Racism

U.S. Cities With the Worst Record of Housing Discrimination

 

Downtown Atlanta

(Photo Credit: Thrillist) 

 

While legislation and policies like the Fair Housing Act and the Housing and Community Development Act have criminalized housing discrimination, it is still a subtle but stark reality in today’s market. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that, on average, minority tenants are informed about 10% to 12% fewer units than white tenants. Furthermore, the homeownership rate is 30% higher for white Americans than black Americans. A report from the National Fair Housing Alliance found that about 1 in 5 formal complaints about housing discrimination are race-related. It is second only to disability-related claims, and the number of race-related claims is thought to be low because many incidents are not reported.

Tenant screening, whether systemic or subconscious, is a real issue that not only affects the ability for minorities to access housing but also has a market effect. With all other qualifications being equal, studies show that prospective minority tenants are shown fewer options than prospective white tenants. Based on a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report, the cities below have the worst track record when it comes to tenant screening-related metrics:

Detroit

7.3% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.23% fewer available units.

Atlanta

5.4% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.46% fewer available units.

Miami

2.3% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.11% fewer available units.

Houston

1.55% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.3% fewer available units.

Dallas

1.5% more white tenants than nonwhite tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.23% fewer available units.

New York

1.1% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.155% fewer available units.

Chicago

0.95% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.14% fewer available units.

Riverside

0.8% more white tenants than non-white tenants were told any units were available. On average, non-white tenants were informed of 0.17% fewer available units.

Conclusion

Discrimination is an ugly thing, and recent years have seen more than their fair share. But there is reason to be optimistic! As more and more neighborhoods integrate and neighborhood bonds form across racial bounds, ties of understanding and acceptance will continue to be forged. It’s important that we engage each other with civility and understand our shared goals as we seek to further these conversations.

References

https://www.huduser.gov/portal/Publications/pdf/HUD-514_HDS2012.pdf

http://www.jdpalatine.com/services/tenant-screening/

http://time.com/money/4665272/mortgage-homeownership-racial-gap-discrimination-inequality/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/business/economy/discrimination-in-housing-against-nonwhites-persists-quietly-us-study-finds.html

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Make Racism a Bankrupting Phenomenon: The Donald Sterling Case

Donald Sterling

(Photo Credit: Salon)

The odious, hurtful and racist comments uttered by Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, warranted the immediate action taken by the National Basketball Association (NBA).  NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life from the NBA. He cannot have any association with the Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA, and he’s not allowed to attend any NBA games.  Silver gave Sterling the highest fine possible, and Silver has vowed to do all that he can do to have Sterling voted out as owner of the Clippers.  The Clippers’ players have cleverly protested the hateful remarks of their racist owner, and several businesses and sponsors have withdrawn their associations with Sterling and the Clippers.  NBA fans and the American people in general have expressed their great outrage in response to the racist comments made by Sterling.  The collective response to the Sterling case offers a promising window of opportunity to move us closer to making those who choose to be racists suffer tremendous economic losses, bankrupting them if possible.

Donald Sterling is a horrible human being, and the things he said evince that he has a slave master mentality.  If Black people and other minorities are going to weaken the power of racism, then they must use a case like the Donald Sterling case in subversive ways to launch potent attacks on the enduring post-slavery racism and remaining vestiges of Jim Crow that are deep and powerful parts of the American political, economic and social system.  Without the collective outrage of minorities and Whites conveyed throughout the country in response to Sterling, the likelihood of Commissioner Silver rendering the decision he did yesterday would have been slim to none.  Although many people want to characterize the vociferous groundswell of national opposition to Sterling as insufficient, and many have harshly criticized the Clippers’ players for not doing enough to protest Sterling’s racism, these critics fail to see the strong utopian energies at work in the collective response to Sterling.  Before Mr. Silver’s decision, the collective response to Sterling was primarily communicated through words only.  The verbal outrage divulged by numerous Americans across the nation and NBA players, including the Clippers’ players, served robust and important functions: it made racism even less desirable and it placed intense pressure on Mr. Silver to reach the type of decision he did.

This collective outrage primarily communicated through words must transition to a collective language of resistance that then materializes into impactful collective action.

Those who highly oppose racism need to use Donald Sterling as a symbol of fear for current racists and those who will choose to be racists in the future about what can happen to them.  Although Donald Sterling will remain an incredibly rich man even if the NBA’s Board of Governors votes to force him to sell the Clippers, a resounding message will be disseminated to other racists: you may pay a prohibitive political, social and economic price for your racism that could inevitably lead you to being bankrupt.

