Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Final Book Blog Post: The Color of Law: A Segregated America that Prevails Part 8

Tasha Thomas

2nd period APUSH

A Segregated America that Prevails

Richard Rothstein: The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, LIVERIGHT PUBLISHING CORPORATION/ W. W. Norton & Company, Copyright 2017, 368 pages, Historical Nonfiction

  The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America was founded on the central theme that the American government enforced housing segregation to discreetly allow the discrimination of African Americans in favor of the white population. In the preface, a topic that circulates repeatedly throughout this book is the creation of “ a caste system in this country, with African Americans kept exploited and geographically separate by racially explicit government policies. Although most of these policies are now off the books, they have never been remedied and their effects endured "(page XVII). The entirety of the book addresses major inequalities by providing various in-depth details of events that focus on racial injustices faced by African Americans.

  The term de jure segregation, was frequently brought up in most of the chapters due to its meaning of segregation by law and public policy. The author provides examples of how the government supported racist ideals as seen in the New Deal case, benefiting whites over African Americans. This shows how the government ignored African American rights in favor of white people. De jure segregation keys in on the separation of black and white due to their economic and racial standpoint which resulted in each race living in either a good or bad neighborhood. This concept informed readers on how African Americans struggled to achieve economic stability in a society that looked down on them in addition to a government that made better living conditions difficult to reach based on the color of their skin. This book explains how de jure segregation "is that (because) most black families could not afford to live in predominantly white middle-class communities and still are unable to do so. African American isolation, the argument goes, reflects their low incomes, not de jure segregation. Racial segregation will persist until more African Americans improve their educations and then are able to earn enough to move out of high-poverty neighborhoods" (page 153). The author goes to refute this reasoning by explaining how government policies purposefully kept African American incomes low leading to the wealth gap between African Americans and white people. Some of these government policies included taxing African Americans more than white people. Chapter 10 began by restating the purpose of the book to show governmental and economic policies that contributed and continues to contribute to the discrimination in America. Each chapter followed a similar pattern of going into depth on certain concepts like de jure segregation.

  I will admit, it was difficult to read such an in-depth book because, as a reader, I tend to focus on the interesting points in the chapter instead of the detail. Rothstein got all of his arguments across to the reader and I believe the biggest strengths of this book was the imagery because it painted to the reader of how real the social inequalities were by giving the reader a glimpse into how life was in such a difficult time. The only weakness was that the book was so meticulous that I got bored in certain sections. Overall, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America was a good book and I give it 3 out of 4 stars! I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in how racial segregation impacted our society’s roots.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Color of Law: A Segregated America that Prevails Part 7

   I think this book does a good job dismissing common thoughts and ignorances by providing examples of how unjust life really is for minorities in America and this book focuses on particularly African Americans. I am interested in how the author, Richard Rothstein, is able to create a book that can resonate with so many different meanings and that it shows the obstacles African Americans have had and currently endure. I wonder if dismissing public ignorance of social ethnic injustices could cause segregation to end.
Social Mobility (https://rhonimcfarlane.com/2016/02/28/potential-vs-opportunity-how-schools-impact-on-social-mobility/)
   People are judged by their identities and what they identify as (ID). I personally believe that discrimination has decreased over the decades because people can relate to each other but that doesn't change the fact that "Movement from lower ranks to the middle class in the national income distribution has always been difficult for all Americans. This reality challenges a fantasy we share: that children born into low-income families can themselves escape that status through hard work, responsibility, education, ambition, and a little luck. That myth is becoming less prevalent today, as more Americans become aware of how sticky our social class positions are" (page 183). This relates to the Identity Theme of American history because it shows that people's identities are based on their social class, so if it is hard to improve one's class then that shows that people are judged unfairly.

(https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/civil-rights-act/segregation-timeline.html)
   Also, "In the Section 8 program, landlords in most states and cities can legally refuse to rent to tenants who use housing vouchers, although a few jurisdictions prohibit such discrimination" (page 190). This shows how the government would allow discrete segregation against people (usually minorities) who have a lower income and need to use a housing voucher (POL).  It is certainly not fair to "A family that receives a voucher may find that the only way to take advantage of it is to move to a neighborhood even more segregated than the one where they were already living" (page 191). What I have concluded from The Color of Law so far is that the government allows segregation although it was outlawed by the Supreme Court around the 1950's in favor of small minded people who did not accept other people of different ethnicities into their lives.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Color of Law: A Segregated America that Prevails Part 6

I appreciate how The Color of Law introduces certain words and topics like de jure segregation and elaborates on how it was and is relevant in the United States. A question I have is: will segregation eventually end or will it continue like the economic and governmental policies that do today? I am interested in how the book will play into revolving themes of the present and if it will include other races into the book and how segregation affects them in America.
Definition of de jure segregation. (https://www.haikudeck.com/environmental-racism-uncategorized-presentation-yyGJk5juvV#slide1) 

