Above the Well explores race, language and literacy education through a combination of scholarship, personal history, and even a bit of fiction. Inoue comes to terms with his own languaging practices in his upbring and schooling, while also arguing that there are racist aspects to English language standards promoted in schools and civic life. His discussion includes the ways students and everyone in society are judged by and through tacit racialized languaging, which he labels White language supremacy and contributes to racialized violence in the world today. Inoue’s exploration ranges a wide array of topics: His experiences as a child playing Dungeons and Dragons with his twin brother; considerations of Taoist and Western dialectic logics; the economics of race and place; tacit language race wars waged in classrooms with style guides like Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style; and the damaging Horatio Alger narratives for people of color.
The incarceration rate in the United States is the highest of any developed nation, with a prison population of approximately 2.3 million in 2016. Over 700,000 prisoners are released each year, and most face significant educational, economic, and social disadvantages. In After Prison, sociologist David Harding and criminologist Heather Harris provide a comprehensive account of young men’s experiences of reentry and reintegration in the era of mass incarceration. They focus on the unique challenges faced by 1,300 black and white youth aged 18 to 25 who were released from Michigan prisons in 2003, investigating the lives of those who achieved some measure of success after leaving prison as well as those who struggled with the challenges of creating new lives for themselves.
The transition to young adulthood typically includes school completion, full-time employment, leaving the childhood home, marriage, and childbearing, events that are disrupted by incarceration. While one quarter of the young men who participated in the study successfully transitioned into adulthood—achieving employment and residential independence and avoiding arrest and incarceration—the same number of young men remained deeply involved with the criminal justice system, spending on average four out of the seven years after their initial release re-incarcerated. Not surprisingly, whites are more likely to experience success after prison. The authors attribute this racial disparity to the increased stigma of criminal records for blacks, racial discrimination, and differing levels of social network support that connect whites to higher quality jobs. Black men earn less than white men, are more concentrated in industries characterized by low wages and job insecurity, and are less likely to remain employed once they have a job.
The authors demonstrate that families, social networks, neighborhoods, and labor market, educational, and criminal justice institutions can have a profound impact on young people’s lives. Their research indicates that residential stability is key to the transition to adulthood. Harding and Harris make the case for helping families, municipalities, and non-profit organizations provide formerly incarcerated young people access to long-term supportive housing and public housing. A remarkably large number of men in this study eventually enrolled in college, reflecting the growing recognition of college as a gateway to living wage work. But the young men in the study spent only brief spells in college, and the majority failed to earn degrees. They were most likely to enroll in community colleges, trade schools, and for-profit institutions, suggesting that interventions focused on these kinds of schools are more likely to be effective. The authors suggest that, in addition to helping students find employment, educational institutions can aid reentry efforts for the formerly incarcerated by providing supports like childcare and paid apprenticeships.
After Prison offers a set of targeted policy interventions to improve these young people’s chances: lifting restrictions on federal financial aid for education, encouraging criminal record sealing and expungement, and reducing the use of incarceration in response to technical parole violations. This book will be an important contribution to the fields of scholarly work on the criminal justice system and disconnected youth.
At a moment in US politics when racially motivated nationalism, shifting relations with Latin America, and anxiety over national futures intertwine, understanding the long history of American preoccupation with magnitude and how it underpins national identity is vitally important. In American Magnitude, Christa J. Olson tracks the visual history of US appeals to grandeur, import, and consequence (megethos), focusing on images that use the wider Americas to establish US character. Her sources—including lithographs from the US-Mexican War, pre–Civil War paintings of the Andes, photo essays of Machu Picchu, and WWII-era films promoting hemispheric unity—span from 1845 to 1950 but resonate into the present.
Olson demonstrates how those crafting the appeals that feed the US national imaginary—artists, scientists, journalists, diplomats, and others—have invited US audiences to view Latin America as a foil for the greatness of their own nation and encouraged white US publics in particular to see themselves as especially American among Americans. She reveals how each instance of visual rhetoric relies upon the eyes of others to instantiate its magnitude—and falters as some viewers look askance instead. The result is the possibility of a post-magnitude United States: neither great nor failed, but modest, partial, and imperfect.
“The ghosts of the Civil War never leave us, as David Blight knows perhaps better than anyone, and in this superb book he masterfully unites two distant but inextricably bound events.”―Ken Burns
Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, a century after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Martin Luther King, Jr., declared, “One hundred years later, the Negro still is not free.” He delivered this speech just three years after the Virginia Civil War Commission published a guide proclaiming that “the Centennial is no time for finding fault or placing blame or fighting the issues all over again.”
David Blight takes his readers back to the centennial celebration to determine how Americans then made sense of the suffering, loss, and liberation that had wracked the United States a century earlier. Amid cold war politics and civil rights protest, four of America’s most incisive writers explored the gulf between remembrance and reality. Robert Penn Warren, the southern-reared poet-novelist who recanted his support of segregation; Bruce Catton, the journalist and U.S. Navy officer who became a popular Civil War historian; Edmund Wilson, the century’s preeminent literary critic; and James Baldwin, the searing African-American essayist and activist—each exposed America’s triumphalist memory of the war. And each, in his own way, demanded a reckoning with the tragic consequences it spawned.
Blight illuminates not only mid-twentieth-century America’s sense of itself but also the dynamic, ever-changing nature of Civil War memory. On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the war, we have an invaluable perspective on how this conflict continues to shape the country’s political debates, national identity, and sense of purpose.
America's Peacemakers: The Community Relations Service and Civil Rights tells the behind-the-scenes story of a small federal agency that made a big difference in civil rights conflicts over the last half century. In this second edition of Resolving Racial Conflict: The Community Relations Service and Civil Rights, 1964–1989, Grande Lum continues Bertram Levine’s excellent scholarship, expanding the narrative to consider the history of the Community Relations Service (CRS) of the U.S. Department of Justice over the course of the last three decades. That the Trump administration has sought to eliminate CRS gives this book increased urgency and relevance.
Covered in this expanded edition are the post–9/11 efforts of the CRS to prevent violence and hate crimes against those perceived as Middle Eastern. Also discussed are the cross-border Elián González custody dispute and the notable tragedies of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, both of which brought police interaction with communities of color back into the spotlight.
The 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act substantially altered CRS’s jurisdiction, which began to focus on gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, and disability in addition to race, color, and national origin. Lum’s documentation of this expanded jurisdiction provides insight into the progression of civil rights. The ongoing story of the Community Relations Service is a crucial component of the national narrative on civil rights and conflict resolution. This new edition will be highly informative to all readers and useful to professionals and academics in the civil rights, dispute resolution, domestic and international peacemaking, and law enforcement-community relations fields.
Speaking wisely and provocatively about the political economy of race, Glenn C. Loury has become one of our most prominent black intellectuals—and, because of his challenges to the orthodoxies of both left and right, one of the most controversial. A major statement of a position developed over the past decade, this book both epitomizes and explains Loury’s understanding of the depressed conditions of so much of black society today—and the origins, consequences, and implications for the future of these conditions.
