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1 Philip J. Mazzocco Assistant Professor of Psychology, Ohio State University at Mansfield Faculty Associate, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Philip J. Mazzocco Assistant Professor of Psychology, Ohio State University at Mansfield Faculty Associate, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Philip J. Mazzocco Assistant Professor of Psychology, Ohio State University at Mansfield Faculty Associate, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Contact: Color-Blind Racism 9/23/06 National Resource Center for the Healing of Racism

2 2 Overview I. Determinants of racial policy attitudes. II. Color-blind ‘racism’. III. Q&A

3 3 I.Determinants of Racial Policy Attitudes

4 4 A Contradiction Reality 1 - Blatant prejudice and discrimination have been on the wane in the preceding decades. Reality 2 - Racial disparities are still extreme, and opposition to programs like affirmative-action is still strong. Reality 1 Reality 2

5 5 Racial Disparities (Black vs. White)… Infant morality rate 146% higher Lack of health insurance coverage 42.3% more likely Median income rate 55.3% lower Poverty rate 173% higher 1:5 wealth gap regardless of income level Life chances of imprisonment 447% higher Rate death by homicide 521% higher Percent with a college degree or beyond 59.5% lower Average life span 5.5 years less U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: & U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

6 6 A Disparities-Focused Model of Racial Policy Attitudes Three Key Factors –Awareness and Perceptions of Disparities –Explanations for Disparities –Opinions Regarding Viable Solutions to Disparities

7 7 1. Awareness/Perceptions of Disparities AA will tend to be supported to the extent that disparities are perceived as –Present, extreme, persisting/widening AA will tend to be opposed to the extent that disparities are perceived as –Absent, minimal, declining

8 8 Whites’ Perceptions of Black Cost White research participants asked how much they would need to be paid to become Black for the rest of their lives. Modal requests fell between $0 and $10,000 dollars. In explaining their requests, the most common response was that Blacks and Whites are now equal. (Mazzocco, Brock, Brock, Olsen, & Banaji, in press)

9 9 2. Explanations for Disparities AA will tend to be supported to the extent that disparities are perceived as –Structural, historically-based, unnatural AA will tend to be opposed to the extent that disparities are perceived as –Cultural, individual, natural

10 10 3. Solutions to Disparities AA will tend to be supported to the extent that color-conscious strategies for disparity reduction are supported. AA will tend to be opposed to the extent that color-blind strategies for disparity reduction are supported.

11 11 II. Color-Blind ‘Racism’

12 12 U.S. Constitution (1787) Many of the key issues of contention involved Southern pressures to protect slavery. Reason for: –Senate –Importance of ‘States Rights’ –Importance of ‘private property’ protections

13 13 3/5’s compromise “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

14 14 The Nadir of Race Relations ( ) KKK begins a campaign of terror in the south aimed at disenfranchising Blacks. Black codes (Jim Crow laws) reestablished. Sharecropping schemes approximated slavery. Politicians engaged in race-baiting. Informal and legal segregation became common across the country.

15 15 Plessy v. Ferguson (1877) Homer Plessy was arrested for sitting in a White railway car (in Louisiana). He appealed his conviction all the way to the Supreme Court. Legal Reasoning Behind Segregation: All Blacks of every class and kind were inferior to all Whites of every class and kind. Hence, physical separation of all Blacks and all Whites was justified (law was upheld 7-1).

16 16 Dissent of John Marshall Harlan “… in view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved."

17 17 Harlan’s Prior Comments “The White race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. And so it is, in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth and in power. So, I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time, if it remains true to its great heritage and holds fast to the principles of constitutional liberty. But…”

18 18 Harlan’s Meaning “Separate but equal” formally recognized two distinct race nations: the Black and White nations (which the constitution had avoided doing). This precedent led, 75 years later, to civil rights legislation involving desegregation and affirmative action. How?

19 19 Recognition of Nations 1.Encouraged the keeping of statistics broken down by race-nation. 2.Allowed one nation to bring a federal suit on behalf of all people in that nation. 3.Theoretically allowed the federal government to apply laws that would affect the two nations differently.

20 20 Problems with Color-Blind Approach Masks actual disparities. Tends to encourage polarizing of racial disparities.

21 21 Johnson’s Defense of Color-Consciousness “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line in a race and then say, ‘you are free to compete with all the others’, and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”

22 22 Understanding of Disparities Present Extreme Persisting Absent Minimal Declining Explanations for Disparities Structural Historical Abnormal Individual Cultural Normal Solutions to Disparities Color-ConsciousColor-Blind OPPOSE AA SUPPORT AA Disparities-Focused Model of Racial Policy Attitudes


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