New Article: Charlotte Garden & Nancy Leong, “So Closely Intertwined”: Labor and Racial Solidarity, 81 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1135 (2013). Abstract below:
Conventional wisdom tells us that labor unions and people of color are adversaries. Commentators, academics, politicians, and employers across a broad range of ideologies view the two groups’ interests as fundamentally opposed and their relationship as predictably fraught with tension. For example, commentators assert that unions capture a wage premium that mostly benefits white workers while making it harder for workers of color to find work; that unions deprive workers of color of an effective voice in the workplace; and that unions are interested in workers of color only to the extent that they can showcase them to manufacture the appearance of racial diversity.
Like much conventional wisdom, the narrative of rivalry between unions and people of color is flawed. In reality, labor unions and civil rights groups work together to advance a wide array of mutual interests. This work ranges from lobbying all levels of government to protesting working conditions across the country. Moreover, unions can improve the lives of workers of color—whether or not they are union members—through activities that range from bargaining for better wages and working conditions to providing services like job training and continuing education to under-resourced communities.
We aim to replace the conventional wisdom with a narrative that more accurately describes the occasionally complicated but ultimately hopeful relationship between labor and race. In developing this narrative, we anchor our conclusions in an interdisciplinary literature that includes insights from legal, economic, psychological, and sociological scholarly research. This extensive body of scholarship indicates that union membership has significant benefits for workers of color in the form of higher wages and improved benefits, more racially congenial workplaces, and deeper cross-racial understanding. We complement this robust scholarly literature with real-world examples of union success at improving the well-being of workers and communities of color. In contrast to many other commentators, then, our account is largely optimistic, though we emphasize that there is still work for the labor movement to do.
New Book: Kathryn Edin & Timothy J. Nelson, Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City (2013). Amazon link here. Overview below:
Across the political spectrum, unwed fatherhood is denounced as one of the leading social problems of today. Doing the Best I Can is a strikingly rich, paradigm-shifting look at fatherhood among inner-city men often dismissed as “deadbeat dads.” Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson examine how couples in challenging straits come together and get pregnant so quickly—without planning. The authors chronicle the high hopes for forging lasting family bonds that pregnancy inspires, and pinpoint the fatal flaws that often lead to the relationship’s demise. They offer keen insight into a radical redefinition of family life where the father-child bond is central and parental ties are peripheral.
Drawing on years of fieldwork, Doing the Best I Can shows how mammoth economic and cultural changes have transformed the meaning of fatherhood among the urban poor. Intimate interviews with more than 100 fathers make real the significant obstacles faced by low-income men at every step in the familial process: from the difficulties of romantic relationships, to decision-making dilemmas at conception, to the often celebratory moment of birth, and finally to the hardships that accompany the early years of the child’s life, and beyond.
New Article: Thomas W. Mitchell, Growing Inequality and Racial Economic Gaps, 56 How. L.J. 849 (2013). Available here (you have to scroll through the issue to get to this article).
New Article: Rachel D. Godsil, The Gentrification Trigger: Autonomy, Mobility, and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, 78 Brooklyn L. Rev. 319 (2013). Abstract below:
Gentrification connotes a process where often white “outsiders” move into areas in which once attractive properties have deteriorated due to disinvestment. Gentrification creates seemingly positive outcomes, including increases in property values, equity, and a city’s tax base, as well as greater residential racial and economic integration; yet it is typically accompanied by significant opposition. In-place residents fear that they will either be displaced or even if they remain the newcomers will change the culture and practices of the neighborhood. Gentrification then is understood to cause a loss of community and autonomy – losses that have been well recognized in the eminent domain literature.
This article focuses on gentrifying neighborhoods that were abandoned during the government sponsored suburban migration of the 1950s through the 1980s. Racially discriminatory practices of government and private actors often denied Black and Latino families the option either to join the migration to the suburbs or to maintain their homes in city neighborhoods. This article argues that in-place residents of now gentrifying neighborhoods should have access to rental vouchers or low-interest loans to restore the autonomy they were previously denied, providing them with viable, self-determining options to remain or exit the neighborhood. Such a remedy – which is consistent with the Fair Housing Act’s obligation to HUD and its grantees to “affirmatively further fair housing” – has the potential to alter the political terrain of gentrification.
Available here — There are too many great articles to list out and the website has them all with abstracts. After the jump is the cut and paste from the Yale L.J. website. If anyone wants to write a post reviewing any of these articles, send it to me and I’ll post it. GREAT STUFF!
Photo Copyright Ezra Rosser 2013
Census Bureau Report: Suzanne Macartney et al., Poverty Rates for Selected Detailed Race and Hispanic Groups by State and Place: 2007–2011, American Community Survey Briefs (Feb. 2013).
Self-Promoting Post, My Article is Published =) : Ezra Rosser, The Ambition and Transformative Potential of Progressive Property, 101 California L. Rev. 107 (2013). Link to PDF. Abstract below:
The emerging progressive property school celebrates and finds its meaning in the social nature of property. Rejecting the idea that exclusion lies at the core of property law, progressive property scholars call for a reconsideration of the relationships owners and nonowners have with property and with each other. Despite these ambitions, progressive property scholarship has so far largely confined itself to questions of exclusion and access. This Essay argues that such an emphasis glosses over race-related acquisition and distribution problems that pervade American history and property law. The modest structural changes supported by progressive property scholars fail to account for this racial history and, by so doing, present a limited vision of the changes to property law that progressive scholars should support. Though sympathetic with the political and scholarly orientation of the progressive property school, and with its policy arguments regarding exclusion and access, I argue that the first priority of any transformative project of progressive property must be revisiting acquisition and distribution.
Let me add that the editors were amazing to work with and I sincerely appreciate both their interest in the article and their innumerable great suggestions!
News Article: Marc Perry, The Neighborhood Effect, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 5, 2012. [An in-depth look back at William J. Wilson's influence.]
-Thanks to the Property Law Prof Blog for the heads up!
New Article: Ronald G. Fryer Jr., Racial Inequality in the 21st Century: The Declining Significance of Discrimination, NBER Working Paper w16256 (2012) [Note: NOT freely available]. Abstract below:
There are large and important differences between blacks and whites in nearly every facet of life – earnings, unemployment, incarceration, health, and so on. This chapter contains three themes. First, relative to the 20th century, the significance of discrimination as an explanation for racial inequality across economic and social indicators has declined. Racial differences in social and economic outcomes are greatly reduced when one accounts for educational achievement; therefore, the new challenge is to understand the obstacles undermining the development of skill in black and Hispanic children in primary and secondary school. Second, analyzing ten large datasets that include children ranging in age from eight months old to seventeen years old, I demonstrate that the racial achievement gap is remarkably robust across time, samples, and particular assessments used. The gap does not exist in the first year of life, but black students fall behind quickly thereafter and observables cannot explain differences between racial groups after kindergarten. Third, we provide a brief history of efforts to close the achievement gap. There are several programs — various early childhood interventions, more flexibility and stricter accountability for schools, data-driven instruction, smaller class sizes, certain student incentives, and bonuses for effective teachers to teach in high-need schools, which have a positive return on investment, but they cannot close the achievement gap in isolation. More promising are results from a handful of high-performing charter schools, which combine many of the investments above in a comprehensive framework and provide an “existence proof” — demonstrating that a few simple investments can dramatically increase the achievement of even the poorest minority students. The challenge for the future is to take these examples to scale.