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 I’m currently serving as the provost and it’s really a great pleasure to welcome you here this evening And I’m the 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 pre-determined 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 prodigious 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 an 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 departments 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 the 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, she shared with me nuggets of her emerging research and I found it compelling and also very interested– then, actually I’m still, for I guess 29 more days, director of The Watson Institute– to explore opportunities to collaborate 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 convince Tricia that, while she considers the work the she’ll present today still very much work in progress, convince her that Brown, as a community, can greatly benefit by sharing her research now And I’m 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 B.A in sociology and received her PH.D. 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 work 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 and to the general public And she is a frequent contributor to CNN and NPR and MSNBC, et cetera She is a true treasure for Brown University, a source of incredible research, an 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 [APPLAUSE] I really am thrilled to be able to share this project I intended to do it at some point, but 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 were all engaged with much more intensely than some of us may have not been recently 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 to 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 the fall that you can visit CSREA website to get more information about 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, decided to not take some really fancy job come work for like three hours a week to talk about this with me– I didn’t really share with anybody in particular, just general public conversations And I just happened to mention in passing And Rick said let me see the proposal, and just vetted it over and over and read, gave great comments and advice and suggestions So this really grows out of that commitment as much as it grows out of the needs that we have now OK, so how many of you in the room have actually recognize I don’t even ask you for those of you who have known me in the classroom, you know that these objects are very foreign to me It is taking me a few weeks to get clear This thing right here looks like something from James Bond but I’m going to try to use it The reason I chose to has to do with the speed with which I want to present certain types of ideas and move as quickly as possible and not lose people, or myself, so forgive me if I’m a little awkward Because my motto is, power corrupts, PowerPoint corrupts absolutely So here I am, a victim Like structural racism, you know the underdog has a lot more power than it looks like So what is the How Structural Racism Works project? What is the project, what’s the point? Is it just about explaining what structural racism is to people? In part, that’s a really ongoing job That’s a the job that apparently 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 a 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 So the problem that I want to get at today isn’t just knowing about structural racism 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 us, 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 in 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 I was like, we’re in trouble! Note to self If we get this one solved, we got like six more weeks before the polar ice cap is gone Like, we fixed it just in time [LAUGHTER] But structural racism is particularly difficult to talk about We’ve all contributed to global warming, but it doesn’t quite feel is identity-based There aren’t too many of us saying, yeah I’m really proud of contributing to global warming 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 that challenge, either conscious or unconscious, values come into play So it makes it harder to build investment and collaboration to work against structural racism and its emotionally challenging for everyone It’s different and challenging for different reasons And we often would make an easy assumption, perhaps that 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, I don’t want to hear about the structural racism Students of color will say, I don’t want to hear about it, I don’t want to know about it, it’s just going to get in my way 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, why didn’t somebody tell me this in the fifth grade? 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 video But it’s also going to require that we all do our best to kind of stay in our best lane as we grapple with it 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 and it’s everywhere In fact, when I had the three-hour, unedited, completely confused version of this talk operating not that long ago– 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 I had to had 15 slides, all of which are cut now– which we could talk about later- that were just sort of breaking it down in every possible sphere As if the data was going to somehow prove the point If you need evidence, you call me but for now suffice to say, every aspect of life, jobs, employment, wealth, discrimination, education, criminal justice, media, housing, health, mental health, insurance agencies, loans, banking, every aspect of life that we can think about has elements of structural racism– or shall we say evidence of racial disparity that’s operating There’s virtually no place and 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 the main 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 color blindness And the war between these two stories is at the heart of the project that I

