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Obamas Policy Agenda: Implications for Black Communities and the Role of Philanthropy


Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity ... serious crisis to go to waste,' Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama's new chief of staff, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Obamas Policy Agenda: Implications for Black Communities and the Role of Philanthropy

Obamas Policy Agenda Implications for Black
Communities and the Role of Philanthropy
  • john a. powell
  • Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race
    and Ethnicity
  • Williams Chair in Civil Rights Civil Liberties,
    Moritz College of Law

ABFE Annual Board Retreat February 10, 2009 New
Orleans, LA
Presentation Overview
  • The current recession racially disparate
  • The need for racially sensitive policies
  • Targeted universalism
  • Assessing the current stimulus package
  • Implications for communities of color
  • How do the issues connect?
  • Looking ahead
  • Opportunities for foundations

The Current Recession Racially Disparate Effects

  • In this economy, people of color benefit the
    least compared to their white counterparts during
    economic booms and suffer disproportionally more
    during economic downturns. As W.E.B. DuBois once
  • To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race
    in a land of dollars is the very bottom of

The Current Recession
  • The current recession has affected everyone but
    not all to the same degree.
  • Although the U.S. has been in a recession for
    more than a year, people of color have been in a
    recession for nearly five years and have entered
    a depression during the current economic crisis.
  • Although the black poverty rate fell 8.5 from
    1989 to 2000, the African American family poverty
    rate increased 2.8 from 2000 to 2007.
  • Poverty rates for Hispanic families grew .5 from
    2000 to 2007. The Hispanic family poverty rate
    (19.7) is roughly twice that of the overall
    poverty rate (9.8).

The Recession in Racial Terms
Unemployment rates by demographic group projected
to 2010
Mishel, Lawrence and Heidi Shierholz. Without
Adequate Public Spending, A Catastrophic
Recession for Some. EPI Issue Brief 248.
The Recession in Racial Terms
The Future of Underemployment without Recovery
Mishel, Lawrence and Heidi Shierholz. Without
Adequate Public Spending, A Catastrophic
Recession for Some. EPI Issue Brief 248.
This ratio was at a record high of 63.5 in 2000.
Once the 2001 recession and weak economic
recovery hit, these gains were lost and have yet
to be recovered.
Austin, Algernon. What a Recession Means for
Black America. EPI Issue Brief 241. 18 Jan.
The Need for Racially Sensitive Policies
  • Targeted Universalism

You say crisis, I say opportunity
  • You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,"
    Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama's new chief of staff,
    told a Wall Street Journal conference of top
    corporate chief executives
  • A crisis creates a sense of urgency
  • No one can deny that the system is broken
  • An opportunity to learn what worked and what did
  • Civil War ? Reconstruction
  • Depression ? New Deal
  • 2008-2009 Recession ? ?

Learning From Our Mistakes?
  • If we fail to pay attention to populations and
    the resources that communities possess, we are
    likely to repeat the mistakes of the New Deal.
  • White Americans may benefit disproportionately
  • How do we avoid the New Deal mistakes?
  • We must be intentional.
  • Policies should be targeted and programs should
    be structured so that they reach certain
    populations and communities.

We Need A New Paradigm
  • Targeted policies alone are not desirable because
    they appear to show favoritism toward a certain
    group, thus stigmatizing them.
  • Universal policies alone are not useful.
  • They fail to account for the fact that people are
    situated differently in the economic and social
    landscape of society
  • Universal policies are often based on a
    non-universal standard
  • Ex Social Security able-bodied white males
    working outside the home full-time for pay
  • Thus… Targeted Universalism

Targeted Universalism
  • This approach supports the needs of the
    particular while reminding us that we are all
    part of the same social fabric.
  • Universal, yet captures how people are
    differently situated
  • Inclusive, yet targets those who are most
  • Example goal Every school as a performing school
  • What does each school need to get there?
  • What does each student, family, teacher,
    community need?
  • What are their strengths and constraints?

