Seminar 11 Outline – Sep 21, 2021

Race Together: Learnings about and Race and Racism in America
Arturo Pierre Lewis

Seminar 11 Title
: Racism in Politics and Criminal Justice

Living Apart: Housing Segregation in America and  The American Political and Legal System and Majority-Minority Relations

Living Apart: Housing Segregation in America – Chapter 12

Chapter Objectives—after reading Chapter Twelve you should be able to:

  • Describe housing segregation in the United States and how it is measured
  • Apply the various theories used to explain continuing Black-White segregation and how practices in the real-estate business add to this effect
  • Describe racial discrimination in home finance and insurance and how these impact on homeownership
  • Discuss how job decentralization effected housing segregation
  • Describe the effects of Hurricane Katrina based on racial segregation in New Orleans

Systemic practices of past discrimination describe the housing experience for non-white people in the United States. 

Specific practices include:

  • Segregated Housing/Communities (Imposed and self-segregated)
  • The White Flight: Cities to Suburbs
  • Redlining and The U.S. Government Federal Loans (FHA)
  • Economic discrimination
  • Blockbusting
  • Racial Steering
  • De facto Segregation
  • De jure Segregation
  • Gerrymandering
  • Subprime Loans and the Recession

. The Takeaway (Podcast – “There goes the neighborhood” 

Discussion Questions 

  1. How does urban sprawl, the decentralization of jobs, and housing segregation elevate the unemployment rate of African Americans relative to that of whites? What can be done about this problem?
  2. African Americans experience more housing segregation than any other racial or ethnic group. Why?
  3. How do home lenders and insurance companies contribute to housing discrimination and segregation
  4. Describe changes in the home lending industry that led to the subprime lending crisis. Why were minorities disproportionately affected?
  5. Why are minorities and the poor more affected by disasters than those in the majority group and those who are more affluent? More specifically, why were African Americans more affected by Hurricane Katrina than whites?

Web Links US Department of Housing and Urban Development Fair Housing laws on Civil Rights. Org website. A history of segregation in America. The Race Equity Project: A special project of the Legal Services of Northern California. “Public Housing Redux” Center for Race and Ethnicity—discussion of race and homeownership and the subprime mortgage crisis. The Subprime Mortgage Crisis Explained, website is Stock Market Investors. Website about redlining in Philadelphia. 

Key Words and terms

Blockbusting                Racial steering         Spatial mismatch

Housing segregation    Redlining                 Subprime loans

Index of dissimilarity

The American Political and Legal System and Majority-Minority Relations  Chapter 13

Chapter Objectives—after reading Chapter Thirteen you should be able to:

  • Describe Historic government policies and practices that led to discrimination against minorities
  • Explain current patterns of government policies that can lead to racial bias 
  • Describe minority voting and political representation 
  • Discuss the American legal system and issues in the criminal justice system that lead to racial discrimination
  • Describe issues around protecting minority rights in the American legal system

. Obstruction to Voting, Post Reconstruction – Jim Crow Era

Black Codes:

  • Grandfather Clause
  • Poll Tax
  • Literacy Test
  • Black Male Land Ownership
  • Inconvenient Poll hours and Locales

. Obstruction to Voting, Jim Crow/Civil Rights Era – Present/New Jim Crow Era

  • Inconvenient Poll hours
  • Inconvenient locations and lack of private or public transportation
  • Multiple forms of identification
  • Wrongly accused felons unable to vote
  • Gerrymandering
  • State Voting Restrictions

Criminal Justice

  • Law Enforcement: Racial Profiling and Delayed Responses 
  • Aggressive Over-Policing and Poor Community Relations
  • Suspicion, Lack of Trust, Corruption and Harassment by some law enforcement agents
  • Inability to afford quality legal representation
  • Delayed hearings in the justice system
  • Plea bargaining with under qualified legal representation
  • Sentencing: Lengthier terms
  • War on Drugs, The Ronald Reagan Administration
  • Tough on Crime: The Crime Bill and The Bill Clinton Administration
  • Overwhelming High Incarceration of Black and Brown Men \
  • Private construction and operation of America’s jails and prisons

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, Ohio State University

“A modern version of the late 19th century and early 20th century legal and social restrictions upon Ethnic Minorities


The Barak Obama Administration and Congress-

Symbolic Racism

A relatively subtle, contemporary form of racism that, while rejecting stereotypes and blatant discrimination, nonetheless involves opposition to any social policy that would enable minorities to escape their disadvantaged position in American society.

Congress and Obstruction

“We’re gonna do everything in our power to make sure that this is a one term president.” 2010, Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader

  • Under-representation of Minority Political Leadership

The 45th President-

Symbolic Racism (not so symbolic)

A relatively subtle, contemporary form of racism that, while rejecting stereotypes and blatant discrimination, nonetheless involves opposition to any social policy that would enable minorities to escape their disadvantaged position in American society.

  • Law and Order
  • Refusal to denounce white supremacy
  • Pardons
  • The Divided States of America

Discussion Questions 

  1. What methods have been used in the past to keep minority group members from voting in the United States? To what extent are minority group members still denied equal access to voting today?
  2. How did government action contribute to the creation of segregated housing in the United States?
  3. In what ways was the welfare reform legislation that was passed in 1996 successful? In what ways was it unsuccessful?
  4. Describe some ways in which the criminal justice system works that have the effect of discriminating on the basis of race and class. What would it take to create a criminal justice system that does not discriminate?
  5. How has the “war on drugs” had disproportionate effects on minority group members? How could problems of drug abuse and dependency be addressed in a less discriminatory manner?
  6. In what ways could the legal system do a better job of protecting the rights of minorities, and of preventing them from becoming victims of unscrupulous business practices? 

Web Links The United States Department of Justice website about federal voting rights. Congress of Racial Equality website. Has information about the history of voting rights in the US. NAACP legal defense fund webpage. About political and legal rights cases and minorities, includes discussion of war on drugs and racial bias and juries. Victim statistics from the Department of Justice. Graphs of age and race of homicide victims. American Civil Liberties website and prisoner rights. Website that gives the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. 

Key Words and terms

Gerrymandering           Racial profiling        Self-fulfilling prophecy