Using an economist’s approach, Loury describes a vicious cycle of tainted social information that has resulted in a self-replicating pattern of racial stereotypes that rationalize and sustain discrimination. His analysis shows how the restrictions placed on black development by stereotypical and stigmatizing racial thinking deny a whole segment of the population the possibility of self-actualization that American society reveres—something that many contend would be undermined by remedies such as affirmative action. On the contrary, this book persuasively argues that the promise of fairness and individual freedom and dignity will remain unfulfilled without some forms of intervention based on race.
Brilliant in its account of how racial classifications are created and perpetuated, and how they resonate through the social, psychological, spiritual, and economic life of the nation, this compelling and passionate book gives us a new way of seeing—and, perhaps, seeing beyond—the damning categorization of race in America.
“Paints in chilling detail the distance between Martin Luther King’s dream and the reality of present-day America.”
—Anthony Walton, Harper’s
“Intellectually rigorous and deeply thoughtful…Loury’s book deals with racial stigma…in its political and philosophical aspects as a cause of black disadvantage…An incisive, erudite book by a major thinker.”
—Gerald Early, New York Times Book Review
“Lifts and transforms the discourse on ‘race’ and racial justice to an entirely new level.”
“He is a genuine maverick thinker…The Anatomy of Racial Inequality both epitomizes and explains Loury’s understanding of the depressed conditions of so much of black society today.”
—New York Times Magazine
“Loury provides an original and highly persuasive account of how the American racial hierarchy is sustained and reproduced over time. And he then demands that we begin the deep structural reforms that will be necessary to stop its continued reproduction.”
Why are Black Americans so persistently confined to the margins of society? And why do they fail across so many metrics—wages, unemployment, income levels, test scores, incarceration rates, health outcomes? Known for his influential work on the economics of racial inequality and for pioneering the link between racism and social capital, Glenn Loury is not afraid of piercing orthodoxies and coming to controversial conclusions. In this now classic work, he describes how a vicious cycle of tainted social information helped create the racial stereotypes that rationalize and sustain discrimination.
Brilliant in its account of how racial classifications are created and perpetuated, and how they resonate through the social, psychological, spiritual, and economic life of the nation, this compelling and passionate book gives us a new way of seeing—and of seeing beyond—the damning categorization of race.
For over a century, cinephiles and film scholars have had to grapple with an ugly artifact that sits at the beginnings of film history. D. W. Griffith’s profoundly racist epic, The Birth of a Nation, inspired controversy and protest at its 1915 release and was defended as both a true history of Reconstruction (although it was based on fiction) and a new achievement in cinematic art. Paul McEwan examines the long and shifting history of its reception, revealing how the film became not just a cinematic landmark but also an influential force in American aesthetics and intellectual life.
In every decade since 1915, filmmakers, museums, academics, programmers, and film fans have had to figure out how to deal with this troublesome object, and their choices have profoundly influenced both film culture and the notion that films can be works of art. Some critics tried to set aside the film’s racism and concentrate on the form, while others tried to relegate that racism safely to the past. McEwan argues that from the earliest film retrospectives in the 1920s to the rise of remix culture in the present day, controversies about this film and its meaning have profoundly shaped our understandings of film, race, and art.
In this major undertaking, civil rights historian Adam Fairclough chronicles the odyssey of black teachers in the South from emancipation in 1865 to integration one hundred years later. No book until now has provided us with the full story of what African American teachers tried, achieved, and failed to do in educating the Southern black population over this critical century.
This magisterial narrative offers a bold new vision of black teachers, built from the stories of real men and women, from teachers in one-room shacks to professors in red brick universities. Fairclough explores how teachers inspired and motivated generations of children, instilling values and knowledge that nourished racial pride and a desire for equality. At the same time, he shows that they were not just educators, but also missionaries, politicians, community leaders, and racial diplomats. Black teachers had to negotiate constantly between the white authorities who held the purse strings and the black community's grassroots resistance to segregated standards and white power. Teachers were part of, but also apart from, the larger black population. Often ignored, and occasionally lambasted, by both whites and blacks, teachers were tireless foot soldiers in the long civil rights struggle.
Despite impossible odds--discrimination, neglect, sometimes violence--black teachers engaged in a persistent and ultimately heroic struggle to make education a means of liberation. A Class of Their Own is indispensable for understanding how blacks and whites interacted and coexisted after the abolition of slavery, and how black communities developed and coped with the challenges of freedom and oppression.
When Aunt Jemima beamed at Americans from the pancake mix box on grocery shelves, many felt reassured by her broad smile that she and her product were dependable. She was everyone's mammy, the faithful slave who was content to cook and care for whites, no matter how grueling the labor, because she loved them. This far-reaching image of the nurturing black mother exercises a tenacious hold on the American imagination.
Micki McElya examines why we cling to mammy. She argues that the figure of the loyal slave has played a powerful role in modern American politics and culture. Loving, hating, pitying, or pining for mammy became a way for Americans to make sense of shifting economic, social, and racial realities. Assertions of black people's contentment with servitude alleviated white fears while reinforcing racial hierarchy. African American resistance to this notion was varied but often placed new constraints on black women.
McElya's stories of faithful slaves expose the power and reach of the myth, not only in popular advertising, films, and literature about the South, but also in national monument proposals, child custody cases, white women's minstrelsy, New Negro activism, anti-lynching campaigns, and the civil rights movement. The color line and the vision of interracial motherly affection that helped maintain it have persisted into the twenty-first century. If we are to reckon with the continuing legacy of slavery in the United States, McElya argues, we must confront the depths of our desire for mammy and recognize its full racial implications.
With the social change brought on by the Great Migration of African Americans into the urban northeast after the Great War came the surge of a biracial sensibility that made America different from other Western nations. How white and black people thought about race and how both groups understood and attempted to define and control the demographic transformation are the subjects of this new book by a rising star in American history.
An elegant account of the roiling environment that witnessed the shift from the multiplicity of white races to the arrival of biracialism, this book focuses on four representative spokesmen for the transforming age: Daniel Cohalan, the Irish-American nationalist, Tammany Hall man, and ruthless politician; Madison Grant, the patrician eugenicist and noisy white supremacist; W. E. B. Du Bois, the African-American social scientist and advocate of social justice; and Jean Toomer, the American pluralist and novelist of the interior life. Race, politics, and classification were their intense and troubling preoccupations in a world they did not create, would not accept, and tried to change.
CounterStories from the Writing Center gathers emerging scholars of colour and their white accomplices to challenge some of the most cherished lore about the work of writing centres. Writing within an intersectional feminist frame, this volume’s contributors name and critique the dominant role that white, straight, cis-gendered women have played in writing centre administration as well as in the field of writing centre studies. This work will shake the field’s core assumptions about itself.