NBA fans and the American people in general must place significant pressure on the NBA’s Board of Governors to mandate that Sterling sell the Clippers.  There must be a willingness by NBA fans to boycott NBA games, team and league sponsors and businesses that support the league and its teams if the Board of Governors does not vote out Sterling.  This message must be communicated to the Board of Governors in various ways, including through social media, television, radio, newspapers, letters, protest rallies across the nation, and etc.  The Clippers’ players need to involve themselves actively in influencing the decision of the Board of Governors.  Players from all other NBA teams and from across all teams in other sports need to demand that the Board of Governors vote out Sterling.  The members of the Board of Governors love money and NBA fans, as consumers, have to use their money as a weapon against the members of the Board of Governors and their strategic interests.

Again, Sterling will be a very rich man no matter what the members of the Board of Governors decide, considering he made a highly lucrative and clever investment in the Clippers and made many auspicious investments in the real estate industry.  The Board of Governors can, however, discontinue his ability to increase his wealth through his ownership of the Clippers and greatly diminish his power and prestige in the real estate industry and other industries he may attempt to pursue. He will no longer be able to increase his wealth from the labor of Black male bodies in the NBA.  Sterling’s personal use of plantation ideology in the NBA will be extinguished.

When we are able to expose other racists in the same or similar ways as Sterling was, we should make every effort to cause them to face bankruptcy.  If you want to cause a serious decrease in the power and prevalence of racism in America, then you must significantly reduce the economic and social incentives of it.

Let’s not become so consumed in discourses specifically about Donald Sterling and the venom he spewed out of his corroded mouth; let’s use his case to inaugurate a new movement against racism.

Bankrupting racists must become a grand political strategy employed by individuals of all political persuasions and ideologies.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madision

Wilcox County High School Continues Its Racist Legacy and Agenda

Steve J Smith Wilcox County High School

Racist Pastor and School Leader (Photo Credit: Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Wilcox County High School in Rochelle, Georgia is the site of the racially segregated proms reported about in the national and international media.  After having racially segregated proms since its inception, Principal Chad Davis, Steve J. Smith, Superintendent of Wilcox County Schools, and the Wilcox County Board of Education have decided to host the first school-sponsored racially integrated prom in 2014.  The only reason they agreed to discontinue having racially segregated proms is the tremendous outrage expressed by people from across the nation and world.  Numerous people were appalled at the reality that this school was still having racially segregated proms in the 21st century.  Don’t be fooled by their decision to host a racially integrated prom, however.  Jim Crow still lives at Wilcox County High School.

One thing racist Principal Chad Davis, Superintendent Steve J. Smith and the Wilcox County Board of Education wanted is for time to pass to allow people to forget about the national and international media focus on the racially segregated proms at Wilcox County High School.

Revolutionary Paideia is committed to ensuring that the national and international community never overlooks the unfairness, discrimination, and undercover scandals that have and are taking place at this institution and in the school system in general.

As unsettling as the racially segregated proms are at Wilcox County High School, these injustices are just snapshots of the vast discrimination, unfairness, illegal activities and criminal activities that have and are occurring at Wilcox County High School and in this school system in general.  Superintendent Steve J. Smith has made the decision to move the only remaining certified Black person at Wilcox County High School to the Wilcox County Middle School.  The Black male Assistant Principal at Wilcox County High School has been forced to move to be Assistant Principal at Wilcox County Middle School.  The Black male Assistant Principal has 32 years of experience as a K-12 Teacher and School Administrator (with over 17 years of experience as a School Administrator).

It’s Superintendent Steve J. Smith’s desire to have an all White administrative staff at Wilcox County High School.  By forcing the Black male Assistant Principal to move to the Wilcox County Middle School, it becomes easier for Superintendent Steve J. Smith, Principal Chad Davis and the Wilcox County Board of Education to continue their racist legacy and agenda.  The Black male Assistant Principal will no longer be able to witness their corruption, which is the chief motivation for forcing him to move to Wilcox County Middle School.

The coerced move of the Black male Assistant Principal at Wilcox County High School results in a reduction of his salary, which functions as a demotion; this is a demotion without any justification.

Superintendent Steve J. Smith claims that the decision to move him to the Wilcox County Middle School is in the best interest of the Wilcox County High School students.  Superintendent Smith and the Wilcox County Board of Education hired the School Counselor, Nathan Gibbs, who is a White male, to be the new Assistant Principal of Wilcox County High School.  Nathan Gibbs has no administrative experience.  Wilcox County High School is considered a “Priority School,” which is a designation given to schools that are academically underperforming.  This school also has received a federal School Improvement Grant (SIG), which is only granted to schools that have serious academic underachievement.

Why hire a new Assistant Principal with no experience at Wilcox County High School, especially when it’s an academically underperforming school and the Principal has limited administrative and teaching experience?  The answer is racism.

Superintendent Steve J. Smith, Principal Chad and the Wilcox County Board of Education desired to promote Nathan Gibbs to an Assistant Principal position.  It would seem logical that he would be the one to transition to the Wilcox County Middle School.  Instead of conducting a national search for a new School Counselor to replace Nathan Gibbs, Superintendent Smith and the Wilcox County Board of Education continued their legacy of nepotism by hiring a White relative of an extant employee who has no experience as a School Counselor.

