tv Sheryll Cashin White Space Black Hood CSPAN November 28, 2021 11:00pm-12:01am EST
print book sales were up close to 12% for the week ending november 13. adult nonfiction sales had another strong week and are up almost 7% for the year. booktv will continue to bring you new programs and publishing news and you can also watch all of our past programs anytime at booktv.org. >> good evening virtual audience and welcome. thank you for joining us tonight. my name is hilary carr and a half of harvard book store i'm pleased to introduce sheryll cashin with a new book "white space, black hood: opportunity hoarding and segregation in the age of inequality." joint and conversation by tomiko brown-nagin. thank you for joining uss tonight. through virtual events like tonight harvard book store brings authors and the a work to our community and our new digital community. of the week will host events on our zoom account as always our event scheduled appears on her email@example.com/events where you can signrs up. this evenings discussion will
conclude with the time for your questions. if you have a question to her speaker sitting time during the talk click on the q&a button at the bottom of the skin will get to as many as time allows. ding e version of zoom you can enable the couch itself by clicking on the close caption button on the screen. i'll be posting a link to purchase "white space, black hood" on hover.com is was a link to donate in support of this series and are stored. your purchases make events like tonight possible and help conserve the future of an independent landmark bookstore. thank you for tuning in in support of our authors and incredible staff of booksellers at harvard book store. we appreciate your support now and always. as you may have experienced in virtual gatherings, technical issues may arise. the duke will do our best to resolve them quickly and we thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. now i'm so please introduce tonight speakers. sheryll cashin is a carmack waterhouse professor of law civil rights and social justice at georgetown university, i can
to be added for "politico" and an active member of the poverty and race research action council. she is been a law clerk u.s. supreme court justice thurgood marshall's willits and advice on community building in inner-city neighborhoods. her work has appeared in numerous outlets including the near times, "washington post," salon among many others and she's author of "new york times" book review editors choice the failure of integration, the naacp image award nominated place not race. tonight professor cashin will join by tomiko brown-nagin, the dean of russian approach for advanced study, professor of constitutional law at harvard law and history in harvard faculty of arts and sciences. she is the author of the book courage, , a dental history of e civil rights movement. we will be discussing "white
space, black hood" which is called a resident in for an what's a pension racial division poisoned life and her cities and henry louis gates, jr. called a brilliant and nuanced going on to say convinced the reader of this centrality of geography and economic and social inequality. we are so happy to have them both your tonight so without further ado the digital podium is yours. >> thank you thank you . and thank you to the harvard book store for hosting this talk. it is my pleasure to be in conversation with sheryll cashin who has written this, her fifth book. i want to start off, sheryll, by asking you why you decided to write this book? >> part of it as you know is your fault. it was about four years ago, five years ago that i got a call from you asking me if i would like to give the memorial
lecture at my alma mater, harvard law school. i was flattered, flabbergasted thinking what will i say at this institution were a lot of my former professors are still on the faculty. so it really forced me to think ambitiously like what would be worthy of the occasion? i spent my entire academic career thinking about segregation and was very inspired by michelle alexander's book, "the new jim crow" in the way she connected contemporary mass incarceration to a prior anti-black institution jim crow. but i wanted to see the connection from slavery to jim crow to the iconic segregation black ghettos, black hoods. because it just seemed like it's
time we put to bed one black supporting institution we created another, right? so supremacy still manifest, just the structures change and ideology rather changes. so that is one reason i wrote because i do find something ambitious to say to my alma mater but the other thing is i happen passion my entire life about come at a get this from a fellow come come from civil rights them in alabama, about low income black people and how they are others in society. how they are treated, not just by whites but even by middle and upper-class, sometimes, well, you get the point. i feel very passionate. i call the folks trapped in high poverty black neighborhoods descendents in recognition of the connection to slavery. they are the two descendents of
slavery, and as i said in the introduction, i see them with love, and i wrote this book to humanize them and to advocate for them. >> well, sheryll, i have to say election was impressive for a five years ago, and this book is really impressive. it is the total package. you combine historical and legal analysis. you discuss all of the relevant scholarship. and you and and i were in sf the same areas, scholarly areas, so know that scholarship and it really is all in there. and going beyond that you combine storytelling and policy solutions, and you do it all in 200 pages. so it is just a really impressive book, and actually congratulate you on the achievement. >> thank you so much, tamika. that means the world to me.
