Finance Executive Ted Downing on Redlining, the Wealth Gap and Hope for the Long term

Ted Downing
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For far more than 25 a long time, Ted Downing was component of Chicago’s corporate planet, from his time as shopper service supervisor and devices control supervisor at Xerox Corporation to serving as senior auditor and assistant vice-president of look at operations and marketing and advertising at the Federal Reserve Bank. Downing was also nationally nominated to serve as browsing assistant secretary to the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors in Washington, D.C.

In point, Downing was so influential in the banking marketplace that Financial institution One Company in Evanston, Illinois, lured him out of retirement to serve as president and sector manager.

An Evanston indigenous, Downing attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and became a winner in keep track of and industry. In 1982, Downing was inducted into Miami University’s Athletic Corridor of Fame and he served on the Alumni Board of Directors from 2009-2015, starting to be board chair all through 2015-16.

These days, Downing—now formally retired, while you wouldn’t know it—has gravitated back to his like for sporting activities. He established and marketed a youth sporting activities pictures franchise known as The Athletics Portion, and became a licensed expert life coach, launching Downing Winner Coaching.

In 2001, Downing, who radiates positivity, moved to Sarasota with Julie, his college sweetheart and wife of 50 several years. Now, he shares his passion for results and existence with students at Booker Higher school, Suncoast Technological College and Just take Stock in Youngsters.  

Explain to us about a time when you seasoned racial discrimination.

“When I was a college freshman in 1965, my workforce was returning from a level of competition in Kentucky when we stopped at a Howard Johnson’s for lunch. A person of the athletes observed that the pricing was distinct on the Black menus vs. the kinds our white teammates were being holding. On the Black menu insert, espresso was $10.

“My teammate confirmed our mentor, who promptly mentioned, ‘Put your menus down, everyone up!’ Our coach elevated hell with the administration and afterwards wrote a letter to the firm. It was my 1st in-your-encounter, overt discrimination. It left an impression on me.”

Though attending Miami University, you have been an NCAA winner in track and area, and competed in the 1968 U.S. Olympic trials. That was a superior-profile calendar year for Black Olympic athletes. What was it like for you?

“I was fortunate to make the large-altitude summer coaching in South Lake Tahoe. There, Dr. Harry Edwards—American sociologist and civil legal rights activist—gathered Black athletes to go over non-violent approaches to express difficulties that Black folks ended up struggling with at the time. Edwards was outstanding as the lead organizer of the Olympic Undertaking for Human Legal rights (OPHR). In actuality, he was powering the black-gloved Black Power salutes of John Carlos and Tommie Smith, commonly recognized as the most identified protest in athletics record.

“I felt strongly about the issues of the time and attended the OPHR meetings where I satisfied John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Lee Evans and other Black athletes. Harry presented his scenario for employing the Olympic system to emphasize societal inequities. Athletically and socially, those men had a voice and a platform. But it was generally about a symbolic message that would be communicated to a big audience. Harry experienced robust emotions about the procedures to categorical activism—it was non-violence first, then meaningful publicity that the planet would not be in a position to change its back again on. He was ideal, and it was monumental.”

What did it imply to you when Carlos and Smith lifted their fists in the air on the medals podium?

“I was not astonished at all in point, I anticipated it. It was a powerful statement at a time when a highly effective assertion was essential. And it was revealing simply because it was anything that had by no means been articulated in that forum. Carlos and Smith established the tone for other athletes, and for all those who seemed up to them, from substantial faculty learners on up. It adjusted the way quite a few Black people viewed on their own, as perfectly as the larger athletic entire world. The Black athletes experienced an critical system to affect people positively, and they did.

“One of the lesser-known non-violent protests from the 1968 Olympics was the wearing of black socks. 1 of the athletes who did was my roommate at the trials, Larry James. He received a gold medal in the 4×400-meter relay and a silver in the particular person 400 meters. Very same with the sprinter Lee Evans. Their black socks did not make the information, but it was an overt protest symbol for those people who were being there.”

What gave you the fortitude to go past the racial indignities you’ve experienced?

