Archive for the 'Race' Category

Do racial divides in the US explain support for Trump?

 

headshot-korgen

Kathleen Odell Korgen

We need to prove that government can work for all Americans, despite racial and ideological divides. Kathleen Odell Korgen, editor of Race policy and multiracial Americans, looks at why we must listen to Trump supporters. 

“As the news of sexual harassment charges… emerged last week, many conservatives blasted the accusations as anonymous sniping against [the] Republican contender and blamed the ‘liberal media’.” Washington Post

“Many white conservatives continue to embrace [him] — even in the face of recent sexual harassment allegations — while black voters steer clear.” NPR.org

These quotes may sound familiar but they are not about Donald Trump. They refer to Herman Cain, the wealthy businessman who, at one point in the 2012 election, was the leading candidate in the Republican party’s presidential primary.

Cain, a Black man, was attractive to many White voters because of the combination of his own race and his views on poor Black people. As Jack E. White put it in 2011, “Cain tells [conservative White voters] what they want to hear about blacks, and in turn, they embrace him and say, ‘See? That proves we’re not racist'”.
Continue reading ‘Do racial divides in the US explain support for Trump?’

Is it time to rethink concentrated poverty, the service hub and the sink estate?

In today’s guest blog author and academic Geoffrey DeVerteuil shares his views on the importance and value of inner city communities and the attendant support organisations around them as a positive force for transformation…

Geoffrey DeVerteuil

Geoffrey DeVerteuil

There has been a longstanding tendency in the popular imagination that condemns the spatial concentration of poverty and its attendant landscapes and services.

In the US, this has been particularly dominated by the African-American ghetto and its hyper-segregation of poor Blacks to inner-city neighbourhoods, leading to failed lives, institutions and places.

In the UK, where poverty and race are less concentrated, fears have been stoked in the wake of the 2001 unrest in northern cities and the 2005 terrorist attacks, producing reports (Cantle, Philipps) that ultimately warned about the over-concentration of poor minorities, that in effect Muslims in particular were creating ‘parallel societies’ not so far removed from the American context.

Scatter the poor

Continue reading ‘Is it time to rethink concentrated poverty, the service hub and the sink estate?’

“I don’t see scholarship and activism as distinct” – Plenary at the ASA highlights need for activism, resistance among scholars

Fresh from the American Sociological Association annual conference in Seattle, author and academic Jessie Daniels questions whether there should be a distinction between scholarship and activism or whether the time for retreat to the academic ivory tower is well and truly over….

Daniels_headshot2Academic sociologists sat in silence, many openly wept, as a video of a macabre scene in an American jail played in the plenary session of the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Seattle on Saturday.

The video, pulled from a surveillance camera, shows five people covered head to toe in white protective jumpsuits, similar to cleanroom suits in semiconductor factories. The people in the white suits surround a naked, slightly built, Black woman, and with steady deliberation, end her life.

“Black women are never seen as damsels in distress,” Kimberle Crenshaw, critical race scholar and law professor at UCLA and Columbia, explained. “Rather, we are seen as something that must be controlled.” Continue reading ‘“I don’t see scholarship and activism as distinct” – Plenary at the ASA highlights need for activism, resistance among scholars’

Why Race Policy must include Multiracial Americans

Today’s guest blog by Kathleen Odell Korgen, whose book Race policy and multi-racial Americans published this month, examines the much overlooked issue of including multiracial Americans in policy making and explains why this oversight must stop.

Kathleen Korgen OdellAmericans who identify as multiracial comprise approximately 7 percent of the U.S. population. With a growth rate three times that the rest of the population, this percentage will rise quickly (U.S. Census Bureau 2012; Frey 2014; Pew Research Center 2015).

One would never know this, however, by viewing the nation’s race policies. A look at policies across a variety of areas, including public school curricula, health policy, and prison regulations, reveals little trace of the existence of growing numbers of Americans who identify as multiracial.

Acknowledgement

Despite the reality that 10 percent of babies born in 2013 had parents of different races (Pew Research Center 2015), multiracial children still attend schools with teachers and curricula that tend not to acknowledge the existence of multiracial people (Williams 2013; Williams and Chilungu 2016).

Health data on multiracial Americans and how to service this population is also hard to find (Bratter and Mason 2016). Moreover, multiracial people have neither protection against nor acknowledgement of discrimination based on their identity as multi- rather than mono-racial (Botts 2016).

“The fallacies of the colorblind ideology…have become harder to swallow.”

