Goodman, et al. Chapter 15 Living with Race and Racism

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Goodman, et al. Chapter 15

Living with Race and Racism

Linking Race and Wealth 1

  • An American dilemma

  • Goodman et al remind us that immigrants from around the world have come to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream.

  • The issue is that the Dream is not equally accessible especially when race are brought into the equation.

  • It is important to note that wealth and income are NOT the same (although often these terms are used as if they are the same).

  • Income is earned directly as wages (and so forth) within a set time frame and is threatened when one’s job is lost, income is lowered and when social programs are cut.

  • Wealth is one’s net worth (total assets minus any “liabilities”) and accumulates across generations. It is threatened by inflation, loan defaults market vagaries and so forth.

  • First of all wealth is based on many factors (some tangible or visible assets and others intangible or invisible assets):

  • Visible assets include land and monies (“He who has the most toys wins!”)

  • Invisible assets include level of education, specialized knowledge and skills (called intellectual property rights), opportunity and privilege.

  • The history of American economic development is both racialized and class-based.

Linking Race and Wealth 2

  • Land ownership in colonial times

  • In colonial times only wealthy white men owned land along the eastern seaboard and what are now the southern states.

  • Between 1604 to 1800 land was acquired from American Indians in a number of ways: purchase, barter, treaty, confiscation. These land grabs were facilitated by disease and warfare.

  • The result of the Manifest Destiny policy was a westward push on American Indian tribes and 95% of land is now lost to the tribes.

  • By 1800 most tribes east of the Appalachians were gone.

  • By 1830 the Indian Removal Act allowed the government to push groups west of the Mississippi.

  • By 1900, with the help of the 1862 Homestead Act and the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887, tribal lands were broken up into individual parcels. “Surpluses” were sold.

  • Even by 2007, 60% of reservation land that is supposed to be owned by the tribes is not.

  • Whose land is it?

  • One estimate is that 70% of all American Indians were lost to disease within decades of Western contact (others estimate 90%).

  • By the late-1800s American Indians were restricted to reservations. They were expected to become farmers. One look at Pine Ridge Reservation, SD shows how most of a lie that was

Linking Race and Wealth 3

  • Land ownership in colonial times (continued)

  • Whose land is it?

  • The effects of the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887 have been discussed in an earlier set of lecture notes, but it is helpful to remind ourselves: only 48 million acres remain, down from 138 million at the start of Dawes.

  • Of course, much land had already been lost.

  • Making “brown men” white: Cherokee removal

  • The Cherokee story is a classic illustration of white land grab in the United States.

  • By 1819 over 90% of the land owned by the Cherokee Nation was gone, but the Nation tried to live in peace (not much choice at that point).

  • The Cherokee ran farms and plantations in TN, GA and AL.

  • They also established a sovereign nation (never recognized in Georgia).

  • They developed a Cherokee alphabet and in 1820 began printing a bilingual newspaper.

  • Some Cherokee owned slaves.

  • In Georgia, white settlers began to steal Cherokee goods and pushed hard to have the Cherokee removed. The whites wanted the land for cotton.

  • In response, Andrew Jackson (hero of the “common man”) ordered the removal of the Cherokee, the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and the Seminoles to the west of the Mississippi.

  • This became known as the Trail of Tears. About 4000 Cherokee died in the march; by 1840 over 46,000 eastern Indians were removed.

Linking Race and Wealth 4

  • Land ownership in colonial times (continued)

  • Similar practice with the Ojibwa (Chippewa) of Minnesota; they were removed to White Earth Reservation.

  • By 1920 the Ojibwa saw most of their reservation sold illegally to lumber companies.

  • Two well-known anthropologists helped defraud the Ojibwa: Alex Hrdlička (Smithsonian) and Albert Jenks (U. of Minnesota).

  • They used craniometry and other early-1900s scientific measures to ascertain blood quantum.

  • Because persons of mixed blood could sell their land right away, these findings aided the land grabbers.

  • In fact, many early American anthropologists worked for the colonial government.

  • Today, the AAA Code of Ethics strongly disallows this type of work.

  • Anthropologists often encounter ethical dilemmas during their fieldwork.

  • Because anthropologists work with peoples whose views are often different from their own, the American Anthropological Association (AAA), 1971, created its first Statements on ethics: Principles of professional responsibility.

  • Determined that anthropologists do not condone “undercover” research.

  • The anthropologist’s main responsibility is to ensure the safety of the people being studied.

  • The White Earth Land Settlement Act of 1985 made partial restitution. According to the tribe’s website the Act resulted in 3 actions:

  • “Monetary compensation, to present day living heirs of the allottees who have a valid claim on his or her allotment

  • $6,600,000 for economic development

  • 10,000 acres of land transferred in trust for the White Earth Band.” (para. 2).

Linking Race and Wealth 5

  • Land ownership in colonial times (continued)

  • Yet another example of huge tracts of land being confiscated was in the West and Southwest.