want us to talk about tonight, but also the project I’m hoping to work on So these two stories, the story of structural racism, and the story of color blindness, have been the primary explanations and frameworks that determine our public, and frankly a lot of our scholarly, analysis since 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 this is a composite -Structural racism in the US is the normalization and legitimization of a range of dynamics historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal that routinely advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color That’s general operative definition of structural racism Color blindness, or I’m calling a colorblind ideology, 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 color blind context for a fair, equal society It fundamentally relies on the idea that race is not operating now, and then we must keep it that way by being colorblind I could spend a whole 45 minutes on how we got this color blindness exactly, what the easy mechanisms were, the kind of manipulation of King’s very famous phrase, content of character, not color of skin He didn’t say anything about being blind I know he’s rolling over in his grave about that phrase Like, I should’ve changed it, who could know? [LAUGHTER] But colorblindness is extremely resistant to illuminating any categories of race 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 race doesn’t matter now, it also means that we have to assume racial hierarchies are not already operating That society is fundamentally fair if it’s left alone to its own devices That’s the fundamental logic of color blindness That by simply ending the ability to see color which has always fascinated me as a strangely depressing sort of self-punishing idea I’m like, I like it But it means that the fact that if we leave society on its own, it will say correct and produce a just 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 minimal 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 ending of any kinds of programs designed to redress a legacy of structural discrimination So you can’t solve the problem by saying, anything that looks like affirmative action in any sphere becomes extremely problematic in the context of color blind ideology And the Supreme Court’s been a very significant and ending, transforming, forcing, dramatic curtailments 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 phrases like affirmative action, instead of them being, as President Johnson attended, this idea of sort of acting affirmatively in the spirit of the creation of an equal society, they become special privileges And the whole language of shifts entirely 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, so in the middle– 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 is dumbfounding It takes the whole thing to levels that make you need a happy hour, basically I put it in this way and this is how everyday people can back themselves into the logic of color blindness

And I just want to really know them before I read this and talk about it, of course there are vicious ideologues who we could say are sort of hatred-filled, trying to destroy society, making sure that people of color are pressed down and never make it They exist unfortunately, and there are more than I’d like But the vast majority of people who subscribe to colorblindness are not those people It 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 or 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 is If all these things are true, then I don’t know what your problems are about, because 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 color blind 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 let’s take a look at this in a concrete sense Let’s just very quickly take a super fast look at the 2010 unemployment rates This is a simple data, we don’t need to do a lot of analysis For all intents and purposes here you see 1 and 1/2 times or 2 and 1/2 times unemployment for blacks and Hispanics in 2010 I will just quickly for those of you who don’t study this sort of thing general, 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’s going to 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, it’s actually just normal It’s not only these numbers here, but it’s the context of what’s considered a crisis Anyway, here we have 8.7%, 12.5%, 16% Let’s see these two stories 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 what we have to do, is animate a story about what motivates this difference 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 studies about this There’s the Devah Pager study, “Race at Work,” where the young people’s resumes are sent in, everything’s identical about them except for an indication that they’re somehow of color And all the same school education, and the callback numbers are dramatically distinct Then there is channeling in sequencing People get hired, but they’re hired below their actual talent level and they’re not promoted There is access to social networks and other kinds of limited opportunities Everyone knows that the vast majority of jobs don’t even make it to any kind of public reckoning, opening position an 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 available positions and their friendship networks are like the TV show, “Friends,” then that’s who gets the job There’s lots of studies here I’ll tell you just one more because again these are 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, It 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 found this out through interviews, but she also found out that the best way to control for this was a drug test applicants for jobs

across race and ethnicity, gender everything else And by doing so, they found that blacks were actually more likely to be hired because this stigma was replaced by something like a fact [LAUGHTER] But then I thought to myself, goodness, how could a whole company decide that black people as a whole are drug users? Oh, OK, we’ll get to that later But anyway, it’s a fascinating thing I’m sure you think you fill out the application and 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 a significant discrimination But what happens with colorblind racism? Colorblind racism focuses on individuals and imagines that none of that is really going on, but it’s about culture, behavior, and discipline And other studies have shown tremendous data about the most widely-endorsed account among whites in particular and point to a supposed lack of motivation or willpower on the part of blacks as a key factor in racial inequality I will say 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 subtle day-to-day Well you did great, Tricia, you must