Thank you for your interest in Racial Justice. This website provides backup information and sourcing documentation of the PSA content and claims we are broadcasting at KOOP Radio. This material is part of a greater initiative created by the KOOP Community Council Subcommittee on Systemic Racism and Racial Justice.
This KOOP Radio initiative was formalized following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2021. It was endorsed by the KOOP Board of Directors on behalf of the KOOP station as a whole in addition to the Juneteenth 2021 statement from the KOOP General Manager on behalf of KOOP Radio and the Board of Directors entitled, “KOOP Stands in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter Movement”.
The subcommittee on Systemic Racism and Racial Justice has been meeting monthly or more often since George Floyd’s death which we believe symbolizes a larger social problem woven deeply into the fabric of our culture. Other parts of the initiative include station-wide presentations, including a set of core values that KOOP later adopted around race intended to begin normalizing a discussion around race and racism, and another presentation outlining the historical and current manifestations of Systemic Racism. Additionally, we have made a commitment to fighting back against all forms of discrimination.
The Subcommittee has also initiated the creation of a library of information connected to the many fronts of Systemic Racism and to help identify the many dimensions that must be acknowledged and addressed in order to better appreciate the construct, which is institutional racism. We have also been pursuing concrete efforts of community outreach to promote more diversity at KOOP Radio by seeking new pathways of attracting and retaining greater numbers of People of Color (POC) at our station.
Therefore, these PSAs should be seen as a part, but an important part, of our ambitious project to promote a more thorough understanding of what has constituted systemic racism historically and currently and which we seek to dismantle.
We invite you to join the discussion by sending questions, comments, reflections, or suggestions to Communitycouncil@koop.org.
COVID 19 Exposes Racism
According to an April 2020 Journal of American Medical Association article, death rates from COVID-19 nationally were 3 times higher in predominantly Black counties than white counties. In certain states, as many as 70% of deaths were Black People.
Not only do Black people have less access to health care, there are many other factors that make them more susceptible to COVID. They are more likely to live in multigenerational households and in more densely populated neighborhoods. Black people are more likely to work in frontline industries with more person-to-person contact and are more likely to be without paid sick leave without the option to work from home. Black workers face two of the most lethal preexisting conditions for coronavirus—systemic racism and economic inequality.
Listen to the COVID 19 Exposes Racism PSA here:
Yancy C.W. COVID-19 and African Americans. JAMA. 2020;323:1891–1892 (April 15, 2020: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2764789)
Elise Gould and Valerie Wilson, Black workers face two of the most lethal preexisting conditions for coronavirus—racism and economic inequality, June 1, 2020, Economic Policy Institute. https://www.epi.org/publication/black-workers-covid/
In 1992 Dr. Arline Geronimus, coined the term ‘Weathering’ to describe how persistent exposure to socioeconomic adversity, political marginalization, racism, and perpetual discrimination can reduce years of life expectancy, particularly for African Americans. Multiple studies since then have replicated findings to support this hypothesis. One such 2019 study defined ‘weathering’ as your chronological age or the number of years since birth, minus your biological age or how much you have physically aged due to the cumulative stressors of life. The findings revealed Black lives matter 6.1 years less than white lives. Black adults “weathered 6.1 years faster” than white adults.
Racial differences in weathering and its associations with psychosocial stress: The CARDIA study https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352827318302246
Redlining and Environmental Racism
Decades of redlining and other discriminatory practices reshaped urban landscapes in Austin and across the country, leaving some areas 10 degrees hotter than others. Today redlined areas face worse urban heat, largely due to a lack of trees and vegetation.
A 2020 study in the peer-reviewed Climate Journal found that in more than 100 American cities, neighborhoods that were “redlined” in the 1930s, meaning they were deliberately discriminated against on racial grounds in home loans and other economic support—are today, on average, about 4.7 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than un-redlined neighborhoods in the same city.
The Effects of Historical Housing Policies on Resident Exposure to Intra-Urban Heat: A Study of 108 US Urban Areas, Published: 13 January 2020, Climate 2020, 8(1). https://www.mdpi.com/2225-1154/8/1/12/htm
The GI Bill
FDR signed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (GI BILL) into law in 1944. By 1947 of the more than 3200 VA–guaranteed home loans in 13 Mississippi cities, only two went to Black borrowers.
These impediments were not confined to the south. In New York and the northern New Jersey suburbs, fewer than 100 of the 67,000 mortgages insured by the GI Bill supported home purchases by non-white people.
Historian Ira Katznelson writes, “There was no greater vehicle for widening the already huge wealth gap than the GI Bill.”
When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in 20th Century America By Ira Katznelson, pp 121
The Social Security Act passed in 1935 creating a social insurance program to provide workers over 65 with a guaranteed income. However, it excluded agricultural and domestic workers from its benefits. Informed estimates calculate that up to 60-66% of Black workers were excluded from coverage.
As a result, disproportionately large numbers of Black and Latino people were either denied assistance from social security or received minimal aid. The exclusion of agricultural and domestic workers from Social Security is yet another event contributing to the great racial wealth divide and ensuring second-class citizenship status for people of color well into the 20th century.
Self-Perpetuating Systemic Racism: Different Eras Use Different Methods
Systemic Racism is a manmade system of oppression created institutionally to exploit, people of color and to maintain a position of social and material supremacy and privilege. This system has generated profound wealth, social, and educational inequities between blacks and whites over different eras but through different means. First through slavery and its lingering effects ending around 1877. Second, the Jim Crow period from 1877 -1964 was marked by its prejudicial legal obstacles. The third period, 1964 to date, includes modern-day forms of discrimination such as markedly higher subprime mortgage rates for people of color. Each period utilized different methods but has perpetuated the wealth, social, and educational inequality we seek to dismantle.
Great Racial Wealth Divide
Did you Know that there is an enormous disparity between the wealth of Black and White American families that persists well into the 21st Century? According to current US federal figures, the median white family household has a net worth of $171,000, which is 10 times the net worth of the median Black family household net worth, creating disparities in housing, education, technology, medical treatment, and more. This is the nature of systemic racism.
Brookings Institution, Closing the racial wealth gap requires heavy, progressive taxation of wealth
Did you know that Education in the 21st century has NOT been the pathway to wealth equality? (pause) In 2015 the heads of households of Black families who graduated from college had about 33 percent less wealth than white families whose heads dropped out of high school. (pause) At every education level, Blacks are two times as likely to be unemployed compared to their similarly educated white peers.
Banking and Housing Discrimination
Did you Know that subprime loans, because of their costs and risky nature, are more likely to result in foreclosures? These have been disproportionately located in low-income and predominantly black neighborhoods.
For instance, according to a 2016 citation, a black family that earns $157,000 per year is less likely to qualify for a prime loan than a white family earning just $40,000 per year. This means that white families can borrow heavily at favorable rates, while black families are far less likely to receive a safe, fair loan product.
Following slavery, a new system of coerced servitude was created through legal means. Black codes or Jim Crow laws criminalized blacks for behavior that had previously not been illegal. For example, vagrancy statutes made it a crime punishable by jail time if you could not prove you were employed. ‘In Alabama, before Jim Crow laws were enacted, 99% of those incarcerated were white. But after Jim Crow, 85% of those in jail were now black and became subjected to the horrific working conditions of convict leasing, a system of forced penal labor which overwhelmingly involved African American men, continuing the exploitation of Black labor.