Targeted Universalism
  • Targeted Universalism recognizes racial
    disparities and the importance of eradicating
    them, while acknowledging their presence within a
    larger inequitable, institutional framework
  • Targeted universalism is a common framework
    through which to pursue justice.
  • A model which recognizes our linked fate
  • A model where we all grow together
  • A model where we embrace collective solutions

Ex Economic Stimulus Package
  • The economic stimulus package fails to directly
    account for race.
  • Yet, race is a key component of many major
    economic issues.
  • Ex Subprime/Foreclosure crisis
  • People of color are more than three times as
    likely as whites to have subprime mortgages.
  • Borrowers of color were more than 30 percent more
    likely to receive a higher-rate loan than white
    borrowers, even after accounting for differences
    in risk.
  • Besides considering race-sensitive design,
  • we must be concerned about the impacts.

Rogers, Christy. Subprime Loans, Foreclosure,
and the Credit Crisis A Primer. Dec. 2008.
(No Transcript)
Assessing the Economic Stimulus Plan

The Implications for Communities of Color
Analyzing the Stimulus and Our Values
  • Questions to consider
  • What are our public values for the next century?
  • Does the stimulus package advance fair investment
    in all people and communities?
  • Does it promote economic and environmental
  • Does it have transparent controls for personal,
    institutional, and regulatory accountability?
  • Is it sensitive to the needs of racially
    marginalized groups and communities?

Money Allocation
Assessing the Stimulus Package
  • Projections indicate that the stimulus package
    will not impact all groups to the same degree.
  • People are not only spatially segregated, but
    segregation also occurs by sector.

Stimulus Projected Distribution of Jobs by Race
African Americans are underrepresented relative
to their presence in the U.S. population (13).
Hispanics/Latinos, also at 13 of the U.S.
population, are overrepresented.
These overestimates/underestimates are often
industry specific. Consider the construction
industry, a key component to the stimulus plans
infrastructure building
Call out of construction sector jobs by race
Applying Targeted Universalism
  • These shovel ready stimulus package jobs can
    benefit unemployed people of color and women if
    specific incentives and enforcement tools are
    enacted to ensure fair access to these
  • All stimulus projects should require local
    resident hiring goals and create a link to
    community-based groups as the first line contact
    for construction jobs.
  • Local hiring requirements are a proven approach
    to bring jobs to under-represented constituencies
    in construction trades. These requirements can be
    applied to permanent jobs as well.

Center for Social Inclusion. Economic Recovery
for Everyone Racial Equity and Prosperity.
Talking Points.
An alternative analysis Comparing projected
state spending with the racial demographics of
each state
Seeing the Connections
  • Attempts to address singular issues in isolated
    ways will ultimately fail
  • Targeted interventions must recognize the
    interconnected nature of our structures
  • While many policy areas can appear distinct, we
    must think of them collectively.
  • Ex Transportation
  • Is this an urban policy issue?
  • An environmental issue?
  • A jobs/economic issue?

Systems Theory Highlights These Relationships
  • Systems Theory is a transdisciplinary model that
    focuses on a web of relationships and processes
    and not on linear, singular causation or the
    intent of one or even a few individuals.
  • In a complex systems model, actions and inactions
    have multiple effects, and the delayed or distant
    consequences are often different from more
    proximate effects.
  • From a systems perspective, causation is
    cumulative and mutual.
  • Outcomes are caused by many actors and
    institutions actions and inactions over time and
    across domains.
  • Outcomes are the result of causes that accumulate
    over time and across domains.

Visualizing Systems Theory
System Interactions
We must pay attention to how people are situated
by looking at multiple indicators and the
relationships that exist between those indicators.
Source Barbara Reskin. http//faculty.uwashingto
Ex Connecting Housing Policy Education Policy
  • With lower profits and decreased access to
    capital, fewer corporations are investing in
    affordable housing (construction or renovation)
    while homelessness is on the rise.
  • The economic recovery bill passed by the House
    (1-28-09) would temporarily allow state housing
    agencies to exchange some credits for federal
    grants, which they would then distribute to
    developers to support the production of
    affordable rental housing.
  • This is an opportunity for us to re-think how we
    target LIHTC projects to high-opportunity areas.

Fischer, Will. Exchange Plan in House Recovery
Bill Offers Best Fix for Low-Income Housing Tax
Credit. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
February 2, 2009.
Ex Connecting Housing Policy Education Policy
  • LIHTC often concentrates housing units in
    racially isolated school districts.
  • This exacerbates the educational challenges
    facing low-income children, particularly children
    of color.