Practicing what Derrick Bell has termed “creative truth telling,” these writers are not concerned with individual white women in writing centres but with the social, political, and cultural capital that is the historical birthright of white, straight, cis-gendered women, particularly in writing centre studies. The essays collected in this volume test, defy, and overflow the bounds of traditional academic discourse in the service of powerful testimony, witness, and counterstory.
CounterStories from the Writing Center is a must-read for writing centre directors, scholars, and tutors who are committed to antiracist pedagogy and offers a robust intersectional analysis to those who seek to understand the relationship between the work of writing centres and the problem of racism. Accessible and usable for both graduate and undergraduate students of writing centre theory and practice, this work troubles the field’s commonplaces and offers a rich envisioning of what writing centres materially committed to inclusion and equity might be and do.
Wilfredo Alvarez’s Everyday Dirty Work: Invisibility, Communication, and Immigrant Labor is an exploration into co-cultural communication practices within the workplace. Specifically, Alvarez investigates how Latin American immigrant janitors communicate from their marginalized standpoints in a predominantly White academic organization. He examines how custodial workers perceive, interpret, and thematize routine messages regarding race, ethnicity, social class, immigrant status, and occupation, and how those messages and overall communicative experiences affect both their work and personal lives.
A Latin American immigrant himself, Alvarez relates his own experiences to those of the research participants. His positionality informs and enhances his research as he demonstrates how everyday interpersonal encounters create discursive spaces that welcome or disqualify people based on symbolic and social capital. Alvarez offers valuable insights into the lived experiences of critical––but often undervalued and invisible––organizational members. Through theoretical insights and research data, he provides practical recommendations for organizational leaders to improve how they can relate to and support all stakeholders.
The United States faces a growing crisis in care. The number of people needing care is growing while the ranks of traditional caregivers have shrunk. The status of care workers is a critical concern.
Evelyn Nakano Glenn offers an innovative interpretation of care labor in the United States by tracing the roots of inequity along two interconnected strands: unpaid caring within the family; and slavery, indenture, and other forms of coerced labor. By bringing both into the same analytic framework, she provides a convincing explanation of the devaluation of care work and the exclusion of both unpaid and paid care workers from critical rights such as minimum wage, retirement benefits, and workers' compensation. Glenn reveals how assumptions about gender, family, home, civilization, and citizenship have shaped the development of care labor and been incorporated into law and social policies. She exposes the underlying systems of control that have resulted in women—especially immigrants and women of color—performing a disproportionate share of caring labor. Finally, she examines strategies for improving the situation of unpaid family caregivers and paid home healthcare workers.
This important and timely book illuminates the source of contradictions between American beliefs about the value and importance of caring in a good society and the exploitation and devalued status of those who actually do the caring.
A fresh portrayal of one of the architects of the African American intellectual tradition, whose faith in the subversive power of education will inspire teachers and learners today.
Black education was a subversive act from its inception. African Americans pursued education through clandestine means, often in defiance of law and custom, even under threat of violence. They developed what Jarvis Givens calls a tradition of “fugitive pedagogy”—a theory and practice of Black education in America. The enslaved learned to read in spite of widespread prohibitions; newly emancipated people braved the dangers of integrating all-White schools and the hardships of building Black schools. Teachers developed covert instructional strategies, creative responses to the persistence of White opposition. From slavery through the Jim Crow era, Black people passed down this educational heritage.
There is perhaps no better exemplar of this heritage than Carter G. Woodson—groundbreaking historian, founder of Black History Month, and legendary educator under Jim Crow. Givens shows that Woodson succeeded because of the world of Black teachers to which he belonged: Woodson’s first teachers were his formerly enslaved uncles; he himself taught for nearly thirty years; and he spent his life partnering with educators to transform the lives of Black students. Fugitive Pedagogy chronicles Woodson’s efforts to fight against the “mis-education of the Negro” by helping teachers and students to see themselves and their mission as set apart from an anti-Black world. Teachers, students, families, and communities worked together, using Woodson’s materials and methods as they fought for power in schools and continued the work of fugitive pedagogy. Forged in slavery, embodied by Woodson, this tradition of escape remains essential for teachers and students today.
The 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule was the most significant federal effort to increase equality of access to place-based resources and opportunities, such as high-performing schools or access to jobs, since the 1968 Fair Housing Act. However, in an effort to appeal to suburban voters, the Trump administration repealed the rule in 2020, leaving its future in doubt.
Furthering Fair Housing analyzes multiple dimensions of this rule, identifying failures of past efforts to increase housing choice, exploring how the AFFH Rule was crafted, measuring the initial effects of the rule before its rescission, and examining its interaction with other contemporary housing issues, such as affordability, gentrification, anti-displacement, and zoning policies.
The editors and contributors to this volume—a mix of civil rights advocates, policymakers, and public officials—provide critical perspectives and identify promising new directions for future policies and practices. Placing the history of fair housing in the context of the centuries-long struggle for racial equity, Furthering Fair Housing shows how this policy can be revived and enhanced to advance racial equity in America’s neighborhoods.
The Guise of Exceptionalism compares the historical origins of Haitian and American exceptionalisms. It also traces how exceptionalism as a narrative of uniqueness has shaped relations between the two countries from their early days of independence through the contemporary period. As a social invention, it changes over time, but always within the parameters of its original principles.
Winner of the 2021 Haitian Studies Association Book Prize
Haiti Fights Back: The Life and Legacy of Charlemagne Péralte is the first US scholarly examination of the politician and caco leader (guerrilla fighter) who fought against the US military occupation of Haiti. The occupation lasted close to two decades, from 1915-1934. Alexis argues for the importance of documenting resistance while exploring the occupation’s mechanics and its imperialism. She takes us to Haiti, exploring the sites of what she labels as resistance zones, including Péralte’s hometown of Hinche and the nation’s large port areas--Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien. Alexis offers a new reading of U.S. military archival sources that record Haitian protests as banditry. Haiti Fights Back illuminates how Péralte launched a political movement, and meticulously captures how Haitian women and men resisted occupation through silence, military battles, and writings. She locates and assembles rare, multilingual primary sources from traditional repositories, living archives (oral stories), and artistic representations in Haiti and the United States. The interdisciplinary work draws on legislation, cacos’ letters, newspapers, and murals, offering a unique examination of Péralte’s life (1885-1919) and the significance of his legacy through the twenty-first century. Haiti Fights Back offers a new approach to the study of the U.S. invasion of the Americas by chronicling how Caribbean people fought back.
An innovative history that shows how the religious idea of the heathen in need of salvation undergirds American conceptions of race.
If an eighteenth-century parson told you that the difference between “civilization and heathenism is sky-high and star-far,” the words would hardly come as a shock. But that statement was written by an American missionary in 1971. In a sweeping historical narrative, Kathryn Gin Lum shows how the idea of the heathen has been maintained from the colonial era to the present in religious and secular discourses—discourses, specifically, of race.