>> now, for those who haven't had a chance to read the book yet, why didn't you go through and give us a brief overview of the argument that you make? >> okay. well, 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 caste that produces it, right? we intentionally constructed a fluid white space and the iconic black hood. and the one wouldn't exist without the other. high opportunity, poverty free bastions couldn't exist if we didn't concentrate poverty elsewhere. and these two extremes of residential caste are the most
persistent kinds of neighborhoods that we have. in fact, the boundaries of the fluid white space and concentrated black poverty are hardening. those neighborhoods are persisting and not going away. there's a lot in between, but what i argue is that everyone in american society who cannot buy their way into affluent white spaces, which also happens, they are emerging to the heavily asian as well, gets a a very different deal when it comes to opportunity. people trapped in the hood get the worst deal. and i'm saying that residential caste is the chief explanation for the structural systemic racism that we have, and i explained, the residential caste in american is animated by three primary anti-black processes.
boundary maintenance, which is the polite word for segregation, opportunity hoarding, over investing in affluent white space, this investing elsewhere, and stereotype driven surveillance, predatory policing and also private policing of black bodies. so that's the argument of the book. and it also, and i call for and repair of american residential caste. >> yes, thank you. i want to end up on that discussion of abolition, but i would ask about some of your word choices. use the term caste throughout the book as opposed to say racial subordination or marginalization are just plain old racism. and i wonder what to you is the explanatory power of caste as a concept?
>> okay. i say residential caste. >> yes. >> there's a very popular book by the same title and the not talking about just social caste. right? but the word is powerful. it evokes more than just racism. people who were in high poverty neighborhoods are essentially trapped there. very few people are able to get out. that is a caste system, right? caste also evokes the degree of othering that is attached to folks in the hood, right? the stereotypes. and really nasty stereotypes, super predator, dog, welfare queen, ghetto, right? some of the worst stereotypes of blackness are incubated by, you know, in the hood, i mean are based on a lot of ideas about
what goes on there, often generated by people who have no intimate knowledge of black people, right? caste is more powerful than just saying racism, you know? and for me caste evokes entrenched structures. >> yes. >> and residential caste is nothing if not structural. the social distinctions that come naturally to human beings become much more efficient when you overlay it with geography, right? those people over there are not worthy of coming to live in my space, right? people come up with reasons to justify the way things are. i have a chapter as you know about mythology, right?
i call it ghetto mythology, that the chief mythology animating residential caste is that high opportunity living is earned, and people trapped in low poverty areas, that's the deserved result of individual bad behavior. that erases and masks a century of nefarious public policies that systemically create, actually render some neighborhoods devoid of any real opportunity. >> yes. so i think it's an appropriate word, and as you say it's powerful. it gets to the prominence of the situation. being totally devoid of opportunity and trapped is a very powerful word choice. now, you also as you mentioned
at the top used the word descendents, and you tell stories about the sentence in every chapter. can you say a bit about why that's a choice for this book? >> well, , for me the sentence s a term of affection, of love, of honoring an african-american legacy. the words used to describe black americans, particularly poor black americans, are often, have negative connotations, right? the n-word, debtor, whatever. but i just found it to be, it also evokes the truth that, you know, african-americans emancipated after the civil war were overwhelmingly in the south, right? their descendents became great
migrants. actually early great migrants, some of them may have been enslaved by their descendents, lots of them are great migrants. so they go north and south to escape jim crow. and what the primary response to black people in large numbers wherever they landed was to contain them and hyper segregated neighborhoods, and to disinvest in those neighborhoods, making them much worse than other places. i guarantee you the folks who live in the hood, i guarantee you that overwhelmingly those folks are descendents of the enslaved. there's a continuum, a direct continuum which i just described. >> that's really important to talk about. not a lot of people do make those connections, and i think it's again a very appropriate
term. so -- >> i want to finish the second half of your question. you asked why i featured them in the chapter. thank you for noticing that. every chapter opens with, it features a a character or twod i tried to get their picture, a lot of them, i wanted to humanize my people, , black people. we are three-dimensional human beings. many of the people i feature are people who overcame something that inspired me, right? so i've i have photographs. i tell their story, and i do with chronologically. so i make the connection because i have a chapter -- i go from 1890 straight through and i do it really, really fast as you know. we get to the contemporary part quite quickly. but i wanted to humanize, like i
said i really wrote this for black people, particularly black americans. and that's very influenced by toni morrison in this book of essays. she writes about how, you know, well, first of all whole career she centered the black american experience. and she wrote that for herself, for others. she didn't, i mean she wasn't trying to appeal to any other audience. i wanted to write a book was truly like years the truth about what our people have been through. and she says in the book i just pulled out in one essay, it jumped out at me, that, you know, racial oppression may never go away. it may never change we can write about it. we can tell the truth. 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, right? the more i learn, the angrier i was that i wanted to tell the truth about that. you know, i wanted it to be a bit of a viable frankly where people, if you want to understand why it is, here, here. >> yes. can you tell us one of those stories? let's pick a chapter and talk about -- >> okay. so many come to me but ongoing to pick ligia barnett who is a a descendent in the technical sense in that she lives in high poverty black neighborhood in washington, d.c.