you must work hard OK, are we going down the rabbit path here? Are we going? Is like, no we’re not This idea that you must be an exception, you’ve done something that some other people just never do It can be that kind of subtle or it can be all the way up to, 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, there may be other policies that they get right But when it comes to this, it’s entirely about behavior Let me give you just a clear simple example There are so many to choose from In 2014, Paul Ryan came up with 250 page report called “The War on Poverty 50 Years Later,” because he’s an expert on that And so he writes this report, none of which actually makes this argument but when he promotes be 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 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 in culture work And so there’s this real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.” So 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 yet this whole issue is really about just generation of people just not even thinking about working Like, I didn’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 one says this, this is a ridiculous thing Now I really want to point out that these views are not just the hardcore This 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 argument that’s made by color blindness, but also the argument 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, a sociologist, who was that 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 almost home I don’t know what they’re doing They live in multiracial communities [LAUGHTER] Sorry See, we’re videotaping this, I got to keep it real I got to stay on the page 17% of black people think we’ve achieved equality 36% think it’s on the horizon And the other half are not so sure about what is going to happen But this is a very big gap this is a significant gap in, if nothing else, perception We don’t know what education’s about, but if the 61% of whites think we have already achieved and another 20% think it’s around the corner, how in God’s name do we convince those 80% of respondents that racism is an impediment? So this perception drives a rejection of the consciousness you need to fight structural racism

Now some people say this out of Pollyanna hopefulness, it’s just right around the corner and oh, it’s going to be fine, but there is a willful kind of resistance So the focus on behavior, the belief in equality has already or will soon take place, work together to facilitate the rejection of policies that many think what in fact work to counter structural racism And then we get the no special favors This is Bobo’s analysis of the General Social Survey data in which he says between ’94 and 2008 roughly 3/4 of white respondents felt the blacks should overcome prejudice without special favors, just like other minority groups is claimed Minority groups like the Irish, the Italian, and Jews 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 Ian Haney Lopez’s book, “White By Law,” 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 if you take these two charts– and there’s many, many others Again, this is just a thumbnail today– 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 line below it They are really not so interested in of these so-called special favors either And so when you think about something like Obama’s obsession with the lift-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 I was kind of just hoping– but it’s extremely important because they’ll be no will It’ll be total impossible backlash and this is why the ideology’s so important But I just want to spend two seconds on why 50% of what 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 a problem because it has to do with submitting to a 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 color blindness 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 the worry that 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 seemed to me to be significant And of course, there’s a wide range of research I’m only doing some here there’s Bonilla-Silva, Lopez, Shapiro, Oliver, Lipsitz, Bobo, Crenshaw, Katznelson, there’s 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 Crenshaw’s latest collection? I mean on Brown’s campus yes, but other places, there aren’t even any bookstores, first of all And these are on academic presses, you have to go to Amazon and have to already know about it But there have been some important journalistic trajectories recently, in particular what’s happened with police brutality and state murder, has brought more attention to what the conditions might be around it So there’s a couple things in particular One, the articles about Ferguson in the New York Times and Mother Jones and also on NPR and elsewhere– in the wake of, not just right after the murder of Mike Brown, but little bit later– to talk about all of the ways these structural impediments we’re 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, oh wait, is not just a band of psychos in Ferguson, this must be bigger, then the ball gets dropped But there have been these moments of highly visible public spaces And Ta-Nehisi 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– put it in a public venue where the possibility of reaching many people was much higher But there’s a mainstream public narrative that is driven by colorblindness but that approaches is this kind of information with three particular strategies And there are others, but these are three One is that these are structural anomalies This is just a weird one-off, something happened and when went wrong That the criminal justice system works, just sometimes it doesn’t work, just there’s the 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 so this sort of a perpetuation of anomalies And the other one is the one bad apple There’s a rogue cop There’s just one rogue cop Who, 17 times, nobody pays any attention to, and he’s just so rogue nobody notices but he’s just one bad apple It doesn’t spoil the whole tree of course, because the system works One is a structural anomoly, the other one’s a sort of personalized one And then the third one is just the demonization of either the victim or the a community So just recently I was going through some– I don’t even know what kind– website but Freddie Grey’s family and others have asked the media to