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APPLIED RESEARCH CENTER
Economic REcovERy, 100 PERcEnt GuaRantEEd: a Letter from the President
and Executive director, Rinku Sen
in his Recent pRess cOnFeRence pResident ObAmA was asked how the stimulus would affect Black homeowners who had suffered so much from the mortgage crisis. His response—these communities had been disproportionately hit and would receive a disproportionate amount of relief—was better than it could have been, yet not what it should have been. On the plus side, the President acknowledged that there was a special case here. But he also gave the impression that sending temporary relief to Black families would bring about their recovery. He didn’t mention the need to prevent the targeting of communities of color in the first place. Nor what made Black families so vulnerable to exploitation. Nor the real length of time it will take to rebuild their lost wealth. In a deeply racialized housing industry, this “rising tide” approach is too general to drive a fully inclusive recovery, a point we make in our new report on Race and Recession. Every day, I confront the societal inertia that prevents us from getting to the targeted changes we need to guarantee economic recovery for 100 percent of U.S. residents. In business, government or media, we’ve found endless ways to replace a straightforward race analysis with proxies and euphemisms (disadvantaged communities, low-income families, vulnerable populations). As a result, we’ve replaced the vision of racial justice with some vague nautical image, and we never have to deal directly with race and how it shapes our economy. Addressing diversity is the best the country has been able to do. I’m not opposed to equal representation. It’s pretty hard to get to justice without it. But right now, we have the collective brains, money and charismatic political leadership to go far beyond representation to actual change.
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awaRdS and accoLadES
ARc pROgRAms And stAFF continue to be recognized for influential and impactful racial justice work. Applied Research Center President Rinku Sen has recently been selected as a “Prime Mover” by the Hunt Alternatives Fund. This multi-year fellowship supports the professional development of social justice leaders across the nation. The Accidental American (by Rinku Sen with Fekkak Mamdouh) has recently been featured by the New York City-based Progressive Book Club, which focuses on raising awareness of breakthrough progressive causes. The book reshapes the current discourse on U.S. immigration issues, and has won numerous recognitions including ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year (finalist), the Independent Book Publishers Award (bronze medalist) and the Nautilus Book Award (silver medalist). If you haven’t already, buy a copy at Amazon.com.
Tre n d
The literary genre about “gangsta life” spawned a younger Black readership, but is this literacy by any means necessary?
By Almah LaVon Rice
the rIse of
In PercIval everett’s novel Erasure, Thelonious Ellison is a college professor who writes novels that are more praised than read. His work’s engagement with French post-structuralists and ancient Greek literature impresses and baffles reviewers, who wonder what those subjects have to do with the African-American experience. Frustrated by his latest novel’s seventh rejection and angered by the success of the street-lit hit We’s Lives in Da Ghetto, Ellison dashes off a novella parodying the “true, gritty real stories of [B]lack life” that he has been advised to write. This satiric tale, which is included in Erasure in its entirety, is peopled with stock characters like the perennially scowling thug and the vapid baby mama. It is sent to Random House as a protest, but to Ellison’s amazement and chagrin he is offered a $600,000 advance for his “magnificently raw and honest” account. Compromised, disgusted and rich, Ellison creates a reclusive, ex-con writer persona that the literary world celebrates as a “real! live! scary! Black male!” writer in their midst.
ARC is happy to report that a ColorLines story by Almah LaVon Rice won a National Ethnic Media Award. “The Rise of Street Literature” won best story in the Arts, Sports & Entertainment category.
Applied ReseARch centeR 900 Alice street, suite 400, Oakland, cA 94607 ph: 510-653-3415 FAX: 510-986-1062 www.arc.org
comPact FoRum SERiES: 100 dayS oF RaciaL JuSticE
ARc’s cOmpAct FOR RAciAl Justice, released ten days after the historical election of Barack Obama as President of the United States, is a series of policy essays that offer concrete strategies for moving a proactive racial justice agenda. In the months that followed, a flurry of state and federal policy proposals were introduced that will have major implications for communities of color. As a response, from February through April, ARC moved a national discussion about race and the economy, jobs, health care, immigration and civil rights through the Compact Forum Series. In the first 100 days of the Obama Administration, ARC also assessed the policy highs and lows, from the inclusion of immigrant children in the passage of SCHIP to the U.S. second boycott of Durban II. Over 1300 participants joined the Compact Forum conference calls, which featured twenty speakers from across the nation. Compact Forum calls were featured in blogs like Racialicious.com, Gristmill.org and the Huffington Post. Over 2,200 individuals downloaded the Compact, the accompanying Toolkit and the 100 Day Assessment of the Obama Administration. Those who read the Compact, participated in the calls, and viewed the videos sent us their thoughts: • “Love your questions on the call. You go! Thanks for driving the dialogue and not skirting around the issues.” • “Nice job on the call yesterday. I also LOVED your video on the naysayers and cheerleaders and put it on my facebook page where it got a lot of love.” • “What a cool video—I loved it so much I forwarded it on to some of my colleagues and friends.” If you have not done so already, please download, read and endorse the preamble yourself. ARC will continue to produce materials to help you assess policy debates, and we plan to host additional calls and post new tools as needed. Watch our arc.org/compact page for updates and new information.
