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Chapter Five African Americans: From Segregation to Modern Institutional Discrimination and Modern Racism © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
The End of De Jure Segregation The mechanization and modernization of agriculture in the South had a powerful effect on race relations. –need to maintain a large, powerless workforce declined –migration northward to urban areas increased –political power became more feasible for African Americans WWII saw one of the first and most successful applications of the growing stock of black power. –A. Philip Randolph and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters –President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order creating the Fair Employment Practices Commission © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
The End of De Jure Segregation The Civil Rights movement was a multifaceted campaign to end legalized segregation and ameliorate the massive inequalities faced by African Americans. Brown v. Board of Education Topeka, 1954 reversed Plessey v. Ferguson, 1896 and ruled that racially separate facilities are inherently unequal and therefore unconstitutional. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
The End of De Jure Segregation Southern states responded to the Brown (1954) decision by stalling and mounting campaigns of massive resistance. –The Ku Klux Klan, largely dormant since the 1920s, reappeared along with other racist and terrorist groups. –Prince Edward County, in central Virginia, chose to close its public schools rather than integrate. For five years, white children attended private, segregated academies, and the county provided no education at all for African American children (Franklin, 1967, p. 644). © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
The End of De Jure Segregation The Civil Rights movement origin is often traced to Montgomery, Alabama, where on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, was jailed for violating a local segregation ordinance. Her case stimulated a protest movement in the black community and a boycott of the city buses was organized. Nonviolent direct action became a method by which the system of de jure segregation was confronted head-on, not in the courtroom or in the state legislature, but in the streets. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
The End of De Jure Segregation Nonviolent protest was intended to confront the forces of evil rather than the people who happened to be doing evil, and it attempted to win the friendship and support of its enemies rather than to defeat or humiliate them. The successes of the protest movement combined with changing public opinion and the legal principles established by the Supreme Court coalesced in the mid-1960s to stimulate the passage of two laws that, together, ended Jim Crow segregation. –Civil Rights Act of 1964 –Voting Rights Act of 1965 © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
The End of De Jure Segregation Factors that facilitated the success of the Civil Rights movement: –Industrialization and urbanization, particularly in the South –Post-WWII economic prosperity increased African American political power –The goals of the movement were assimilationist –Widespread, sympathetic mass media coverage of the movement, particularly television While the Civil Rights movement ended segregation, its tactics were less useful in the actual distribution of valued societal resources. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Developments Outside the South De facto segregation is segregation resulting from the apparently voluntary choices of dominant and minority groups alike; it “just happens” as people and groups make decisions about where to live and work. The de facto variety is often the de jure variety in thin disguise as in cities outside of the South de factor segregation was often the direct result of intentionally racist decisions made by governmental and quasi-governmental agencies such as real estate boards, school boards, and zoning boards (see Massey & Denton, 1993, pp. 74-114). © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Developments Outside the South In the mid-1960s, the frustration and anger of urban black communities erupted into a series of violent uprisings. The urban unrest consisted largely of attacks by blacks against the symbols of their oppression and frustration. –White-owned businesses operating in black neighborhoods. –The police who were seen as an army of occupation and whose excessive use of force was often the immediate precipitator of riots (Conot, 1967; National Advisory Commission, 1968). © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Developments Outside the South Outside the South, the problems were different and called for different solutions. The Black Power movement was a loose coalition of organizations and spokespersons that encompassed a variety of ideas and views, many of which differed sharply from those of the civil rights movement. Some of the central ideas included: –Racial pride, interest in African heritage, and Black nationalism –Malcom X and The Nation of Islam. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Protest, Power, and Pluralism In the context of black-white relations in the 1960s, the Black Power movement served a variety of purposes. –It helped carve out a new identity for African Americans as it supplied a view of African Americans that emphasized power, assertiveness, seriousness of purpose, intelligence, and courage. –Back power served as a new rallying cry for solidarity and unified action in the “unfinished business” of erasing black-white inequality. –The ideology provided an analysis of the problems of American race relations in the 1960s—only the restructuring of American society would rid African Americans of their main problem, institutionalized racism/discrimination. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Gender and Black Protest The battle against racism and the battle against sexism were separate struggles with separate and often contradictory agendas as the black protest movement continued to subordinate women (Amott & Matthaei, 1991, p. 177). In the view of many, African American women were the backbone of the movement, even if they were often relegated to less glamorous but vital organizational work (Evans, 1979). Fanny Lou Hamer devoted herself entirely to the civil rights movement and founded the Freedom Party, which successfully challenged the racially segregated Democratic Party and the all-white political structure of the state of Mississippi (Evans, 1979; Hamer, 1967). © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Black-White Relations Since the 1960s Without denying the progress toward integration, African Americans and white Americans continue to live in worlds that are indeed separate and unequal. Both groups have committed violence and hate crimes on the other, but the power differentials and the patterns of inequality that are the legacy of our racist past guarantee that African Americans will more often be seen as “invaders” pushing into areas where they do not belong and are not wanted—public discrimination lawsuits to race riots not a thing of the past. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
