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Talking (and Not Talking) About Race at Work
Since the 1960s, the dominant model for fostering diversity and inclusion in the United States has been the “color blind” approach, which emphasizes similarity and assimilation and insists that people should be understood as individuals, not as members of racial or cultural groups. This approach is especially prevalent in the workplace, where discussions about race and ethnicity are considered taboo. Yet, as widespread as “color blindness” has become, many studies show that the practice has damaging repercussions, including reinforcing the existing racial hierarchy by ignoring the significance of racism and discrimination. In The Color Bind, workplace experts Erica Foldy and Tamara Buckley investigate race relations in office settings, looking at how both color blindness and what they call “color cognizance” have profound effects on the ways coworkers think and interact with each other.
Based on an intensive two-and-a-half-year study of employees at a child welfare agency, The Color Bind shows how color cognizance—the practice of recognizing the profound impact of race and ethnicity on life experiences while affirming the importance of racial diversity—can help workers move beyond silence on the issue of race toward more inclusive workplace practices. Drawing from existing psychological and sociological research that demonstrates the success of color-cognizant approaches in dyads, workgroups and organizations, Foldy and Buckley analyzed the behavior of work teams within a child protection agency. The behaviors of three teams in particular reveal the factors that enable color cognizance to flourish. While two of the teams largely avoided explicitly discussing race, one group, “Team North,” openly talked about race and ethnicity in team meetings. By acknowledging these differences when discussing how to work with their clients and with each other, the members of Team North were able to dig into challenges related to race and culture instead of avoiding them. The key to achieving color cognizance within the group was twofold: It required both the presence of at least a few members who were already color cognizant, as well as an environment in which all team members felt relatively safe and behaved in ways that strengthened learning, including productively resolving conflict and reflecting on their practice.
The Color Bind provides a useful lens for policy makers, researchers and practitioners pursuing in a wide variety of goals, from addressing racial disparities in health and education to creating diverse and inclusive organizations to providing culturally competent services to clients and customers. By foregrounding open conversations about race and ethnicity, Foldy and Buckley show that institutions can transcend the color bind in order to better acknowledge and reflect the diverse populations they serve.
Is the United States a nation divided by the “color line,” as W.E.B. Dubois declared? What is the impact of race on the lives of Americans today? In this powerful new assessment of the social reality of race, Reynolds Farley and Walter Allen compare demographic, social, and economic characteristics of blacks and whites to discover how and to what extent racial identity influences opportunities and outcomes in our society. They conclude that despite areas of considerable gain, black Americans continue to be substantially disadvantaged relative to whites.
A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
Poor Whites and the Paradox of Privilege
"Even though we lived a few blocks away in our neighborhood or sat a seat or two away in elementary school, a vast chasm of class and racial difference separated us from them."—From the Introduction
What is it like to be white, poor, and socially marginalized while, at the same time, surrounded by the glowing assumption of racial privilege? Kirby Moss, an African American anthropologist and journalist, goes back to his hometown in the Midwest to examine ironies of social class in the lives of poor whites. He purposely moves beyond the most stereotypical image of white poverty in the U.S.—rural Appalachian culture—to illustrate how poor whites carve out their existence within more complex cultural and social meanings of whiteness. Moss interacts with people from a variety of backgrounds over the course of his fieldwork, ranging from high school students to housewives. His research simultaneously reveals fundamental fault lines of American culture and the limits of prevailing conceptions of social order and establishes a basis for reconceptualizing the categories of color and class.
Ultimately Moss seeks to write an ethnography not only of whiteness but of blackness as well. For in struggling with the elusive question of class difference in U.S. society, Moss finds that he must also deal with the paradoxical nature of his own fragile and contested position as an unassumed privileged black man suspended in the midst of assumed white privilege.
