RACIAL EQUITY ANDECONOMIC SECURITYResponse toSTRUCTURAL RACISMLois J. Carson Don Mathis
RACIAL EQUITY ANDECONOMIC SECURITY funded by the Ford Foundation Participating Agencies New York Georgia • Action for a Better Community • Rochester, NY Fulton Atlanta Community Action Authority Atlanta, GA Wisconsin New Mexico Social Development Commission Milwaukee, WI Community Action New Mexico Albuquerque, NM (statewide project) Florida Mississippi Northeast Florida Community Action Agency Jacksonville, FL California Kentucky Bolivar County Community Action Program Cleveland, MS Community Action Council for Lexington-Fayette, Bourbon, Harrison and Nicholas Counties Lexington, KY Community Action Partnership of Riverside County Riverside, CA
Disparate Outcomes Poverty Poverty Level for family of 4: $18,100 (US Dept of HHS, 2002)
Disparate outcomes Educational Attainment Source: The Education Trust, 2002
Justice System Disparate Outcomes Adult Population and Proportion Incarcerated in State and Federal Prisons, 2002 Sources: Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin. “Prisoners in 2002” U.S. Department of Justice, July 2003; U.S. Census Bureau.
We often fail to acknowledge the ways that RACE has been a fundamentalaxis of social organization in the US They resonate with our deeply heldbeliefsabout “success” and “failure” We often prefer to address symptoms rather than theroots of social problems Why are “race” and “racism” suchdifficult issues to grasp and deal with? We are still struggling over the meanings of race and equality We are often reluctant to acknowledge the legacies of race We are generally more comfortable discussing issues of Class and Gender
What is race and how do we understand it? • Social construct • No biological or scientific basis behind it • Best understood in social and political terms
Leaders who work on racial equity need… • A language to talk about race • A framework for understanding how race and ethnicity operate in modern America (post-civil rights legislation) • New ideas and strategies for reducing racial inequities in key opportunity domains and promoting racial equity
New Language We need to identify and talk about: • The ongoing advantages associated with being" white” – sometimes referred to as a white privilege and • The ongoing disadvantages associated with being a person of “color”—which we refer to as structural racism
How is Structural Racism Different? Common explanations of entrenched racial and/or ethnic disparity Individual Institutional Structural
Racism at the individual or inter-group level: • Personal prejudice • Racial slurs, the n-word • Inter-group tensions • Diversity and multi-culturalism • Cultural competence …these are important, and these personal attitudes and beliefs color decision-making and actions
The bigger problem … Racism at the institutional and structural levels
Institutional Racism Education Employment Health Housing Criminal Justice Environment
Institutional Racism For example: • Discriminatory practices (whether intentional or not) • Racial profiling • Redlining or “steering” • Occupational segregation
Institutional Racism: A Systems Perspective Education Employment Health Housing Criminal Justice Environment
What is Structural Racism? It describes the complex ways that history, public policies, institutional practices and cultural representations (e.g., stereotypes, norms) interact to maintain racial hierarchy and inequitable racial group outcomes; thereby allowing privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt.
Structural Racism Education Values History Employment Health Beliefs Attitudes Housing Criminal Justice Environment
Internalized White Privilege • “…an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was meant to remain oblivious….” • Peggy Macintosh, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.”
Contents of the Knapsack: • I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time. • If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live, and I can be pretty sure that my neighbors will be neutral or pleasant to me. • I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed. • I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented. • If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.
Contents of the Knapsack: • I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection. • I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group. • I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking. • I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race. • If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones. • I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social. • If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.
What does the Structural Racism Framework mean for people who want to reduce inequalities? • It means four types of changes in the way we work: • Internal change • Policychange • Practice change • Cultural/representational change
What does the Structural Racism Framework mean for people who want to reduce inequalities? “Internal” change, accepting and establishing racial equity as a central tenet and operating principle in our work to improve outcomes for youth and in our internal work environment…for example Focus not just on improving outcomes for all but also on reducing racial gaps Focus not just on diversity in the workplace, but also on racial equity in opportunities for advancement and leadership
What does the Structural Racism Framework mean for people who want to reduce inequalities? “Policy” change, working on the fundamental rules of the game within your organization and your field, and not shrinking from challenging traditional power bases and networks For example: focus on the fundamental distribution of resources in terms of money, infrastructure, opportunities within your organization and outside your organization by examining its programs and alliances
What does the Structural Racism Framework mean for people who want to reduce inequalities? “Practice” change, focusing carefully on all of the ways in which standard practices reproduce – or fail to counteract – racially disparate outcomes For example by critically examining informal practices within your organization and their impact on racial and ethnic minorities (e.g., mentoring, access to positions which lead to leadership opportunities, visibility etc.)
What does the Structural Racism Framework mean for people who want to reduce inequalities? “Cultural” or “representational” change, reframing and changing stereotypical messages, images and interpretations of information about people of color For example, by challenging the assumptions that employees, board members, policymakers, and the citizens of our communities, and other key actors bring to discussions about people of color because these assumptions “frame” how problems are perceived and how solutions are developed
Policy Advisory to establish the rules of engagement for the “Big View” Meetings and Community Dialogues SUB-COMMITTEES Technical Advisory to eliminate Racial Disparity in the provision and access to Quality Child Care
BIG VIEW MEETINGS Human Rights Commission Human Relations Council Human Relations Commission City of Palm Springs of City of Riverside Hemet- San Jacinto-Menifee May 15 TBA TBA To be followed with dialogues at Colleges/Universities, In Churches and other Venues
Code of Conduct LET US TREAT EVERYONE WITH RESPECT LET US KEEP AN OPEN MIND LET US SEARCH FOR CONSENSUS LET US NOT INTERRUPT OTHERS LET US STRIVE FOR HONESTY LET US REFRAIN FROM PERSONAL ATTACKS LET US SHARE PERSONAL STORIES FOR ENLIGHTENMENT LET US SEARCH FOR NEW WAYS TO DISCUSS RACE INTELLECTUALLY LET US RECRUIT GROUPS TO HOST A BIG VIEW MEETING
Question for Round Table Discussion STRUCTURAL RACISM Racial Equity and Economic Security Describe Structural Racism in their own words and would help to make them more confident about sharing their knowledge.