Racecraft The Soul of Inequality in American Life

Author: Karen Fields
Publisher: Verso Books
ISBN: 9781844679942
Release Date: 2012-10-09
Genre: Political Science

The election of Barack Obama was supposed to herald the dawn of a post-racial age in America—a meaningless term without a grasp of what "racial" means. Most people assume that racism grows from the perception of human difference: the fact of race gives rise to the practice of racism. In this myth-busting reflection, the sociologist Karen E. Fields and the historian Barbara J. Fields argue the opposite: the practice of racism produces the illusion of race, through what they call racecraft. And racecraft is intimately entwined with other forms of inequality in American life. So pervasive are the devices of racecraft in American history, economic doctrine, politics, and everyday thinking that the presence of racecraft itself goes unnoticed. That the post-racial age has not dawned, the Fieldses argue, reflects the failure of Americans to develop a legitimate language for thinking about and discussing inequality across the board. That failure should worry all who care about democratic institutions.

Racecraft

Author: Karen E. Fields
Publisher: Verso
ISBN: 1781683131
Release Date: 2014-02-24
Genre: Political Science

Challenges popular conceptions about racism to explain its pervasiveness in economic doctrine, politics and everyday thinking, arguing that America must develop a legitimate language for thinking about and discussing inequality in broad terms in order to achieve a post-racial society. Co-written by the author of Free at Last.

Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground

Author: Barbara Jeanne Fields
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300040326
Release Date: 1985
Genre: History

In this history, Fields shows how Maryland’s centrist moderation turned into centrist immoderation under the stress of the Civil War and argues that Reconstruction proved to be at least as difficult in Maryland as in the Confederacy.

Racecraft

Author: Barbara J. Fields
Publisher: Verso Books
ISBN: 9781844679959
Release Date: 2012-10-09
Genre: Social Science

Most people assume that racism grows from a perception of human difference: the fact of race gives rise to the practice of racism. Sociologist Karen E. Fields and historian Barbara J. Fields argue otherwise: the practice of racism produces the illusion of race, through what they call “racecraft.” And this phenomenon is intimately entwined with other forms of inequality in American life. So pervasive are the devices of racecraft in American history, economic doctrine, politics, and everyday thinking that the presence of racecraft itself goes unnoticed. That the promised post-racial age has not dawned, the authors argue, reflects the failure of Americans to develop a legitimate language for thinking about and discussing inequality. That failure should worry everyone who cares about democratic institutions.

City Trenches

Author: Ira Katznelson
Publisher: Pantheon
ISBN: 9780307833402
Release Date: 2013-10-02
Genre: Political Science

The urban crisis of the 1960s revived a dormant social activism whose protagonists placed their hoped for radical change and political effectiveness in community action. Ironically, the insurgents chose the local community as their terrain for a political battle that in reality involved a few strictly local issues. They failed to achieve their goals, Ira Katznelson argues, not so much because they had chosen their ground badly but because the deep split of the American political landscape into workplace politics and community politics defeats attempts to address grievances or raise demands that break the rules of bread-and-butter unionism on the one hand or of local politics on the other. A fascinating record of the encounter between today’s reformers—the community activists—and the powers they challenge. City Trenches is also a probing analysis of the causes of urban instability. Katznelson anatomizes the unique workings of the American urban system which allow it to contain opposition through “machine” politics and, as a last resort, institutional innovation and co-optation, for example, the authorities’ own version of decentralization used in the 1960s as a counter to a “community control.” Washington Heights–Inwood, a multi-ethnic working-class community in northern Manhattan, provides the setting for an absorbing close-up view of the historical evolution of local politics: the challenge to the system in the 1960s and its reconstitution in the 1970s.

Opportunity Denied

Author: Enobong Branch
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 9780813551975
Release Date: 2011-09-08
Genre: Social Science

Blacks and Whites. Men and Women. Historically, each group has held very different types of jobs. The divide between these jobs was stark—clean or dirty, steady or inconsistent, skilled or unskilled. In such a rigidly segregated occupational landscape, race and gender radically limited labor opportunities, relegating Black women to the least desirable jobs. Opportunity Denied is the first comprehensive look at changes in race, gender, and women’s work across time, comparing the labor force experiences of Black women to White women, Black men and White men. Enobong Hannah Branch merges empirical data with rich historical detail, offering an original overview of the evolution of Black women’s work. From free Black women in 1860 to Black women in 2008, the experience of discrimination in seeking and keeping a job has been determinedly constant. Branch focuses on occupational segregation before 1970 and situates the findings of contemporary studies in a broad historical context, illustrating how inequality can grow and become entrenched over time through the institution of work.