Americans long viewed the world as a realm of suffering heathens whose lands and lives needed their intervention to flourish. The term “heathen” fell out of common use by the early 1900s, leading some to imagine that racial categories had replaced religious differences. But the ideas underlying the figure of the heathen did not disappear. Americans still treat large swaths of the world as “other” due to their assumed need for conversion to American ways. Purported heathens have also contributed to the ongoing significance of the concept, promoting solidarity through their opposition to white American Christianity. Gin Lum looks to figures like Chinese American activist Wong Chin Foo and Ihanktonwan Dakota writer Zitkála-Šá, who proudly claimed the label of “heathen” for themselves.
Race continues to operate as a heathen inheritance in the United States, animating Americans’ sense of being a world apart from an undifferentiated mass of needy, suffering peoples. Heathen thus reveals a key source of American exceptionalism and a prism through which Americans have defined themselves as a progressive and humanitarian nation even as supposed heathens have drawn on the same to counter this national myth.
A leading civil rights historian places Robert Kennedy for the first time at the center of the movement for racial justice of the 1960s—and shows how many of today’s issues can be traced back to that pivotal time.
History, race, and politics converged in the 1960s in ways that indelibly changed America. In Justice Rising, a landmark reconsideration of Robert Kennedy’s life and legacy, Patricia Sullivan draws on government files, personal papers, and oral interviews to reveal how he grasped the moment to emerge as a transformational leader.
When protests broke out across the South, the young attorney general confronted escalating demands for racial justice. What began as a political problem soon became a moral one. In the face of vehement pushback from Southern Democrats bent on massive resistance, he put the weight of the federal government behind school desegregation and voter registration. Bobby Kennedy’s youthful energy, moral vision, and capacity to lead created a momentum for change. He helped shape the 1964 Civil Rights Act but knew no law would end racism. When the Watts uprising brought calls for more aggressive policing, he pushed back, pointing to the root causes of urban unrest: entrenched poverty, substandard schools, and few job opportunities. RFK strongly opposed the military buildup in Vietnam, but nothing was more important to him than “the revolution within our gates, the struggle of the American Negro for full equality and full freedom.”
On the night of Martin Luther King’s assassination, Kennedy’s anguished appeal captured the hopes of a turbulent decade: “In this difficult time for the United States it is perhaps well to ask what kind of nation we are and what direction we want to move in.” It is a question that remains urgent and unanswered.
Understanding the causes of the racial achievement gap in American education—and then addressing it with effective programs—is one of the most urgent problems communities and educators face.
For many years, the most popular explanation for the achievement gap has been the “oppositional culture theory”: the idea that black students underperform in secondary schools because of a group culture that devalues learning and sees academic effort as “acting white.” Despite lack of evidence for this belief, classroom teachers accept it, with predictable self-fulfilling results. In a careful quantitative assessment of the oppositional culture hypothesis, Angel L. Harris tested its empirical implications systematically and broadened his analysis to include data from British schools. From every conceivable angle of examination, the oppositional culture theory fell flat.
Despite achieving less in school, black students value schooling more than their white counterparts do. Black kids perform badly in high school not because they don’t want to succeed but because they enter without the necessary skills. Harris finds that the achievement gap starts to open up in preadolescence—when cumulating socioeconomic and health disadvantages inhibit skills development and when students start to feel the impact of lowered teacher expectations.
Kids Don’t Want to Fail is must reading for teachers, academics, policy makers, and anyone interested in understanding the intersection of race and education.
Explores the representation of slave revolt in video games—and the trouble with making history playable
Kill the Overseer! profiles and problematizes digital games that depict Atlantic slavery and “gamify” slave resistance. In videogames emphasizing plantation labor, the player may choose to commit small acts of resistance like tool-breaking or working slowly. Others dramatically stage the slave’s choice to flee enslavement and journey northward, and some depict outright violent revolt against the master and his apparatus. In this work, Sarah Juliet Lauro questions whether the reduction of a historical enslaved person to a digital commodity in games such as Mission US, Assassin’s Creed, and Freedom Cry ought to trouble us as a further commodification of slavery’s victims, or whether these interactive experiences offer an empowering commemoration of the history of slave resistance.
Forerunners is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital works. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
An irony inherent in all political systems is that the principles that underlie and characterize them can also endanger and destroy them. This collection examines the limits that need to be imposed on democracy, liberty, and tolerance in order to ensure the survival of the societies that cherish them. The essays in this volume consider the philosophical difficulties inherent in the concepts of liberty and tolerance; at the same time, they ponder practical problems arising from the tensions between the forces of democracy and the destructive elements that take advantage of liberty to bring harm that undermines democracy.
Written in the wake of the assasination of Yitzhak Rabin, this volume is thus dedicated to the question of boundaries: how should democracies cope with antidemocratic forces that challenge its system? How should we respond to threats that undermine democracy and at the same time retain our values and maintain our commitment to democracy and to its underlying values?
All the essays here share a belief in the urgency of the need to tackle and find adequate answers to radicalism and political extremism. They cover such topics as the dilemmas embodied in the notion of tolerance, including the cost and regulation of free speech; incitement as distinct from advocacy; the challenge of religious extremism to liberal democracy; the problematics of hate speech; free communication, freedom of the media, and especially the relationships between media and terrorism.
The contributors to this volume are David E. Boeyink, Harvey Chisick, Irwin Cotler, David Feldman, Owen Fiss, David Goldberg, J. Michael Jaffe, Edmund B. Lambeth, Sam Lehman-Wilzig, Joseph Eliot Magnet, Richard Moon, Frederick Schauer, and L.W. Sumner. The volume includes the opening remarks of Mrs.Yitzhak Rabin to the conference--dedicated to the late Yitzhak Rabin--at which these papers were originally presented. These studies will appeal to politicians, sociologists, media educators and professionals, jurists and lawyers, as well as the general public.
In the nineteenth century, virtually anyone could get into the United States. But by the 1920s, U.S. immigration policy had become a finely filtered regime of selection. Desmond King looks at this dramatic shift, and the debates behind it, for what they reveal about the construction of an "American" identity.
Specifically, the debates in the three decades leading up to 1929 were conceived in terms of desirable versus undesirable immigrants. This not only cemented judgments about specific European groups but reinforced prevailing biases against groups already present in the United States, particularly African Americans, whose inferior status and second-class citizenship--enshrined in Jim Crow laws and embedded in pseudo-scientific arguments about racial classifications--appear to have been consolidated in these decades. Although the values of different groups have always been recognized in the United States, King gives the most thorough account yet of how eugenic arguments were used to establish barriers and to favor an Anglo-Saxon conception of American identity, rejecting claims of other traditions. Thus the immigration controversy emerges here as a significant precursor to recent multicultural debates.
Making Americans shows how the choices made about immigration policy in the 1920s played a fundamental role in shaping democracy and ideas about group rights in America.
A leading scholar explores what it means to dehumanize others—and how and why we do it.
