you know are we going to solve this one man's job hiring program at a time I don't think so or one bad apple thesis this comes up a lot with police right that you know one bad cop some evil back up as if he could function without a whole culture around him to enable it so what remains if if it's the case this is not the case but this is a false proof I'm setting up if no or few structural impediments exist then why do we have such disparate outcomes the answer becomes behavior and this idea that individual behavior or collective black cultural practices produce disparate outcomes like this across all major aspects of society this activates and relies on a deep well of stereotypes and bias you guys following me am I going too fast excellent you guys are perfect Brown students all right so let me give you a quick example unemployment rate labor force Census Bureau 2010 I told you before it's often twice here's your evidence eight point seven percent for non-hispanic whites unemployment twelve point five for Hispanics sixteen percent for black it was twenty ten that was a little bit higher than your average because it was 2010 if you recall that was not a pretty time but it's pretty much double as I said it always is how do we explain it if you're giving a structural analysis you're going to explain this by looking at the housing discrimination which is there are many many studies in if we were approaching this as a my own 50-minute talk I would go into some of these but there's tremendous evidence for significant hiring discrimination even an entry-level job there's profoundly limited accessible opportunities based on distance transportation and housing segregation and isolation and social network almost all jobs are social networks I know a guy which is a Rhode Island thing but everybody uses it I know a guy who can do that oh yeah well you trust me so you trust the guy I say so asked how what percentage of white social networks constitute black people if you're white how many what percentage of your social networks is black shout it out like the kids 5% anyone maybe give me one more number 30% very optimistic amen that's the number you're a you do do math because that came out as perfect but you have what I call intuitive math which is what I have I don't have real math either 1% 1% okay that's rather significant but what do we hear all the time in the news now a lot of these stereotypes applied not just African Americans where we're just going to have to okay all right not just African Americans but they specifically get reinforced around black people in black culture they're lazy they don't want to work hard that lacks discipline lacks proper values prefer handouts Paul Ryan's report on poverty made this argument consistently and you know all over the place it didn't say that there was any any kind of discrimination only of behavior so I want to move to the question of crime because it's important to understand how pivotal and what a linchpin that idea of African Americans as fundamentally criminal drives a variety of spaces and circumstances the a report by the Sentencing Project was specifically looking at perceptions of crime and the ways in which it produces a not only criminal justice outcomes but other kinds of outcomes and I want to just draw your attention to the fact that I'm talking here about conscious stereotypes and unconscious bias these are two different spaces but they're both important so there's things people say that they think to be true and then they're things that we don't even know about 80 percent of our brain is completely inaccessible to us well I don't know what's going on down there in that basement but it's pretty heavy one of the things going on is a deep belief that black people are more criminal and this starts really with the moment of emancipation as soon as slavery ends during slavery black people are not criminal but magically as soon as they're free they're pretty dangerous and problematic well recent studies though show that White's overestimate the actual show burglaries illegal drug sales and juvenile crime committed by african-americans by 20 to 30 percent if this pattern is confirmed in widespread implicit bias research media crime coverage reinforces this bias there's many many reports that show that the way black criminals are portrayed the emphasis on crimes that are more likely to be done by blacks but not by others produce a reinforced relationship between black people and crime in the psyche it's reinforced by higher sales and status for movies music and art that revolves around african-americans criminal behavior and character my own work on hip-hop I talk a lot about this that artists that don't talk about being a gangster do not sell as well and it's not just because those stories are more exciting it's because they fulfill a conscious and unconscious sense of authenticity about what black people are are really supposed to be and it justifies draconian policing policies and most important for what I want to do next it drives housing and schooling decisions so I don't have time to go into this at the depth that I wanted to but this is if you take the housing gear you will see that there are lots of policies past and present that has had a deep impact on what we have always seen in the housing arena which is significant segregation and significant economic disempowerment and I would love to give you an hour-long lecture on all of these but I want to just very quickly focus on for the moment the pivotal nature of a process called redlining how many of you