Years ago, a group of North Carolina educators are making the point about the long-term impact of decades of inequity in housing and wealth-building for people of color by asking students and teachers to play a game of Monopoly.
The rules are similar to the classic board game with one big exception. Some groups of players enter the game late, long after the first groups of players have had a significant number of turns to amass property, wealth and advantage.
The lesson: there are built-in, long-standing advantages available to people who had a centuries-long head start compared to those who start the game much later and with significantly less.
The educators who developed the idea concede that it is not a perfect analogy, but they say it’s effective at raising awareness of how systemic advantages mount and have created deep and lasting challenges for people of color.
Resarchers have repeatedly found that Black, Latino and other people of color make less money, even when they have the same education and credentials. They are less likely to be able to secure a mortgage from a bank and own their own homes. And communities still have severely segregated neighborhoods and, in some regions of the country, extreme concentrations of those who are living in poverty.
Researchers and historians say that can be traced to government programs and financial incentives that, over hundreds of years, benefitted white families and excluded many people of color by design, by law or by practice.
The resources we are sharing here include academic research, investigations by journalists and organizations researching the topic of inequities in housing and the accumulation of generational wealth.
Come back often as our journalists delve into the data about inequities in our cities and highlight potential solutions over the coming weeks and months and we continue to add resources here.
When the Rules Are Fair, But the Game Isn’t. Mukta Jost, Edward Whitfield, & Mark 66 Jost. In Multicultural Education, Fall 2005. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ727803.pdf
Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination. . Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, June 20, 2004. https://scholar.harvard.edu/mullainathan/files/emilygreg.pdf
What We Get Wrong About Closing the Wealth Gap. 2018 research by William Darity Jr. of Duke University. https://socialequity.duke.edu/sites/socialequity.duke.edu/files/site-images/FINAL%20COMPLETE%20REPORT_.pdf
The Road to Zero Wealth: How the Racial Divide Is Hollowing Out America’s Middle Class. a 2017 research report by the Institute for Policy Studies. https://ips-dc.org/report-the-road-to-zero-wealth/
How The Federal Government Built White Suburbia. A 2015 report by Bloomberg’s City Lab showing how federal housing policies didn’t just deny opportunities to black residents, but rather subsidized and safeguarded whites-only neighborhoods. https://www.citylab.com/housing/2015/09/how-the-federal-government-built-white-suburbia/403321/
Blacks and Hispanics face extra challenges in getting home loans.. A 2017 report by the Pew Research Center found that Black and Hispanic households today are still far less likely than white households to own their own homes (41.3% and 47%, respectively, versus 71.9% for whites), and the homeownership gap between blacks and whites has widened since 2004.. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/10/blacks-and-hispanics-face-extra-challenges-in-getting-home-loans/
The Groundwater Approach. A report by The Racial Equity Institute about its explanation of its Groundwater metaphor, which “is designed to help practitioners at all levels internalize the reality that we live in a racially structured society, and that that is what causes racial inequity.” https://www.racialequityinstitute.com/groundwaterapproach
The Racial Equity Institute. An alliance of organizers, leaders and trainers devoted to creating racially-equitable organizations and systems across the United States. The organization’s web site and blog include countless resources and opportunities to learn. https://www.racialequityinstitute.com