Artwashing, or, Between Social Practice and Social Reproduction

Text by Magally Miranda and Kyle Lane-McKinley
Photos by Rafa Cardenas

For the better part of the twentieth century, Los Angeles was “clearly divided by a color line” and a class line.[1] Discrimination in housing policies coupled with an industrial boom that elicited 600,000 new migrant workers seeking jobs resulted in an Eastside with a distinctive diverse non-white character and working class character.[2] Ironically, the same policies intended to subjugate non-whites in the Eastside gave way to political and artistic countercultures like civil rights, the Chicano movement and graffiti and mural culture. Earlier this year, the city of Los Angeles demolished the iconic Sixth Street Bridge to erect in its place a $449 million dollar project that will feature parks and other luxury amenities symbolizing the upending of the race and class line in Los Angeles and ushering a situation in which Downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District will sprawl over the river into East Los Angeles.

Today, diversity and culture are the grounds for a fierce debate in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles. Long-term residents contend that impending gentrification threatens their survival and long-standing countercultures, while an influx of developers and arts institutions claim to revitalize a deindustrialized community. This conflict has reached a crisis point. Local manufacturing, with the exception of the garment industry, dried up in the deindustrialization of the ‘80s and ‘90s, leaving many large warehouses vacant. Capitalizing on a booming arts industry in Los Angeles, new industrialists turned to the arts as the panacea for the problems of deindustrialization, and began to rent out these warehouses as studios and galleries. But deindustrialization has also cost many in local communities stable jobs that art galleries are incapable of replacing. Local residents – who must now increasingly seek precarious, piecemeal and low-paying jobs like domestic work or contractual day labor outside of Boyle Heights – also draw from genealogies of making do in situations of scarcity. Such residents use creative means to hold onto their homes and hold together the social fabric of their community. So, when urban planners and real estate developers promote Boyle Heights as a new “arts district,” they effectively privilege one manifestation of art – formally trained semi-professional Artists, Art galleries and the like – over and against the art which is already there. In this essay we make the case that the art which is already there is social practice through which the community reproduces itself. Thus, where the debate has largely been framed as “art vs. housing,” we believe that the questions that are actually playing out are “whose social practices get to count as Art?” and “who gets to have housing?” In this sense we insist that, for artists seeking to act in solidarity with communities resisting gentrification, there is much to be salvaged from the discourses of “social practice” and, for communities seeking to resist gentrification, there is a power in valorizing their work of social reproduction as arts practice.

Photo: Rafa Cardenas

Photo: Rafa Cardenas

Social practice artists have found themselves at the heart of this crisis in Boyle Heights and elsewhere. One particularly dramatic example is the protest of PSSST gallery in Boyle Heights in the summer of 2016 and the circumstances surrounding it. For context, PSSST describes itself as an artists’ space that “invests in artists by valuing process over product and community over singular success and actively works with underrepresented artists.”[3] Through their aesthetics, their exhibition choices, and their mission statements they work hard to signal that they are motivated by dialogue and creativity, not profit and exploitation, placing them squarely within the portion of contemporary art often referred to as “social practice.”

Yet, PSSST was among the galleries protested by community activists and artists organized, united in a coalition called Boyle Heights Against Artwashing and Displacement (BHAAD). BHAAD has accused PSSST of being complicit in the fine art of gentrification of Boyle Heights. “In trying to establish a fine arts space within the professional sector,” says Dont Rhine, a member of the BHAAD coalition, “it’s next to impossible to start or maintain that space without direct complicity in speculative development. It’s impossible to escape complicity.” When BHAAD organizers use the term “artwashing,” they are referring to the kinds of marketing and political strategies that make use of art and artists to raise the price of real estate. The resulting rent increases result in displacement of the longer term poor and working class inhabitants of targeted neighborhoods, a dynamic that disproportionately impacts women of color.[4]

While the term “artwashing” specifically implies arguments familiar to critics of the ways that corporations have used environmental initiatives to “greenwash” their image,[5] BHAAD organizers are equally attentive to the ways that artwashing functions as a racial aesthetic strategy for real estate professionals. “Developers have learned that a key tool in the speculative real estate game is the use of arts initiatives to change the composition of historically working class and poor neighborhoods,” says Dont Rhine. He goes on to conclude that “Art spaces move in, rents go up, tenants and local businesses are evicted, and capital washes away the barrio […]”[6] For the last decade, urban planners have urged city officials and developers to privilege amenities that would attract the so-called creative class to revitalize cities with their influx of wealth and creativity.[7] Most municipal development and redevelopment policies and projects today lean on some sort of arts and cultural institution for legitimacy as bureaucrats, and real estate professionals have generated a consensus that cultivating arts districts is at once an economic panacea and a moral absolution.[8] Artists are finding themselves increasingly entangled with city planners, developers and financial capital as they are rendered a spectacle in the service of speculation.