know what redlining is excellent I don't need to spend a lot of time on it so just for the sake of just a couple of key factors here one it was a government policy New Deal so democratic so don't get all grumpy if you're a Democrat trying to blame somebody else Democratic policy mental health of communities be funded for housing was racially specific and was a corporate collaboration because this was a homeowners Loan Corporation founded by the government colour-coded created a system why we call it red lining is that neighborhoods that were considered red and red perimeter found them where neighborhoods where any black people lived even only one were marked in red given the lowest rating on the system and ruled completely ineligible for home or business loans this goes on I'm born well and not too long before 77 but long enough to say that this is actually going on consistently across the country uninterrupted and this is just one piece of the puzzle creating a number of factors that are extremely important not only is it starving black communities of economic resources it's elevating the wider the community is it's creating a financial incentive for white homogeneity you following me this is very important because it itself produces thinking about race because you're like what whiteness has value oh that's right here's my white house basically a my white neighborhood in my white school it's more valuable of course it's more valuable it's more important it's more valuable and you've got a reciprocal process so let me just very this is the most important thing I want to have a think about today is this relationship so redlining and other strategies that maintain segregation they choked off the value of any investing in black communities and suppressed the value of property and in fact gentrification as we know it today is impossible without the history of redlining and the destruction of value in poor communities that they themselves should have been able to access but can't and now others find the prices to be so cheap because this process of has been going on so it created black ghettos by redlining and constraining and segregating neighborhoods and creating asset reduction in those communities it reinforced associations of blackness with poverty and struggling community artificially raised the value of white neighborhoods and a higher market value which in turn fuels educational inequality and segregation as we all know we fund for those of us who still send our kids to public schools it's another racial and class effort to create segregation but taxes fund our educational school educational units and therefore if you have higher property values for your you have more money for your schools so there's an incentive to pass this on intergenerational wealth through education alone not to mention passing on these homes to our children which does what fund their college whether financial crisis whether health crises if you don't have excellent health coverage for some reason and your child is doing you know some entrepreneurship right you can cover their health you can pay for it but second mortgages with that wealth gap that we talked about twelve member eleven thousand dollars in assets to one hundred and forty two on average so it rationalizes I'm moving down to this one it rationalizes why protectionism protecting white neighborhoods is safer and profitable it makes fear of black people financially reasonable it stigmatizes neighborhoods that are diverse no matter how stay friendly are stable it fuels white self segregation and white flight so I want to talk for a moment about white flight because I'm going to skip that slide because it plays out over and over again it's not just a pass and fixed creation it's a pattern that we find reproducing itself so this is going to come up in Sam's presentation so I want to just very quickly show you that this whole logic the perception the bias the history the structures the investments in whiteness have created a context in which 20 percent functions as a tipping point that initiates the process of white flight if you're living in a neighborhood that's less than 20 percent white a black whites will move into that neighborhood fewer than 20 percent so that's that's that's a good thing but any more than 20% and the first thing that happens is why stop moving in so it could be twenty two to twenty five percent they did tremendous study this comes from a book called American apartheid by Massie and Denton two very distinguished sociologists won many awards if it's more than thirty percent white sell their homes and move out as you can see if you think about this this process creates segregation in and of itself so it doesn't take long that when White's stop moving in other people have to somebody move then it ends up being non-white the neighborhood eventually becomes all people of color so this process happened individually people make their individual choice but what happened they actually produce it and that means there's a deep investment in not being caught in this bigger than 30% neighborhood because we know what the economic consequences that the market produces will be so as you can see here just in this brief schematic sense that this is a normalized legitimates the legitimised project that happens historically and interpersonally and institutionally that routinely advantages whites by providing a cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes now what Sam is going to do today is share a specific case that we worked on together to explain how