  • By 1846 war broke out between Mexico and the United States over illegal land grabs by Americans.

  • In 1835 the Texas War of Independence began because Texans were afraid their land contracts would be denied under Santa Ana.

  • Six months later two important events occurred: The Battle for the Alamo and the Convention of 1836

  • Americans stormed into the small fort at the Alamo Mission and took it over in March 1836.

  • This was a part of a larger forced removal of Mexicans from the area.

  • The Mexicans moved back into Texas to try and reclaim their land.

  • The Americans also convened the Convention of 1836 (at Washington-on-the-Brazos, TX). There Texas was declared as the Republic of Texas.

  • After the Alamo and up to the Mexican-American War of 1846 the Mexicans and the Texans continued to fight.

  • By 1847 the U.S. controlled California and once was northern Mexico.

  • The Mexican-American War was ended by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848).

  • Some monies were paid to compensate Mexico and the Mexican landowners.

  • The American control of California and northern Mexico became “legal”.

  • Mexican citizens (Californios) became residents of present-day California.

  • The Caifornios were a mix of indigenous peoples and settlers from Europe. They had lived there for generations.

  • By 1850 they controlled 14 million acres of land. They raised cattle and grew wine grapes and citrus.

  • The Gold Rush of 1849 speed up the grabs, but a series of laws and taxes also pushed many former Mexican landowners to give up their lands. Gradually the Californio land system disappeared.

Linking Race and Wealth 6

  • Mukilteo Lumber Company hired these workers beginning in 1803but they were not allowed to live in Mukilteo, but instead were pushed into the Gulch.

  • This practice of creating ethnic enclaves is not unique to this situation; there have been many Chinatowns and so forth.

  • In 1930 the lumber company closed and the workers returned to Japan.

  • In 2012 EvCC and EdCC excavated Japanese Gulch.

  • The roots of internment

  • Many Japanese Americans had been in places such as California (as well as much of the West Coast) for well over a century.

  • Even before WWII immigration from Japan was minimal, the justification was the Immigration Act of 1924.

  • This law said that if you could not become a U.S. citizen you could not immigrate.

  • By WWII only about 600 Japanese had been immigrating each year.

  • Japanese American internment

  • Once the Japanese government bombed Pearl Harbor all the contributions of Japanese workers and Japanese American citizens was ignored. Note: Book says 12/6/1942. It was 12/7/1941

  • The start of WWII saw a land grab of Japanese and Japanese-American property.

  • Under the guise of protecting Americans from their Japanese foes there was a round-up peoples and a confiscation of property.

  • About 2/3 of the 120,000 people interned were American citizens, a fact that was ignored.

Linking Race and Wealth 7

  • Land ownership in colonial times (continued)

  • Forced relocation

  • These persons of Japanese heritage were relocated to “Internment Camps” (some call them concentration camps pointing out that if an internee tried to escape they were to be shot).

  • President Roosevelt implemented Executive Order 9066 that legitimized this action.

  • Executive Order 9066 was not rescinded until 1976 by President Ford.

  • An apology was first made in 1988 and some monies and properties were returned.

  • Race prejudice, war hysteria

  • Less well known is that some 11,000 Germans were also interned, as were some of Italian and Jewish heritage.

  • While the European enemies of the U.S. were seen as misguided, the Japanese were portrayed as ‘yellow vermin”.

  • Want to read more? Go to this link: Pride and shame: The museum exhibit that helped launch the Japanese American Redress Movement

Linking Race and Wealth 8

  • Land ownership in colonial times (continued)

  • The most recent example of inequality of access to land is seen in the USDA case.

  • In spite of deep structural racism, beginning in 1868, some Southern blacks have been able to farm their own land.

  • These numbers peaked in 1910 with 218,000 African American farmers owned 215 million acres.

  • By 1992 the number of farmers was down to 18,000 and the acreage was 2.3 million.

  • The reason for such a dramatic decline?

  • Systematic denial of access to resources as evidence by the USDA.

  • Even USDA researchers were found to be biased.

  • The USDA Office of Civil Rights was essentially non-operative due to funding cuts initiated by the Reagan administration.

  • In 1997 a class action suit (Pigford v. Glickman) was set against the USDA by African Americans, Latinos, American Indians, and women; the size of case action was 22,000 farmers.

  • In 1999, the plaintiffs won $2.3billion dollars, but this only compensated about 1/10 of those affected.

  • In 2008 the Farm Bill expanded the potential funding, in 2010 Obama found an additional $1.25 billion in compensations for the group excluded.

  • This decision, some call Pigford II, is a point of political discord.

  • In late-2012 the GAO (Government Oversight Organization) determined that for the most part, there was little fraud.

        • By 2013, the New York Times was suggesting that the financial oversight for Pigford II was lacking.

        • Commenting on the issues raised in the New York Times. Mother Jones discusses the two sides of the issue (balance between fraud and fairness).

Linking Race and Wealth 9

  • The housing market

  • We know that wealth is accumulated and passed on as land and home ownership, education, and access to favorable policies.

