Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Race and the Commons Series

We’ve spent the last month taking an in-depth look at Taxes and the Commons. Two themes come up again and again when we talk about these issues: 1) how taxes are collected and spent is a reflection of our values as a society, and 2) a healthy commons requires rough social equity. We will be revisiting those two themes over the next five weeks as we explore Race and the Commons.

One of the critiques levied against the commons frame has been its race neutrality or “blindness,” and the lack of a race analysis. However, the impact of tax policy and the enclosure of the commons, particularly in urban areas that have experienced white flight, disproportionately affect people of color and poor people. We will be examining the current manifestations of this in our Race and the Commons series.

Every Thursday through the beginning of June, you will find a new post examining a key area of how tax policy and the steady enclosure of the commons affects communities of color and how the commons frame can be used as a tool to counter those effects.

We will also continue to feature key partners on Tuesdays who are thinking about and addressing these issues. This Thursday, Sean Thomas-Breitfeld will be looking at taxes and the role they play in pipelining people of color, particularly men of color, into prisons. A key partner in this work is Policy Link, and their Center for Infrastructure Equality. They have a wealth of information, reports, and fact sheets that uncover the underlying causes of inequality and propose new structures in which everyone who benefits from these public investments—including and especially residents of low-income communities and communities of color—must have a seat at the negotiating table.

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