this plays out on the ground more specifically and because we're running out of time I won't tell you his fantastic pedigree but I'll tell you in the QA please join me in welcoming Sam Rosen [Applause] hi everyone good morning and thank you professor oh thank you um so professor Rose just gave an overview of the theoretical framework for this project what I'm going to do now is show how structural racism works in the context of a life and a community and for this we've chosen a well-known case the story of Trayvon Martin let's briefly review what happened Trayvon Martin was a black 17 year old who was killed by a man named George Zimmerman on a Sunday night in February of 2012 while walking back to his father's house in Florida Trayvon's death and Zimmerman's murder trial both received extensive media attention most of which centered around Zimmerman's possible motivations and Trayvon's character most media focused on the micro details to explain what happened instead of focusing on the larger structural forces that set the stage for this tragedy behind me is a cover that People magazine ran after Trayvon's death and I want to direct your attention to the subtitle in the bottom left which I've reprinted next to the cover it reads quote an unarmed 17 year old is killed in a Florida neighborhood how a chance encounter turned deadly leaving a family devastated and a country outraged now that caption may seem totally innocuous to you but we actually think that it's hugely significant because it captures the core framing the nearly universal common sense thinking about this case and recent others like it People magazine called the confrontation between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman a chance encounter and in some ways this is true but on another level this encounter wasn't random at all what I want to illuminate for you today is that despite widespread media framing that suggested otherwise the deadly encounter between Trayvon and Zimmerman was significantly shaped by structural racism I want to talk in particular about how structural racism and the ideas about black people that justify it shapes their encounter in three key areas in housing in criminal justice and in schools in each of these areas evidence of structural racism was largely ignored or misinterpreted through the lens of racial stereotypes and individual behavior and I also want to show that the factors that shaped Trayvon Martin's life and death are by no means specific only to him or to his community there instead key components of have structural racism works in the United States Trayvon was shot while walking back to his father's girlfriend's home at the retreat at Twin Lakes a lower-middle-class gated community in Sanford Florida Zimmerman lived at Twin Lakes and he was the captain of the communities neighborhood watch program so what kind of neighborhood was Zimmerman watching and why was he watching it Sanford is a city of about 50,000 in northern Florida about 30 minutes from Orlando both the city of Sanford and the retreat at Twin Lakes are fairly diverse places Sanford is about sixty percent white and 30 percent black and Twin Lakes is about 50 percent white 20 percent Latin x and 20 percent black and Sanford has a median household income of about $38,000 so we're talking about a lower middle class area which is significant in part because Twin Lakes was built as an aspirational luxury oasis these are still frames from a promotional video for Twin Lakes this secluded gated community the video says is like living in a resort the perfect choice for those looking for space and comfort in 2004 when Twin Lakes was built a 1400 square foot townhouse went for $250,000 but in retrospect 2004 was part of what we would now call the housing bubble and was a very bad time to build a gated community of aspirational luxury townhouses a few years later the Great Recession hit the housing market collapsed and many residents as well as new investors in twin lakes started renting their properties to cover their mortgages by 2012 in a pattern that repeated itself around the country the same townhouse that was worth two hundred fifty thousand eight years earlier was now worth under a hundred thousand dollars so in 2012 the retreat at twin lakes is a community on an emotional edge but it was also on another kind of edge in her presentation professor Rose explained that due to White's negative racial perceptions of black people white stopped moving into a neighborhood once it's above twenty percent black and move out of neighborhoods that are over thirty percent black so the retreat at Twin Lakes which is 20 percent black and located in Sanford which is 30 percent black set right on the threshold where whites have decided a neighborhood is becoming too black or not white enough and this racial tipping point as you recall has economic consequences because of the higher market value attached to white neighborhoods white flight accelerates declines in property values which in turn leads to more white flight white flight stems in part from White's unfounded yet widespread hyper association with black people as criminals and Twin Lakes demonstrated this ideology in textbook fashion in the fourteen months before Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin there were an estimated forty five burglaries or attempted burglaries at Twin Lakes reuters reported the of those forty five only three were known to be carried out or attempted by black men in the summer of 2011 the summer before Zimmerman killed Trayvon there was a small wave