“I wouldn’t have accepted that they were human beings. You would see an infant who’s just learning to smile, and it smiles at you, but you still kill it.” So a Hutu man explained to an incredulous researcher, when asked to recall how he felt slaughtering Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. Such statements are shocking, yet we recognize them; we hear their echoes in accounts of genocides, massacres, and pogroms throughout history. How do some people come to believe that their enemies are monsters, and therefore easy to kill?
In Making Monsters David Livingstone Smith offers a poignant meditation on the philosophical and psychological roots of dehumanization. Drawing on harrowing accounts of lynchings, Smith establishes what dehumanization is and what it isn’t. When we dehumanize our enemy, we hold two incongruous beliefs at the same time: we believe our enemy is at once subhuman and fully human. To call someone a monster, then, is not merely a resort to metaphor—dehumanization really does happen in our minds. Turning to an abundance of historical examples, Smith explores the relationship between dehumanization and racism, the psychology of hierarchy, what it means to regard others as human beings, and why dehumanizing others transforms them into something so terrifying that they must be destroyed.
Meticulous but highly readable, Making Monsters suggests that the process of dehumanization is deeply seated in our psychology. It is precisely because we are all human that we are vulnerable to the manipulations of those trading in the politics of demonization and violence.
Early college classrooms provide essential opportunities for students to grapple and contend with the racial geographies that shape their lives. Based on a mixed methods study of students’ writing in a first-year-writing course themed around racial identities and language varieties at St. John’s University, Mapping Racial Literacies shows college student writing that directly confronts lived experiences of segregation—and, overwhelmingly, of resegregation.
This textual ethnography embeds early college students’ writing in deep historical and theoretical contexts and looks for new ways that their writing contributes to and reshapes contemporary understandings of how US and global citizens are thinking about race. The book is a teaching narrative, tracing a teaching journey that considers student writing not only in the moments it is assigned but also in continual revisions of the course, making it a useful tool in helping college-age students see, explore, and articulate the role of race in determining their life experiences and opportunities.
Sophie Bell’s work narrates the experiences of a white teacher making mistakes in teaching about race and moving forward through those mistakes, considering that process valuable and, in fact, necessary. Providing a model for future scholars on how to carve out a pedagogically responsive identity as a teacher, Mapping Racial Literacies contributes to the scholarship on race and writing pedagogy and encourages teachers of early college classes to bring these issues front and center on the page, in the classroom, and on campus.
In the contemporary Western imagination, Asian people are frequently described as automatons, which disavows their humanity. In Model Machines, Long Bui investigates what he calls Asian roboticism or the ways Asians embody the machine and are given robotic characteristics.
Bui offers the first historical overview of the overlapping racialization of Asians and Asian Americans through their conflation with the robot-machine nexus. He puts forth the concept of the “model machine myth,” which holds specific queries about personhood, citizenship, labor, and rights in the transnational making of Asian/America.
The case studies in Model Machines chart the representation of Chinese laborers, Japanese soldiers, Asian sex workers, and other examples to show how Asians are reimagined to be model machines as a product of globalization, racism, and colonialism. Moreover, it offers examples of how artists and everyday people resisted that stereotype to consider different ways of being human. Starting from the early nineteenth century, the book ends in the present with the new millennium, where the resurgence of China presages the “rise of the machines” and all the doomsday scenarios this might spell for global humanity at large.
In the 1960s, a number of Catholic women religious in the United States abandoned traditional apostolic works to experiment with new and often unprecedented forms of service among non-Catholics. Amy Koehlinger explores the phenomenon of the "new nun" through close examination of one of its most visible forms--the experience of white sisters working in African-American communities. In a complex network of programs and activities Koehlinger describes as the "racial apostolate," sisters taught at African-American colleges in the South, held racial sensitivity sessions in integrating neighborhoods, and created programs for children of color in public housing projects.
Engaging with issues of race and justice allowed the sisters to see themselves, their vocation, and the Church in dramatically different terms. In this book, Koehlinger captures the confusion and frustration, as well as the exuberance and delight, they experienced in their new Christian mission. Their increasing autonomy and frequent critiques of institutional misogyny shaped reforms within their institute and sharpened a post-Vatican II crisis of authority.
From the Selma march to Chicago's Cabrini Green housing project, Amy Koehlinger illuminates the transformative nature of the nexus of race, religion, and gender in American society.
A call to arms exploring the protest movements of 2020 as they reverberated through the athletic world
Starting with the refusal of George Hill of the Milwaukee Bucks to participate in an August 2020 playoff game following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Grant Farred shows how the Covid-restricted NBA “bubble” released an energy that spurred athletes into radical action. They disrupted athletic normalcy, and in their grief and rage against American racism they demonstrated the true progressivism lacking in even the most reformist-minded politicians and pundits. Farred goes on to trace the radicalism of black athletes in a number of sports, including the WNBA, women’s tennis, the NFL, and NASCAR, locating contemporary athletes in a lineage that runs through Muhammad Ali as well as Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics.
Only a Black Athlete Can Save Us Now uses sport as a point of departure to argue that the dystopic crisis of our current moment offers a singular opportunity to reimagine how we live in the world.
Forerunners: Ideas First is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital publications. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
Marvel is one of the hottest media companies in the world right now, and its beloved superheroes are all over film, television and comic books. Yet rather than simply cashing in on the popularity of iconic white male characters like Peter Parker, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, Marvel has consciously diversified its lineup of superheroes, courting controversy in the process.
Panthers, Hulks, and Ironhearts offers the first comprehensive study of how Marvel has reimagined what a superhero might look like in the twenty-first century. It examines how they have revitalized older characters like Black Panther and Luke Cage, while creating new ones like Latina superhero Miss America. Furthermore, it considers the mixed fan responses to Marvel’s recasting of certain “legacy heroes,” including a Pakistani-American Ms. Marvel, a Korean-American Hulk, and a whole rainbow of multiverse Spidermen.
If the superhero comic is a quintessentially American creation, then how might the increasing diversification of Marvel’s superhero lineup reveal a fundamental shift in our understanding of American identity? This timely study answers those questions and considers what Marvel’s comics, TV series, and films might teach us about stereotyping, Orientalism, repatriation, whitewashing, and identification.
Dating back to the blackface minstrel performances of Bert Williams and the trickster figure of Uncle Julius in Charles Chesnutt’s Conjure Tales, black humorists have negotiated American racial ideologies as they reclaimed the ability to represent themselves in the changing landscape of the early 20th century. Marginalized communities routinely use humor, specifically satire, to subvert the political, social, and cultural realities of race and racism in America. Through contemporary examples in popular culture and politics, including the work of Kendrick Lamar, Key and Peele and the presidency of Barack Obama and many others, in Played Out: The Race Man in 21st Century Satire author Brandon J. Manning examines how Black satirists create vulnerability to highlight the inner emotional lives of Black men. In focusing on vulnerability these satirists attend to America’s most basic assumptions about Black men. Contemporary Black satire is a highly visible and celebrated site of black masculine self-expression. Black satirists leverage this visibility to trouble discourses on race and gender in the Post-Civil Rights era. More specifically, contemporary Black satire uses laughter to decenter Black men from the socio-political tradition of the Race Man.
