tv Sheryll Cashin White Space Black Hood CSPAN November 24, 2021 11:27pm-12:25am EST
good evening virtual audience and welcome. thank you for joining us today. on behalf of harvard bookstore i'm pleased to introduce this event for the new book white space, black hood segregation if the age of inequalities during the conversation. thank you y for joining us tonight. the events like tonight continue tort bring authors into their wk to the community and the new digital community.
every week we will be hosting new events and as always the schedule appears on harvard.com where you can sign up for an e@e-mail newsletter. this evening's discussion will conclude a time for your questions if you have a question for the speakers at any time click on the community about and at the bottom of the screen and we will get through as many as time allows. there is also closed captioning available depending on the version of zoom that you are using by clicking on the closed caption button on the screen. i will be posting a link to purchase on harvard.com. your purchases and contributions make events like tonight's possible for the landmark independent bookstore. thank you for showing up and tuning in and support of the authors and the staff. we appreciate your support now and always and as you may have over this past year, technical issues may arise and we will do our best to resolve them quickly and we thank you
for your understanding. i'm pleased to introduce tonight's speaker. the waterhouse investor of law, civil rights and justice at georgetown university contributing editor forit polito magazine and active member of the poverty and research council previously been a law clerk at the supreme court justice thurgood marshall as well as an advisor on community development in thehe white house who work hs appeared in numerous outlets including "the new york times," "washington post" amonggt many others and she's the author of "the new york times" book review editor failure of integration the naacp nomination and the legacy award and threat to white supremacy. tonight joined by the dean of rye cliff university for advanced studies professor of law and constitutional law, harvard law.
the author of the book. at the book reviews cold a resident important argument that white supremacy and racial division poison in our cities and can be received as brilliant and nuanced and convinces the readers of the centrality of geography and economic and social inequality. we are so happy to have them both your tonight. the digital podium is yours. >> thank you so much to the bookstore for hosting this talk. it is my pleasure to be in conversationon with cheryl, he s written for the book and i want to start by asking you why you decided to write this book.
>> it was about four years ago, five years ago i got a call from you asking if i would like to give a lecture at my alma mater and i was flabbergasted thinking what will i say so it forced me to think what would be worthy of the occasion with the higher academic career thinking about the segregation and was very inspired by michelle alexander's book in the t way she connected contemporary math and incarceration to a prior antiblack institution and jim crow but i wanted to see the connection from slavery to jim
crow to the iconic segregation. and because it seemed like each time we put to bed one institution, we created a another. supremacy still manifests as the structures change and the audio ideology. about low income black people in society and how they are treated by middle and upper class. you p get the point.
i feel very passionate on the high poverty black neighborhoods and descendents in recognition of the connection and in the introduction i see i wrote this book to humanize them and advocate for them. your lecture was impressive and this book is really impressive. it's the total package that combines historical andca legal analysis. with the scholarship and you and i workan in some of the same ars so i know the scholarship. going beyond that, you combine storytelling and policy
solutions. i truly congratulate you on the achievement. >> thank you so much. for those that haven't had a chance to read the book yet, why don't you go through and give us a brief overview of the argument that you make. >> what i'm arguing is that racial inequality that you see in american society is best explained by understanding that we have a system of residential tact that produces it. we intentionally constructed a fluent like phase and the iconic black hood and the one idea of
high opportunity poverty free fashion couldn't exist elsewhere. as these extremes pass as the most persistent kinds of have inhood that we fact the boundaries of this phase and concentrated poverty or hardening. there is a lot in between, but what i argue is that everyone in american society who cannot buy their way into this flew into fluent likebasis that also happa different deal when it comes to opportunities. i am saying it is the chief explanation for the structural systemic racism that we have.