of burglaries at Twin Lakes including a particularly well-publicized one where a mother and her child had to lock themselves in a room while two burglars ransacked their home without any statistical evidence to back up their claims residents talking to reporters in the aftermath of the killing of Trayvon Martin described a community besieged by black criminals one neighbor said quote there were black boys robbing houses in the neighborhood that's why George was vicious of Trayvon Martin another resident told a different reporter that neighborhood burglaries were being committed primarily by quote young black males in the fall of 2011 just after this small wave of robberies Twin Lakes decided to form a neighborhood watch and George Zimmerman volunteered to be the captain in many ways though George Zimmerman had already been the unofficial watchdog of this gated community he moved into twin lakes in 2009 and in the two-plus years between when he moved in and when he killed Trayvon Zimmerman called the police incessantly to report all sorts of things but during the summer of 2011 the focus of Zimmerman calls to police narrowed significantly specifically the Tampa Bay Times reported he started to fixate on black men he thought looked suspicious often this was reported as an individual fixation of Zimmerman and it may really have been one but Zimmerman's behavior embodied an irrational racial paranoia that appeared to be widespread at Twin Lakes and is certainly widespread around the country so you have a neighborhood which has been made fragile by the financial housing sector and one that is made additionally fragile because of the market penalties attached to a diverse neighborhood sitting right on what for whites is that crucial 20 percent racial tipping point a point that activates white racial anxiety and in Zimmerman you have a resident who has been operationalizing this racial anxiety who also has an intimate knowledge of the racial dimensions of housing values thanks to a career spent in real estate and working for a mortgage company who then volunteers to be the captain of the neighborhood watch and sees a black teenager walking through the gated community alone on a Sunday night Zimmerman pursues Trayvon in his car and then eventually gets out and confronts him even though the police dispatch he called specifically instructed him not to approach Trayvon at all Zimmerman chases Trayvon and when he catches him the two of them struggle and then Zimmerman shoots and kills Trayvon Martin he admits this to police immediately when they arrived Trayvon was unarmed and it's clear from the 911 scripts that Zimmerman instigated the encounter and yet Zimmerman isn't charged with any crime police take his statement and they let him go home and it's during the six weeks that Zimmerman goes uncharged that this killing becomes national news it wasn't just a Zimmerman shot Trayvon it was that he had done it admitted to it and then been allowed to walk free why did the Merman go uncharged for a month and a half well there are a lot of ways that the killing of black people has been excused and legitimized but one reason was that Zimmerman was able to invoke a new Florida law called stand your ground a law that was created in 2005 with the support of the NRA and gun retailers and is now law in some form in 33 states stand your ground basically extends what's called the Castle Doctrine since basically the beginning of its existence the United States has had the castle doctrine as in a man's home is his castle which is adapted from English common law it essentially says that if there's an intruder in your home you're allowed to kill that person even if it's possible for you to escape a century ago Judge Benjamin Cardozo who later became a Supreme Court justice described the Castle Doctrine like this a man quote if assailed at home may stand his ground and resist the attack he's under no duty to take to the fields and the highways a fugitive in his own home what stand your ground did was widely expand the castle doctrine understand your ground anyone who's attacked anywhere he or she is lawfully present has quote no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that it's necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm so before the Castle Doctrine allowed lethal force to protect people inside their own homes now in states to the Past stand your ground we allow it wherever someone is legally present your castle is now anywhere you happen to be and your reasonable belief in your own danger can justify killing another but is this reasonable belief standard race-neutral let's look at some of the data this chart shows how likely it is that a killing will be deemed justified based on the race of the shooter and the victim using white on white fillings as the zero baseline so a black person killing a black person on the left is less likely to be seen as justified and a black person killing a white person is far less likely to be seen as justified compared to a white person who kills a white person but as you can see from the data on the far right when White's kill black people they're two-and-a-half times more likely to be seen as justified and in stand-your-ground states which is this Paul purple bar that number is even bigger White's are three and a half times more likely to be found justified if they kill a black person instead of a white one put in the language of the law itself white on black killings and stand your ground states are significantly more likely to be seen as stemming from a reasonable fear