The cry for decolonization has echoed throughout the museum world. Although perhaps most audibly heard in the case of ethnographic museums, many different types of museums have felt the need to engage in decolonial practices. Amidst those who have argued that an institution as deeply colonial as the museum cannot truly be decolonized, museum staff and museologists have been approaching the issue from different angles to practice decoloniality in any way they can. This book collects a wide range of practices from museums whose audiences, often highly diverse, come together in sometimes contentious conversations about pasts and futures. Although there are no easy or uniform answers as to how best to deal with colonial pasts, this collection of practices functions as an accessible toolkit from which museum staff can choose in order to experiment with and implement methods according to their own needs and situations. The practices are divided thematically and include, among others, methods for decentering, improving transparency, and increasing inclusivity.
This book presents a sociological study of how and why racial prejudice against members of a minority group comes to shape what happens to important political claims and aspirations of the group. Lawrence Bobo and Mia Tuan explore a lengthy controversy surrounding the fishing, hunting, and gathering rights of the Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin. The controversy started in 1974, when two Chippewa Indians were arrested for off-reservation fishing, and persisted into the 1990s. It involved the efforts of the Chippewa to assert their traditional spearfishing rights, which met with angry, racially charged responses from whites.
Bobo and Tuan develop a "group position" perspective on racial attitudes that takes account of the complex interplay of racial stereotypes and negative group feelings as well as the vested interests, collective privileges, and political threats that form the basis of racialized political disputes. They explore whether theories that explain race politics in the case of black-white relations are applicable to understanding Indian-white relations. The book uses a carefully designed survey of public opinion to explore the dynamics of prejudice and political contestation, and to further our understanding of how and why racial prejudice enters into politics in the United States.
An illuminating, in-depth look at competition in suburban high schools with growing numbers of Asian Americans, where white parents are determined to ensure that their children remain at the head of the class.
The American suburb conjures an image of picturesque privilege: manicured lawns, quiet streets, and—most important to parents—high-quality schools. These elite enclaves are also historically white, allowing many white Americans to safeguard their privileges by using public schools to help their children enter top colleges. That’s changing, however, as Asian American professionals increasingly move into wealthy suburban areas to give their kids that same leg up for their college applications and future careers.
As Natasha Warikoo shows in Race at the Top, white and Asian parents alike will do anything to help their children get to the top of the achievement pile. She takes us into the affluent suburban East Coast school she calls “Woodcrest High,” with a student body about one-half white and one-third Asian American. As increasing numbers of Woodcrest’s Asian American students earn star-pupil status, many whites feel displaced from the top of the academic hierarchy, and their frustrations grow. To maintain their children’s edge, some white parents complain to the school that schoolwork has become too rigorous. They also emphasize excellence in extracurriculars like sports and theater, which maintains their children’s advantage.
Warikoo reveals how, even when they are bested, white families in Woodcrest work to change the rules in their favor so they can remain the winners of the meritocracy game. Along the way, Warikoo explores urgent issues of racial and economic inequality that play out in affluent suburban American high schools. Caught in a race for power and privilege at the very top of society, what families in towns like Woodcrest fail to see is that everyone in their race is getting a medal—the children who actually lose are those living beyond their town’s boundaries.
Race Talk in a Mexican Cantina
Tatcho Mindiola Michigan State University Press, 2021 Library of Congress F394.H89A255 2021 | Dewey Decimal 305.80097641411
People avoid speaking about race in the presence of another racial group for fear of saying something wrong and creating friction. This was not the situation at JB’s, a small Mexican cantina located in one of Houston’s oldest Mexican barrios. Mexicans made up most of the regular patrons, but a small number of whites also visited the bar on a regular basis. This situation created the circumstances for race talk in which the Mexican patrons needled and criticized the white patrons because of their whiteness. The white patrons likewise criticized the Mexican patrons, but their remarks were not as strident in comparison to those they received. When Tatcho Mindiola visited the bar and heard the race talk, he realized that it was a unique situation. He thus became a regular patron, and over a three-year period kept notes on the racial exchanges he observed and heard, which form the basis of this insightful volume.
A thought-provoking look at how racial resentment, rather than racial prejudice alone, motivate a growing resistance among whites to improve the circumstances faced by racial minorities.
In Racial Resentment in the Political Mind, Darren W. Davis and David C. Wilson challenge the commonly held notion that all racial negativity, disagreements, and objections to policies that seek to help racial minorities stem from racial prejudice. They argue that racial resentment arises from just-world beliefs and appraisals of deservingness that help explain the persistence of racial inequality in America in ways more consequential than racism or racial prejudice alone.
The culprits, as many White people see it, are undeserving people of color, who are perceived to benefit unfairly from, and take advantage of, resources that come at Whites’ expense—a worldview in which any attempt at modest change is seen as a challenge to the status quo and privilege. Yet, as Davis and Wilson reveal, many Whites have become racially resentful due to their perceptions that African Americans skirt the “rules of the game” and violate traditional values by taking advantage of unearned resources. Resulting attempts at racial progress lead Whites to respond in ways that retain their social advantage—opposing ameliorative policies, minority candidates, and other advancement on racial progress. Because racial resentment is rooted in beliefs about justice, fairness, and deservingness, ordinary citizens, who may not harbor racist motivations, may wind up in the same political position as racists, but for different reasons.
Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the U.S. and the only majority foreign-born group in the country. With immigration fueling most of the growth, Asians are projected to surpass Hispanics as the largest immigrant group by 2055. Yet, “Asian” is a catch-all category that masks tremendous diversity. In this issue of RSF, sociologist Jennifer Lee and political scientist Karthick Ramakrishnan and an interdisciplinary roster of experts present nuanced narratives of Asian American integration that correct biased assumptions and dispel dated stereotypes. The result is an issue that makes an original and vital contribution to social science research on this understudied population.
Rather than treating Asian Americans as a monolithic group, the contributors use the 2016 National Asian American Survey to pinpoint areas of convergence and divergence within the U.S. Asian population. Despite their diversity, Asian Americans share many attitudes, behavior, and experiences in ways that exceed expectations based on socioeconomic status alone— what Lee and Ramakrishnan refer to as the “diversity-convergence paradox.” This paradox — of convergence despite divergence in national origins and socioeconomic status — is the animating question of this issue of RSF.
