The Colors of Poverty
Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Title Page, Copyright
1. Why Is American Poverty Still Colored in the Twenty-First Century?
In the United States, one of every three African American children and one of every four Latino children lives in poverty. For white children, the number is one in seven (U.S. Census Bureau 2007). Substantial progress for racial minorities has occurred over the last forty years, and yet the life chances of the average...
Part 1. Group Identity and Group Outcomes
2. The Dynamics of Discrimination
In 1927, a New York clothing manufacturer advertised for help with a notice typical of that time period: “White Workers $24: Colored Workers $20” (Schiller 2004, 190; see also Darity and Mason 1998, table 1). At the time, ads like these were common, with the explicit understanding that whites were more...
3. Justifying Inequality: A Social Psychological Analysis of Beliefs About Poverty and the Poor
Anews story reports that 12.6 percent of the United States population was
poor in 2004. No demographic information is provided. Who do you think
the poor are?
You watch a television program about low-income mothers trying to make ends meet. One of the mothers featured says that employers don’t want to hire...
4. How Culture Matters: Enriching Our Understanding of Poverty
The term culture figures prominently in the literature on poverty, race, and ethnicity, though rarely with much theoretical or empirical sophistication. Conceived rather vaguely as a group’s norms and values, as its attitudes toward work and family, or as its observed patterns of behavior,1 culture has been...
Part 2. Nonracial Explanation for Racial Disparities in Poverty
5. How Educational Inequality Develops
Academic achievement—schooling completed and degrees attained, as well as the skills and capabilities associated with these credentials—is an important determinant of socioeconomic success. Few if any personal characteristics are more strongly and positively related to an individual’s later occupational...
6. Poverty, Migration, and Health
Living and working conditions are important determinants of health because they underscore differential exposure to health risks and resources. Accordingly, poverty and other indicators of socioeconomic status (SES) are important contexts that shape the distribution of health risks and resources. Moreover...
7. Can Social Capital Explain Persistent Racial Poverty Gaps?
Social capital has recently become one of the most widely used concepts in sociology and social science. No fewer than four monographs (Lin 2001; Aberg and Sandberg 2003; Feld 2003; Halpern 2005), ten edited volumes, and 900 social science articles (Halpern 2005, figure 1.1) on social capital have been published since 2001. The term has been one of sociology’s most successful exports...
Part 3. Policy, Race, and Poverty: Intentions and Consequences
8. Race, Place, and Poverty Revisited
Not long ago, the lens viewing urban America displayed chocolate cities and vanilla suburbs. Popular funk bands of the 1970s, such as Parliament with their megahit “Chocolate Cities,” helped mold this understanding through musical lyrics that described American urban areas becoming darker and poorer while suburbs were emerging as white and rich (Avila 2004). U.S. cities...
9. Place, Race, and Access to the Safety Net
This volume and other research show the clear connections between place, racial segregation, and concentrated poverty in urban and rural communities. Living in impoverished neighborhoods isolated from job opportunities, good schools, and quality housing is associated with negative education, employment...
10. Punishment, Crime, and Poverty
The association between crime, punishment, and poverty has long been the subject of sociological and criminological investigation. Recent work has shifted attention to the role of criminal punishment in explaining contemporary trends in inequality (Clear 2007; Clear, Rose, and Ryder 2001; Pager 2003...
11. Coloring the Terms of Membership
Most studies of racial and ethnic inequalities focus on how discrete, measurable things get allocated across groups. “Who benefits,” researchers ask as they examine the allocation of goods, “and why do some get more than others?” Such questions rightly lie at the heart of our collective effort to understand how inequalities persist and change. Yet they are not the whole of it. Disparities...