it is animated by three primary block processes. boundary makers which is the polite word for segregation, opportunities, h over investing and stereotype driven surveillance, predatory policing and also private policing. that's the argument of the book and i call for abolition and repair of american residential. >> i want to ask about some of word choices as opposed to
it's incubated and based on a a lot of ideas about what goes on often generated by people that have no intimate knowledge of black people so it's more powerful than saying racism. for me, it evokes entrenched structures and it's nothing if not structural. the social distinctions that come naturally become much more efficient when you overlay it with geography. those people over there are not worthy of coming to live in my
space. people come up with reasons to justify the way things are and i have a chapter as you know about mythology. butnt animating is that high opportunity living is learned and people trapped in low poverty areas, that is the deserved result of individual bad behavior. and that erases and masks a century of the various public policies that systemically create or render some neighborhoods devoid of any real opportunity. >> i think it's an appropriate
word. being trapped is a very powerful word choice. you also mentioned at the top you use the word descendents and you tell stories about that chapter. can you say a bit about why that was the choice for this book? >> for me it is a term of affection, love, honoring an african-american legacy. they are often negative connotations. it also evokes the truth
african-americans emancipated after the civil war and were overwhelmingly in the south. their descendent, lots of them are great migrants as they were north and south to escape jim crow and the primary response wherever they landed was to contain them in hyper segregated neighborhoods and to disinvest making them much worse in other places. i guarantee you the folks that live in the hood, i guarantee you that overwhelmingly, those folks are descendents of the enslaved. there is a direct continuum that i just described.
>> that is important to talk about. not a lot of o people do make those connections, and i think it is a very appropriate term. >> you asked w why i feature th. thank you for noticing that. every chapter opens with a character or two and i try to get their pictures. many of the people i feature are people that overcame something that inspired me.
i wrote this for particularly black americans and very influenced by this essay she writes about how first of all, herck whole career she wrote tht for herself and others and she wasn't trying to appeal to any other audience. i wanted to write a book that was truly here is the truth about what our people have been through and she said in the book i just pulled out in one essay. racial oppression may never go
away. it may never change but we can write c about it if you tell the truth. and that's what i set out to do. to make it clear to myself and my people, all these forces that are set against us and they never seem to stop. i wanted to tell the truth about that and wanted to be a bit of a viable frankly, where you want to understand why it is here. can you tell us one of those stories many come to me, but i
am going to take barnett, who is a descendent in the technical sense is that she lived in a high poverty black neighborhood in washington, d.c., and i interviewed her several times, went to her neighborhood. she was in a very poor neighborhood inar the southeast maryland, and i got to know her because she was a client of a georgetown law clinic. she was a really impressive person to me. through some unfortunate circumstances she found herself and family homeless and i follow her through the struggle to get
some stable housing. it took advantage of the services provided and i try to show how much of this she needed. she got. a housing voucher illegal in washington, d.c. to discriminate based on source of income. she had one of those rare hard to get opportunity vouchers and but for georgetown law students helping us through and putting pressure on the housing authority in dc because you only get like three months or
something they finally got some assistance but she started out, someone told her they backed out and so ior just show the strugge and then trying to get her into a decent school. she is ten minutes away from where there's a lot of gun violence but this is a person that has written books, whose produced the movement of women who endured all kinds of things where they sort of have a monologue play. i could go on. that would be one example. the storytelling is powerful and it's clear to me and the
audience the expertise that comes through so much in this work. >> did you have a favorite character, i'm curious? >> cei was attracted to the concept although, i want to go back to something in particular that you just said. you mentioned that this book, you wanted it to be like a viable and you said you wrote it for the african-american community. one of the things you talk about implicitly but also directly in thels book is the separation
between the descendents and the black middle class and certainly affluent blackck americans. >> let's talk about that. let's talk about the contrast between the progress of the black middle class and those that attract. what dilemma does the black middle class face including affluent people and black officials who control the majority black cities. tell us about the dilemmas and how you would recommend trying to resolve some of those dilemmas. >> i would want to make it clear to the audience that i would welcome anybody reading it but i definitely had their experience in mind in writing this.
one of the points i'm making is it was just based on race and in the south in particular no matter what your socioeconomic status, you were in that system. the good thing is people who prosper were able to exit the hood. back in the day black people lived together with the housing act opened up opportunities and most people that could exit the neighborhoods off whatever color do. in fact, the economic segregation is growing fastest among f african-americans and black and latino moving to higher grounds. it does present a dilemma.
democrats outnumbermo republicas 12 to one in the city. the city that i live in, washington, d.c. was overwhelmingly run by black people. they pursued mass incarceration and warned others about low income black people. they disadvantaged all people particularly as you know this, people who were parents.
