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The Role of Race in Public Policy & How We Move Forward Lynda Turet, Advocacy Coordinator 22nd Annual Texas United Methodist Women's Legislative Event.

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Presentation on theme: "The Role of Race in Public Policy & How We Move Forward Lynda Turet, Advocacy Coordinator 22nd Annual Texas United Methodist Women's Legislative Event."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Role of Race in Public Policy & How We Move Forward Lynda Turet, Advocacy Coordinator 22nd Annual Texas United Methodist Women's Legislative Event January 25, 2010

2 Center for Social Inclusion o CSI is a national policy advocacy organization with the goal of building opportunity for all by dismantling structural racism How: o Ideas o Leadership o Communications

3 Structural Racism Defined Structure is multi-institutional The ways our public and private institutions interact to produce barriers to opportunity and racial disparities. Intent to discriminate is irrelevant Structures just do what they do and reinforce disinvestment and disparities. Food Security Transportation Housing Civic Participation EmploymentEducation Environment

4 Why We Need to Deal with Race Head On o People of color are the miner’s canary, signaling where we need focus and create solutions o Communities of color must be part of fights for different policies because of how they are impacted and changing demographics o Race is used as a wedge in policy debates that impact everyone

5 Looking Only at Class is Not Enough

6 Poverty Doesn’t Explain It All o African American male and female life expectancy rates are lower than those with much lower incomes in China, Jamaica, Costa Rica and parts of India.* o Minority patients are less likely than whites to receive the health care they need, even after taking into account racial differences in health insurance coverage and other economic and health conditions.** *Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom ** Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care” 2003.

7 Policy Produces Structural Arrangements Social Security Federal Housing Administration The G.I. Bill Federal Aid Highway Act

8 People of Color More Likely to Live in Concentrated Poverty Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “U.S. Interim Projections by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin” and U.S. Census 2000

9 People of color and immigrants in the economic crisis o Hit first and hardest o Great Depression: more likely to be laid off or lose a business, lead to wider wealth inequality o Today: targeted for predatory loans, more likely to foreclose o Blamed o Great Depression: “illegal immigration” from Europe, mass deportation of Mexican Americans o Today: immigrants “stealing” jobs/services, minority lending, CRA o Left out of recovery o Great Depression: Social Security, Farm Aid, housing programs o Today: ??

10 Inequalities in Texas o Texas is one of the most unequal states in the country. The gap between the state’s richest and poorest families is the 9th largest in the nation, and in the last decade the top 20% income earners experienced a 9% growth compared to a - 1.8% growth for the bottom 20%.* o 12 of the 15 states most impacted by the recession have a higher than average percentage of people of color, including Texas (38% compared to 35% nationally).** o 24% of Texas in uninsured, but more so for African Americans (28%) and Latinos (38%) compared to only 16% of non- Hispanic Whites.*** *”Pulling Apart: A State By State Analysis of Income Trends” Center on Budget and Priorities ** Measuring the Recession: An Impact Index Center for Social Inclusion 2009 **Texas Department of Health “Disease Prevention News” Vol 63 No 8 May 7, 2003.

11 11 Opportunity Segregation in Austin Research by The Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University shows that opportunity is not equal across race in Austin. o 60% of Latinos and African Americans are concenrated in very low- or low-opportunity census tracts compared to 39% of Whites in the region. o 2 out of 3 African American and Latino children live in low opportunity areas

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13 Reframing the Immigration “problem” o Structural arrangements limit opportunities for all communities, leaving some exploited and others excluded. We need… o Proactive solutions, not reactionary ones o Multiracial coalition to combat tensions and create policies that work for all

14 How To Transform Our Communities

15 Fixing Things For The First And Hardest Hit Helps Us All Efforts to address inequality by investing in a region’s poor communities have lowered poverty and spurred economic growth throughout the region. -Manuel Pastor, UC Santa Cruz

16 How to Think Structurally on Race o Look at problems in the context of a community’s infrastructure o What access to education, jobs, transportation, or healthcare do communities have based on where they are located? o Look at where the money is going (investment vs. disinvestment) o Look at the intersections of institutions/systems to understand where the solution to a problem might lie o Understand how race is being used in policy discourse

17 How to Work Structurally on Race Measure and address unequal impacts of policies Create access to credit and wealth for a new political economy Build alliances with unlikely suspects with shared interests Combat colorblindness by taking race on constructively Build the capacity of community-led vision and policies

18 Moment of Opportunity o Economic crisis helps us all see our linked-fate o Changing demographics o 36% (8.4 million) of Texas is Latino, ¼ of eligible voters o By 2050 people of color will constitute the New Majority o Administration in Washington more open to considering community-oriented, “sustainable” solutions

19 Lynda Turet

20 How To Use a Structural Lens o What is the problem that engages us most? o Name at least 3 institutions contributing to or with power over some aspect of the problem. o What is the political and cultural landscape of the problem? (history, popular views, discourse) o Who are the primary opponents, proponents and skeptical but gettables? o What is a common thread that links these constituencies?


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