The Color of Law Documents State-Sponsored Residential Segregation
On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, Monarch Housing Associates in partnership with Seton Hall University Law School, the Anti-Poverty Network of NJ, and NJ Institute for Social Justice will host a Public Policy Forum on The Color of Law.
Keynote speaker and The Color of Law author Richard Rothstein will present the national research in his book and take questions from the audience. Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The Color of Law expands upon and provides a national perspective on Rothstein’s recent work that has documented the history of state-sponsored residential segregation, as in his report, The Making of Ferguson.
In the book, Rothstein writes, “We have created a caste system in this country, with African-Americans kept exploited and geographically separate by racially explicit government policies,” he writes. “Although most of these policies are now off the books, they have never been remedied and their effects endure.”
A June 20, 2017 New York Times review of The Color Law calls the book “A Powerful, Disturbing History of Residential Segregation in America.”
“One of the great strengths of Rothstein’s account is the sheer weight of evidence he marshals. A research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, he quite simply demolishes the notion that government played a minor role in creating the racial ghettos that plague our suburbs and inner cities.”
Rothestein is also the author of:
- Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right (2008) and
- Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap (2004).
- The Way We Were? Myths and Realities of America’s Student Achievement (1998).
- The Charter School Dust-Up: Examining the Evidence on Enrollment and Achievement (co-authored in 2005); and
- All Else Equal: Are Public and Private Schools Different? (co-authored in 2003).
Writes the NYT, “In his preface, Rothstein writes that America has a constitutional obligation to remedy de jure segregation in housing, and that its story must be told. While the road forward is far from clear, there is no better history of this troubled journey than “The Color of Law.”
National Public Radio (NPR) named The Color of Law as one of its 2017 Great Reads.
Speaking with Terry Gross “The segregation of our metropolitan areas today leads … to stagnant inequality, because families are much less able to be upwardly mobile when they’re living in segregated neighborhoods where opportunity is absent,” Rothstein says. “If we want greater equality in this society, if we want a lowering of the hostility between police and young African-American men, we need to take steps to desegregate.”
Also in May 2017, Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic interviewed Rothstein.
Housing segregation is not unique to the South and Rothestein’s research is very relevant to New Jersey. A May 5, 2017 Slate review of The Color of Law writes,
“Rothstein persuasively debunks many contemporary myths about racial discrimination. He goes after, for instance, the resilient misconception that racial separation was only government policy in the Jim Crow South, and that black entrants into neighborhoods cause white homeowners’ property values to fall. In one powerful section on zoning policies, Rothstein traces how hazardous waste sites were concentrated in segregated black neighborhoods. The episode mirrors the displacement of black families by urban renewal and interstate highway construction in mid-20th century.”
The Color of Law is available online from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, along with other booksellers.
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