  • So, during the period between 1934-1962, the federal housing administration insured $120 billion dollars in new housing loans. Only 2% for non-whites.

  • Mortgage policies have limited access for non-whites.

  • The wealth gap

  • Home ownership, where the house gains value over time, is the primary way most Americans build the basis of financial security.

  • Access to affordable home loans is harder for non-whites.

  • The result? The average African American has about 1/10 the assets of the average Euroamerican.

  • Ownership is not the only reason for the gap; the actual value of their homes also differs.

  • In 2003, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council determined that:

  • Blacks and Native Americans were twice as likely to be turned down for a loan as compared to white Americans.

  • Hispanics were about 1.5 times as likely to be refused.

  • Asian Americans, perceived as model minorities, were actually slightly MORE likely to get the loan.

  • In 2004, federal government data (Home Mortgage Disclosure Act) showed that among blacks who got loans they were more often likely to be “sub-prime”.

  • Today, with the Great Recession the issue is ever worsened; according to the online source, America’s Wire, “Together, African-Americans and Hispanics were able to borrow 62 percent less to buy or refinance homes in 2009 than in 2004, before the market crashed, … non-Hispanic white borrowers also declined, though by considerably less, 17 percent.” (para. 1).

Linking Race and Wealth 10

  • The housing market (continued)

  • The GI Bill: Unequal opportunity

  • Few minorities benefited from the post-WWII housing and education program.

  • The GI Bill of Rights was a strong social force for social change.

  • Beginning in 1944, this law provided for employment, housing and education.

  • It prompted the growth of the middle class.

  • It also prompted the growth of Levittowns (after the highly successful real estate mogul, William Levitt).

  • Levitt built hundreds of housing that meet the requirements of the GI Bill. He joked you could have any color kitchen you wanted, as long is it was yellow (a play on Henry Ford and his black car comment).

  • The houses were cookie cutter (also called tract houses).

  • He and others helped to create the suburb.

  • Non-whites were denied access to these houses.

  • You book compares the housing history of Herb Kalisman (white) with Eugene Burnett (not white).

Linking Race and Wealth 11

  • The housing market (continued)

  • “There goes not neighborhood”

  • Redlining is a common method for denying minorities access to housing.

  • Banks would rank areas that were of higher risk of defaulting with a red line to mark them as separate.

  • Then they charge more; it is a way of credit rationing and thus denying access.

  • Reverse redlining is the practice of exploitation; where minorities and the vulnerable (such as the elderly) are solicited rather than denied.

  • The Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 outlawed redlining, but redlining continues.

  • One way it is accomplished is when real estate brokers perform racial steering (showing minorities selected housing options).

  • One study showed that steering for both whites and blacks was as high as 87% among the study subjects.

  • Of course there is also white flight.

  • The U.S. Census is being used to measure the Index of Dissimilarity”

  • A comparison of Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans can show racial segregation remains real.

  • Chicago is the most segregated, followed by New Orleans (may be more so than before due to Hurricane Katrina).

Linking Race and Wealth 12

  • How do recent immigrants manage to enter the housing market?

  • When immigrants are poor they struggle to move up financially.

  • The example of the Hmong in Minnesota shows this.

  • Large number of Hmong moved to the United States (including Minnesota) starting in 1979.

  • They migrated to the United States from Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, primarily.

  • In their homelands they had been hillside farmers with little or no literacy skills.

  • The American CIA recruited the Laotian Hmong to help fit the northern Vietnamese in the late 1960s/1970s. Thousands of Hmong soldiers and civilians were targeted as a result.

  • When the U.S. pulled out of SE Asia the Hmong were left behind.

  • Between 1975-1979 a few dozen Hmong men were allowed into the country.

  • After The United States Refugee Act of 1980 was implemented families were allowed to emigrate.

  • Today, around 250,000 Hmong Americans reside in the U.S.; most are in California, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

  • Around 1300 Hmong live in Washington (most in King County).

  • While some Hmong now own homes, the average worth is well below the local average.

  • The latest census data suggest that the situation is improving for the Hmong in Minnesota.

Linking Race and Wealth 13

  • The wealth gap persists.

  • Wealthfare (corporate wealthfare is the term used by Ralph Nader) is hardly ever a topic of discussion.

  • Yet there are substantial government tax breaks and other financial benefits given to corporations.

  • These programs actually cost Americans tens of billions of dollars annually (one estimate was $92 billion in 2006).

  • The wealth gap is illustrated by the finding that the level of wealth in the U.S. increased by 4 times more among whites than blacks in the years 1984-2007.

  • Middle income whites own substantially more than middle income blacks.

  • These differences reflect changes in policies that are like those seen in education legacies. If you owned more resources when the changes occurred you benefited more.

  • Middle class entitlements (middle class welfare): These include mortgage tax breaks, farm bills, student loans, and the cost of Medicare is not fully covered by one’s taxes).

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