The Condemnation of Blackness

Author: Khalil Gibran Muhammad
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674062115
Release Date: 2011
Genre: History

"The Idea of Black Criminality was crucial to the making of modern urban America. Khalil Gibran Muhammad chronicles how, when, and why modern notions of black people as an exceptionally dangerous race of criminals first emerged. Well known are the lynch mobs and racist criminal justice practices in the South that stoked white fears of black crime and shaped the contours of the New South. In this illuminating book, Muhammad shifts our attention to the urban North as a crucial but overlooked site for the production and dissemination of those ideas and practices. Following the 1890 census - the first to measure the generation of African Americans born after slavery - crime statistics, new migration and immigration trends, and symbolic references to America as the promised land were woven into a cautionary tale about the exceptional threat black people posed to modern urban society. Excessive arrest rates and overrepresentation in northern prisons were seen by many whites - liberals and conservatives, northerners and southerners - as indisputable proof of blacks' inferiority. What else but pathology could explain black failure in the land of opportunity? Social scientists and reformers used crime statistics to mask and excuse anti-black racism, violence, and discrimination across the nation, especially in the urban North. The Condemnation of Blackness is the most thorough historical account of the enduring link between blackness and criminality in the making of modern urban America. It is a startling examination of why the echoes of America's Jim Crow past continue to resonate in 'color-blind' crime rhetoric today."--Book jacket.

The Force of Prejudice

Author: Pierre-André Taguieff
Publisher: U of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 0816623724
Release Date: 2001
Genre: Social Science

Pierre-Andr Taguieff puts forward a powerful thesis: that racism has evolved from an argument about races, naturalizing inequality between "biologically" defined groups on the basis of fear of the other, to an argument about cultures, naturalizing historical differences and justifying exclusion. Correspondingly, Taguieff shows how antiracism must adopt the strategy that fits the variety of racism it opposes. Already viewed as an essential work of reference in France, The Force of Prejudice is an invaluable tool for identifying and understanding both racism and its antidote in our day.

Darker Than Blue

Author: Paul Gilroy
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674035704
Release Date: 2010
Genre: Music

Paul Gilroy seeks to awaken a new understanding of W. E. B. Du Boisâe(tm) intellectual and political legacy. At a time of economic crisis, environmental degradation, ongoing warfare, and heated debate over human rights, how should we reassess the changing place of black culture? Gilroy considers the ways that consumerism has diverted African Americansâe(tm) political and social aspirations. Luxury goods and branded items, especially the automobileâe"rich in symbolic value and the promise of individual freedomâe"have restratified society, weakened citizenship, and diminished the collective spirit. Jazz, blues, soul, reggae, and hip hop are now seen as generically American, yet artists like Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, and Bob Marley, who questioned the allure of mobility and speed, are not understood by people who have drained their music of its moral power. Gilroy explores the way in which objects and technologies can become dynamic social forces, ensuring black cultureâe(tm)s global reach while undermining the drive for equality and justice. Drawing on the work of a number of thinkers, including Michel Foucault, Hannah Arendt, Primo Levi, and Frantz Fanon, he examines the ethical dimensions of living in a society that celebrates the object. What are the implications for our notions of freedom? With his brilliant, provocative analysis and astonishing range of reference, Gilroy revitalizes the study of African American culture. He traces the shifting character of black intellectual and social movements, and shows how we can construct an account of moral progress that reflects todayâe(tm)s complex realities.

The Problem of Race in the Twenty first Century

Author: Thomas C. HOLT
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674038754
Release Date: 2009-06-30
Genre: Social Science

"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line," W. E. B. Du Bois wrote in 1903, and his words have proven sadly prophetic. As we enter the twenty-first century, the problem remains--and yet it, and the line that defines it, have shifted in subtle but significant ways. This brief book speaks powerfully to the question of how the circumstances of race and racism have changed in our time--and how these changes will affect our future. Foremost among the book's concerns are the contradictions and incoherence of a system that idealizes black celebrities in politics, popular culture, and sports even as it diminishes the average African-American citizen. The world of the assembly line, boxer Jack Johnson's career, and "The Birth of a Nation" come under Holt's scrutiny as he relates the malign progress of race and racism to the loss of industrial jobs and the rise of our modern consumer society. Understanding race as ideology, he describes the processes of consumerism and commodification that have transformed, but not necessarily improved, the place of black citizens in our society. As disturbing as it is enlightening, this timely work reveals the radical nature of change as it relates to race and its cultural phenomena. It offers conceptual tools and a new way to think and talk about racism as social reality.