Contributors Janelle Wong and Sono Shah find strong political consensus within the Asian American population, particularly with regard to a robust government role in setting public policies ranging from environmental protection to gun control to higher taxation and social service provision, and even affirmative action. Wong and Shah posit that political differences within the Asian American community are between progressives and those who are even more progressive. Analyzing where policy opinions converge and diverge, Sunmin Kim finds that while many Asian Americans support government interventions in health care, education, and racial justice, some diverge sharply with regard to Muslim immigration. Lucas G. Drouhot and Filiz Garip construct a novel typology of five subgroups of Asian immigrants spanning class, gender, region, and immigrant generation to examine varied experiences of immigrant inclusion. They show how different subgroups contend with the effects of racialized othering and inclusion simultaneously at play. Van C. Tran and Natasha Warikoo analyze both interracial and intra-Asian attitudes toward immigration and find diversity among Asians’ views by national origin: As labor migrants, Filipinos support Congress increasing the number of annual work visas; as economic migrants, Chinese and Indians support an increase in annual family visas; and as refugees, Vietnamese are least supportive of pro-immigration policies.
Placing Asian Americans at the center of their analyses, the contributors illuminate how such a broadly diverse population shares similar attitudes and experiences in often surprising ways. By turning a lens on the richly diverse U.S. Asian population, this issue of RSF unveils comprehensive, compelling narratives about Asian Americans and advances our understanding of race and immigrant integration in the 21st century.
The notorious Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson made state-sanctioned racial segregation the law of the land in the United States in 1896. While the Civil Rights movement and subsequent Supreme Court decisions in the twentieth century did much to mitigate its effects, its consequences reverberate in ways large and small today. This special volume of RSF revisits the legacy of the decision on its 125th anniversary to consider the connection between constitutionally imposed segregation, institutionalized white supremacy, and enduring racial inequality. Edited by john a. powell, Samuel L. Myers, and Susan T. Gooden – eminent scholars in constitutional law, economics, and public administration respectively – the volume includes contributions from an interdisciplinary roster of experts, each offering fresh insights on the doctrine of “Separate but Equal” as it relates to citizenship, colorism, and civil rights in the United States.
The contributors grapple with a central overarching question: How is it that a court decision from 125 years ago still has such an enduring impact on racial disparities? john a. powell provides a nuanced overview of the legal context of the case to show that segregation was not only about separating people by race but was primarily about preserving White supremacy. The wide latitude for judicial interpretation granted to judges means that who decides matters, and today, just as much as in 1896, the justices sitting on the Supreme Court matter. If the views of Justice Harlan – the lone dissenter in Plessy – had prevailed, U.S. jurisprudence would look very different today.
Thomas J. Davis discusses how control over personal identity lay at the heart of Plessy, and how its denial of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms reverberates today. From sex and marriage to adoption, gender recognition, employment, and voting, persistent discrimination turns in various degrees on state authority to define, categorize, and deny freedom of personal identity. To ensure personal autonomy in such domains requires the continual reevaluation of U.S. law to recognize the freedom of individuals to define and express their own identities.
Looking at enduring educational impact of “Separate but Equal,” which was not entirely rectified by the 1954 decision outlawing school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education, Dania V. Francis and William A. Darity, Jr., link today’s ongoing within-school segregation to the legacy of racialized tracking born from White resistance to desegregation. They demonstrate how a short-term, concerted effort to increase the number of Black high school students taking advanced courses could lead to long-term benefits in closing the educational achievement gap and eliminating institutionalized segregation within our schools.
Plessy rightfully stands as one of the continuing stains on the history of our country in its ambivalence and unwillingness to address White dominance. This issue of RSF both corrects and expands the narrative around the Plessy decision, and provides important lessons for addressing the nation’s continuing racial travails. It is ideal for use by scholars, community leaders, and policy makers alike.
Tells the story of Jamaican “scammers” who use crime to gain autonomy, opportunity, and repair
There is romance in stealing from the rich to give to the poor, but how does that change when those perceived rich are elderly white North Americans and the poor are young Black Jamaicans? In this innovative ethnography, Jovan Scott Lewis tells the story of Omar, Junior, and Dwayne. Young and poor, they strive to make a living in Montego Bay, where call centers and tourism are the two main industries in the struggling economy. Their experience of grinding poverty and drastically limited opportunity leads them to conclude that scamming is the best means of gaining wealth and advancement. Otherwise, they are doomed to live in “sufferation”—an inescapable poverty that breeds misery, frustration, and vexation.
In the Jamaican lottery scam run by these men, targets are told they have qualified for a large loan or award if they pay taxes or transfer fees. When the fees are paid, the award never arrives, netting the scammers tens of thousands of U.S. dollars. Through interviews, historical sources, song lyrics, and court testimonies, Lewis examines how these scammers justify their deceit, discovering an ethical narrative that reformulates ideas of crime and transgression and their relationship to race, justice, and debt.
Scammer’s Yard describes how these young men, seeking to overcome inequality and achieve autonomy, come to view crime as a form of liberation. Their logic raises unsettling questions about a world economy that relegates postcolonial populations to deprivation even while expecting them to follow the rules of capitalism that exacerbate their dispossession. In this groundbreaking account, Lewis asks whether true reparation for the legacy of colonialism is to be found only through radical—even criminal—means.
In the early twentieth century, Brazil shifted from a nation intent on whitening its population to one billing itself as a racial democracy. Anadelia Romo shows that this shift centered in Salvador, Bahia, where throughout the 1950s, modernist artists and intellectuals forged critical alliances with Afro-Brazilian religious communities of Candomblé to promote their culture and their city. These efforts combined with a growing promotion of tourism to transform what had been one of the busiest slaving depots in the Americas into a popular tourist enclave celebrated for its rich Afro-Brazilian culture. Vibrant illustrations and texts by the likes of Jorge Amado, Pierre Verger, and others contributed to a distinctive iconography of the city, with Afro-Bahians at its center. But these optimistic visions of inclusion, Romo reveals, concealed deep racial inequalities. Illustrating how these visual archetypes laid the foundation for Salvador’s modern racial landscape, this book unveils the ways ethnic and racial populations have been both included and excluded not only in Brazil but in Latin America as a whole.
Despite the substantial economic and political strides that African-Americans have made in this century, welfare remains an issue that sharply divides Americans by race. Shifting the Color Line explores the historical and political roots of enduring racial conflict in American welfare policy, beginning with the New Deal.
Through Social Security and other social insurance programs, white workers were successfully integrated into a strong national welfare state. At the same time, African-Americans--then as now disproportionately poor--were relegated to the margins of the welfare state, through decentralized, often racist, public assistance programs.
Over the next generation, these institutional differences had fateful consequences for African-Americans and their integration into American politics. Owing to its strong national structure, Social Security quickly became the closest thing we have to a universal, color-blind social program. On the other hand, public assistance--especially Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)--continued to treat African-Americans badly, while remaining politically weak and institutionally decentralized.
Racial distinctions were thus built into the very structure of the American welfare state. By keeping poor blacks at arm's length while embracing white workers, national welfare policy helped to construct the contemporary political divisions--middle-class versus poor, suburb versus city, and white versus black--that define the urban underclass.