i interviewed her several times, which were neighborhood. she lives in a very, very poor area in south east d.c. near the maryland line. and i got to know her because she was a client of a georgetown law health law clinic, and to meet this woman, she is a dynamo. she's a really impressive person to me. she has a lot of knowledge and and a lot of gumption, and she actually had been metaclass and through some unfortunate circumstances found herself and her family homeless i follow her through the struggle to get some stable housing. she was actually more functional than a lot of people around her in this homeless shelter, and really took advantage of all the
services that the georgetown law students provided her. i tried to show how much assistance she needed, and it took a lawsuit because she was discriminate against. she got a housing voucher and it's illegal in washington, d.c. to discriminate based on source of income. she had one of those rare, hard to get hud opportunity vouchers. but for georgetown law students helping her serial she got a settlement and putting pressure on housing authority in d.c., which finally, because the housing voucher is good, , you only get like three months or something to get replacement. you know, they finally got some emergency assistance with a putter in a van van and drove her to certain spots. but she started out, someone had told her and i opportunity
neighborhoods they take the pouch and then they backed out. so i just showed the struggle, and then trying to get her kids any decent school, and she's ten minutes away from where there's a lot of gun violence. this this is a person who han books, you know, who has produced -- she's got this movement of women who have endured all kinds of things with a sort of had a monologue where they do their play. she is just, you know, a striver, right? i could go on, you know, but that's one example. >> yes. well, the storytelling is powerful and it's clear to me and to the audience that you have a lot of passion as well as the scholarly expertise, and that comes through so much in this work.
now, i want to go back -- >> did you have a fair of her character? i'm just curious. did anyone joe out at any chance? >> i was attracted to the concept. it's something i tried to do as well, tell stories. although, well, i want to go back to something in particular that you just said. you mentioned that this book, you want it to be like a bible, and you said that you wrote it for the african-american community. one of the things you talk about implicitly but also directly in the book is the separation between the descendents and the black middle class and certainly affluent black americans. let's talk about that.