Rhine is also a co-founder of the sound art collective Ultra-red, who prefer the term “socially practiced artwork” to the more common “social practice” or “socially engaged artwork” in order to preserve both the specificity and breadth of their understanding of the term “social practice.” Social practices, for Ultra-red, are the variety of concrete activities that all social groups are involved in as part of their collective reproduction or survival. For the poor or marginalized classes, such practices most frequently entail habits of helping one another survive the daily life of capitalist exploitation.[9] The breadth of Ultra-red’s definition of social practice is not an attempt to valorize as artwork the variety of such practices so much as to highlight that from the perspective of the oppressed, sociality has real benefits in its own rights. Ultra-red explain that in their experience, the difference between artists who seek to speak on behalf of a community in order to appropriate their participation as a form of value and artists whose creative actions are continuous with the struggle of the community is one of accountability: “If the artist takes a stand of solidarity with the periphery, then it is the social practices of the proletarianized to which the artist becomes accountable as the basis of social change.”[10] This form of accountability inverts the assumption in the art world that the artist is accountable only to him or her self, which all too often results, de facto, in being accountable only to the entrepreneurial endeavors of powerful institutions.

Photo: Rafa Cardenas

Photo: Rafa Cardenas

This move from social practice to socially practiced artwork is all the more important in the context of gentrification. In neighborhoods such as Boyle Heights – historically better known for its affordable and accessible housing stock than for its luxury amenities – many make the argument that the profits sought through the nexus of the entrepreneurial “creative class” and the entrepreneurial capitalist class come at the expense of working class people of color. This argument resonates with the large section of the populace fearful that cultural and demographic changes in the neighborhood signal an imminent spike in rents and other processes of dispossession.[11] Similar anxieties are playing out all around the country – and not merely in the urban hubs of technology and finance (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles) where everyone agrees that there is a problem.[12] Creatives thus appear as the foot soldiers of displacement, rather than as the allies of diversity, as they prefer to imagine themselves.

For individuals and institutions engaged in social practice, this realization can come as quite a shock. This shock stems not merely from the defensiveness that results from being “called out” but also from a real cognitive dissonance between an economic analysis of effects of artwashing and the stated intentions of such groups toward inclusivity, multiculturalism, and even radicality. Inasmuch as social practice stands at the head of a long legacy of avant-garde and experimental art which critiques the aesthetics and assumptions of the commercial art world, its proponents have inherited an entire discourse dedicated to the analysis of the evils of the art world. From Dada on down, through performance art, installation, site specificity, institutional critique and so many more avant-garde movements, artists have learned to distrust the status of the art object as a commodity.[13] The late ‘90s and early ‘00s were a historical moment marked in the commercial art world by hyper-commodification and the production of scads of art stars, terminating in speculative economic bubbles. It can scarcely be a coincidence that the discourse of “social practice” emerged as a creative struggle to replace commodified objects with community dialogue and cults of personality with cultures of collectivity during a moment when the dominant museum and gallery culture of the art world rendered artworks and artists as commodities for private consumption and financial speculation.

In light of these two histories of struggle, we might imagine that neighborhood-based movements against gentrification and the hyper-commodification of housing run parallel to the art world-based fight against hyper-commodification and market speculation: in each case new forms of collectivity are demanded in the face of capitalist outsiders hoping to make a killing from the perception of cultural authenticity and the perception of a price differential, and in each case these capitalists hope to make a buck off of a few lucky winners, while leaving the rest of us out in the cold. We believe that this is more-or-less the way that most artists and art professionals imagine this situation, and how they imagine themselves as allies of anti-gentrification struggles. Imagining the situation in this way results in a distinctive vantage point, the vantage point of the artist as such.

This vantage point, while crucial, is incomplete.