The twenty-first century is already riddled with protests demanding social justice, and in every instance, young people are leading the charge. But in addition to protesters who take to the streets with handmade placards are young adults who engage in less obvious change-making tactics. In Speaking Truths, sociologist Valerie Chepp goes behind-the-scenes to uncover how spoken word poetry—and young people’s participation in it—contributes to a broader understanding of contemporary social justice activism, including this generation’s attention to the political importance of identity, well-being, and love.
Drawing upon detailed observations and in-depth interviews, Chepp tells the story of a diverse group of young adults from Washington, D.C. who use spoken word to create a more just and equitable world. Outlining the contours of this approach, she interrogates spoken word activism’s emphasis on personal storytelling and “truth,” the strategic uses of aesthetics and emotions to politically engage across difference, and the significance of healing in sustainable movements for change. Weaving together their poetry and personally told stories, Chepp shows how poets tap into the beautiful, emotional, personal, and therapeutic features of spoken word to empathically connect with others, advance intersectional and systemic analyses of inequality, and make social justice messages relatable across a diverse public. By creating allies and forging connections based on friendship, professional commitments, lived experiences, emotions, artistic kinship, and political views, this activist approach is highly integrated into the everyday lives of its practitioners, online and face-to-face.
Chepp argues that spoken word activism is a product of, and a call to action against, the neoliberal era in which poets have come of age, characterized by widening structural inequalities and increasing economic and social vulnerability. She illustrates how this deeply personal and intimate activist approach borrows from, builds upon, and diverges from previous social movement paradigms. Spotlighting the complexity and mutual influence of modern-day activism and the world in which it unfolds, Speaking Truths contributes to our understanding of contemporary social change-making and how neoliberalism has shaped this political generation’s experiences with social injustice.
The story of the civil rights movement typically begins with the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 and culminates with the 1965 voting rights struggle in Selma. But as Martha Biondi shows, a grassroots struggle for racial equality in the urban North began a full ten years before the rise of the movement in the South. This story is an essential first chapter, not only to the southern movement that followed, but to the riots that erupted in northern and western cities just as the civil rights movement was achieving major victories.
Biondi tells the story of African Americans who mobilized to make the war against fascism a launching pad for a postwar struggle against white supremacy at home. Rather than seeking integration in the abstract, black New Yorkers demanded first-class citizenship--jobs for all, affordable housing, protection from police violence, access to higher education, and political representation. This powerful local push for economic and political equality met broad resistance, yet managed to win several landmark laws barring discrimination and segregation.
To Stand and Fight demonstrates how black New Yorkers launched the modern civil rights struggle and left a rich legacy.
A thoroughly researched and extensively documented look at race relations in Arkansas druing the forty years after the Civil War, Town and Country focuses on the gradual adjustment of black and white Arkansans to the new status of the freedman, in both society and law, after generations of practicing the racial etiquette of slavery.
John Graves examines the influences of the established agrarian culture on the developing racial practices of the urban centers, where many blacks living in the towns were able to gain prominence as doctors, lawyers, successful entrepreneurs, and political leaders. Despite the tension, conflict, and disputes within and between the voice of the government and the voice of the people in an arduous journey toward compromise, Arkansas was one of the most progressive states during Reconstruction in desegregating its people.
Town and Country makes a significant contribution to the history of the postwar South and its complex engagement with the race issue.
In 1767, two "princes" of a ruling family in the port of Old Calabar, on the slave coast of Africa, were ambushed and captured by English slavers. The princes, Little Ephraim Robin John and Ancona Robin Robin John, were themselves slave traders who were betrayed by African competitors--and so began their own extraordinary odyssey of enslavement. Their story, written in their own hand, survives as a rare firsthand account of the Atlantic slave experience.
Randy Sparks made the remarkable discovery of the princes' correspondence and has managed to reconstruct their adventures from it. They were transported from the coast of Africa to Dominica, where they were sold to a French physician. By employing their considerable language and interpersonal skills, they cleverly negotiated several escapes that took them from the Caribbean to Virginia, and to England, but always ended in their being enslaved again. Finally, in England, they sued for, and remarkably won, their freedom. Eventually, they found their way back to Old Calabar and, evidence suggests, resumed their business of slave trading.
The Two Princes of Calabar offers a rare glimpse into the eighteenth-century Atlantic World and slave trade from an African perspective. It brings us into the trading communities along the coast of Africa and follows the regular movement of goods, people, and ideas across and around the Atlantic. It is an extraordinary tale of slaves' relentless quest for freedom and their important role in the creation of the modern Atlantic World.
Based on ethnographic observations and interviews with inmates, correctional officers, and civilian staff conducted in solitary confinement units, Way Down in the Hole explores the myriad ways in which daily, intimate interactions between those locked up twenty-four hours a day and the correctional officers charged with their care, custody, and control produce and reproduce hegemonic racial ideologies. Smith and Hattery explore the outcome of building prisons in rural, economically depressed communities, staffing them with white people who live in and around these communities, filling them with Black and brown bodies from urban areas and then designing the structure of solitary confinement units such that the most private, intimate daily bodily functions take place in very public ways. Under these conditions, it shouldn’t be surprising, but is rarely considered, that such daily interactions produce and reproduce white racial resentment among many correctional officers and fuel the racialized tensions that inmates often describe as the worst forms of dehumanization. Way Down in the Hole concludes with recommendations for reducing the use of solitary confinement, reforming its use in a limited context, and most importantly, creating an environment in which inmates and staff co-exist in ways that recognize their individual humanity and reduce rather than reproduce racial antagonisms and racial resentment.
It’s not the economy, stupid: How liberal politicians’ faith in the healing powers of economic growth—and refusal to address racial divisions—fueled reactionary politics across the South.
From FDR to Clinton, charismatic Democratic leaders have promised a New South—a model of social equality and economic opportunity that is always just around the corner. So how did the region become the stronghold of conservative Republicans in thrall to Donald Trump? After a lifetime studying Southern politics, Anthony Badger has come to a provocative conclusion: white liberals failed because they put their faith in policy solutions as an engine for social change and were reluctant to confront directly the explosive racial politics dividing their constituents.
After World War II, many Americans believed that if the edifice of racial segregation, white supremacy, and voter disfranchisement could be dismantled across the South, the forces of liberalism would prevail. Hopeful that economic modernization and education would bring about gradual racial change, Southern moderates were rattled when civil rights protest and federal intervention forced their hand. Most were fatalistic in the face of massive resistance. When the end of segregation became inevitable, it was largely driven by activists and mediated by Republican businessmen.
Badger follows the senators who refused to sign the Southern Manifesto and rejected Nixon’s Southern Strategy. He considers the dilemmas liberals faced across the South, arguing that their failure cannot be blamed simply on entrenched racism. Conservative triumph was not inevitable, he argues, before pointing to specific false steps and missed opportunities.
Could the biracial coalition of low-income voters that liberal politicians keep counting on finally materialize? Badger sees hope but urges Democrats not to be too complacent.