so let's talk about the contrast between the progress of the black middle class and those who were trapped in these ghettos. what dilemmas does the black middle class face including affluent people, including black officials who control majority black cities? tell us about the dilemmas and how you would recommend trying to resolve some of those dilemmas. >> first i want to make it clear to the audience that i centered the african american experience, but i would welcome anybody reading it, right, but i definitely had african-americans and their experience in mind as i i was writing this. okay. well, you hit the nail on the head. one of the point i'm making is, pre-civil rights we had a a ce system that was just based on
race. in the south particularly no matter what your socioeconomic status, you in that caste system, too, right? post-civil rights the good thing is there are people who prosper were able to exit the hood. back in the day when it was created, all socioeconomic strata of black people lived together, but the fair housing act opened up opportunities, and most people who could exit high poverty neighborhoods of whatever color do. in fact, the economic segregation is growing fastest among african-americans and latinx people. black and latino 1% on the entire ground. and it does present a dilemma. james performance book, locking up her own, kind of speaks to this. democrats outnumber republicans like 12 the one in the city, and
when d.c., , the city i live in, washington, d.c. was chocolate city, overwhelmingly run by black people. they pursued mass incarceration, too, right? i have heard words uttered about low income black people that are the same kind of stereotypes that nonblack people participate in, right? in a society that concentrates, concentrates advantage and concentrates disadvantage all people, particularly as you know this, people who are parents, feel pressure to get as close to the high opportunity as they can, right? i lived this in washington, d.c., , right? so the dilemma is distancing
yourself from concentrated poverty is, and by the way, concentrated poverty is growing fast in suburbs and its growing fast and white areas, too. but distancing yourself from concentrate poverty and concentrated disadvantage becomes necessary to thrive. and so part of the reason -- descendents are worse off than they were before the civil rights revolution because they lost the proximity to our most successful black people, and they lost the sword of their social influence. they lost their tax dollars, , d there's a lot of social distance now. so it is a dilemma. i lived that myself. i put my kids in public charter schools for the first, seven years and each year of their
education from first grade through seventh grade, , each yr the poverty rate grew higher. the last year they were in school, 53% of the kids were on free and reduced lunch. i walked the walk as long as it worked for my kids, but it began not to work so much. that's the dilemma. >> it is and, of course, it's a dilemma that i'm familiar with myself, and i think this book really, as you said, will help a whole lot of people understand the plight of people who are not descendents and not fall prey to the mythology that affects everyone in this country. so let me ask you about white allies and people of color
allies, how they are implicated in the probably identify, what stories are they telling themselves about concentrated poverty, and why should they care about these unique circumstances, unique to african-americans? >> okay. well, everybody should care about residential caste is actually it's only working for a very small fraction for those who live in a metropolitan area. only about 7% of the population can buy their way into the highest opportunity places, right? and those places exclude. they have exclusionary zoning. they often won't even have apartments let alone duplexes or quad plexus, right? so they exclude non-rich people, and what a lot of people don't realize is they are actually
subsidize by everybody who is excluded. they get golden infrastructure. that's paid for through gas taxes, right? the often get more than their fair share of revenues raised to income taxes, in terms of like what the state decides to invest in for development, physical development, right? and so this whole system is destroying opportunity for almost everyone, whether you live in a city or a non-rich suburb, there are a lot of struggling suburbs out there now. or a rural area, america is no longer a land of opportunity for you. it's not an engine of opportunity, right? and we have a politics, cut taxes, cut taxes. biden is trying to change that, but we had a politics that has
this with the social protests after george floyd police execution. so many people i think are hungry for something better than toxic fear, a society based onfear, separation . if we followed, my suggestion is to repair, we would stabilize a lot and we would see a lot nicer neighborhoods that are less scary to people and you'd have more opportunity to return to public institutions. right? a lot of high income people, i mean the hyper affluence
arealways going to be in their own universes . two parent professionals feel the need to buy the most expensive houses they can afford to get into a good school district. or there's a lot of tax dollars for private schools . this is to basically get the opportunity that's stable and good. great, right? so a society that wasn't based on residential caste, that have an attitude of care rather than today's system, not this fear and >> i think opportunity would be more widely distributed for everyone. >> that's a great, great answer and insight that it's persuasive to readers. i will turn to audience questions inn just a moment.
