P&SJ March 5 - More Context for The Lucky Zip Codes Video

Dear Pizza & Social Justice Participants:

The “Lucky Zip Codes” video that we viewed last night succeeded on the level of raising issues and stimulating conversation. But it appears that Amy Hunter, the presenter, referenced a number of historic events and threw in some terminology that was unfamiliar to many of us (and probably her TED Talk audience as well). I thought that it may be helpful to offer some context. First, the video was drawn to my attention as part of an NPR radio program called The TED Radio Hour  (https://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/ ). In our area this program airs on Chicago Public Radio WBEZ. The theme for this week’s episode was “Luck, Fortune & Chance” and one of the TED Talks featured was the one we saw last night. As you know by now it deals with the inequities of institutionalized racism built into our American geography. Check out the entire one-hour program if you have the time for it. If not, you can sample Amy Hunter’s 10-minute segment that provides more context for her talk.

To provide further context, I have created a short glossary of some of the historic events and social science or legal terminology that she included in her talk. (This glossary is just my personal offering. It is not intended to be the last word or definitive interpretation of the events and terms she used.) Even without this additional background, I think her talk was very effective for our P&SJ purposes. But for any of you who want to take a deeper dive into the content of her talk, perhaps this will help.

Have a wonderful week!

--Yvor

Amy Hunter: Lucky Zip Codes

https://www.pizzaandsocialjustice.org/media/lucky-zip-codes

EVENTS

 

Bacon’s Rebellion(1676)

Bacon's Rebellion was an armed rebellion in 1676 Virginia led by Nathaniel Bacon against the rule of Virginia Governor William Berkeley. It was the first rebellion in the American colonies in which discontented frontiersmen took part. (A somewhat similar uprising in Maryland involving John Coode and Josias Fendall took place shortly afterwards.) The alliance between European indentured servants and Africans (many of whom were enslaved until death or such time as they were freed), united by their bond-servitude, disturbed the ruling class. The ruling class responded by passing the Virginia Slave Codes of 1705 hardening the racial caste of slavery imposed upon Africans in an attempt to divide the two races and discourage subsequent united uprisings.

 

G.I. Bill (1944)

Officially the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, the “G.I. Bill” was created to help veterans of World War II. It established hospitals, made low-interest mortgages available and granted stipends covering tuition and expenses for veterans attending college or trade schools. From 1944 to 1949, nearly 9 million veterans received close to $4 billion from the bill’s unemployment compensation program. The education and training provisions existed until 1956, while the Veterans’ Administration offered insured loans until 1962. In 1966 these benefits were extended to all veterans of the armed forces, including those who had served during peacetime.

Shelley v Kramer(1948)

In 1945, an African-American family by the name of Shelley purchased a house in St. Louis, Missouri. At the time of purchase, they were unaware that a restrictive covenant had been in place on the property since 1911. The restrictive covenant prevented "people of the Negro or Mongolian Race" from occupying the property. Louis Kraemer, who lived ten blocks away, sued to prevent the Shelleys from gaining possession of the property. The Supreme Court of Missouri ruled that the covenant was enforceable against the purchasers because the covenant was a purely private agreement between its original parties. As such, it was enforceable against subsequent owners and could be enforced against a third party. (A materially similar scenario occurred in the companion case, McGhee v. Sipes, from Detroit, Michigan, where the McGhees purchased land that was subject to a similar restrictive covenant. The US Supreme Court consolidated both cases and considered two questions:

·Are racially based restrictive covenants legal under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?

·Can they be enforced by a court of law?

In brief, the Supreme Court held "that the [racially] restrictive agreements, standing alone, cannot be regarded as violating any rights guaranteed to petitioners by the Fourteenth Amendment."Private parties may abide by the terms of such a restrictive covenant, but they may not seek enforcement by the courts of such a covenant. Because such enforcement would be discriminatory, the enforcement of a racially based restrictive covenant in a state court would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

 

Ferguson MO & Michael Brown(2014)

The Ferguson unrest, sometimes called theFerguson Uprising or simply “Ferguson, involved protests and riots that began the day after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri. The unrest in Ferguson sparked a vigorous debate in the U.S. about the relationship between law enforcement officers and African Americans, the militarization of police, and the standards for “use of force” by law enforcement. Continued activism has expanded the issues to include modern-day debtors prisons, for-profit policing, and school segregation.

TERMS

 

Broken Windows Policing

The broken windows theory is a criminological theory that suggests visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes. The theory thus suggests that policing methods that target minor crimes such as vandalism, public drinking, and evading bus and transit fares help to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, thereby preventing more serious crimes.

Cognitive Dissonance

The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

Critical Race Theory

Critical race theory (CRT) is a theoretical framework in the social sciences used to examine society and culture as they relate to categories of race, law, and power. It began as a theoretical movement within American law schools in the mid- to late 1980s. By 2002, over 20 American law schools and at least three law schools in other countries offered critical race theory courses or classes. Critical race theory is taught and innovated in the fields of education, law, political science, women’s studies, ethnic studies, communication, and American studies.

Fictive Kinship

Fictive kinship is a term used by anthropologists and ethnographers to describe forms of kinship or social ties that are not based on blood ties or ties by marriage.

Intersectionality

The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.

Meritocracy

A government or society where power is held by people selected on the basis of their ability.

Redlining

In the United States and Canada, redlining is the systematic denial of various services to residents of specific, often racially associated, neighborhoods or communities, either directly or through the selective raising of prices.

Restrictive Covenants

A covenant or condition imposing a restriction on the use of land so that the value and enjoyment of adjoining land will be preserved.

 

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