- term coined by Bonilla-Silva
- using ideas associated with political and economic liberalism in an abstract manner to explain racial matters.
- using the frame of abstract liberalism, whites can appear "reasonable" and even "moral" while opposing almost all practical approaches to deal with de facto racial inequality
- EXAMPLE: the principle of equal opportunity
-- today, equal opportunity is invoked by whites to oppose affirmative-action policies because they supposedly represent the "preferential treatment" of certain groups
-- This claim necessitates ignoring the fact that people of color are severely underrepresented in most good jobs, schools, and universities and, hence, it is an abstract utilization of the idea of "equal opportunity."
-- I.E. abstract liberalists claim that affirmative action policies are NOT equal opportunity policies, and use liberalism to defend that position. The dangerous part of this is that it renders invisible the structural forces that cause certain groups to be inherently disadvantaged
- Under Abstract Liberalism's logic, people become 'individuals with choices' within a "meritocracy."
- In reducing racism's effects to individual cases, Abstract Liberalism obscures the structural nature of that racism and prevents any action against that structure; there is no interference and no redress from the real structural forces that purportedly do not exist in the U.S.'s "meritocracy."
- According to Lopez, it emerged in the 1980s when Reagan's colorblindness and strategic racism began to work hand in hand.
- "A critique of colorblindness" Guinier + Torres - The Miners Canary
- Idea that we're living in a racial utopia-- we're all the same here, thought they didn't need to ask about race in the census "because Brazilians were simply Brazilians"
- "American political observers have long been fascinated with Brazil because they believe that Brazil has solved its race problem" - Guiner
- Brazil has color caste system (**this is key, color trumps race, does not have a one-drop rule like US**), they eliminated slavery peacefully through decree in 1888 and did not have formal systems for racial discrimination equivalent to Jim Crow. Instead, they relied on a whitening thesis that the European Brazilians would succeed in whitening the population (pseudo-scientific theory, white genes were "stronger" and would be more likely to pass on their genes)
- Race as a continuum placing people in social hierarchy based both on skin color and class ("social race"), example given in text: "A 'white' includes a poor but not poverty stricken white person, a white person of average wealth, a wealthy white person, a mulatto of average wealth, a wealthy mulatto and a wealthy black person... white persons do not sink into blackness unless they are destitute and black persons (as opposed to mulattos) do not rise to whiteness except through above-average wealth"
- Gives many statistics showing how starkly skin color affects life chances and opportunity but many Black people in Brazil "express uncertainty whether the disadvantage they experience is because of race or class" because the dominant ideology denies that race has any relevance as a social, political or economic marker
- Discussed in Coates' The Case for Reparations
- a predatory agreement that combined all the responsibilities of homeownership with all the disadvantages of renting-while offering the benefits of neither
- the seller kept the deed until the contract was paid in full—and, unlike with a normal mortgage, the buyer would acquire no equity in the meantime. If a single payment was missed, the buyer would immediately forfeit the down payment, all the monthly payments, and the property itself.
- In 1960's 85 percent of all black home buyers who bought in Chicago bought on contract
- Contract sellers lied about properties' compliance with building codes, then left the buyer responsible when city inspectors arrived. They presented themselves as real-estate brokers, when in fact they were the owners. They guided their clients to lawyers who were in on the scheme
- Contract Buyers League, over 500 members from Chicago's South and West Sides, fought contract sellers.
- They embarrassed the sellers by going to their neighbors houses and telling them what the sellers were doing.
- Brought a lawsuit against the sellers, accusing them of buying properties and reselling in such a manner "to reap from members of the Negro race large and unjust profits."
- They demanded reparations in the form of payback of all moneys paid on contracts and all moneys paid for structural improvement of properties, at 6 percent interest minus a "fair, non-discriminatory" rental price for time of occupation.
- The suit dragged on until 1976, when the league lost a jury trial.
- (Robert Sampson in Coates reading - The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration VII)
- Idea that examples of discrimination do not occur in a vacuum-- all factors that stem from racial discrimination are bundled together when they impact an individual or family
- "High rates of incarceration, single-parent households, dropping out of school, and poverty are not unrelated vectors. Instead, taken together, they constitute what Sampson calls "compounded deprivation"—entire families, entire neighborhoods, deprived in myriad ways, must navigate, all at once, a tangle of interrelated and reinforcing perils."
- Compound deprivation is the phenomenon where individuals, families, and even entire neighborhoods must navigate not just one are in which they're deprived but myriad interconnecting disadvantages
- Complicated in the way it interacts with the American dream: idea that with initiative and industriousness, an individual can always escape impoverished circumstances.
- what the data show is that you have these multiple assaults on life chances that make transcending those circumstances difficult and at times nearly impossible.
