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Institutional Racism, Organizations & Public Policy


James D. Ward and Mario A. Rivera

Institutional racism may be described as a self-perpetuating and opaque process where, either intentionally or unintentionally, barriers and procedures which disadvantage ethnic minority groups are supported and maintained. It is often the direct linkage and thus the underlying cause for the lack of diversity and cultural competency in the workplace. Yet institutional racism, as a research topic, has been ignored by scholars because it forces emphasis on the unseen and unspoken, yet culturally relevant underpinnings of the workplace and societal ethos. Studies touching on diversity in the public administration research often address the subject as education and training – especially with regard to the competencies needed by professional administrators. However, racism and discrimination, as underlying factors, are seldom addressed. Once specific examples of institutional racism have been identified in an organization, change agents may take prescriptive steps to address it directly and thus have a more cogent argument for change.
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3 Institutional Racism and the Management of Government Organizations and Policies: A Critical Examination of HAMP


Chapter Three

Institutional Racism and the Management of Government Organizations and Policies: A Critical Examination of HAMP

Racial and ethnic discrimination has deep–seated roots in the history of mortgage lending in the United States. Lending policies such as redlining and predatory lending have long defined, and hardened, the racial divide in housing affordability and accessibility, housing stock quality, and the geographic distribution of available housing in the U.S. In order to pose the question of how federal housing policies may impact (and be impacted by) race today, this chapter examines specifically how African Americans and non–Hispanic whites differ in terms of putative reasons for denial of home mortgage refinancing in the federally sponsored Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) trial plan.

This chapter is based on a large–scale empirical study of the original HAMP trial, relying on national data sets provided by the United States Department of Treasury (2011). These data sets consisted of quantitative program information from the initiation of the HAMP program in September 2009 through November 2012. In examining these data, we found that among the most prominent denial–reason groups in the United States, the differences in denial reasons for African Americans and non–Hispanic whites were most salient and statistically significant. These findings raise questions regarding the trial–stage of the HAMP’s role in sharpening rather than mitigating adverse outcomes in home mortgage affordability and borrowing access.

Institutionalized racial discrimination has long been an identifiable...

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