i lived this in washington, d.c., so the dilemma is distancing yourself from concentrated poverty but distancing yourself from the concentrated poverty andel disadvantage becomes necessary to thrive. they are worse off than they were t before and the proximityo the most successful they lost the sort of social influence and tax dollars and that is a lot of socialrs distance now.
if there is this dilemma and i my kids in public charter schools. g at the last year they were in school, 53% of the kids were on free and reduced lunch. as long as it worked for my kids but it began not to work so much. versus the dilemma that i'm familiar with myself and i think this book as you said to understand the plight it affects
everyone in this country so let me ask you about white allies and people of color how they are implicated in the problem you identified and what stories do we tell about the concentrated poverty and why should they care about these unique circumstances unique to african-americans? >> everybody should care because actually it's only working for a very small fraction for those that live in the metropolitan area. only about 7% of the population can find their way into the highest opportunity places. and those places have exclusionary zoning. they often won't even have apartments, let alone duplexes
but they exclude non-rich people. they get golden infrastructures and income taxes iner terms of what the state decides to invest in for development, physical development. so this whole system is destroying opportunities for most everyone. if you live in a city or a non-rich suburb, there are a lot out there now or a rural area, and america is no longer a land of opportunityty for you.
we have a politics of cut taxes. biden is trying to change that but we havebu a politics that is historically maligned but that's masking the system and opportunity and it also destroys politics. the severe segregation and partisan gerrymandering so you should care even to the affluent person who lives on high ground. it's not the most fluent in washington, d.c., but it's a neighborhood of progressive and kind of people that have a lot of black lives matter signs and
institutions. a lot of highh income people, te hyper affluent are always going to be in their own universes, but to parents professionals feel the need to get into good schools or a lot of tax dollars for private school to basically get to opportunity that's stable and good society that wasn't based on the residential task that had an attitude of care particularly for descendents, and let's not fear i think opportunity would be widely distributed for everyone. >> that is a great answer and
it's persuasive to the readers. i'm going to turn to audience questions in a moment and ask the audience to please post your questions so i can ask cheryl what's on your mind but first i want to turn to the question of what to do about all of this. there's a chapter that's titled abolition and repair and i wonder if you can share what is in that chapter, what is your vision of what needs to be done to dismantle and replace? >> i want to start byo saying that my starting point was reading angela davis. i am not the first person to talk about abolition and creating an abolitionist democracy. my vision came for the language.
i'm not talking about modest reform. the beauty of understanding. we reverse those processes so the first thing i say is we need to change the relationship with the states from punitive to caring. once you see descendents capable of agencies. to focus on and identify the evidence-based policies that actually might be cheaper with
mass incarceration and over policing and first you've got to change the lens and reversed i e processes so inclusion rather than exclusion. mandatory inclusionary zoning and affordable housing for all neighborhoods. investing in historically funded neighborhoods redlined in the 30s and cutgh off from traditional mortgages and investments to this day so they should be first in line for new infrastructure dollars. they should be first in line.
it's three times more money than the black neighborhoods in the development dollar.ig that's not right. having a neighborhood with racial equity analysis, paying attention toon where the money goes and prioritize disrupting the unfair allocation and third, this is what has been in the news so much. i do not pretend to have all thm answers, but we must transform policing from innovative programs that reduce gun violence, dramatically just by focusing on the relatively small number of young people and young
they are doing this regularly, annually to look at where the dollars have been and intentionally try to achieve racial equity. i was so inspired within hours of being inaugurated to sign an executive order calling for a racial equity exercise and put susan rice in charge, a formidableba woman. we are going to start paying attention to how we are spending. it's so much money. just paying attention to this into trying to carefully disrupt a process of if we do nothing what tends to happen is they get more than their fair share.
davis talked about abolition and tearing down and you need to repair democracy issues we should grow the coalition that claims black lives matter and build and sustain the coalition so you have people who will show up at zoning meetings to say i stand for affordable housing everywhere or who will fight for integrated tools.
series of actions it became much more integrated and building constituencies of people who volunteered. you had a majoritarian politics in which the majority of people wanted integration they continue the school integration it went down a lot in the area and it went from being a hyper segregated area to just being moderately segregated. now they've done a lot of education around what happened in the 30s.