stop referring to him as the son of an uneducated heroin addict Well wait, exactly what is the value of that information here? Well if he was an educated non-heroin addict, then the police would not have done to him what they did? Is that what we’re really saying? There’s this constant demonization and marginalization 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 We have these conditions Even if we buy structural racism which I’m going take for granted for the sake of argument that you do If we do that, we still have these three impediments We have the narrative, 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’s not the same thing it was even 10 years ago Someone wrote a really interesting piece about the end of redlining, with sub-prime lending being the exact inverse of redlining Redlining is– which we’re going to talk about in a minute– we are not going to give you any loans Sub-prime lending is, we are going to give you a whole lot of really bad loans It never ends, 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 n You can’t tackle something very easily when it’s always shifting 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 in 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 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 an attempt to figure out, how do we tell this story in a way they builds the kind of emotional momentum that colorblind ideology builds How do we actually make people feel connected to it in some way? So the first part was to sort of decide, 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 what I guess you’d call a kind of educated slash 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– I think they both have to be involved But these areas, I’m calling them five even though it’s kind of like 5 and 1/2, are extremely important and they’re

going to be at the core of examining these processes of structural racism As they’re listed here, you see them and as they are in this image, they are operating in their own spheres 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 at any time in the Q&A I’m not sure it’s going to work But the main purpose of it for as a placeholder right now is to 1, explain that the system is designed to reproduce these disparities 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 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 thinking of it this way and figuring out how to tell the story this way seems to be one of the goals so far Let’s say we take the housing gear Now this gear could have like 10 more pegs with policies, but just imagine this gear here to describe some of the main policies that have happened over time to create really black communities slash constrained, ghetto-ized black communities, often The policies have done that along with many other things These are just a handful, there are many others But when you take them together, they have pretty much gutted the ongoing stability of predominately 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 than would otherwise be disparate across society 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 not only reproduce themselves and compound themselves, but they preserve racialized benefits for whites And then finally, just a couple of other things, that stigmatizes the very idea of community And you’ll see in a minute 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 it’s a long story, so I won’t tell 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 Because it creates its own sense of risk, and your own association with yourself is actually a dangerous activity for your own financial well being Let’s look at redlining for a moment, because it’s such a big one Redlining, In the Homeowner’s Loan Corporation and the FHA operated from ’33 to 1977 until it was outlawed to redline American city neighborhoods will use a color coded system for determining which neighborhoods were suitable and which residents were suitable for loans You can find these maps all over Google They’re still in existence, you can see the old maps And if it was green and you were to put in green, you’ve got a rating of an A, and the basis for the rating was entirely racial It was about it being an all-white neighborhood and lacking a single foreigner or negro If you’ve got a red marking, there where they were grades in between, so the more you became of color, it would say dangerous mixed-race communities with Latinos, Asian Americans, and blacks But that was, I forgot the exact color was between red and green, but there was a gradation system But the worst possible rating where for which there was no lending, we’re 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 this had nothing to do with credit, had nothing to do with jobs, and 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 onto it because it has value and they’re going to want to protect it because it is being rewarded Operating in the same landscape, another significant bill was the GI Bill This was actually a colorblind bill, it was meant to be for all GIs returning home from World War II, and GIs in general And the plan was to expand middle class possibilities for families of course this was a highly patriarchal lot because they weren’t too many women in the military at the time So this was kind of a patriarchal idea of starting families and giving them a starter home as at the head of the household But eight out of 10 men born in the 1920s, 16 million veterans were eligible and participated in this program The government spent $95 billion 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 move, which is also what happening to the 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 under-represented But it was through a color 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 piece of legislation, along with many other civil rights acts of anti-discrimination law And this banned discrimination in all the places These are just a few, intimidation and coercion, because there was constant threats to black people if they moved into white neighborhoods, there was racial steering, like, oh we don’t have any homes over here but we have over here, blockbusting, in which neighborhoods were intentionally broken up so that profits could be gleaned and so white flight could be accelerated, and slum lords could exact higher prices for worse-maintained properties, and