Looking Ahead

Racially Sensitive Policies
  • We must embrace a systems thinking perspective
    when forming policies.
  • What do racially sensitive policies look like?
  • Targeted They recognize the nature of our
    interconnected structures / larger inequitable,
    institutional framework.
  • Pay attention to situatedness They account for
    the fact that people are situated differently in
    the economic and social landscape of society.
  • Driven by outcomes It may seem great if
    unemployment is cut in half, but if all the jobs
    go to white males, serious problems remain.

Racially Sensitive Policies (cont)
  • What do racially sensitive policies look like?
  • Transparent - Transparency allows for gauging
    progress and making corrections if necessary.
  • Multi-faceted Incentivize a systems approach.
    Reorient how we think about policy.
  • Include people of color in the process Their
    input is vital.
  • Serve as a bridge to the next economy These
    policies should be the stepping stones for the

Race-Sensitive Policy Analysis of the Stimulus
  • How do we make the stimulus fair, sustainable,
  • Incentives for inclusion of people of color
  • Investment in public transit (prioritize projects
    that connect people to jobs)
  • Grants and loans for small and minority-, women-,
    and community-disadvantaged businesses
  • Collect data by race and gender to understand
    impacts of economic recovery policy

Wiley, Maya. Economic Recovery for Everyone
Racial Equity and Prosperity, Center for Social
Inclusion, 12/2008.
Opportunities for Philanthropy
  • The stimulus offers a once-in-a-generation
    opportunity to influence federal and state
  • Short term
  • Foundations need to shape and direct the flow of
  • Intervene in the public dialogue
  • Targeting the flow of stimulus money dispersed to
  • Connecting education and housing policy through
    the targeted use of LIHTC funds
  • Draw on your experience and research
  • Present a clear, informed perspective regarding
    communities of color that have been devastated by
    the economic recession

Opportunities for Philanthropy
  • Long term
  • Employ strategic communications regarding race
  • Help push national dialogue to overcome the
    common binary of (1) were in a post-racial world
    where race doesnt matter (2) were stuck in
    the past where race is everything
  • Emphasize productive discussions around race that
    thoughtfully inform policy design and advocacy
  • Capacity building
  • Increase the participation of marginalized groups
    in policy design
  • Improve data collection, monitoring, and
    evaluation of state and federal programs
  • Legal advocacy

Questions or Comments? For More Information,
Visit Us Online www.KirwanInstitute.org
  • Obamas Policy Agenda
  • Selected notes from www.whitehouse.gov

Economy American Recovery and Reinvestment
  • Double the production of alternative energy in
    the next 3 years
  • Modernize more than 75 of federal buildings
    improve the energy efficiency of 2 million
    American homes
  • Make the immediate investments necessary to
    computerize all of Americas medical records
  • Equip schools, community colleges, and public
    universities with 21st century classrooms, labs,
    and libraries
  • Expand broadband across America
  • Invest in the science, research, and technology
    that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new
    discoveries, and entire new industries

Urban Policy
  • Create a White House Office on Urban Policy
  • Fully fund the Community Development Block Grant
  • Increase access to capital for underserved
  • Strengthen core infrastructure, including roads
    and bridges
  • Increase the supply of affordable housing
    throughout metropolitan regions
  • Reduce recidivism by providing ex-offender
  • Foster healthy communities playgrounds, parks

  • Zero to Five Plan- a comprehensive plan that
    places emphasis on early care and education so
    children are ready to enter kindergarten
  • Expand Early Head Start and Head Start
  • Increase access to affordable, high-quality child
    care and after school programs
  • Reform No Child Left Behind lessen emphasis on
    standardized tests
  • Make math and science education a national
  • Address the dropout crisis
  • Simplify the application process for financial
    aid in higher ed

  • Strengthen employer coverage, make insurance
    companies accountable, and ensure patient choice
    of doctor and care without government
  • Provide affordable, accessible health care for
    all Americans, build on the existing health care
    system, and use existing providers, doctors, and
  • Promote public health - Require coverage of
    preventive services
  • Make health insurance work for people and
    businesses, not just insurance and drug companies
  • Reduce costs and save a typical American family
  • to 2,500

  • Invest in alternative and renewable energy, end
    our addiction to foreign oil, address the global
    climate crisis and create millions of new jobs
  • Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars -- cars that
    can get up to 150 miles per gallon -- on the road
    by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are
    built here in America
  • Ensure 10 of our electricity comes from
    renewable sources by 2012, and 25 by 2025
  • Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program
    to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 by 2050

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