Race, Violence, and Justice in the Post@-World War II South
On February 25, 1946, African Americans in Columbia, Tennessee, averted the lynching of James Stephenson, a nineteen-year-old, black Navy veteran accused of attacking a white radio repairman at a local department store. That night, after Stephenson was safely out of town, four of Columbia's police officers were shot and wounded when they tried to enter the town's black business district. The next morning, the Tennessee Highway Patrol invaded the district, wrecking establishments and beating men as they arrested them. By day's end, more than one hundred African Americans had been jailed. Two days later, highway patrolmen killed two of the arrestees while they were awaiting release from jail.Drawing on oral interviews and a rich array of written sources, Gail Williams O'Brien tells the dramatic story of the Columbia "race riot," the national attention it drew, and its surprising legal aftermath. In the process, she illuminates the effects of World War II on race relations and the criminal justice system in the United States. O'Brien argues that the Columbia events are emblematic of a nationwide shift during the 1940s from mob violence against African Americans to increased confrontations between blacks and the police and courts. As such, they reveal the history behind such contemporary conflicts as the Rodney King and O. J. Simpson cases.Exploring the famous 1956 race riot in Columbia, Tennessee, this book reveals the roots of black distrust and conflict with the criminal justice system. The Columbia events are viewed as emblematic of the nation’s postwar shift from mob violence against blacks to increased confrontations between blacks and the police and the courts.On February 25, 1946, African Americans in Columbia, Tennessee, averted the lynching of James Stephenson, a nineteen-year-old, black Navy veteran accused of attacking a white radio repairman at a local department store. That night, after Stephenson was safely out of town, four of Columbia's police officers were shot and wounded when they tried to enter the town's black business district. The next morning, the Tennessee Highway Patrol invaded the district, wrecking establishments and beating men as they arrested them. By day's end, more than one hundred African Americans had been jailed. Two days later, highway patrolmen killed two of the arrestees while they were awaiting release from jail.Drawing on oral interviews and a rich array of written sources, Gail Williams O'Brien tells the dramatic story of the Columbia "race riot," the national attention it drew, and its surprising legal aftermath. In the process, she illuminates the effects of World War II on race relations and the criminal justice system in the United States. O'Brien argues that the Columbia events are emblematic of a nationwide shift during the 1940s from mob violence against African Americans to increased confrontations between blacks and the police and courts. As such, they reveal the history behind such contemporary conflicts as the Rodney King and O. J. Simpson cases.
Race Talk Dilemmas in an American School
This book considers in unprecedented detail one of the most confounding questions in American racial practice: when to speak about people in racial terms. Viewing "race talk" through the lens of a California high school and district, Colormute draws on three years of ethnographic research on everyday race labeling in education. Based on the author's experiences as a teacher as well as an anthropologist, it discusses the role race plays in everyday and policy talk about such familiar topics as discipline, achievement, curriculum reform, and educational inequality.
Pollock illustrates the wide variations in the way speakers use race labels. Sometimes people use them without thinking twice; at other moments they avoid them at all costs or use them only in the description of particular situations. While a major concern of everyday race talk in schools is that racial descriptions will be inaccurate or inappropriate, Pollock demonstrates that anxiously suppressing race words (being what she terms "colormute") can also cause educators to reproduce the very racial inequities they abhor.
The book assists readers in cultivating a greater understanding of the pitfalls and possibilities of everyday race talk and clarifies previously murky discussions of "colorblindness." By bridging the gap between theory and practice, Colormute will be enormously helpful in fostering ongoing conversations about dismantling racial inequality in America.
An Annotated Critical Edition
Pennsylvanian Quaker Anthony Benezet was one of the most important and prolific abolitionists of the eighteenth century. The first to combine religious and philosophical arguments with extensive documentation of the slave trade based on eyewitness reports from Africa and the colonies, Benezet's antislavery writings served as foundational texts for activists on both sides of the Atlantic. In England, those who incorporated his work into their own writings included Granville Sharp, John Wesley, Thomas Clarkson, and William Dillwyn, while Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, David Cooper, James Forten, Absalom Jones, and Richard Allen drew inspiration from his essays in America. Despite Benezet's pervasive influence during his lifetime, David L. Crosby's annotated edition represents the first time Benezet's antislavery works are available in one book.
In addition to assembling Benezet's canon, Crosby chronicles the development of Benezet's antislavery philosophy and places the aboli-tionist's writing in historical context. Each work is preceded by an editor's note that describes the circumstances surrounding its original publication and the significance of the selection.
Benezet's writings included in this edition:
An Epistle of Caution and Advice Concerning the Buying and Keeping of Slaves (1754)Observations on the Enslaving, Importing, and Purchasing of Negroes (1759--1760)A Short Account of that Part of Africa Inhabited by the Negroes (1762)A Caution and Warning to Great Britain and Her Colonies (1766--1767)Some Historical Account of Guinea (1771)Benezet's Notes to John Wesley's Thoughts upon Slavery (1774)Observations on Slavery (1778)Short Observations on Slavery (1783)
A valuable tool for scholars and students of African American history, slavery studies, and the Revolutionary era, The Complete Antislavery Writings of Anthony Benezet, 1754--1783 demonstrates the prevailing impact of the foremost pioneer in American abolitionism.
No Quarter in the Civil War
Chinese and Canadian Perspectives
Confronting Discrimination and Inequality in China focuses on the most challenging areas of discrimination and inequality in China, including discrimination faced by HIV/AIDS afflicted individuals, rural populations, migrant workers, women, people with disabilities, and ethnic minorities. The Canadian contributors offer rich regional, national, and international perspectives on how constitutions, laws, policies, and practices, both in Canada and in other parts of the world, battle discrimination and the conflicts that rise out of it. The Chinese contributors include some of the most independent-minded scholars and practitioners in China. Their assessments of the challenges facing China in the areas of discrimination and inequality not only attest to their personal courage and intellectual freedom but also add an important perspective on this emerging superpower.