As ARc’s recent Race and Recession report shows, the economic crisis has impacted people of color disproportionately, and it is now more urgent than ever that we demand equity. help ARc to continue to research, report and support the movement by contributing as much as you can. go to arc.org/donate today, or return the enclosed envelope to show your commitment to racial justice.
[Economic Recovery, continued from page 1]
To do that, we have to be willing to be consistent with our language, rigorous with our analysis and bold in our vision. We have to educate everyone around us about what really constitutes racial progress and why diversity isn’t enough. Years of experience have taught us that unless we set explicit guidelines for achieving equity, the allocation of resources is inevitably unbalanced. It will take all our resolve to ensure that we spend our money, energy and political power in ways that deliberately combat and prevent institutionalized discrimination. Two ARC allies have made the decision to move in that direction, and we can all learn from their process. The Consumer Health Foundation (Washington DC) and the Barr Foundation (Boston) participated in the Racial Justice Philanthropic Assessment that we conducted with the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity. As the Assessment moved ahead, both foundations were struck by the many options that an explicit analysis opened up for them, options they’re now pursuing with real vigor.
2 Applied Research center
We’re grateful for their courage and transparency, and we think many people from all sectors of society will find insights in their experience, which is revealed in a new report called Catalytic Change. Six months in, it’s still amazing to me that a man of color is giving Presidential news conferences. This scene, however, is no replacement for my true desire, to see an end to racial disparities that keep us divided, no matter how capable we are of getting along. In the coming period, both federal programs and private grants need to work together to dismantle the structures of institutional inequity—that will be money well spent.
Rinku Sen President and Executive Director, Applied Research Center Publisher, ColorLines Magazine
Check out our blog at RaceWire.org aRc uPdatES
The ReseARCh DepARTmenT recently released its childcare report, Underprotected, Undersupported: Low-income Children at Risk. The childcare report home page arc.org/childcare has a summary video, including information on how double standards in childcare endanger the health and safety of low-income children at facilities exempted from licensing. Executive summary, full report and more information can be found at arc.org/childcare.
Low-Income children at risk
ARc ReleAses cOming sOOn:
ARC is currently developing a Racial equity Toolkit for the Green economy to inject ARC’s core values into the quest for green jobs, good jobs that will truly provide long-term benefits and substantive change to communities of color. The toolkit will be released in phases starting in July with an equity framework, followed by honest case studies of green jobs creation and training programs, and an online model policy bank. This project is possible thanks to the support of the Surdna and Mitchell Kapor Foundations. ARC also has a significant role in the California endowment’s project to change policies affecting boys and men of color. ARC will analyze existing media framing of the challenges these populations face in a host of key issue areas including education, health, crime/violence and unemployment. After determining which current frames create opportunities for new policies and which are detrimental, ARC will develop and test ways to re-frame coverage of these debates. The “Reaching Across borders” series will include an international field investigation illuminating the devastating intersection of criminal justice, immigration and welfare policies that tear apart thousands of families every year. The compound effects of these laws have institutionalized the punishment of families and the abandonment of children. In partnership with grassroots organizations—including Families for Freedom—ARC will explore the ways that these three institutions collide and will then produce a policy platform highlighting opportunities to make change at local, state and federal levels. Look for our in-depth coverage of this issue in ColorLines magazine, RaceWire.org blogs from the field and in Colorlines.com features and videos. This report is possible because of a generous contribution from the University of Southern California Annenberg’s Institute for Justice and Journalism, as well as donations from ColorLines readers and supporters.
dominique Apollon, ph.d. Victor corral shannah Kurland
The Applied ReseARch cenTeR childcARe RepoRT
Applied Research Center
Race and Recession 2009
How inequity Rigged the economy and How to change the Rules.
MAy 2009 Applied ReseARch centeR arc.org
Also released was our six-month study on the racial dynamics of the current national economic crisis, Race and Recession: How Inequity Rigged the Economy and How to Change the Rules. The Race and Recession home page arc.org/recession has key graphics from the report and a powerful video of the report’s message. The video decries the long-term inequities that fed economic crisis and outlines structural solutions. Executive summary, full report and more information can be found at arc.org/recession.
ARC’s WebsITe oveRhAul Is Done! The new arc.org site features an attractive homepage, clear focus on current stories and activities you can get involved in, neatly organized content areas so you can find resources more easily and many other upgrades. This is just the start of a series of planned improvements. Send your suggestions to email@example.com. The “my Great Recession” blog series at RaceWire.org/recession calls on all young people of color who are writers, artists and bloggers to blog on their stories: Where you at? How are you coping with the recession?
The may/June ColorLines is out (Colorlines.com) featuring a cover story on homeless families fighting to stay together.
Applied Research center 3
A N AT I O N A L C O N F E R E N C E
The next Facing Race Conference, ARC’s biennial gathering of activists, thinkers, educators, writers and artists from across the country, will take place in Chicago on september 23-25, 2010. Check our website for further details on the conference as they become available.
SavE thE datE
DATe: september 23-25, 2010 loCATIon: Chicago, Il
P: 510/ 653-3415 F: 510/ 653-3427 www.arc.org
Address Service Requested Applied ReseARch centeR 4096 Piedmont Avenue, PMB 319 Oakland, CA 94611-5221 Non Profit Org U.S. Postage PAID Oakland, CA Permit #251