the kind of fear that George Zimmerman invoked when he chased confronted and killed an unarmed Trayvon Martin now legally stand your ground was not supposed to be part of Zimmerman's defense trial because both sides agreed that the details of the physical struggle between him and Trayvon made the law inapplicable but it didn't need to be in order to serve its purpose the media talked so much about stand your ground as a mitigating factor and the defense used the phrase stand your ground repeatedly during argument and so it appears that jurors whose racial biases were no different than anyone elses were confused and apparently used the racially inflicted logic of stand your ground anyway after the verdict one juror told CNN that the jury did acquit simmerman in part because of stand your ground which exposed a shocking misunderstanding of the law's role in the case but a keen sense of its role in our society and one of the tragic irony of this killing is that while Trayvon fell victim in Sanford to one kind of criminalization he was actually there in part to escape another kind of criminal Trevon didn't live primarily in Sanford he lived and went to school in Miami four hours south the night he was killed was a school night but Trayvon was in Sanford with his father because he had been suspended from school and didn't need to be back in Miami the next morning the suspension that led Trayvon to stay in Sanford with his dad was his third of the year his first was for tardiness the second was for writing the acronym WTS on a locker and his third was for possessing a bag that had marijuana residue on it now this might seem to you to be cut and dried Trayvon broke the rules and so he was suspended and his suspension was often cited in the media as proof of troubled behavior but it's quite a bit more ambiguous than that crap hi Trayvon school has detailed guidelines for which offenses warrant which types of punishment now these guidelines themselves are quite draconian but even if we set that aside for now it's clear from the details of Trayvon suspensions that he was treated unfairly even by his school's own standards on the table behind me there are three columns the left is Trayvon's offense in the center is the punishment that that offense warrants according to the school's own guidelines and on the right is the punishment that Trayvon actually got as you can see Trayvon's first two offenses shouldn't have resulted in suspensions at all for his third he got the maximum suspension for an offense that appears to be one of the least serious drug offenses possible so by punishing him excessively and against the established rules his school created a pattern of offenses which then snow balled and justified a stiff penalty for the one actual offense now the tricky thing about looking at structural racism through the lens of one student suspensions is that there's obviously a lot of ambiguity and subjectivity involved we can say for sure that Trayvon's first two suspensions weren't warranted but there may be additional context we simply don't know about but when we put Trayvon in a larger context we see some worrisome patterns since the 1970s the percentage of students suspended from school has doubled and black students have been suspended disproportionately today black students are suspended at three times the rate of white students and twice as often as Latin X students the most heavily suspended students are black male and disabled and black students aren't just over suspended they're also judged more punitive Lee for the same exact behavior when compared to their peers of other races in Okaloosa County we're crop is located roughly 50% of school arrests involve black students even though they make up only 12% of the school population at crop high Trevon school specifically the data is similar nearly 50 percent of crop suspensions are given to black students who account for only under a quarter of the student population as a whole Trevon suspensions were discussed ad nauseam in the media but almost always as legitimate and an examination of his character not an examination of the school its policies and his treatment by the adults around him this is one of the key ways structural racism works it posits that racial disparities are the product not of systems but of black individuals behavior and then primes people to search for evidence of behavior that can account for the disparity this erasure of the workings of structural racism and the use of behaviorally focused racial stereotyping was present in all of the other issues I've talked about today let's take a quick look at some of the headlines from stories about the case to get a sense of the pattern NBC says Trayvon Martin suspended from school three times New York Magazine says FBI sources say George Zimmerman isn't racist USA Today Trayvon Martin typical teen or troublemaker CBS George Zimmerman used a racial slur in a bar and the New York Times says defense in the Trayvon Martin case raises questions about the victims character all of these headlines draw our attention to questions of individual behavior as a way of explaining what happened and they draw our attention away from important racially discriminatory forces and perceptions what I hope I've conveyed today is the Trayvon Martin's death was the product of much more than what people magazine called a chance encounter it was the product of structural racism in three key areas in housing it was the product of structural of racialized fears about crime and neighborhood prosperity from criminal justice