We contend that these struggles are necessarily about economic processes and something more. On both sides of the debate, in fact, proponents have referred to a whole host of activities that are not properly in the realm of capital accumulation. On one hand PSSST is privileging process over products,[14] and on the other hand, women from Union de Vecinos are defending the community they have fought to improve for 20 years.[15] As Peter Marcuse and David Madden remind us, “people do not only live in homes. They live in neighborhoods and communities. They occupy buildings but also locations in a social fabric.”[16]


Social Reproduction > Social Practice


Socialist feminists have given us a framework for thinking systematically about those activities outside of the realm of production, what they deem the realm of social reproduction. Drawing on their experiences organizing the Wages for Housework movements of the 1970s, feminists such as Mariarosa Dalla Costa, Silvia Federici, Lise Vogel, and Selma James inserted the work of social reproduction into the center of their Marxist analysis. These analyses have been added to in recent years by a generation of radical feminists who understand gender to be the outcome of social construction with material effects, rather than rooted in biological difference per se.[17] While Marx observed that the generalization of the capacity for labor-power is unique to capitalism, theories of social reproduction complicate Marxist doctrine by pointing to the variety of feminized tasks necessary for reproducing that capacity which constitutes women as the un-waged workers upon which Capital is most dependent. Those tasks vary from childbearing and cooking to listening and sex work, but crucial to our purposes here is the cultural dimension of creativity common to all of them. As Silvia Federici points out in “Wages Against Housework,” “Capital has been very successful in hiding our work…by denying housework a wage and transforming it into an act of love.”[18] When applied beyond the confines of the household, the social reproduction critique of political economy thus trains one to be highly suspicious of a wide array of unpaid tasks that appear as labors of love – including those unpaid tasks which appear as artistic efforts for which the experience is supposed to be its own reward.

Social reproduction theory here does two things. Importantly, it gives a name to the activities that constitute life making, and in this case placemaking[19] as well, in capitalist society. Many such activities are hidden from public view by the very nature of their domesticity. Others go unnoticed through an ideological hiding of these labors – naturalizing them as the inevitable outcome of the sexual division of labors. In either case, these are labors that are hidden by nature. Thus the question of how we are to make visible the work of social reproduction in various contexts matters. Second, a theory of social reproduction serves as an insoluble reminder that the creative endeavors of social practice are in no way limited to the contexts of art galleries and institutions. Indeed, the true geniuses of social practice are those feminized laborers whose predominantly unwaged labors of social reproduction go unnoticed in daily life and the art world alike. It is the social character of these practices which prefigure a humane society, precisely because these labors exceed the logic of exchange and monetization.[20]

We suggest turning to the concept of “rasquache as a form-of-life” described by another Los Angeles-based collective, L.A. Onda. Referring to the hodgepodge, bricolage, and do-it-yourself aesthetic strategies for making do with that which is readily available, “rasquache,” is derived from a Mexican-Spanish word and likely has origins in Nahuatl. Rasquache in its original context in Mexico is pejorative: it is used to deride the aesthetics of Mexican peasants, whose personal appearance and collective visual culture necessarily reflects crafting strategies of making do, repurposing, and assembling cast-off bits of other things. These are crafting and aesthetic strategies common to poor and working class folks all over the world, but they have developed a particular resonance for people of Mexican origin living in the United States, for whom “rasquache” became closely associated with a shared heritage and sensibility. “Rasquachismo” is the celebration of those same aesthetics – specifically in a Chicanx context of making do in spite of, and effectively through, the economic pressures of low wages and the political pressures of state repression. That is, the context of economic and political hardships provides the raw materials to be repurposed by rasquachismo. As an aesthetic practice of recycling and reuse, rasquache[21] and rasquachismo[22] have received a fair amount of well-deserved attention in recent years, including the suggestion that rasquache serves as an anti-gentrification strategy.[23] In taking up “rasquache as a form-of-life” L.A. Onda are primarily interested in cobbling together a political identity out of those particular cast-off bits of revolutionary philosophy, pop culture, and Chicanx cultural heritage that catch their collective eye.[24] They exclaim that, “Rasquache would allow us to be elusive when cornered…Rasquache would push us to defy categorization and become opaque to the State. Rasquache would value creativity over regularity. Rasquache sees a border, but instead of just destroying it, it subverts it into a decorative object that mocks it while neutralizing its power.” Our claim is that rasquache, as a form of life, is the social practice of social reproduction, the creative work of holding together the social fabric of a community or society.