This book mentions how de jure segregation which was mentioned in the earlier posts and in the very beginning of the book has a common explanation which "is that most black families could not afford to live in predominantly white middle-class communities and still are unable to do so. African American isolation, the argument goes, reflects their low incomes, not de jure segregation. Racial segregation will persist until more African Americans improve their educations and then are able to earn enough to move out of high-poverty neighborhoods" (page 153). Then goes to refute this reasoning by explaining how government policies purposefully kept African American incomes low which shows how this is a major reason for the wealth gap between African Americans and white people. Some of these government policies include taxing African Americans more than white people. Chapter 10 begins by restating the purpose of the book which is to show governmental and economic policies that contributed and continues to contribute to segregation in America. This related to (PEO) Peopling because de jure segregation keys in on the separation of black and white due to their economic and racial standpoint which causes the different groups of people to live in good or bad neighborhoods. Another instance of Peopling in this book would be when "more than 600,000 African Americans left the South, mostly to seek work in the North and Midwest. Historians called this the First Great Migration" (page155). This occurred during World War 1 since there was a wide opening of jobs because unskilled Europeans could not migrate as easily as before. A definition of the Great Migration is: "African American workers eagerly left their low-paying jobs as agricultural laborers and domestic servants in the rural South and headed north in massive numbers" according to study.com.
A picture of an African American Family moving to the North ( http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/fsa2000022264/PP/ )

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Color of Law: A Segregated America that Prevails Part 5

  The Color of Law easily sways the audience to become enraged about the social injustice discussed throughout the book. Like I have been explaining in my past posts, this book is interesting because it provides more events that have occurred to highlight how unjust society was. A big question I have frequently is how did time heal the years of segregation and racism to allow society now to function seemingly correctly? I feel like this book will conclude by presenting examples of events that show America being as dysfunctional now as it has been in the past. Maybe the reason the people in my life, myself included, have not noticed such insane events occurring is because events that do not involve us personally we believe do not affect us. I do have to research the news since I am in Debate but I am still surprised and interested when I read this book because it often brings up more instances on how America was segregated although it was outlawed. The Preface brings back a topic that circulates repeatedly throughout this book, "We have created a caste system in this country, with African Americans kept exploited and geographically separate by racially explicit government policies. Although most of these policies are now off the books, they have never been remedied and their effects endured "(page XVII).
https://hubpages.com/education/Womens-Rights-1950-1970

  Richard Rothstein (the author) begins chapter 9: "STATE - SANCTIONED VIOLENCE" by explaining an event that relates to a picture usually shown on the left page of every page. The picture was taken in 1954 and provides a key importance to what the rest of the chapter pertains to. The caption of the picture is "Levittown, Pennsylvania, 1954. A crowd mobilizes before proceeding to harass the first African American family to move into the all-white development" (page 138). Also how "Some rented a unit  next door to the Myers [an African American family] and set up a clubhouse from which the Confederate flag flew and music blared all night. Police arrived but were ineffective... troopers were dispatched when then police failed to end the harassment. It was a needless worry; the state troopers also declines to perform their duty" (page 141).This relates to how people do not like change (ID-Identity) because it introduces a sense of unfamiliarity that tends to disturb people with certain backgrounds. The police, troopers, and especially the white citizens were against the African Americans moving into the white neighborhood. This is similar to how hate crimes raised after 9/11 against Muslims who were stereotyped into being terrorists because of that one very tragic event. The change that occurred after 9/11 was that Americans were not sure how to react to a group of people who shared the same religious identity to those that killed many innocents so they became violent. Like the mob outside an African American family's house, they did not like the change and saw violence as the way to stop it. Looking back on the past we understand that violence does not solve anythings and only leads to more confusion and disunity. I just hope more people can understand this.

^The comedian Aziz Ansari explained the reason George Bush gave his speech after 9/11, "It was about basic human decency and remembering why the country was even formed in the first place."

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Color of Law: A Segregated America that Prevails Part 4

August 3rd, 1920: this shows the aftermath of a
lynching which affected a 16 year old
African America boy.
https://abagond.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/lynchers.jpg
The Color of Law is unlike any book I have ever read before due to the events that make it up. This is partially due to my "wide range" of reading mostly Rom-Com books with some kind of Dystopian setting and also because I do not usually seek out books that are still relevant to society and the world as a whole in the present. I question I frequently had was "Why would people go through so much trouble to exclude entire races out of their lives" and mostly "How can people be so stupid?". This book is comprised of multiple true stories of how people basically were not allow the same opportunities as white people just because of the color of their skin. It enrages me that the people acting out in heinous ways still managed to justify their actions by blaming the opposite party. I guess I am interested in the way the book continuously brings up more events that are the same but still unjust in every way possible.

