Beginning in the 17th century and continuing for the next 200 years, untold millions of Africans were kidnapped, shipped across the Atlantic under abominable conditions, violently tortured, brutally dehumanized and enslaved. Slavery created extraordinary wealth and prosperity for America so it was imperative for those who benefited to legitimize and defend this vile institution. To do so, they touted and expanded the myth about the inferiority of black people. And this myth endured long after the abolition of slavery. Instead of compensating emancipated slaves for the theft of their labor, lives, dignity, family bonds and humanity so they could have the means to chart their own course, the lives of former slaves were shaped by the federal, state and local governmental actors who rejected or circumvented the law to maintain the racial hierarchy created by slavery; a hierarchy designed to reinforce that myth.
Racially segregated housing, which until the last quarter of the 20th century was imposed across America through explicit public policy, is, according to Richard Rothstein, my guest this week, a relic of slavery whose effects continue to endure. And indeed the enormous wealth gap between white and black Americans, the digital divide, even the disproportionate number of COVID-19 deaths among African Americans can be traced directly to segregated housing. I hope you will find the episode insightful and inspiring.
Parenting For The Future also suggests:
Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition by Katherine Franke
Roots by Alex Haley
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
Teaching Tolerance: How white parents should talk to their young kids about race. (Slate)
The pathology of American racism is making the pathology of the coronavirus worse (Washington Post)
‘A perfect storm’: poverty and race add to Covid-19 toll in US deep south (The Guardian)
Locked Out of the Virtual Classroom: The coronavirus pandemic has forced a nationwide reckoning with the lack of internet connectivity and devices for students. (New York Times)