Why hire a new School Counselor with no experience at Wilcox County High School, an academically underperforming school?  The answer is racism.

Superintendent Steve J. Smith claims that by keeping Nathan Gibbs at Wilcox County High School, he will be able to train the new White School Counselor who has no experience.  He also asserts that hiring these White individuals who are inexperienced in these positions is what’s best for the students.

Which students?

In the last two academic years, Superintendent Steve J. Smith has terminated all of the minority faculty members at Wilcox County High School.  He has no interest in creating a diverse school and working environment.  Why is this?  His decisions and policies reflect that he’s a racist.  Guess what?  He’s a Pastor.  What a bigot and hypocrite.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Commentary on “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay

Claude McKay "If We Must Die"

(Photo Credit: The Poetry Foundation)

If We Must Die

by Claude McKay

If we must die—let it not be like hogs

Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,

While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,

Making their mock at our accursed lot.

If we must die—oh, let us nobly die,

So that our precious blood may not be shed

In vain; then even the monsters we defy

Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!

Oh, Kinsmen!  We must meet the common foe;

Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,

And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!

What though before us lies the open grave?

Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Commentary on the Poem

This poem was penned in 1919 by Claude McKay.  At the time it was published, serious race riots primarily involving White assaults on Black neighborhoods in a dozen American cities were occurring.  McKay wrote this poem in response to these race riots that resulting in the deaths of numerous Black people.  It was his desire for Black people to not simply accept these assaults and murders but to fight back against these efforts to annihilate them.  The poet asserts that “If we must die” we should die “fighting back”—not accepting our demise in a docile way.  In a fight against racism, discrimination and oppression, it’s vital to understand that there are going to be battles you lose, but fighting back gives one an opportunity to win the war, which is more important.

The speaker of the poem highlights that to die to fighting against racism and discrimination is to “die nobly.”  In our contemporary period, we don’t have enough people willing to combat the “monsters” who oppress us.  One of the fundamental reasons why we’re currently struggling to win against racial oppression is envy within our ranks.  McKay’s poem calls for solidarity and not division among Black people.  The poet wants us to recognize that we’re facing a “common foe”: racists.

Too often we allow envy to cause us to lose sight of the common foe.  While we’re attempting to undermine one another, the common foe is gaining a larger advantage in the effort to destroy us.  McKay is keenly aware of how a lack of commitment to solidarity weakens Black people in the fight against their oppressors.  The racists are united in their mission to decimate Black people.  For McKay, Blacks must match their solidarity.  True solidarity is necessary to defeating the robust manacles of racism.

Although our contemporary conditions are not exactly like those McKay writes about in 1919, Black people still face racism, racial prejudice, and discrimination.  We must learn to stand united against our current oppressors.  When we begin to cognize that we should stop fighting one another and start fighting our oppressors, we will witness the authentic change we long to see.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Paula Deen and the “N” Word

Paul Deen's "N" Word Use

(Photo Credit: NPR)

The recent controversy surrounding Paula Deen’s use of the “N” word has evinced, as Randall Kennedy puts it, “the strange career of a troublesome word.”  The “N” word is arguably the most incendiary, insensitive, and hateful word someone can use.  When one considers that this word was employed during the American institution of slavery to characterize Black people as being less than human, it becomes not only a mean-spirited, racist and degrading term, but also a term used to maintain the power structure of slavery and Jim Crow.  A recent legal deposition revealed that Paul Deen has used the “N” word in the past, specifically as part of her desire to construct a “very southern style” wedding for her brother that would include a “whole entire wait staff” of “middle-aged black men.”

Deen’s use of the “N” word is deeply problematic for many reasons, including the overt racist history and ideology of the word.  If there was one word many people could ban, it would be the “N” word.  I would love for us to be able to magically eviscerate its history, power, and ideology.  Unfortunately, this is only possible in Science Fiction literature and films.  We have to deal directly with this word because it’s an important part of America’s past and present history.  To attempt to avoid engaging critically with this word is to be self-victimized by historical amnesia, disengagement from history, and vexing colorblindness.

Paula Deen’s use of the “N” word is inexcusable.  She fully understands the racist history and ideology of this word.  I’m not prepared, however, to call this woman a racist.  From what I have observed and know about her, she seems to be a nice lady.  In America, we use many hateful terms that we don’t necessarily attach genuine hate to—we just use them.  When many Black people use the “N” word and its various derivatives, they’re not using the words with hate—they’re just using the words.  Should we excuse them for their use of the “N” word?  No.