i can ask cheryl on what's on your mind. first, i want to turn to cheryl, the question of what to do about all of this. i wonder if you can share what's in the chapter and what to do to dismantle and replace cast. >> my starting point was reading, i'm not the first person to talk about abolition and creating an abolition democracy so my vision really cameio from them. their language that they use. you are talking about transformation. i'm not talking about modest reform, right? the beauty of understanding
residential cast, once you understand it and processes, the way forward becomes obvious. we need to change from punitive the caring and change the lens that we see them. it frees you up to focus on and evidence evidence-base policies that actually might be cheaper than what we are doing which is basically, you know, mass incarceration and overpolicing and more effective and first have to change the lens but i also say you need to reverse the
processes so inclusion rather than exclusion and boundary maintenance, mandatory inclusionary zoning, mandatory affordable housing for all neighborhoods green h lighting instead of red lighting. the very neighborhoods who were cut off from traditional mortgages and investment, to this day are disinvested in and distressed so they should be first in line for new infrastructure dollars if we get some. they shouldif be first in line r community investment community development dollars, right? there's studies in chicago, has chicago spent 3 times more money
in white neighborhoods than black neighborhoods in its development dollars. that's not right. having a neighborhood analysisys and racial equity analysis and paying attention to where the money goes and prioritizingen disrupting the allocation and third and this is what has been in the news so far. i don't profess to all of the answers. just by focusing on the young people. relatively small youngly people, young to me, young men typically who might actually be likely to pull a trigger or actually are engaged in gun violence and haven't been yet prosecuted wrapping services around them and giving them loving mentor
and giving them a life plan as richmond, california did to reduce gun violence. a lot cheaper than incarceration. so, you know, i give hopeful example in the book of places that are doing transformative things. >> there are things that we can do. we have a number of questions, good questions. let me ask one, what do you see as first step cities, states, entities with power can take to begin dissolving the cast system in the u.s. >> well, i think the first is -- it's sounds very self-serving but i think it would help to read the book. you ale have to understand what is going on and how systematic
it is. i really identify all of the systems that are set against black neighborhoods but i really do believe that the first step is intentionally changing your lens, thinking as people as human beings as potential assets rather thande deficits, right, u know. that's a first. but also a neighborhood analysis at the budgeting level. you should put in budget process, seattle, baltimore are doingis this now. you regularly annually assess where dollars have been spent and intentionally try to achieve racial equity. this is what joe biden -- i was
so inspired within hours of being inaugurated, joe biden signed an executive order calling for a racial equity exercise and put susan rice in charge, formable woman and basically said we are going the start paying attention to how we are spending -- the federal government spends so much money. just paying attention to this. trying to disrupt the process if you do nothing what tends to happen affluent people are the squeaky wheel and they more than their fair share in the region. being overt about that. there are so many dimensions but
angela davis talked about abolition as much as building up as it is tearing down and need to repair democracy as you go, right. we should grow the racial multicoalition that claims black lives matter and builds and sustain the coalition and you have people that will show up in zoning meetings say they will stand for affordable housing and fight for integrated schools, right. m there's no silver bullet.
>> so, cheryl, there are questions of examples, locations, cities that have made s,real progress. you mentioned richmond, california and guns. >> you might be surprised la louisville, kentucky which i feature quite a bit in chapter in schools was a very segregated -- segregated neighborhood and segregated in its schools. 90% of students who went to schools were black in the city, 90% were white in the outlining.
become much more integrated and built constituency of people who volunteered and you had majority in politician in which the majority of people wanted integration and after they got with school desegregation, they continued their school integration and consolidated the government, city county and residential segregation went down a lot in the area, it went from being a hypersegregated metro area to just being moderately segregated. that is success. now they've done a lot of education around what happened in the 30's and why it is blacks are in the west end and whey they need more resources.
spaces while trying to strive for abolition of the institution and structural barriers that have allowed some people to thrive. i live in one of the -- two integrated neighborhoods in the district with the long -- 50-area a tradition of black professionals living with whites and jews, right? i chose integration. this neighborhood i'm in is not economically integrated and not far but here is my point,
there's more appetite for integrated spaces, integrated spaces than there are schools in neighborhoods to fulfill that appetite, right? because of our policy so i say yes but while you're living your life and policies that will make your life better and if you yourself are not in close proximity to people who are really struggling. >> what was it like working with your editor and the most interesting part of the question is, what did you leave out of
the final publication and can you talk about that? >> well, writing is both a joy for me and also -- i don't struggle when -- i've never had writer's block and don't w understood that. i can't write unless i have a deadline andit if i have a deadline, very focused and for me my friend is word count, you know, and i will -- i write when i've got the researching done and i'm ready to write, you know, i map it out and i set a goal. when i was young, i'm not young
anymore, not going the say my age. [laughter] but when i was younger i would try to bang out a thousand words a day. i can't do that anymore. as i was writing this, i would say 500 words a day, some days if i just wasn't feeling it, i would say d something easy thati knew i could accomplish 300 words a day. it's getting up and doing it. this film about documentary, about heroine tony morrison, she said that she would get up at 5:00 a.m. i can't get up that early. i would get up at 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m. when the house is quiet and try to get my 500 words done you know, you just say you're going to do a certain number of words and just commit to that, you know, in ten days you have 5,000 words. in tenin days. the math just helps. in a month you have 15,000
words. 80 to 100. a lot of them don't want you to get too long. what was leftwh out in this boo, in this book nothing. it's very well structured. it's a model in so many ways. i'm not surprised that you didn't leave anything out. so other questions, someone wants to know how the bronx is doing in terms of the issues. >> i can't speak to the bronx.
