Troubled Assets: Financial Emergencies and Racialized Risk GCP-10-01

Philip Ashton
Assistant Professor
Urban Planning & Policy

This paper argues that new state strategies towards financial volatility have created dramatic new forms for the racialization of credit risk.  Focusing on the aftermath of the banking crisis in the late 1980s, the paper examines the active role played by a series of exceptional measures in creating the legal and market spaces that increasingly trapped minority borrowers in a spiral of high cost lending. The resulting triage of minority borrowers into the subprime market has differentially exposed them to the expropriation of wealth through delinquencies, foreclosures, and the intensification of competition during the most recent speculative bubble. As this actually reproduces and extends financial risk, I conclude that the best way for us to understand this process is to examine this as a regime of differential citizenship that has reorganized the conditions for advancement among different racial and ethnic groups and whose features may be consolidating through the current crisis.

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