About White Space, Black Hood
The iconic Black hood, like slavery and Jim Crow, is a peculiar American institution animated by the ideology of white supremacy. Politicians and people of all colors propagated “ghetto” myths to justify racist policies that concentrated poverty in the hood and created high-opportunity white spaces. In White Space, Black Hood, Sheryll Cashin traces the history of anti-Black residential caste—boundary maintenance, opportunity hoarding, and stereotype-driven surveillance—and unpacks its current legacy so we can begin the work to dismantle the structures and policies that undermine Black lives.
Drawing on nearly 2 decades of research in cities including Baltimore, St. Louis, Chicago, New York, and Cleveland, Cashin traces the processes of residential caste as it relates to housing, policing, schools, and transportation. She contends that geography is now central to American caste. Poverty-free havens and poverty-dense hoods would not exist if the state had not designed, constructed, and maintained this physical racial order.
Cashin calls for abolition of these state-sanctioned processes. The ultimate goal is to change the lens through which society sees residents of poor Black neighborhoods from presumed thug to presumed citizen, and to transform the relationship of the state with these neighborhoods from punitive to caring. She calls for investment in a new infrastructure of opportunity in poor Black neighborhoods, including richly resourced schools and neighborhood centers, public transit, Peacemaker Fellowships, universal basic incomes, housing choice vouchers for residents, and mandatory inclusive housing elsewhere.
Deeply researched and sharply written, White Space, Black Hood is a call to action for repairing what white supremacy still breaks.
“Each time this country created a peculiar institution that subordinated Black people—slavery, Jim Crow—and dismantled it, they replaced it with another one,” Sheryll Cashin says. “And the iconic Black ‘ghetto’, I don’t use that as a pejorative; I use it as a descriptor, was a follow on [the] institution to slavery and Jim Crow. That’s the legacy that every new administration inherits and the Biden administration has, as well.”
Professor Cashin breaks down the Black housing experience in the U.S. from the Great Migration to today, how President Biden’s executive order fits into it all, and more in this video from The Root.
Sheryll Cashin writes about race relations and inequality in America. Her forthcoming book White Space, Black Hood: Opportunity Hoarding and Segregation in the Age of Inequality (September 2021) shows how government created “ghettos” and affluent white space and entrenched a system of American residential caste that is the linchpin of US inequality—and issues a call for abolition. Her book Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy explores the history and future of interracial intimacy, how white supremacy was constructed and how “culturally dexterous” allies may yet kill it. Her book Place Not Race was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Non-Fiction in 2015. Her book The Failures of Integration was an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review. Cashin is also a three-time nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for non-fiction (2005, 2009, and 2018. She has written commentaries for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Salon, The Root, and other media and is currently a contributing editor for Politico Magazine. Read more…