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

Product Code: 8912
ISBN: 9780807000298
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Published Date: 09/14/2021
Pages: 312
Availability:In stock
Price: $28.95

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.

Includes historical photos, maps, and charts that illuminate the history of residential segregation as an institution and a tactic of racial oppression.

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Prologue: Stories They Told Themselves and a Nation


Baltimore: A Study in American Caste

White Supremacy Begat “the Ghetto”

Segregation Now: The Past Is Not Past

Ghetto Myths and the Lies They Told a Nation

Opportunity Hoarding: Overinvest and Exclude, Disinvest and Contain

More Opportunity Hoarding: Separate and Unequal Schools

Neighborhood Effects: What the Hood and America Demand of Descendants

Surveillance: Black Lives Matter

Abolition and Repair

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About the Author

“While extensively documented and amply footnoted, Cashin’s survey remains compelling and accessible to a general readership. A resonant, important argument that White supremacy and racial division poison life in our cities.” —Kirkus Reviews

“In this brilliant and nuanced new volume, Sheryll Cashin exposes the ways in which American policy decisions, from the early twentieth century to the present, have constructed a ‘residential caste system’ resulting in the entrapment of Black people in high-poverty neighborhoods while ‘overinvesting in affluent white spaces.’ Riveting and beautifully written, White Space, Black Hood convinces the reader of the centrality of geography in economic and social inequality. Cashin’s meticulously researched study will provide critically important information for scholars while being accessible to all readers.” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

“For anyone wondering if we have castes in the United States, White Space, Black Hood is the book for you. In pulling back the curtain on how residential segregation creates caste for some and economic profit for others, Cashin offers a clear-eyed view of the precarity of our present and provides a path toward a more equitable future. A scholar of segregation who has devoted her career to thinking about how we can find community across divides of all kinds, Cashin has written a book you will most definitely want to read.” —Noliwe Rooks, author of Cutting School: The Segrenomics of American Education

“Sheryll Cashin is one of the most important civil rights scholars of our time and White Space, Black Hood is her magnum opus, the searing culmination of decades of research about the devastating consequences of segregation. Cashin builds on Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste to take down liberal and conservative orthodoxies on race. (White) America is not ready for this book.” —Paul Butler, author of Chokehold: Policing Black Men

“We need Sheryll Cashin’s scholarship to make sense of the racial inequalities that mar every urban community, and we need her vision to guide us to a more equal society. Illuminating, compassionate, and engrossing, White Space, Black Hood is an instant classic.” —Heather McGhee, author of The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

“If you want to understand how to dismantle structures and policies that undermine Black lives, this is the book. With analytical precision, Sheryll Cashin masterfully tells the story of how Black neighborhoods have been gutted by the system of housing anti-Blackness. Cashin ends with a call for abolition and repair that moves our nation closer to the destruction of anti-Black institutions and the healing of Black neighborhoods. White Space, Black Hood is clear, compelling, and demands our attention.” —Bettina L. Love, author of We Want to Do More Than Survive

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