One might say that rasquache is an ethos of social reproduction characteristic of barrio life. Setting aside for now a discussion of how rasquache has been commodified in various ways, it is readily apparent that for the primarily Chicana/Latina inhabitants of Boyle Heights who are most vulnerable to the consequences of the gentrification, the tasks of social reproduction can be accomplished only through the embrace of concrete social practices undertaken with an ethos of rasquachismo. Whether unpaid or underpaid, such women perform the lion’s share of cooking, cleaning, and caring for a broad swath of Angelenos. Chicana artist and scholar Amalia Mesa-Baines has described rasquache aesthetic as a “capacity to hold life together with bits of string, old coffee cans, and broken mirrors in a dazzling gesture of aesthetic bravado.”[25] While these physical materials may appear in Mesa-Baines’ altars and installations, it should not go unnoticed that she is here referring to rasquache as the social practice which binds together life itself. For our purposes, then, “rasquache as a form-of-life” is synonymous with what BHAAD has called “the art of survival,” in the sense that both phrases seek to challenge the artist/non-artist distinction and valorize the barrio practices of social reproduction that have been marginalized by the aesthetic value system of neoliberalism.

Aesthetic value, in this instance, has played a major role in the disavowal of “rasquache as a form-of-life.” Artwashing implicitly values what Arlene Davila has called a neoliberal aesthetic of space over place, a privileging of the universal and progress that renders existing local cultures as regional, particular, and quaint.[26] For an example, PSSST board member Adrian Rivas, referring to the space of the gallery, said this, “I’ve always heard, ‘Why can’t we have these spaces? Why can’t we show our work in spaces like that?’ We love our rasquache spaces too, but why shouldn’t we have a space like this?” By a “space like this,” Rivas would seem to be referring to the white cube viewing conventions of contemporary art. In the sense that those viewing conventions effectively exclude precisely the sorts of creativity and social practices which we have discussed above, we could not agree more fervently with Adrian Rivas. And yet, to the extent that placing a contemporary art gallery within a historically Chicanx/Latinx neighborhood functions as a welcome mat for entrepreneurs and developers, the question is not, “shouldn’t we have a space like this?” but “shouldn’t we have any space whatsoever?” Nor is the binary between the white cube of the gallery and the rasquache space of the neighborhood as stable as Rivas imagines it. As Davila points out, the cultural logic of neoliberalism is all too happy to valorize as “culturally authentic arts and crafts,” those aspects of cultural production which can be rendered as discrete objects for aesthetic contemplation or commodification[27]. Calaveras de azucar (sugar skulls) and papel picado (cut-paper doilies) will have a future in the galleries of Boyle Heights, even if the folks who brought those practices to the neighborhood have all been forced to leave.

George Lipsitz’s formulation of the “white spatial imaginary” usefully reminds us that the economic and political oppression of communities of color is inextricably linked with a moral and aesthetic project of whiteness, with concrete manifestations at the geographical unit of the neighborhood. The spatial production of whiteness was historically reliant on processes of exclusion, such as redlining[28] and its many variants. When the aesthetic project of whiteness was challenged by attempts at desegregation in the mid-20th century, whites responded initially with a combination of mob violence and white flight to suburban enclaves. Lipsitz demonstrates how both of these responses were ideologically motivated by a moral universe that equated whiteness with wholesomeness and rising property values.[29] In such a worldview any form of difference is viewed as a contaminant and a threat.

Photo: Rafa Cardenas

Photo: Rafa Cardenas

As developers and municipalities have sought in recent years to profit from desires to live near urban cores, it is perhaps unsurprising that the moral universe of the white spatial imaginary has been reshaped to include a certain kind of multiculturalism. As the white spatial imaginary re-maps neighborhoods that were previously viewed as “blighted,” “bad,” and “dirty,” a new vocabulary of moral and aesthetic language emerges: “up-and-coming” neighborhoods are particularly attractive due to ethnic “diversity” so long as such diversity poses no threat to the class assumptions which continue to undergird the white spatial imaginary. And foremost among these is the belief that all culture can be reduced to a commodity. It is in this sense that art galleries play the role of gentrifiers par excellence; in the World Market bazaar of defanged multiculturalism, the customer is always right, and the producers of culture are never to be seen.

