Racial Disparity Not Result of Individual Problems But Instead Impacted by Structural Racism
A recent Shelterforce article, “The Opposite of Deficit-Based Language Isn’t Asset-Based Language. It’s Truth Telling” raises the importance of talking about the individuals you work with and the neighborhoods that you work in.
“The way to avoid the problem of having the struggles of individual people or places represent something inherent and immutable is to explicitly point out the systems at work—past and present—that cause them. If you’re talking about a problem, use language that reflects that systematic disparities and communitywide problems in fact have systemic causes, that harm has been done, and that these are not self-caused problems, and explicitly describe those systems whenever possible.”
“Talk about what the factors are going into the issue,” said Price. “How did we get here? Stats alone don’t tell people why you are sharing that statistic. Don’t forget why you are telling the story.” Mackenzie Price is with the Frameworks Institute. Among the resources on the Frameworks Institute’s website are these resources about race and these resources about homelessness. The Frameworks Institute recognizes that race factors into an individual’s risk status for experiencing homelessness.”
- Persons identifying as Black or African American are overrepresented in the population experiencing homelessness and living below the poverty level. While 13% of the general population, persons identifying as Black or African American are 24% of the population in poverty and 49.4% of the population experiencing homelessness.
- Persons identifying as Asian have the lowest rates of homelessness making up 9% of the state population, 6% of the population living below the poverty level, and .7% of the population experiencing homelessness.
“Let’s not define people and places by their deficits. But let’s also commit to telling the truth about how those deficits got there.”