“Two issues: my parents and deep religion. My dad and mom arrived from Greenville, S.C., through the migration of 1930s and ‘40s. They wished to reward from the assure of the ‘great transform of the North.’ But after they did, they professional discrimination in a much more subtle manner than they did in the South.

“The conversation about the Black practical experience is a rite of passage in the Black group. It presents coping abilities for what to be expecting and the potential to split by means of in spite of obstacles and the maze of culture. If a Black youth doesn’t practical experience that ceremony of passage, it’s a distinctive proposition entirely.

“Is there likely to be discrimination? Guaranteed there is. But there are matters we find out in our upbringing and from others with identical encounters. We really don’t know what we never know until finally we are informed. Intrinsic self-reflection is formulated about time, and it’s vital to keep on to share with many others. That feeds the soul.”

Soon after higher education, you started a lengthy occupation in finance. Discuss about redlining and its effects on the Black local community.

“For lots of many years, banking companies in the U.S. denied mortgages to individuals, primarily of shade in urban spots, avoiding them from shopping for a property in specified neighborhoods or acquiring loans to renovate their houses. This practice—once backed by the U.S. government—started in the 1930s. Lots of metropolitan areas like Chicago, Detroit and Tampa, with large minority populations, were being influenced.

“As a outcome, banking institutions and home finance loan loan companies usually turned down loans for creditworthy debtors primarily based strictly on their race or in which they lived. As a portion of this practice, economical corporations, serious estate brokers and other individuals demarcated geographic places that were being efficiently off limitations for issuing loans.

“Redlining was how lenders determined and referenced neighborhoods with a better share of folks considered extra very likely to default on home loans and loans.  Loan companies outlined on paper maps the parts of a city that had been thought of neighborhoods at high threat for approval for financial loans. Riskier neighborhoods were being predominantly Black and Latino.”

The regular Black loved ones has 1/10th the prosperity of a white relatives. What will it choose near the racial wealth hole?

“We have to get earlier stereotypes for it to happen in a meaningful way. And that’s heading to acquire a generation of open-minded, progressive-considering folks who subscribe to the idea that when all of us do very well, we all do well.

“There are options in the enterprise neighborhood. For instance, in the ‘70s, I worked for Xerox, which was a forward-wanting firm. They ended up all about fairness and equality, and they seemed at organization in terms of areas of propositions but not by coloration. Section of my efficiency appraisal was based on criteria and targets these as equity in the workforce and the communities we served. Xerox incentivized managers to do the correct thing based on small business, which is a design that lots of companies could advantage from.”

Tell us about how you mentor youth in Sarasota. 

“There are few things in everyday living that can not be taken away—knowledge and education and learning are among the them. Education and learning stages the enjoying subject. I use serious-entire world experience to acquire workshops and shows on crucial abilities to prepare students to grow to be resilient, critical thinkers.

“When Dr. Rachel Shelley, at Booker Large Faculty, shared her Booker Guarantee program to be certain that 100 p.c of the students graduate all set for university or occupations, that spoke to me. I get the job done with pupils to create a bridge of comprehending on how to get from right here to there with a own plan for accomplishment, whether or not that’s crafting a resume, how to interview, time management, business etiquette, how to dress for accomplishment and perform a space, as effectively as creating a particular brand name. 

“I also instruct them how to build an elevator pitch and practice it. My students can skillfully recite it on the spot—all genuine-world exposure. And I request them to share what they understand with other folks. Typically, pupils compose me from college to say that they are making use of the lessons they realized with me, and that it has created all the difference in their faculty results. That is the payoff. This contribution retains me going.”

What helps make you hopeful about this technology?

“They are introspective, insightful and focus on what’s vital, from social consciousness to assistance to other folks to reside-get the job done harmony. They know a whole lot far more than I did at their age, and that makes me hopeful.”

What do you want your white good friend/neighbor/colleague/neighborhood to be accomplishing correct now?

“To comprehend, by means of honest conversations about the past and placing them into standpoint. It is really hard to walk in my shoes, but not hard to see the colour of my shoes. Empathy is notably critical, and there are a lot of opportunities for this with our fellow person, no matter who they are. When we acquire empathy for other folks, we do not separate and divide. It is not rocket science, it’s frequent sense.”