they went from being hyper segregated too much less segregated and they have done a pretty damn good job wish creating and maintaining integrated schools much better than a lot of other places. i want to goto back to the conversation we wereav having about affluent blacks being part of the lead to spaces.
and it's asking about how individuals can rectify the disconnect of identifying as a member of elite while trying to strive for abolition of the institutions and structural barriers that have allowed some people to drive both black-and-white. there are two neighborhoods in the district, like a 50 year tradition of black professionals living with whites and jews.
i chose integration. this is not far but here's my point. if there is more appetite for integrated spaces than there are schools and neighborhoods to fulfill that appetite because of its policies. you can go to organizations that try to make life better and you can vote for and support those that will make life better even if you yourself are not in close proximity to people that are struggling. there was a question asking
about your writing process and what it was like working with your editor. the most interesting part of the question is what did you leave out of the publication in getting back to that. it is both a joy and i don't struggle -- i've never had writers block. i never understood that. i go to bed every night reading good writing. i love literature. for me this is my fifth the book and my process is when i have an idea i get a book deal with a deadline for submitting the book. i can't write unless i have a deadline and if i have a deadline, i've got to focus and my friend is word count.
i got the research done and i'm ready to write. i mapped it out and i set a goal.th when i was young -- i'm not anymore. i tried to get out of a thousand words a day. i can't do that anymore, but as i was writing this, 500 words a day sometimes if i just wasn't feeling it i would say something easy that i knew i could accomplish. once you start but it's just getting up and doing it. this film about a documentary about a heroin, toni morrison said she would get up at 5 a.m.
if you can just commitce to that in a month, you've got 15,000 words. most books these days are like 80 to 100. a lot of them don't want you to get too long, my publisher doesn't want you to go too long. what was left out in this book i spent a lot of time thinking about it. it's very well structured. you really did it in a powerful
way. other questions. if someone wants to know how the bronx are doing in terms of these issues. >> i can't speak to the bronx. i haven't been there. i don't have any specifics to offer. i don't have any firsthand knowledge. coded to the previous question i also have a law degree. you were talking about how powerful it is and how it's laid
out. it's the engineer in me that built the argument. i melded the passion of history with just a sort of scientific system approach. >> i definitely can see it. there is a question about whether your bookoo is in dialoe with reisinger profit and how there's a real estate industry underlining the home ownership. do you know that or can you speak to that? >> absolutely eyesight it in the chapter on opportunities and command that to you. it's shocking how much whatever black wealth we had in housing hasen been taken, stolen from predatory lending through installment contracts which have
before. black people were the only populationn . there were 50 hyper segregated cities in this country and all of them were places where the great migrants ended up in large numbers. so this aggregations are the defining feature of african-american experience and it continues to have consequences to this day.
for an african-american making $100,000 tends to live in a neighborhood with amenities of whites making $40,000 but to some areas new york and la were some became hyper segregated it's not the defining feature. the defining feature of oppression for latino people i would say is the sort of anti-immigrant rhetoric. i say this both in the beginning of the introductions to the book and the conclusions.
i'm not saying that others haven't experienced oppression i'm not saying they don't experience it now. it was constructed based on antiblack animusus that continu. >> so it's unique but that's not to say that other groups haven't suffered and continue to suffer. things seem so bad sometimes. it seems like there's no way forward. what keeps you going, this questionnaire wants to know. >> we are in a tough time when you overlay a pandemic and
residential cast there's a reason with the lower opportunity and pre-existing conditions. we didn't talk about this but it causes health disparities. optimism is a choice. the forces of darkness in this country, and there are a lot of forces, once you get up you want won't try to fight foron anythig different.ab the choices and localities and places for something different. we have to have hope and have to keep trying. if we give up and don't try, we
will just get more of the same. >> the chapter that you talk about evolution is a very hopeful chapter. thank you again for writing the book and i'm going to send it back over to hillary at the harvard bookstore. >> thank you so much for doing this. >> my pleasure. >> thank you both. this is wonderful and thank you to the audience for spending the evening with us. you can learn more about the book and on behalf of cambridge massachusetts, have a good night, keep reading and everybody, please be well. thank you so much.