With the steady release of videos documenting police violence against Black citizens and the public vitriol of Republican presidential candidates against immigrants seen as non-White and/or Muslim, increasing numbers of Americans of all racial backgrounds acknowledge that race still matters.
Continue reading ‘Why Race Policy must include Multiracial Americans’

Ferguson, Baltimore, and the American Way of Life

Salvatore Babones, author of Sixteen for ’16: A Progressive Agenda for a Better America, shares his views on why protest against police treatment of African Americans is a fight for the ideals of the American way of life…

Salvatore Babones

Salvatore Babones

It all started in Jamestown, Virginia about 100 years before the Revolutionary War. Or it all started in Ferguson, Missouri with the police shooting of Michael Brown. Whether it started with the beginning of black slavery in America in the 1600s or with a tragic act of violence on August 9, 2014 it is now consuming the nation. The United States is in revolt against police violence, and the leaders of that revolt are mostly young and black.

It should come as no surprise that many African-Americans are angry about the way they are treated by police. Based on my own calculations from official government statistics, at any one time more than 6 percent of all African-American men age 25-39 are in prison. I estimate that about one-quarter of all African-American men spend at least part of their lives in prison. Continue reading ‘Ferguson, Baltimore, and the American Way of Life’

Do politicians still need to know about ethnicity?

Authors Stephen Jivraj and Ludi Simpson’s edited book Ethnic identity and inequalities in Britain: the dynamics of diversity publishes early next month. In this guest post Stephen Jivraj asks whether ethnic and race statistics are necessary for social inquiry and why politicians should take note of them.

Jivraj

Stephen Jivraj

It has been more than 20 years since national statisticians in the UK decided to record ethnic group identification in the census.

In that time, a question on ethnicity has become standard on most national and local surveys. But why do we collect these data? This is pertinent given that so many people, 4 million, did not find a category on the 2011 Census form that they felt described their ethnic group and ticked Other White, Other Asian, Other Black, or, simply, Other.

The categories that people have been asked to identify with at each census (1991, 2001 and 2011) have changed to reflect the dynamic nature of how people see their ethnic identity. But it is fair to say, they have not changed fast enough. So why do we continue to collect these data and how do they help us direct social policy?

Community relations

The ethnic group data from the census allows researchers to challenge misconceptions and misrepresentations that Britain is pulling apart along ethnic divides whether that be where we live or how we feel about our national identity.

Britain’s ethnic minority groups are not evenly distributed across communities. However, the census paints a picture of a steady increase in residential ethnic mixing in all parts of Britain, and at a faster rate in those suburban and rural communities where ethnic minorities are least present.

“It is also true that you are more likely to share a home with a person from a different ethnic group”

It is not only the case that you are more likely to live next door to someone from a different ethnic group than ever before, whether you live in London or the Lake District. It is also true that you are more likely to share a home with a person from a different ethnic group. Perhaps the clearest sign that people are not divided ethnically is the growth of the Mixed groups who now account for more than one million people in England and Wales.

The speed at which ethnic minorities have assimilated to a British national identity is remarkable and has been common despite an absence of any formal requirements of new citizens to express their Britishness, for example, in ceremonies, until very recently.

Those ethnic minorities that are most often singled out as not having British values, by those least comfortable with the growth of ethnic diversity, are those who are most willing to describe themselves as British. This raises the question as to whether integration policies would be better focused at challenging those who hold prejudice against ethnic minorities rather than laying the emphasis on immigrants and their descendants to meet unclear requirements for what it means to be considered British.

Inequality and discrimination

The main motivation that encouraged the official collection of ethnic group data was to uncover inequalities brought about by racial discrimination. This motivation remains, unfortunately, valid because disadvantages persist in the spheres of health, employment, education, housing and neighbourhood deprivation for many ethnic minority groups compared with the White British majority.

“Men in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic groups are six and twelve times more likely to be working part time than White British men”

The evidence is clear that ethnic minority groups have suffered disproportionately during the past 20 years’ restructuring of the labour and housing markets. For example, the rise of part-time work. Men in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic groups are six and twelve times more likely to be working part time than White British men. In the housing market, ethnic minorities have been hit the hardest by the rise in insecure private rented tenancies. Chinese and Black African households have more than twice the proportion renting privately than the White British groups.

This suggests structural discrimination remains widespread and should be combatted with social policies that embody cultural and institutional encouragement of non-discriminatory practices. The fact that disadvantage persists in spite of existing legislation and social policy begs the question of what is systemic about disadvantage, and how can systemic faults be remedied?

Where next?

It is almost certain that more ethnic group categories will be added to the census in 2021. This might ensure the question is more meaningful, but it runs the risk of fragmented analysis that policymakers will find of diminishing use. New census questions on religion, language proficiency and national identity have enabled policymakers to measure diverse preferences and needs directly.