A Colony in a Nation

Author: Chris Hayes
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393254235
Release Date: 2017-03-21
Genre: Social Science

New York Times best-selling author and Emmy Award–winning news anchor Chris Hayes argues that there are really two Americas: a Colony and a Nation. America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a postracial world, yet nearly every empirical measure—wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation—reveals that racial inequality has barely improved since 1968, when Richard Nixon became our first “law and order” president. With the clarity and originality that distinguished his prescient bestseller, Twilight of the Elites, Chris Hayes upends our national conversation on policing and democracy in a book of wide-ranging historical, social, and political analysis. Hayes contends our country has fractured in two: the Colony and the Nation. In the Nation, we venerate the law. In the Colony, we obsess over order, fear trumps civil rights, and aggressive policing resembles occupation. A Colony in a Nation explains how a country founded on justice now looks like something uncomfortably close to a police state. How and why did Americans build a system where conditions in Ferguson and West Baltimore mirror those that sparked the American Revolution? A Colony in a Nation examines the surge in crime that began in the 1960s and peaked in the 1990s, and the unprecedented decline that followed. Drawing on close-hand reporting at flashpoints of racial conflict, as well as deeply personal experiences with policing, Hayes explores cultural touchstones, from the influential “broken windows” theory to the “squeegee men” of late-1980s Manhattan, to show how fear causes us to make dangerous and unfortunate choices, both in our society and at the personal level. With great empathy, he seeks to understand the challenges of policing communities haunted by the omnipresent threat of guns. Most important, he shows that a more democratic and sympathetic justice system already exists—in a place we least suspect. A Colony in a Nation is an essential book—searing and insightful—that will reframe our thinking about law and order in the years to come.

Beneath the Surface of White Supremacy

Author: Moon-Kie Jung
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804795227
Release Date: 2015-05-06
Genre: Social Science

Racism has never been simple. It wasn't more obvious in the past, and it isn't less potent now. From the birth of the United States to the contemporary police shooting death of an unarmed Black youth, Beneath the Surface of White Supremacy investigates ingrained practices of racism, as well as unquestioned assumptions in the study of racism, to upend and deepen our understanding. In Moon-Kie Jung's unsettling book, Dred Scott v. Sandford, the notorious 1857 Supreme Court case, casts a shadow over current immigration debates and the "war on terror." The story of a 1924 massacre of Filipino sugar workers in Hawai'i pairs with statistical relentlessness of Black economic suffering to shed light on hidden dimensions of mass ignorance and indifference. The histories of Asians, Blacks, Latina/os, and Natives relate in knotty ways. State violence and colonialism come to the fore in taking measure of the United States, past and present, while the undue importance of assimilation and colorblindness recedes. Ultimately, Jung challenges the dominant racial common sense and develops new concepts and theory for radically rethinking and resisting racisms.

Race on the Brain

Author: Jonathan Kahn
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231545389
Release Date: 2017-11-07
Genre: Social Science

Of the many obstacles to racial justice in America, none has received more recent attention than the one that lurks in our subconscious. As social movements and policing scandals have shown how far from being “postracial” we are, the concept of implicit bias has taken center stage in national conversation about race. Millions of Americans have taken online tests purporting to show the deep, invisible roots of their prejudice. When a recent Oxford study claimed to have found a drug that reduced implicit bias, it was only the starkest example of a pervasive trend. But what do we risk when we seek the simplicity of a technological diagnosis—and solution—for racism? What do we miss when we locate racism in our biology and our brains rather than in our history and our social practices? In Race on the Brain, Jonathan Kahn argues that implicit bias has grown into a master narrative of race relations—one with profound if unintended negative consequences for law, science, and society. He emphasizes its limitations, arguing that while useful as a tool to understand particular types of behavior, it is only one among the various tools available to policymakers. An uncritical embrace of implicit bias, to the exclusion of power relations and structural racism, undermines civic responsibility for addressing the problem by turning it over to experts. Technological interventions, including many tests for implicit bias, are premised on a color-blind ideal and run the risk of erasing history, denying present reality, and obscuring accountability. Kahn recognizes the significance of implicit social cognition but cautions us against seeing it as a panacea for addressing America’s longstanding racial problems. A bracing corrective to what has become a common-sense understanding of the power of prejudice, Race on the Brain challenges us all to engage more thoughtfully and more democratically in the difficult task of promoting racial justice.

Class Notes

Author: Adolph L. Reed
Publisher:
ISBN: 1565846753
Release Date: 2001-05
Genre: Political Science

Hailed by "Publishers Weekly" for its "forceful" and "bracing opinions on race and politics," "Class Notes" is critic Adolph Reed Jr.'s latest blast of clear thinking on matters of race, class, and other American dilemmas. The book begins with a consideration of the theoretical and practical strategies of the U.S. left over the last three decades: Reed argues against the solipsistic approaches of cultural or identity politics, and in favor of class-based political interpretation and action. "Class Notes" moves on to tackle race relations, ethnic studies, family values, welfare reform, the so-called underclass, and black public intellectuals in essays called "head-spinning" and "brilliantly executed" by David Levering Lewis. Adolph Reed Jr. has earned a national reputation for his controversial evaluations of American politics. These essays illustrate why people like Katha Pollitt consider Reed "the smartest person of any race, class, or gender writing on race, class, and gender."

Masterless Men

Author: Keri Leigh Merritt
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107184244
Release Date: 2017-05-08
Genre: History

This book examines the lives of the Antebellum South's underprivileged whites in nineteenth-century America.