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"Race in the American City: Vestiges of the Old Racial Order in the [new] Urban Space"

Sat, November 7, 2:00 to 3:30pm EST (2:00 to 3:30pm EST), Zoom, Zoom 02


Within the current political framework, urban policy has shifted to a neoliberal praxis rooted in racial injustice. The older racial order was meant to create redistributive public goods to those on the margins at the will of the government. This chapter examines the variation in the treatment of Black cities in Michigan under emergency management—a process of State government placing an appointed bureaucrat to manage the government instead of or alongside the elected officials. By asking the questions, what happens to marginalized people under emergency management. This chapter argues that Black cities, as a function of financial racial capitalism, are more likely to reach financial instability as well as struggle to overcome any financial hardship, therefore, they are more likely to experience emergency management. Black cities also have a different set of options in navigating emergency management. Through a comparative analysis of budgets, news articles, and emergency managers records for a Black city, Flint, and a white city, Allen Park, I am able to analyze the ways racial bias plays into the process and outcomes of emergency management. While the political reality of emergency management is relatively new, it is vital that we take seriously what this kind of policy means for marginally situated people. By exploring these two demographically different but financially unstable cities, scholars and policy makers, alike, can see the differences in the ways that policy not only impacts people of color, but also institutions that interact with people of color. The continued unequal redistribution of public goods in the face of economic hardship is a legacy of a racial order cities should be divesting from to create more equitable spaces. The praxis of neoliberalism creates conditions of perpetual struggle in Black urban cities more than in white cities; therefore, these cities are left in the painful legacy of the old racial order with a new name