redlining So it was passed by Johnson with an aim of creating, in some sense, an anti-discrimination law that’s trying to level the housing playing field But 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 all so 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 In a private memo to his closest advisers he wrote, “I realize 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 is not a single dollar was withheld from any city or town that may have been practicing housing discrimination 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 This is again why colorblind ideology is so dangerous because it relies on the use of a law and not the actual application and implementation of it Of course, Ronald Reagan choked off the enforcement even further 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 it is an intentional construction But the power and legacy of housing discrimination is much more powerful when you think about it in relationship to these spheres that are around it So very briefly, what I want to just to help you think about how these gears might interact So the most obvious one for those of you already studied this material, is 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 100 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 a great equalizer Everyone works hard in school, it’s 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 I don’t know if you remember the Kelly Williams-Bolar story that took place in Akron, Ohio and the township, I forgot 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% black Akron, 96% percent all-white something-something township this is not good, and they basically followed her around and 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 wasn’t an adequate explanation enough And 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 Actually all areas are supposed to participate in educational system equally You’re not even thought 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 enclosed enrollment take your dough But they were going to charge again Kelly Williams-Bolar So these become really significant kinds of intersections Now there are many others 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 these neighborhoods here you obviously have a tremendous capacity for racialized policing If you segregate people, and put them under full surveillance, you have a capacity to create two tiers of a system without really anybody else noticing So you noticed before all of the last three years a focus on police brutality, 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 So you have a deep interaction here where, for example, you could have a war on drugs in this neighborhood, 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 a 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, it’s second mortgages, it’s home property The transfers of all this wealth away from minority communities and into wealthy, white communities has been tremendously significant inter-generational It’s not just a one-time transfer It’s the money that keeps giving We talked a bit about education, but then I want to talk 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 of street culture And gangs and drugs and guns and sex trade and fill in the blank whatever the alternative economies, largely in very fragile and disrupted communities, get understood as a black thing, a cultural thing And if you really pay attention to what happens in the same 40 year period, it is an ever-narrowing description of black life so that it’s only really black when it functions as a mirror of the stereotype of the ghetto So the ghetto becomes not a 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 ghetto apartment, I circle it, I go visit Because I’m interested I think I can just do my thing in the ghetto So then you have a Ghettopoly, only if you remember that brief game, Monopoly for the ghetto, thank God they pulled that one There are these many principles And commercial hip hop, as those of you who know my other work is about, it’s 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 is if need be but I want to stop now to make sure we have time to talk– the Ban the Box movement I don’t know, how many of you know about the Ban the Box? A few hands? That’s pretty good, that’s great So the general principle at first was to outlaw the use of the requirement that anyone who was a felon or went to jail would have to check the box to say so Which is just adding stigma on top of stigma It’s a permanent life sentence You’re always on your way to jail, you can’t just have done it So if you check the box they found of course a Lo and behold, ex-cons didn’t get tired 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 were trying to ban the box for jobs, but what the movement has moved to is ban the box for housing applications Because if you find housing applications now, they say, have you been a 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 sense then is now we don’t destabilizing your whole family and community that you never end So the band there has been a really terrific movement that is moved across There been tremendous fair lending organizations There’s been a 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-racial county under tremendous pressure Organizations like ColorofChange 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 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 the people who are applying for loans and by 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 This to me as a mandate seems to me for education, for college and graduate and professorial work We can’t just imagine that these ideas can just be put 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, to 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 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 with me a little bit of encouragement about what’s wrong But the ones who do know, they may not be sure what it is, that 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 [APPLAUSE] For the graduate students and the undergraduates, if you have research time and you want to participate, just go to our website And they’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 beginning, has been a partner in crime for all the hard work And also Christina Downs who did those amazing gears So thank you all, have a great night