i haven't been there. i don't have any specifics to offer. i know that the bronx is not what the bronx was way back in the day, that there's been an extraordinary amount of redevelopment, you know, since reagan, the south bronx. i wish i could speak to it but i don't have any firsthand knowledge. i will say quoted to the previous question, i have a degree in intellectual engineering and i also have a law degree and i definitely -- you were talking about how powerful it is and in terms of it's laid out, it's the engineer in me that built the argue. which chapter builds on the other and builds on the other and so i melded the passion of history with the scientific ssystem approach.
>> i definitely can see it. [laughter] >> there's a question about whether your book is in dialogue with race for profit how the bank and the real estate industry undermine home ownership. >> absolutely. how black people were prayed on with installment contracts in the 60's, you know, where you're buying a house on layway
and you don't get until you make the last payments, private equity, after foreclosure prices in 2008, 2010 have preyed in the very neighborhoods that suffered the most with their foreclosure prices because they were preyed with subprime loans. they are going in there and the have been snapping up foreclosed houses. they want the installment fire to miss one payment, they want them to fail and what do they do, they give it up to another person. they are transferring hard-earned dollars from essential workers to tighten. and i learned this stuff in part
from that book. so let me go back to the bronx, there's a person who notes that the bronx is majority latino. there are people who are both. >> the key difference that black people -- i told you the story about the great migrant. before like the 1990's i say, let's say 1980's, okay, black people were the only population
singled out for hypersegregation. latinos were moderately segregated. this is douglas matthew's book american apartheid. there were nearly hypersegregated cities inn this country so the segregation has been a defining feature of the african-american experience and continues to have consequences to this day. for african-american making
thousands of dollars, live in where whites make $40,000 but as the latinx, hispanic populations grewew with immigration, two ciy -- some areas in new york and la where some hispanics became hyper-segregated. the defining feature of oppression for latino people i would say is, you know, sort of immigrant rhetoric, racing them, donald trump the things he said about mexicans, so, you know, and i say this both in the beginning, the introduction to this book and in the conclusion. i say it -- i want to make it clear i'm not saying that other groups have not experienced oppression and are not saying that they don't experience it
now. i'm residential about writing al cast and continues. >> so it's unique. >> i make that clear. >> you do. >> time for the last question, cheryl, and it's a question about asking if you have any hope, so things seem so bad sometimes, it seems like there's no way forward. what keeps you going, this questioner wants to know. >> so hope is a choice. we are in a tough, tough time. when you overlay the pandemic. residential cast, there's a reason why there's disproportionate death in black and latinx neighborhoods, lower
opportunity, preexisting conditions. we didn't talk about that residential cast causes health disparities. optimism is a choice. my feeling is forces of darkness in this country and there's a lot of forces of darkness want you to be so depressed you won't get up and try to fight for anything different, right, and i try to offer and we talked about some transcending scenarios, you know, choices, some localities and places are making forth something different, right? we have to -- we have to have hope and have to keep trying because if we give up and don't try, we are just going to get more of the same. >> i think the chapter you talked about abolition is very helpful chapter.th
>> thank you. >> i will send it back over. >> thank you for doing this for me. >> thank you to our audience out there for spending your evening with us, you can learn more about the important back on harvard document and on harvard book here in massachusetts, have a gad -- good night and everybody be well. >> the book titled our journey together is being published by winning team publishing cofounded by donald trump, jr. and will go on sale december 1st. the new york times has released their annual list of the 100 notable books of the year, this year's nonfiction titles include annette gordon reed on
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