it was the product of a legal logic which legitimized killing and demonized the victim and in schools it was the product of the racially targeted application of draconian school policy the micro-level interpersonal details of these cases of course do matter but the way we've explained what happened to Trayvon Martin hides how structural racism works and the damage it does thank you [Applause] it was a reversal in the 60s or 70s am I just like imagining that that things were at least heading in the right direction it felt like things were heading up to me it felt like things we're heading in the right direction until a couple of years ago but now it feels like maybe things were heading in the right direction until the 60s or 70s and then got reversed or is it is that just my imagination and it's never been heading in the right direction well it's been a struggle right people have worked very hard to try to make significant changes right in this kind of anti housing law discrimination we have had affirmative action for quite a while they're trying to make head roads but there's also always been tremendous resistance and that hasn't been just by rabid right-wingers but by people who feel that who can't distinguish between their privilege and the myth of meritocracy and and because of that there's a lot of you know resentment and frustration and that's part of the point of this project is to really explain that to really recalibrate that perception the 60s were a profound radical moment in American history and civil rights movement was critical women's rights movement etc but but I don't want us to romanticize it because it was one of many radical periods in which change was was made I mean Emancipation Proclamation would certainly count among my many highlights and and yes there's always been resistance the Black Codes and the undermining right over time so that's how I would think about that if that helps but thank you very much oh thank you I really appreciate it yes go ahead and keep late and then I'll get you the bring you the mic sir go ahead hi professor Rosen I'm sorry I'm it's Sam Sam and thank you so much for a very very very enriching presentation I have a question about the potential for Americans in this moment to acknowledge their prejudices not necessarily attempt to shift their ideology but see how dismantling structural racism can strengthen our nation economically and in terms of infrastructure what are your thoughts about that oh well you know my my husband works on is a philosopher of religion he's been working on the idea of hope and so I've had been forced to think about these things because I mean ultimately this is a project with us with the kind of hope at the bottom right that you know I don't think the chances are super high right but I know that if we don't make an effort it will it will definitely be worth so yeah the self-interest 'fl you know it's very hard to undo the short-term advantages of whiteness in the consciousness it's like kind of like climate change you know it's hard to see the long-term consequences and then frankly if you have a society in which certain structures keep privileges operative it's not a guarantee that their outcomes will personally be worse societies will be worse so we have to get we really need to help ourselves see our interconnection as human beings in a fundamental way so that we can separate that from what might be private advantages right the top top top 1% doesn't really in in or you know doesn't have any relationship to any of this and I think that's important to undo but thank you that's a great question this gentleman has a Mikey's neck and I'll bring it to you I have a question about white flight and the percentages yeah if I were thinking of moving into a new neighborhood yeah who would how would I know what the percentages were what what are the researchers say is it for the real estate community saying that or so on and the great class second thing I have a an alternative perhaps explanation as you mentioned that people feel less safe the black or the community is but when we did this little survey here and found the social networks of predominantly white people here with blacks 1% was the number so if I were a young parent moving into a new community and I knew that the percentage of blacks was a lot higher than what I'm used to and if I myself have very few blacks in my network wouldn't I say well they're going to be fewer friends for my kids to be around with or for me to make friends because my friends are mostly white and I want a wider community to move into yeah so what you're saying is that that nice thank you what you're saying is that the existence of a kind of expectation of homogeneity this reinforcement social networks also builds discomfort with those numbers it's not all by itself because other groups don't that same level of response so for example Asian Americans don't elicits that response so they don't think I have no friends for my kids right it's about the way a particular response to blackness generates that but part of it is just the texture in the feeling right it's really about how many black people do you run into I mean you know if you're a color you know when you're in an all-white world like you wander around most of the time thinking huh and the only black person for like miles or huh let me look around the room before I say the black thing is there another black person in here I mean is I guarantee there's nobody of color here who has not done the head swivel like okay got it you know I'm just going to