In their text In Defense of Housing: The Politics of Crisis, Peter Marcuse and David Madden attempt to take up the discourses of urban planning and cultural geography to respond to some of these same questions. They conclude that in order to protect and enhance the social fabric of communities what is needed are transformative demands that improve conditions today while growing a social movement that can transform the entire world. One transformative demand that Marcuse and Madden highlight is to “decommodify and de-financialize the housing system.”[30] This demand marks a site in which avant-garde struggles over the form and meaning of art could appear in concert with housing rights activists. Artists who are veterans of the struggle to decommodify arts practice have important insights and abilities to bring to the movement to decommodify housing, but this can be possible only when artists take up the social practices of the marginalized communities with which they seek to be in solidarity. It is in this sense that there is much to be salvaged from discourses that embrace the notion of “social practice.”

Seen in this way, the members of BHAAD coalition who prominently feature the women of Union de Vecinos, have posed the ultimate provocation for social practice – they want to see childcare centers and laundromats in the place of art galleries:

Put differently, this is not a debate about whether art is a good thing or a bad thing, as some critics would have you believe.[31] This is not a struggle of “social practice vs. housing” so much as “whose social practices count as Art?” and “who is housed and who is displaced?” When we take seriously the discourses of social practice which claim that everyone is an artist, and aim to dissolve the distinctions between art and life, we realize that the artists whose social practices are most at risk are precisely the unpaid and underpaid feminized and racialized practitioners of social reproduction.



“I’m sick of filling in your gaps…Find another connection to the rest of the world…The bridge I must be / Is the bridge to my own power…I must be the bridge to nowhere”

-Donna Kate Rushin, “The Bridge Poem”

The architectural figure of the political moment which we inhabit is that of The Wall. It is a figure which succinctly encapsulates a fascist spatial imaginary: the wall represents the fantasy that the world of Otherness can be kept out, and the fantasy that there is a homeland of sameness that can be contained. White liberals have recognized the violence and fear inherent in the figure of The Wall and have offered up, in its place, the figure of The Bridge.[32] For Californians in particular, the image of the Golden Gate is synonymous with sanctuary and shelter from the storm.[33] Well-intentioned arts and educational institutions have long aimed to structure their outreach efforts around the persistent metaphor of cultural bridge building.[34]

While the desire to counter the divisive logic of The Wall with the unifying image of a bridge is far from lost on us, we find it necessary to recall that bridges are also structures which facilitate exchange, often on unequal terms. The bay bridge which connects San Francisco to Oakland, the many bridges which connect Manhattan to New York’s outer boroughs, and, until recently, the Sixth Street Bridge that connected downtown Los Angeles to the Eastside: each of these supply a metropolis with the feminized and racialized labor necessary for the social reproduction of the city. It remains to be seen what sorts of exchanges the destruction and reconstruction of the Sixth Street Bridge will entail, and on what sorts of terms.

The tragic deaths that occurred in the burning of Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse serve as an immediate reminder of the ways in which marginalized communities overlap and intersect in their vulnerability and their solidarity. Many of the victims were queer or genderqueer. Many were people of color. Most of the victims performed precarious labor in the informal economy in order to pursue their art or to pursue their fullest being. As communities are reeling from the deaths of their loved ones, real estate developers and city officials have callously seized on this moment to begin evicting warehouses, seeming to target political radicals and people of color in particular. Officials deploy language about the “safety” of “artists” which belies assumptions about what “safety” looks like and who counts as an “artist.” In this essay we have focused specifically on the ways that artwashing functions by ignoring the social practices of the women of color who perform the lion’s share of social reproduction in our society. But the fire in Oakland, and the state-sanctioned evictions that have followed, highlight the ways in which marginalization (of trans/women/of color/artists) functions as a way to include or deny access to institutions such as galleries and housing, and the ways in which disenfranchisement across these many identities can ultimately be deadly.

A moment of walls indeed demands architectural interventions capable of protecting those excluded or marginalized: ladders, tunnels, doors and windows will proliferate. And yet before more bridges are built, we need to hear from and be accountable to the needs of the people who perform socially reproductive labor and other feminized tasks. Because it is these folks, disproportionately women and people of color, on whose backs those bridges are built. Because it is the concrete social practices by which our society is reproduced that are the material with which a bridge out of capitalism and the fascist spatial imaginary will be built. It is a bridge to nowhere, a bridge to the future.


[1] Ryan Reft. “The Shifting Cultures of Multiracial Boyle Heights”, KCET, 2016.

[2] Ibid.