To address direct race discrimination, information that relates to appearance is still necessary. Consideration of other countries practice of separating ‘colour’ or ‘race’ from ‘origin’ might be the way forward. For the time being, the Census remains crucial to highlighting what is happening to race and ethnic integration and inequality in Britain and what is likely to happen in the future. Key results on the future direction of diversity and the degree of inequality in different parts of Britain are still emerging.

@StephenJivraj
@EthnicityUK

If you liked this post you might also be interested in reading….

How can we be smarter in talking about race by Ludi Simpson

Ethnic identity and inequalities in Britain [FC]Ethnic identity and inequalities in Britain: the dynamics of diversity is available from the Policy Press website – here. A launch event will be held at Manchester Central Library on 21st May. Tickets are free but booking is required. You can reserve your place here.

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The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blogpost authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.

How can we be smarter in talking about race?

Author and academic  Ludi Simpson responds to last month’s Channel 4 Documentary – Things we won’t say about race that are true

Ludi SimpsonI have always thought that being open and critical, questioning and demanding, was the adult thing to do. So I am interested when I hear someone saying that equality policies should not silence anyone, as Trevor Phillips did in a television opinion piece on 19th March.

He doesn’t need me to give him extra publicity, but the way he called on us all to use more stereotypes about behaviour demands some consideration.

His claim was that too many White people in Britain feel they have been told they are guilty of racism and think they will get into trouble if they say what they think about people different from them. And this pent-up guilt among too many White people is feeding a political move to the right that threatens to pull down the legislation against discrimination.

More open stereotyping

Whether or not policies on equality or diversity might be to blame, Trevor Phillips demands that we free ourselves up to voice our thoughts about the behaviour of other groups. At this moment, more open stereotyping would be good for democracy: ”we need to get used to giving and taking offence”.

Accordingly he felt just fine saying that Jews are rich and powerful, that Colombians are responsible for drugs crime, that Britain is segregated into areas that are White, Irish, Jewish, or Pakistani, that Indian women are pharmacists, and that Black people murder other Black people. He would particularly like people who are fed up with immigrants to be able to say so without being rounded on as bigots or closet racists.

Well, I’m glad he got that off his chest. Just maybe he did not need an hour of prime TV to say it, and perhaps it was not quite accurate to call it a documentary.

It is certainly a change that White folk – who for a century had been told they were of the only superior race, and that they therefore deserved more than others – are now as bound as anyone else by equality laws that put human rights ahead of group rights and make race discrimination illegal.

“Who’s getting the White man’s share now?”

Anyone who believed the tosh of White or British supremacy might well believe there must be a link between the decline of industry, the rise of financial austerity, Britain’s growing diversity, and the passing of equality laws. Why haven’t the establishment stood up for them as promised? Who’s getting the White man’s share now?

It is also a change of the past thirty years that political parties no longer have a distinctly class perspective, no-one convincingly speaks up for the under-dog. The organised underdog, the labour movement outside parliament, is weaker and legislatively undermined. The opportunity for unfettered disenchantment within the working class is significant.

It is sensible to recognise this, and that is Trevor Phillips’ strength. However, I don’t think it can be sensible to encourage a racial, ethnic and nationalistic focus for that disenchantment, as he is doing.

Programme interviewee Tarique Ghaffur, the Metropolitan Police ex Assistant Commissioner, was much clearer: “We need intelligence-led investigations, otherwise we stereotype and stigmatise whole communities.” And Simon Woolley, one of his colleagues on the Equality and Human Rights Commission, clearly told Phillips: “Be articulate about issues without being fuzzy. We have to be smart.”

Residential segregation

I wish Trevor could be smarter on segregation. He says “residential segregation is not the only cause of terrorism, but I believe it is one condition that allows it to thrive”, referring to the July 7th 2005 London bombings and the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last year.

But it is the only condition that Trevor raises. He ignores the evidence, which is that Muslim terrorist offenders are no more likely to be found in less White than more White areas, and that there is no evidence for a residential pulling apart of ethnic groups. He doesn’t mention Britain’s foreign policy of military intervention.

The smart thing to do is to point at real causes of real problems and try to do something about them. I agree that it is not helpful to point to people’s talk as the problem.

But neither does it help to suggest that there is “ethnic behaviour” that is helpful in tracking crime or choosing who to be educated with. The programme dealt in depth with paedophilia cases. All paedophilia should be targeted and dealt with severely, never protected, and those affected supported to prevent its recurrence; it doesn’t help to suggest that it is Pakistanis (or celebrities) who are most to blame.