lay low about this so the point I'm saying here is that you know you get a feeling you get a sense and that that that has been justified by numbers the data would take too long to explain but it's an accessible book called American apartheid so it's an easy title to remember I'd recommend you check it out yeah thank you yeah if we only seem to be making progress through radical movements or proclamations for example what do you see is the next opportunity do you think that the current president might be able to precipitate something so awful yeah I know I like I like super oh yeah yeah you're hopeful it's a hopeful spirit there Thank You Jamal is another one of my great students is doing great things you know it's fantastic anyway you know I think you're the most hopeful guy in the room you're like disruption could lead to success you know I was like look I kind of like because we don't have a choice we might as well try to look for opportunities while we have some breaks you know it's not that I think success is impossible I think the downside of this project is that it because it illuminates just how profound the system is it can be hard to see opportunities right so one of the things that if we had another hour and what are what the book and maybe this website in these videos and I don't know if you know dance performance I mean I'm adding too many things as we go here but one of the advantages of the one of the things a project will look at is what are the linchpins one of the places between these years that we might be able to really have leverage and what are the successful responses but we also think that you know why fam you did this terrific research on how Travon happens is that we have a lot of power to change the public's stories we tell every time you see that story cuz you've seen it a hundred times since Trayvon was murdered don't let it happen social media is very powerful so our other media responses that we can have to basically refused this individualistic narrative and if we can transform peoples of comfort with that what was this anomaly this one bad apple one crazy crackpot guy named George Zimmerman right but she might well also be but he's channeling a set of ideas and values that are widely held and that are acted out institutionally so I guess that's where my hope lies is in conveying this enough to people who are smart and well-meaning and invested and to help them see how their own position is is related to this process and that we have power that isn't just governmental that we can actually change our collective attitude does that help yes any other last one yes go ahead on I thank you very much in this this was really important to me an educational I learned a lot thought I knew something but I guess I didn't I am from Georgia originally but I lived here in Rhode Island a lot of my life and I've seen neighborhoods in Georgia go for all white to all black a lot and this is this is a tough question to deal with but yeah there's that thing out there that says blacks destroy the neighborhood yeah and so I'm trying to come to some understanding in my own heart and my head about is that true and if it is is it because blacks are uneducated in terms of taking care of property in that room it's how this is a difficult one but yeah I'd like to hear yes on it yeah first let me say I did not have adequate time to this question properly so if you hear major gaps guaranteed I agree with you so let me just try to do a one-minute version both things can be held true at the same time that the turnover of neighborhood can reduce the property values for structural reasons that have nothing to do with the behaviors of individuals but it can also have to do with the fact that histories of economics strangling can really reduce the ability of black communities to keep up their property so for example higher I don't even get into the question of penalties around mortgages subprime lending to people who are qualified for proper loan means they don't have adequate equity to improve their property so even if they knew how to do it and wanted to do it they don't have the resources then when the market crashes which it continually does the people at the bottom of a fragile have to take in tenants that produces transients and so structured into these processes are you know fragility but it is also true that some black people like poor white people like people of all backgrounds are not perfect I'm not this is not some noble african-american story of course there are people who do crime there are people who don't take care of their property but I guarantee you when you really look at that from a much more you know critical mind you will see that first of all White's do it just about just as much and they don't get a group penalty for their understood as in need of our assistance to give them opportunities so I'm not here in the business of you know saying that this is the noble group and they're just so perfect of course there was love and I guarantee you if any group of people who faced with black Americans and faced since the transatlantic slave trade would be we'd have as many crises as black people have some of which you know are eventually partially of their own making that may very well be true but you can't tell me that 350 years of this kind of process is not something we're collectively responsible and it will make us all better if we own that up and fix it we better go I know you've got other forward to go to thank you so much [Applause]

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