What this controversy exposes is a problem of nostalgia for the pre-Civil War South.  While I can understand why many White southerners can find some phenomena about the pre-Civil War South to be desirable, those nostalgic longings need to show empathy for this time period being a brutal and murderous period for Blacks.  It’s not like Deen is unaware of the racist and discriminatory history of the pre-Civil War South.  In Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Fredric Jameson contends that one of the most problematic things about postmodernism, the historical and cultural moment in which we reside, is it has a problem with writing its own history because it depends on nostalgia rather than reality.  Deen’s nostalgia blinds her from being fully sensitive to America’s horrid racist and discriminatory history.  Mrs. Deen’s nostalgia causes America’s racist history to the rise to the surface for the nation to contemplate.  If one is going to engage in nostalgia for the past, he or she should be responsible about the full history of the longed for past.

I’m a fan of Paula Deen’s cooking, recipes, and personality.  Her poor choice of language, however, I cannot and will not support.  While Americans enjoy the freedom of speech (and all speech is not constitutionally protected), they also have to accept the responsibilities of their speech.  I posit that The Food Network should have let the market determine if Mrs. Deen should be fired—not simply make a decision based on immediate reactions in the mainstream media to aspects of the reported legal deposition.

Even though I don’t normally agree with Roland Martin (and we’ve exchanged words in the past on Twitter when I contended that he often makes many inconsequential statements on Twitter), I agree with him in part when he argues that Black people cannot be angry with Paula Deen because they use the word so often.  Yes, Blacks and Whites need to stop using the word.  If the word is so offensive to Blacks, then they should discontinue using it.  The fundamental defect in Martin’s argument, however, is his conflation of Deen’s use of the “N” word with the way in which numerous Blacks use it.  When many Blacks primarily use the word, it comes from a non-racist and non-disparaging context.  The context of Deen’s use of the word is at a minimum disparaging.  If she didn’t want to have to be accountable for her words, then she shouldn’t have used them.

Paula Deen should be evaluated by her body of work.  Too often we judge and define people by the one or two mistakes they make, instead of considering the many great things they have done and accomplished.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Commentary on “I, Too, Sing America” by Langston Hughes

English:

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

 

I, Too, Sing America

by Langston Hughes  

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.

Tomorrow,

I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”

Then.

Besides,

They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

Commentary on the Poem

In “I, Too, Sing America,” the poet challenges the racist ideology of Whites who don’t recognize the full citizenship of Blacks in America.  Black people have made tremendous contributions to America.  In fact, this nation, from its very inception, was built on Black labor.  Blacks have participated in every war in American history, dating back to the American Revolutionary War.  The patriotism of Blacks, therefore, shouldn’t ever be questioned.  The poet explains his brutal mistreatment simply because of his skin color.  He has trouble coming to terms with the racial oppression he faces.  It’s understandable for one to be baffled by the absurdity of racism and racist ideology.

The speaker of the poem is not ashamed of who he is.  He wishes that Whites wouldn’t be ashamed of him.  They have no reason to be ashamed of him, considering he’s “beautiful.”

When the poet refers to “Tomorrow,” he’s evincing his Utopian imagination: He’s envisioning a day when racist Whites will not have a choice but to grant him full equality and equal citizenship rights.  When this “Tomorrow” arrives, racists will have to acknowledge his beauty and they will experience shame.  The shame they will experience will emerge from how they have alienated themselves from the beauty of Black people without any justifiable reason.  They will see how this self-estrangement from Blacks has caused them to miss numerous possibilities.

As we celebrate Juneteenth today, let’s reflect on not only Black emancipation in America, but also how essential Blacks gaining freedom is to America becoming as great a nation it is today.

 Happy Juneteenth!  

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Wilcox County High School Students Host First Racially Integrated Prom

Integrated Prom

On Saturday, April 27, 2013, Wilcox County High School students hosted their first racially integrated prom.  Wilcox County High School is located in Rochelle, Georgia.  Steve Smith, Superintendent of Wilcox County Schools, Chad Davis, Principal of Wilcox County High School, and the Wilcox County Board of Education denied the request of 2 Black female and 2 White female Wilcox County High School students to host the school’s first racially integrated prom on the campus of Wilcox County High School.  Steve Smith, Chad Davis and the Wilcox County Board of Education continue to endorse racially segregated proms at Wilcox County High School.

Because of the great love and support numerous people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds from across the nation and world showed Stephanie Sinnot, Mareshia Rucker, Quanesha Wallace, and Keela Bloodworth, the four girls who led the effort to make history by having the school’s first racially integrated prom, many Wilcox County High School students were able to enjoy their first racially integrated prom.  They held their prom in a nice location in Cordele, Georgia.  The prom was a tremendous success and many media sources covered the prom, including CNN.

People across the world should continue to voice their outrage at Wilcox County High officials (Superintendent Steve Smith, Principal Chad Davis, and the Wilcox County Board of Education) who refuse to support racially integrated proms.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison