Friday, September 20, 2013

The problems with white allies and white privilege - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Suey Park and Trudy of Gradient Lair have called out writer and anti-racist activist Tim Wise recently for some of his work and for his statements on social media. His reaction has been that he is fighting the good fight.

In this essay I will focus on two concepts that are at the center of this debate on the role of whites in anti-racist activism: "white allies" and "white privilege."

The concepts of "white allies" and "white privilege" are problematic insofar as they rely on an individualist-based notion of how racism works when racism is a structural problem and needs to be addressed as such.

Of course white privilege exists. I am not trying to deny that it exists nor that I can benefit from it. I know that, as a white woman, when I go into a store no one follows me around thinking I am a thief. But, is that a privilege, or just how we should behave towards one another?

If I were to take a white privilege standpoint, that would mean that I should feel guilty when the clerk does not assume I am a thief. The white privilege standpoint does not get me very far. It allows me to see my privilege, but does not make it clear what the next step is.

If I see a store clerk following a black man, as a white ally, I should ask her why she is following the black man and not me. Ok. I can do that. But, how far does that get us? My personal experience with calling people out on racism is that they get mad at me and vehemently deny having been racist. I do continue to call people out, because I feel compelled to do so. However, I recognise the limitations of this approach.

You see, I think that calling people out for being racist should not be at the centre of the struggle against racism. I see racism as deeply rooted in structures of power, not in individual white bigots. Racism is structural and has to be fought against from that standpoint. We are not going to win the battle against racism one bigot at a time.

Furthermore, I don’t fight against racism on behalf of my black, Latino, Asian, and Native American brothers and sisters. As Andy Smith pointed out on Twitter, people of colour are fully capable of fighting on their own behalf. Instead, I fight against racism because I want a better society for all. For me, it is not a privilege to live in a racist society.

Racist Ideologies Are Harmful to All

The United States is a deeply racist society.

Racism is an ideology and a set of practices. Racist ideologies justify the racist practices that are predominant in our society. For example, the racist ideology that black men are dangerous creates a situation where most people in the United States are not up in arms about mass incarceration of black men.

This racist ideology that black men are violent and are to be feared is linked to the unfortunate fate of Jonathan Ferrell – 24 year old former football player. Jonathan Ferrell, seeking assistance after crashing his car, knocked on the door of a nearby house. The homeowner called the police when she realised a black man was at her door. When the police arrived, Ferrell, who was unarmed, ran towards them. Police officer Randall Kerrick shot him several times and Ferrell died on the scene.

It is true that a white woman in the same situation as Jonathan Ferrell would almost certainly not have been shot at by the police. Is that white privilege? Perhaps. But, another way to look at is it not a privilege to not fear police. That is how things should be. No one should be shot when seeking help from the police. That is not something that should be considered a privilege.

The racist ideology that black men are disposed to violence that is behind the death of far too many black men has deep historical roots. Ideas of black male propensities to violence were used to justify Jim Crow laws, lynchings, and slavery. Today, these ideologies justify mass incarceration. These deeply rooted ideologies are not going to disappear because I declare myself an ally or come to terms with my white privilege. It is going to take a lot more than that.

It Is Not a Privilege to Live in a Racist Society
Racism is also a set of practices that ensures white dominance. For example, in Washington, DC, black men are eight times more likely than white men to be arrested for marijuana offences, even though blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates.

High rates of black male incarceration are the current manifestation of a racist system of control that goes back to Jim Crow and slavery, as Michelle Alexander eloquently argues in her book The New Jim CrowAlexander further points out that the War on Drugs in the United States is largely responsible for the explosion in incarceration rates since 1980. Whereas 41,000 people were behind bard for a drug offence in 1980, the figure in 2010 was about half a million. In 2005, 80 percent of drug arrests were for drug possession.

It is outrageous that millions of people are in prison because of marijuana offences. Many Americans, nevertheless, accept mass incarceration because of deeply embedded racist ideologies. Mass incarceration of minor drug offenders, however, is devastating to our society. 

Mass incarceration involves billions of dollars of expenditures that are not going to our schools and our communities. You don’t have to be a white ally to see that.

Racial divisions between blacks, whites, Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans are harmful to all of these groups. We all need to develop a better understanding of how racism works and how it harms us all. If you are white, you don’t have to worry about how you can be a good ally or how to come to terms with your white privilege. Instead, you can look around you and see how racism is a scourge on our society. And, you can fight against racism by working to change the racist ideologies and racist practices that are omnipresent in our society.

You can fight against mass incarceration, mass deportation, drone warfare, school closings, and predatory lenders. You can fight against the fear and loathing that render these problems so widespread. And, you can fight this fight because winning it will create a better society for all.

Revised the first three sentences for accuracy and reposted from:

The problems with white allies and white privilege - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Monday, August 26, 2013

Income Inequality in the United States

Income inequality in the United States has increased markedly since 1980, due in large part to tremendous increases in the incomes of the highest earners and stagnation or decline in the earnings of the lowest earners. By 2007, the share of the income held by the top 1 percent was higher than it had been since 1917 (Morris and Western 1999; McCall and Percheski 2010).

Just Another Protest

By 2011, the United States was one of the most unequal among all advanced economies, with a Gini coefficient of 47.7. The Gini coefficient is a measure from 1 to 100, with 0 representing perfect equality and 100 representing perfect inequality (ILO 2013). The United States is now one of the most unequal countries in the Western Hemisphere. For example, in 2012, the richest 20 percent of people in the United States earned 16 times more than the poorest 20 percent. This is less than Brazil – where the richest 20 percent earns 21.4 times as much as the poorest 20 percent, but more than Mexico and nine other Latin American countries.

Inequality along racial lines

Overall inequality is exacerbated by inequality along racial and ethnic lines. In the United States today, Asians have the highest average earnings, followed by Whites, and then Blacks and Hispanics.

Median Weekly Earnings by Race and Ethnicity, July 2013
Asians $973
Whites $799
Blacks $634
Hispanics $572

Earnings inequality is compounded by unemployment rates. The earnings data is only based on employed people. Unemployed people may not be bringing home any income. In July 2013, 13.4 percent of blacks were unemployed, as compared to 6.8 percent of whites. The Asian unemployment rate was 5.7 percent. It was 9.5 percent for Hispanics. Since 1970, the unemployment rate for blacks has been about twice the unemployment rate for whites.

Inequality, race, and gender

When we also take gender into account, the largest income difference is between Asian men – who earned an average of $1092 per week in 2013, and Hispanic women – who earned an average of $525 per week. Notably, the gender ratio between Asian men and women is also the largest, with Asian men earning 40 percent more than Asian women.

Black, white, and Latina women have different labor market outcomes, and these vary further by level of education. Among high-school graduates aged 18 to 24, 61 percent of white women are employed, as compared to 52 percent of blacks and 55 percent of Hispanics. The trends are distinct for college graduates: 86 percent of black female college graduates are employed, as compared to 82 percent of white female college graduates and 77 percent of Hispanic female college graduates. Overall, black female college graduates are less disadvantaged relative to their white counterparts than are low-skilled black women.

These disparities continue over time. For example, when unskilled women first enter the labor market, the average hourly rate (in 1995 dollars) is $6.28 for black women, $6.67 for Hispanic women, and $6.42 for white women. However, by the 14th year on the labor market, white and Hispanic women are doing, on average, a lot better, with an average pay of $10.04 and $9.34 per hour. In contrast, even after 14 years out of school, unskilled black women earn on average $7.48 per hour. These data show that the human capital advantage of work experience is less for black women than it is for white and Hispanic women, even though black women with college degrees experience other labor market advantages (Alon and Haberfield 2007).

Given the tremendous diversity within the Latino and Asian populations, it can be helpful to break these groups down by national origin. In a study using 2000 Census data, Emily Greenman and Yu Xie (2008) looked at full-time, full-year workers between the ages of 25 and 55. They found that, when you look at men, four groups had higher earnings than white men: Chinese, Asian Indians, Koreans, and Japanese. However, when you look just at women, in addition to those four groups, Cuban women and Filipina women also out-earn their white counterparts. Overall, they found that white women earn 71 cents for each dollar that white men earn – and that white women had the largest gender disadvantage of all of the other racial and ethnic groups. Korean women, for example, earned 86 cents for each dollar that Korean men earned and Black and Filipina women earned 84 cents for each dollar that their male counterparts earned. Their results show that it is not the case that race and gender are additive factors in the labor market. Instead, racism and sexism operate in distinct ways for different ethnic and racial groups.

No matter how you slice it, there is a lot of inequality in the United States. With rising overall inequality, it is becoming increasingly clear that racial and gender justice will require also tackling overall inequality. Even if the 1 percent were racially diverse, we would still have too many poor people of color in this country, simply because of how severe income inequality is.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Draft Table of Contents: Race and Racisms: A Critical Approach

Race and Racisms is officially in production. It will be out in August 2014 - in time for Fall semester or quarter teaching! Here is the Table of Contents:
Table of Contents


PART I: The History of the Idea of Race

1: The Origin of the Idea of Race

Defining Race and Racism
Race: The Evolution of an Ideology
            Historical Precedents to the Idea of Race
                        Slavery before the Idea of Race
            Encounters with Indigenous Peoples of the Americas
            Voices: The Conquest of America
            The Enslavement of Africans
            The Need for Labor in the Thirteen Colonies
            The Legal Codification of Racial Differences
            Voices: Bullwhip Days
The Rise of Science and the Question of Human Difference
            European Taxonomies
            Scientific Racism in the Nineteenth Century
The Indian Removal Act: The Continuation of Manifest Destiny
Freedom and Slavery in the United States          
            Global View: The Idea of Race in Latin America
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

2: Race and Citizenship from the 1840s to the 1920s 
            The Continuation of Scientific Racism
Measuring Race: From Taxonomy to Measurement
Intelligence Testing
Voices: Carrie Buck
Exclusionary Immigration Policies
            The Chinese Exclusion Act
            The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924
            Birthright Citizenship for Whites Only
            Naturalization for “Free White People”
            Voices: Takao Ozawa v. U S
How the Irish, Italians, and Jews Became White
            The Irish
            The Italians
            The Jews
Native Americans and African Americans: The Long, Troubled Road to Citizenship
            African Americans and the Long Road to Freedom
                        Native Americans: Appropriating Lands, Assimilating Tribes
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

PART II: Racial Ideologies

3: Racial Ideologies from the 1920s to the Present

Voices: Trayvon Martin
The 1920s to 1965: Egregious Acts in the Era of Overt Racism
            Internment of Japanese Americans
Voices: Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu
            Mass Deportation of Mexicans and Mexican Americans
            Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment
The Civil Rights Movement and the Commitment to Change
                        Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
                        Freedom Rides
Old versus New Racism: The Evolution of an Ideology
Biological Racism
Cultural Racism
Global View: Cultural Racism in Peru          
Color-Blind Universalism
The Maintenance of Racial Hierarchy: Color-Blind Racism
The New Politics of Race: Racism in the Age of Obama
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

4: The Spread of Ideology: “Controlling Images” and Racism in the Media

How Are People of Color Portrayed on Television and in Film?
                        Portrayals of Blacks
                        Portrayals of Latino/as
                        Research Box: The Hot-Latina Stereotype
                        Portrayals of Arabs and Arab Americans                  
                        Portrayals of Asians and Asian Americans
                        Portrayals of Native Americans
                        Racial Stereotypes in Films   
New Media Representations
                        Voices: I Am Not Trayvon Martin
                        Video Games
                        Social Media
How Do Media Images Work to Justify Racial Inequality?
How are Images Raced, Classed, and Gendered?
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

5: Skin-Tone Stratification and Colorism

                        Research Focus: Latino Immigrants and the U.S. Racial Order
                  The History of Colorism
            The Origins of Colorism in the Americas
            Does Colorism Predate Colonialism? The Origins of Colorism in Asia and Africa
                  The Global Color Hierarchy
            Asia and Asian Americans
Voices: The Fair-Skin Battle
            Latin America and Latinos/as
            Africa and the African Diaspora
                        Voices: Colorism and Creole Identity
                  Skin Color, Gender, and Beauty
                        Voices: This is Carlene, 35 Years Old, from Jamaica
                  Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

6: White Privilege and the Changing U.S. Racial Hierarchy

White Privilege
Research Focus: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Whiteness, Class, Gender, and Sexuality
Whiteness and Racial Categories in 21st-Century America
                        Latino/as and the Multiracial Hierarchy
The Other Whites: Arab Americans, North Africans, Middle Easterners, and Their Place in the U.S. Racial Hierarchy
            Multiracial Identification and the U.S. Racial Hierarchy
                        Voices: Brandon Stanford: “My complexion is not black but I am black”
Will the United States Continue to Be a White-Majority Society?  
Global View: Social, Cultural, and Intergenerational Whitening in Latin America
Changes in Racial and Ethnic Classifications
Revisiting the Definition of Race and Ethnicity
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

PART III: Policy and Institutions

7: Understanding Racial Inequality Today: Sociological Theories of Racism

Racial Discrimination, Prejudice, and Institutional Racism
Individual racism
Voices: Microaggressions
Global View: Microaggressions in Peru
Institutional racism
Systemic and Structural Racism
                        Systemic racism
Research Focus: Systemic Racism and Hurricane Katrina
                        Structural racism
Racial Formation: Its Contributions and Its Critics
Research Focus: Applying Settler Colonialism Theory
White Supremacy and Settler Colonialism
Intersectional Theories of Race and Racism
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

8: Educational Inequality

The History of Educational Inequality
Indian Schools
Segregation and Landmark Court Cases
The Persistence of Racial Segregation in the Educational System
Educational Inequality Today
Research Focus: American Indian/Alaska Native College Student Retention
Global View: Affirmative Action in Brazil
The Achievement Gap: Sociological Explanations
Parental Socioeconomic Status
Cultural Explanations: “Acting White” and Other Theories
Voices: Moesha
Social and Cultural Capital and Schooling
Hidden Curriculum
Research Focus: Rosa Parks Elementary and the Hidden Curriculum
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

9: Income and Labor Market Inequality

Income Inequality by Race, Ethnicity, and Gender
Dimensions of Racial Disparities in the Labor Market
                        Disparities among Women
                        Disparities among Latinos and Asian Americans
Underemployment, Unemployment, and Joblessness
Voices: Jarred
Sociological Explanations for Income and Labor Market Inequality
Voices: Francisco Pinto’s Experiences in 3-D Jobs  
Individual-Level Explanations
Global View: Racial Discrimination in Australia
Research Focus: Discrimination in a Low-Wage Labor Market
Structural Explanations
Affirmative Action
Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

10: Inequality in Housing and Wealth

Land Ownership after Slavery
Residential Segregation
The Creation of Residential Segregation
                        Research Focus: The Role of Real Estate in Creating Segregated Cities
Discriminatory and Predatory Lending Practices
                        Voices: A Tale of Two Families
Neighborhood Segregation Today
Wealth Inequality
Inequality in Home Ownership and Home Values
Wealth Inequality Beyond Home Ownership
Explaining the Wealth Gap in the Twenty-First Century
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

11: Racism and the Criminal Justice System

Mass Incarceration in the United States
                        The Rise of Mass Incarceration
Mass Incarceration in a Global Context
Race and Mass Incarceration
                        Voices: Kemba Smith
The Inefficacy of Mass Incarceration
Mass Incarceration and the War on Drugs
Race, Class, Gender, and Mass Incarceration
Institutional Racism in the Criminal Justice System
                        Racial Profiling
Sentencing Disparities
            Voices: Troy Davis
The Economics of Mass Incarceration
                        Private Prisons
The Prison Industrial Complex
Beyond Incarceration: Collateral Consequences
The Impact of Mass Incarceration on Families and Children
The Lifelong Stigma of a Felony: “The New Jim Crow”
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

12: Health Inequality and Environmental Justice

The History of Health Disparities in the United States
                        Involuntary Experimentation
Free Blacks as Mentally and Physically Unfit
Explaining Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity Today
                        Socioeconomic Status and Health
Segregation and Health
Research Focus: Health and Social Inequity in Alameda County, CA
The Effects of Individual Racism on the Health of African Americans
Life-Course Perspectives on African American Health
Global View: Structural Violence in Guatemala
Culture and Health
                        Voices: Race, Poverty, and Postpartum Depression
Genetics, Race, and Health
Environmental Racism
Voices: The Holt Family of Dickson, Tennessee
Movements for Environmental Justice
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

13: Racism, Nativism, and Immigration Policy

Voices: Robert Bautista—Denied Due Process
The Racialized History of U.S. Immigration Policy
Race and the Making of U.S. Immigration Policies: 1790 to 1924
Global View: Whitening and Immigration Policy in Brazil
Nativism between 1924 and 1964: Mass Deportation of Mexicans and The McCarran Internal Security Act
            Operation Wetback
            McCarran Internal Security Act
The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act and the Changing Face of Immigration
                        Asian Immigration
Latin American and Caribbean Immigration
Illegal Immigration and Policy Response
                        The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) and Nativism
Proposition 187 and the Lead-Up to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA)
The 1996 Laws and the Detention and Deportation of Black and Latino Immigrants
Voices: Story of a Guatemalan Deportee
Nativism in the Twenty-First Century
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

PART IV: Contesting and Comparing Racial Injustices

14: Racial Justice in the United States Today

Perspectives on Racial Justice
                        Recognition, Responsibility, Reconstruction, and Reparations
                        Civil Rights
                        Human Rights
Moving Beyond Race
Intersectional Analyses: Race, Class, Gender
Racism and Capitalism
Struggles for Racial Justice
                        Foreclosures and Racial Justice
Voices: Fighting Against Foreclosures: A Racial Justice Story
DREAMers and the Fight for Justice
Racial Justice and Empathy
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading

15: Thinking Globally: Race and Racisms in France, South Africa, and Brazil

How Do Other Countries Differ from the United States in Racial Dynamics?
Race and Racism in France
French Colonies in Africa
The French Antilles
                        African Immigration to France
Discrimination and Racial and Ethnic Inequality in France Today
Voices: The Fall 2005 Uprisings in the French Banlieues
Race and Racism in South Africa
Colonialism in South Africa: The British and the Dutch
The Apartheid Era (1948–1994)
The Persistence of Inequality in the Post-Apartheid Era
Research Focus: The Politics of White Youth Identity in South Africa
Race and Racism in Brazil
Portuguese Colonization and the Slave Trade in Brazil
Whitening through Immigration and Intermarriage
Research Focus: Racial Ideology and Black-White Interracial Marriages in Rio de Janeiro
Racial Categories in Brazil Today
Conclusion and Discussion
Chapter Summary · Key Terms · Review Questions · Critical Thinking · Suggestions for Further Reading