Blockbusting Advertisement
http://dcc.newberry.org/collections/the-struggle-for-civil-rights-in-the-urban-north
While reading this book I learned a new term that applied to a tactic practiced by real estate agents in order to profit off of white people becoming scared of African Americans. The book states that "... blockbusting was a scheme in which speculators bought properties in borderline black-white area; rented or sold them to African American families at above-market prices; persuaded white families residing in these areas that their neighborhoods were turning into African American slums and that values would soon fall precipitously; and then purchased the panicked whites' homes for less than their worth" (page 95). The real estate agents would scare white people out of neighborhoods by paying African American mothers to push their baby carriage across the neighborhood or even getting African Americans to make random phone calls asking to speak to other people with "stereotypically African Americans name[s] like 'Johnnie Mae'"(page 95). This relates to the PEO-Peopling theme because white people were actually scared of African Americans moving into their neighborhoods. I think the reason why this upsets me so much is that my life is full of people of all sorts of races, religions, and personal identities and it is unusual to find such outward racism in public. It also angers me that the real estate agents would scam people just to profit off of their racial prejudice. White flight is also seen in the quote, "First, the government embarked on a scheme to persuade as many white families as possible to move from urban apartments to single-family suburban homes. Then, once suburbanization was under way, the government, with explicit racial intent, made it nearly impossible for African Americans to follow"(page 60). This relates to the theme because many people migrated to different areas due to prejudice.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Color of Law: A Segregated America that Prevails Part 3

Partisan Gerrymandering (http://www.newspronto.com/news/the-conversation/40117-why-schools-still-can-t-put-segregation-behind-them) 
When reading this book I tend to see connections that I haven't really noticed before. Like how Gerrymandering affected African Americans and it still affects many people today in America. Gerrymandering is the act of manipulating state or regional boundaries in favor of one's political party. This contributes to how Africans had to move to various locations since white citizens did not welcome them and how they wanted to maintain segregation (PEO-peopling). I like this book and find it interesting for mentioning multiple examples of how a certain group of people (mainly African Americans) were forced to move to different regions just because of stereotypes and every citizen just not taking the time to learn the difference between fact and fiction. This is supported by the quote:"... Atlanta officials continued to use the racial zoning map to guide its planning for decades to come"(page 46).

(https://racialinjustice.eji.org/timeline/)
Supreme Court laws were often ignored by the states or even manipulated in a way to adjust to the people's values and thoughts on segregation. "Municipal lawyers told federal courts that Buchanan did not apply because their city's racial zoning law was solely intended to prevent intermarriage and its interference with residential property rights was incidental"(page 47). It was explained by the author that the Supreme Court banned racial assignments that would or would not allow someone to live in a certain neighborhood because of their race. Although this is true the author then goes on to explain how high people in society/politics would initiate Bartholomew's survey that slid past the rulings of the Supreme Court yet still racial zoning continued all over America causing races to shift to entirely different areas. I have grown to actually find this book quite interesting because it has a central theme that solves multiple questions and makes me think of much more. If my question starts with "Why" the answer is usually "Race was frequently a factor" (page 49). I wonder if the end of this book will leave the readers with a solution on how these historical racial events that affect us today can be fixed or if it will leave us on a cliffhanger and say that only the choices we make will affect the outcome of the future.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Color of Law: A Segregated America that Prevails Part 2

     I have decided to stay loyal to this book and now I feel like I have a deeper understanding of it. This book focuses on the injustices that African American people had to deal with. I am interested in how this issue and issues like this are able to manifest in today's society and in politics. The Color of Law states many examples of how the American government has not effectively been able to fix this racial injustice and a huge question I have is what could the government do to fix this problem? This book successfully addresses major inequalities like property rights and voting rights yet it makes me wonder: is a solution to this pressing problem? I have noticed how the mindsets of American citizens have drastically changed by seeing pictures like the one below in my book:

page 38: http://niuurbancommunities2016.blogspot.com/2016/04/dilapidated-dwellings-and-underclass.html
This was an ad that urged people to cast their vote to maintain segregation in white neighborhoods in 1916.
https://law.duke.edu/clrp/conference/civilrights/

     "Throughout the mid-twentieth century, government housing projects frequently defined the racial character of neighborhoods that endured for many years afterward... Carey McWilliams... wrote that 'the federal government [had] in effect been planting the seeds of Jim Crow practices throughout the region under the guise of  "respecting local attitudes".' .... We can only wonder what our urban area would look like today if, instead of creating segregation where it never, or perhaps barely, existed, federal and local governments had pushed in the opposite direction, using public housing as an example of how integrated living could be successful" (page 37). These quotes capture how America's national identity(ID) has been changed from encouraging segregation and isolating and suppressing the thought to seeking out ways to solve the problem with eliminating segregation. The Color of Law begins the 3rd chapter by saying, "We like to think of American history as a continuous march of progress toward greater freedom, greater equality, and greater justice. But sometimes we move backwards, dramatically so" (page 39).  20th century America has changed its attitudes towards certain issues because of how the citizen have addressed them. In the 21st century, the United States nation has had to address multiple (fill in the blank) lives matter because the citizens in our society don't feel like they are recognized. The reason I typed (fill in the blank) is that there are multiple movements going on like Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA, Women's Rights, e.t.c. just to name a few. These movements share a common objective of increasing the rights of minority/oppressed peoples so they can be treated like a normal human beings and no less. I hope that those of you reading this blog will help and support those who seek help or demand recognition by the world because, in the end of the day, we must realize that our life on Earth is determined by the actions we take and how we have the ability to unite and become a positive force in the world.



~Also for those of you who want to learn more about how segregation impacted America, read this helpful article: http://atlantablackstar.com/2015/11/30/8-ways-segregation-economic-depravity-perfected-chicago/4/