[3] From PSSST’s website

[4] Cherise Charleswell applies an intersectional model of oppression to the problems of gentrification to reveal the particular impacts on women of color:

[5] Feargus O’Sullivan “The Pernicious Realities of ‘Artwashing’”:

[6] Dont Rhine. Facebook Post.

[7] Richard L. Florida. The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2002.

[8] Arlene M. Dávila. Culture Works: Space, Value, and Mobility across the Neoliberal Americas. New York: New York University Press, 2012.

[9] Ultra-red (Janna Graham, Dont Rhine, Robert Sember, and Leonardo Vilchis). “WAYS OF HEARING Socially-practiced art and solidarity” as presented at “AGAINST PARTICIPATION: Social Action and the Conditions of Neoliberalism” symposium, UC Santa Cruz, November 12th -13th, 2015.

[10] Ibid.

[11]Magally Miranda. “Opinion: Boyle Heights Families and Small Business Owners Fight Back Against Displacement and are Winning”, Boyle Heights Beat, 2016.

[12] See for a critique of the ways that “social practice” has been deployed in the service of artwashing in Macon, Georgia, and for a discussion of some of self-admitted pitfalls of Richard Florida’s claims about the rise of the “creative class.”

[13] See Shannon Jackson, Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics (38, 91, 242), Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (6, 14, 90), et al.

[14] Under the heading of “our purpose” PSSST explains that “PSSST invests in artists by valuing process over product and community over singular success and actively works with underrepresented artists”

[15] Union de Vecinos is listed as a alliance member organization of BHAAAD here: More about Union de Vecinos here:

[16] David J. Madden and Peter Marcuse. In Defense of Housing: The Politics of Crisis, Verso Books, 2016. 296-297

[17] See Maya Gonzalez. “The Logic of Gender: On The Separation of Spheres and the Process of Abjection” Endnotes Vol. 3. (, Nancy Fraser, “Contradictions of Capital and Care,” New Left Review 100, July/August 2016, and Viewpoint Issue #5: Social Reproduction (

[18]Silvia Federici. “Wages Against Housework,” Power of Women Collective and Falling Wall Press, 1975, pg. 3.

[19] James Rojas. “Latino Placemaking: How the Civil Rights Movement Reshaped East LA,” Project for Public Spaces, 2014.

[20] Patrick Cunningham, “Mapping the Terrain of Struggle: Autonomous Movements in 1970s Italy,” (

[21] See

[22] See

[23] Roberto Bedoya makes recourse to his personal experience of rasquache as an anti-gentrification strategy in “Spatial Justice: Rasquachification, Race and the City” (

[24] L.A. Onda. “Rasquache as a Form of Life”, 2016 (

[25] Amalia Mesa-Bains. “‘Domesticana’: The Sensibility of Chicana Rascuache”, Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies Vol. 24 no. 2, 1999.

[26] Arlene M. Dávila. Culture Works: Space, Value, and Mobility across the Neoliberal Americas. New York: New York University Press, 2012, pgs. 48-72.

[27] Arlene M. Dávila. Culture Works: Space, Value, and Mobility across the Neoliberal Americas. New York: New York University Press, 2012, pg. 1.

[28] “Redlining” is the of exclusion of people of color from particular neighborhoods, typically by denying home loans or homeowners insurance to racialized populations. During the mid-20th century, in many localities in the United States banks, insurance companies, and real estate agents kept maps in which neighborhoods from which blacks and/or hispanics were excluded were literally marked with a red border, alerting agents that they must prevent people of color from buying property there. The explicit reason given for these policies was that people of color would ruin the property values. Today, the racial prejudices involved in these calculations persist, but a highly coded language of “blight” and “safety” has evolved to help wealthy white people avoid talking about race or class as such. For more maps of the specific histories of redlining in different cities in the United States see

[29] George Lipsitz, How Racism Takes Place. Temple University Press, 2011. (p 26-27)

[30] Marcuse and Madden, 301.

[31] See

[32] See

[33] From the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Response to the Election of Donald Trump: “RESOLVED, That no matter the threats, San Francisco will remain a Sanctuary City. We will not turn our back on the men and women from other countries who help make this city great, and who represent over one third of our population. This is the Golden Gate—we build bridges, not walls” as quoted in:

[34] See Robert Rueda and Carmen DeNeve, “How Paraeducators Build Cultural Bridges in Diverse Classrooms” ( for an early and paradigmatic example of the discourse of “cultural bridge building.”

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By Kyle Lane-McKinley
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