The Criminal Justice System and African Americans No area of race relations is more volatile and controversial than the relationship between the black community and the criminal justice system. –Numerous examples of excessive force –Racial profiling is an ongoing debate The disproportional involvement of African American males within the criminal justice system is largely the result of a national “get tough” policies that have the “unintended” effects of targeting certain populations—institutional discrimination. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Increasing Class Inequality Urbanization has brought increased class differentiation with black poverty a serious problem and middle-class blacks lagging far behind middle-class whites in economic resources. The greater economic marginality of the black middle class today is a form of “past-in-present” institutional discrimination and reflects the greater ability of white parents (and grandparents) to finance higher education and to subsidize business ventures and home mortgages (Oliver & Shapiro, 2001). No matter what their level of success, occupation, or professional accomplishments, race continues to be seen as their primary defining characteristic in the eyes of the larger society (Cose, 1993). © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Increasing Class Inequality Automation and mechanization in the workplace have eliminated many of the manual labor jobs that sustained city dwellers in earlier decades (Kasarda, 1989). Industrialists have been moving their businesses to areas where labor is cheaper, unions have less power, and taxes are lower. As the jobs migrate, so do more affluent segments of the population. These increasingly isolated neighborhoods are fertile grounds for the development of oppositional cultures, which reject or invert the values of the larger society. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Increasing Class Inequality One of the livelier debates in contemporary race relations concerns the relative importance of race and class in shaping the lives of African Americans and other minority groups. One position argues that race is no longer the primary controlling influence in the lives of African Americans and that blacks and whites at the same social class level or with the same credentials have the same opportunities (Wilson, 1980). Others argue that race remains the single most important feature of a person’s identity and the most important determinant of life chances (Feagin, 2001; Margolis, 1989, p. 99; Willie, 1989). © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
The Family Institution and the Culture of Poverty In a recent report by Royster (2003), black and white graduates completed the same curricula and earned similar grades from a Baltimore trade school yet black graduates were employed less often in the trades for which they had been educated, had lower wages, got ewer promotions, and experienced longer periods of employment. Extensive interviews with subjects showed that white graduates had access to intraracial networks (family and friends) of referrals and recruitment that linked them to the job market in ways that simply were not available to black graduates. Royster’s work demonstrates that the world of work is controlled by nepotism, cronyism, personal relationships, and networks of social relations that are decidedly not open to everyone. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
The Family Institution and the Culture of Poverty The nature of the African American family institution has been a continuing source of concern and controversy. Rather than poverty being a product of a culture of poverty that is characteristic of black family structure, the cause of black urban poverty is a product of the complex forces of past and present institutional discrimination, American racism and prejudice, the precarious position of African American women in the labor force, and continuing urbanization and industrialization. The solution to black urban poverty lies in fundamental changes in the urban-industrial economy and sweeping alterations in the distribution of resources and opportunities. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Mixed Race & New Racial Identities One important study illustrates some of the possible identities for mixed race individuals: Border identity Singular identity Transcendent identity Protean identity The most common racial identity is border identity – individuals don’t consider themselves to be either black or white © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Prejudice and Discrimination The overall trend is unmistakable: There has been a dramatic decline in support for prejudiced statements since World War II. In the early 1940s, a large majority of white Americans supported prejudiced views. In recent years, only a small minority expresses such views. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Prejudice and Discrimination Of course, these polls also show that prejudice has not vanished. A percentage of the white population continues to endorse highly prejudicial sentiments and opinions. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Prejudice and Discrimination A number of scholars reject the idea that prejudice in the United States has declined and argue that it is simply changing forms. They have been investigating symbolic or modern racism, a more subtle, complex, and indirect way to express negative feelings toward minority groups and opposition to change in dominant-minority relations (see Bobo, 1988, 2001; Kinder & Sears, 1981; Kluegel & Smith, 1982; McConahy, 1986; Sears, 1988). © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Modern Institutional Discrimination Specifically, modern racism assumes that: (a) there is no longer any serious or important racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination in American society, (b) any remaining racial or ethnic inequality is the fault of members of the minority group, and (c) demands for preferential treatment or affirmative action for minorities are unjustified. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Racial/Ethnic Money Income in the United States: 2001 © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Modern Institutional Discrimination Modern racism tends to “blame the victim” and place the responsibility for change and improvements on the minority groups, not on the larger society. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Modern Institutional Discrimination © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Modern Institutional Discrimination Although the traditional, more overt forms of prejudice have certainly not disappeared, contemporary expressions of prejudice are often amorphous and indirect—modern racism. The clarity of Jim Crow has yielded to the ambiguity of modern institutional discrimination and the continuing legacy of past discrimination in the present. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Assimilation and Pluralism: Acculturation The centuries of cultural domination and separate development have created a unique black experience in America. African Americans share language, religion, values, beliefs, and norms with the dominant society but have developed distinct variations on the general themes. The acculturation process may have been slowed (or even reversed) by the Black Power movement. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Secondary Structural Assimilation Today, the extent of residential segregation varies around the nation, but blacks continue to be the most isolated of minority groups, especially in the older industrial cities of the Northeast and Midwest (Pollard & O’Hare, 1999, p. 29). Continuing patterns of residential segregation reflect the social class differences between the races and are reinforced by a variety of discriminatory practices— racial steering, redlining, white flight. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Secondary Structural Assimilation © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Assimilation and Pluralism: Acculturation Today, 70% of African American children still attend schools with a black majority, and one third attend schools that are 90% to 100% minority. In terms of the quantity of education, the gap between whites and blacks has generally decreased over the century. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Secondary Structural Assimilation Movement out of the rural south and the dismantling of institutionalized voting barriers have increased black political power. The number of black elected officials at all levels of government increased from virtually zero at the turn of the century to almost 9,000 in 1999 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2002, p. 250). However, African American political power is limited as... –Local economic conditions are shaped mainly by corporation officials on the basis of short-term profits and not community needs” (Marger, 1994, p. 254). © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Secondary Structural Assimilation The situation of African American jobs and income has improved since the end of de jure segregation but has stopped well short of equality. Unemployment has been at least twice as high for blacks as for whites since the 1940s and vary by sex and by age, with black males frequently have higher unemployment rates than do black females. The differences in education and jobs are reflected in a persistent racial income gap. Poverty affects black Americans at much higher rates than it does white Americans. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Secondary Structural Assimilation © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Primary Structural Assimilation Interracial contact in the more public areas of society is certainly more common today, which has led to increases in more intimate contacts across racial lines. On the other hand, further increases in this area are limited by continuing structural pluralism and separate black and white institutional and organizational structures. Interracial marriages are increasing in number but still make up a tiny percentage of all marriages. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
The Election of Barack Obama Barach Obama took the oath of office and became the 44 th president of the U.S. A Post-Racial Society? What could the term “post-racial” mean in the context of Obama’s victory? Anti-black prejudice, racism, and discrimination have lost their force. Diminishing power of racial identity in American society. Empty rhetoric, a mistaken and greatly exaggerated interpretation of the significance of Obama’s victory. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
The Election of Barack Obama Conclusions Which of the three versions of the interpretation for “post-racial” seems most viable in the light of the information presented here? The truth perhaps lies in some mixture: while race may be losing some of its historic power to shape our perception and control our lives, our society continues to be deeply divided by race. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full? Perhaps the most reasonable approach is to recognize that in many ways, the overall picture of racial progress is “different” rather than “better” and that a large percentage of the African American population has traded rural peasantry for urban poverty and faces an array of formidable and deep-rooted problems. Urban poverty, modern institutional discrimination, and modern racism are less dramatic and more difficult to measure than an overseer’s whip, a lynch mob, or a sign that says “Whites Only,” but they can be just as real and just as deadly in their consequences. © Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage Publications, 2010
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