People like to live in areas with some others like them. That could be called the good or benign segregation. Bad segregation is the real problem, not because it is linked to terrorism which it is not, but for lack of housing and employment and the disenchantment that follows.

Lack of opportunity is not limited to diverse areas, or for that matter to minorities: there are far more White unemployed than minority unemployed, even though minorities are more likely to be unemployed. The smart thing would be to also name and tackle structural discrimination of race, ethnicity and class. A perspective and politics that can unite those aims and harness the disenchantment that he perceives acutely, would be a good place for Trevor Phillips to put himself.

Sleepwalking to segregation_ [FC]Ludi Simpson and Nissa Finney’s book ‘Sleepwalking to segregation?’ explores contemporary claims about race and migration, combining an overview of the subject with new research. The authors argue that the myths of race and migration are the real threat to an integrated society and propose that diversity and mobility are expected and benign.

 

 

Ethnic identity and inequalities in Britain [FC]Look out for Ludi Simpson and Stephen Jivraj’s book Ethnic identity and inequalities in Britain which publishes in May this year. You will be able to purchase the book from our website here and newsletter subscribers will get 35% off if they order via the website. Not a subscriber? Why not sign up? We promise we won’t let anyone else have your data and we’ll only send you information on the books we publish. Sign up here!

The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are solely those of the original blogpost authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the Policy Press and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Police and Fatal Shootings

Maurice Punch

Maurice Punch

by Maurice Punch, author of Shoot to Kill

A fatal shooting is the ultimate in police use of power. Hence it is vital to achieve clarity and transparency on the reasons for it to ensure trust on the police use of firearms. After the massacre at Hungerford (1987) British policing became semi-armed: and the standard approach was geared to restraint, firing single rounds and aiming for the body mass – to stop and not to kill. That changed dramatically at Stockwell in 2005 when Met officers shot dead Jean-Charles de Menezes at point-blank range with several hollow-point bullets to the head. This can only be fatal and was indisputably “shooting to kill”. It raised a host of issues but the police and the Home Office went silent and have managed to avoid a fundamental debate. What should have been explored was:

– the law, national policy, operational guidelines, tactics, weapons and ammunition;
– the operational chain of risk assessment, briefing, encounters, post-incident evaluation and accountability;
– and the aftermath of a fatal shooting regarding support for family and friends, informing stakeholders and the media and cooperating with investigations.

If this had been brought unambiguously into the public domain after Stockwell it would have proved valuable in the current controversy surrounding the Mark Duggan shooting. We now need to know what has been determining the Met`s firearm`s policy and tactics. CO19, for instance, has become highly professional and skilled. To what extent is this a “militarization” of policing – written about extensively in the US – and has it altered the ground rules? Could it be that the Home Secretary`s priority on cutting crime, the Mayor`s emphasis on swift results and the Commissioners “total policing” have pressured officers and hardened tactics?

This is particularly relevant when the police get it wrong with irreversible consequences. Some of the most serious disturbances in the US have been when police have shot dead young black men who were unarmed. This also forms the key issue in the shooting of Duggan: was he unarmed at the moment he was shot? Thanks to the restraint of the Duggan family following the inquest verdict – and the proactive Met approach – there has been none of the mass violence that occurred in 2011. But this case raises two important factors:

Firstly, there are the objective elements about the context, risk assessment, equipment, briefing (was it recorded?) and the actual encounter. These are important in assessing the nature of the assignment, the appropriateness of the “hard-stop” tactic and whether alternatives were considered.

Secondly, there is the subjective experience of the officers. The evidence on firearms use is that there is always a degree of visual and aural distortion. In seemingly life-threatening situations any implement, a piece of a hoover in one case, viewed as a weapon – or a sudden gesture can lead to an officer firing, with the defence of a reasonable fear of fatal danger. The officer may even become convinced that there was a weapon when none was present. Officers do misperceive the threat in the split-seconds of a shooting and this will continue to happen however hard they train.

The conflict in assessing liability then comes from this tension between the objective factors and the subjective experience of the officer. Inquests and juries having seen and heard the evidence are burdened with assessing the validity of the latter – and a head-camera can`t look inside an officer`s mind – and tend to side with the officer`s account, to the disbelief of relatives and friends of the victim and the media.

Politicians and the police have kept the profound and unresolved implications of Stockwell out of the public arena. If they had taken the opportunity to inform the public fully on police use of firearms it might have defused the controversy and turbulence around the disputed shooting of Duggan.

Maurice Punch, 11-01-14, Amstelveen, The Netherlands.


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