- The Culture of Poverty Narrative is a mainstream conservative argument (vs Structural Racism argument) that describes how to account for disparities based on race in a post-Jim Crow World
- rests on stereotypes that have morphed over time from biological to cultural (eg that black people are lazy, immoral, hypersexual, and criminal)
- used to justify enslavement and violence post-slavery, and implicitly continues the elevation of whiteness.
- The argument/narrative relies on outcomes for evidence of what constitutes disparity, and interprets that data/evidence as indicative of a culture responsible for the inequality today.
- Conceptually, the argument relies on obscured cultural forces, the denial/invisibility of the impact of policy and larger structural forces, a lack of focus on the refuse/resist/renegotiate practice and history, and a narrowing of the definition of racism to bigotry.
- Results in policies that seek to change black people and culture themselves, rather than the structure that produced the violence in the communities in the first place.
- This is evident in Obama's My Brother's Keeper program
- a strangely intricate articulation can be found in the Moynihan Report, where Moynihan makes a moral argument about the economic condition of black people in his time, saying that history has woven itself so deeply into the culture of blackness that it is a pathology that continues itself without white interference.
- "Dog whistle racism...is racism's most poisonous core- because it legitimizes, energizes, and stimulates the entire destructive project of racial divisions" -Dog whistle politics pg. 49
- Brings race into the conversation in officially race neutral ways, relies on recognition of existing racial framework (set of associations in place) in order to be effective (ie. "tough on crime"), makes coded and indirect but loaded references to race in order to gain wealth, political power and status for white people
- Became the Republican strategy under Nixon also called "Southern strategy", messages convey warnings to white voters about presumes threats from non-whites aimed at building support for a reactionary agenda
- Dog Whistle Politics as outlined in López's book of the same name, is a strategy the GOP has used to elicit racial loyalty despite a national denial and revulsion of racism. It is enacted through coded language that allows modern racial pandering to operate inaudibly/invisibly on one level, and yet to stimulate strong reactions on the other. López argues that this strategy has shaped the political structure of the US and has extreme implications for the livelihood of the middle class. Dog Whistling involves three basic moves: "a punch that jabs race into the conversation through thinly veiled references to threatening nonwhites (eg welfare cheats), a parry that slaps away charges of racial pandering, often by emphacizing the lack of any direct reference to a racial group or any use of an epithet, and a kick that savages the critic for opportunistically alleging racial victimization." (4) An important aspect of Dog Whistling is that at heart it is part of a strategic racism, a coldly calculated use of racial euphamisms to attract voters, while at the same time it may cloak the racial character of an idea from its target audience, sometimes relying on triggered un-conscious fears. DW centrally involves using race to attack liberal government (as seen in Reagan's use of it) and corresponds to and is bolstered by the conservative popularization of colorblindness. DW convinces many whites to vote against their own interests by virtue of a "commensense racism" logic.
- WHERE WOULD YOU SAY THIS IS FROM?!
- comes from post-CRM switch
- pre-CRM legislation, there was segregation
- post-CRM, there was quarantining-- you stay over there, we stay over here
- then Urban Renewal → slum clearance under discourse of revitalization/progress
- After the worldwide recession in '73, sporadic and state led gentrification until the 80's when broke states tried to attract private investment in cities, and by 1987 developers are the main players who strategize as the state becomes more direct in encouragement of gentrification, which has resulted in our pro gentrification politics.
- As people started accepting that "everyone is equal", white people decided there was no reason not to move into black neighborhoods
- BUT the fairness of this practice rests on the assumption that anyone can live anywhere-- which is not true
- Gentrification is always Displacement
- make the warm bodies that are pushed out onto the street invisible
- war on homeless people
- Black gentrifiers→ generally come from suburbs, often utilize the "getting in touch with my roots" narrative
- "Gentrification is the process by which poor and working class neighborhoods in the inner city are refurbished via an influx of private capital and middle class homebuyers and renters-- neighborhoods that had previously experienced disinvestment and a middle class exodus" -- Neil Smith in New Urban Frontier as quoted by Amanda Boston, who added that it was about race more than class, and that today there are massive changes in the class dimensions (eg brooklyn where SUPER rich move in to previously poor + black neighborhoods.)
- Selective and severe public and private disinvestment (White Spatial Imaginary) produce chronic vulnerability to destabilize black communities, which in turn allows for gentrification, which increases benefits white ppl.
- Patrick Sharkey
- "the stark racial inequality that existed a generation ago has been passed on, with very little change, to the current generation. The families in America's worst neighborhoods, where violence is common, schools are failing, economic opportunities are limited, and public resources are sparse, have been exposed to the same disadvantaged neighborhoods continuously since the 1970s, over two generations."
- "Specifically, if we define a ghetto neighborhood as majority black and among the poorest quarter of all American neighborhoods, then about 29 percent of all black families have resided in the ghetto for consecutive generations. If we limit our focus to include only black adults living in today's ghettos, about 72 percent were raised by parents who also lived in the ghetto a generation earlier. In other words, almost three out of four black families living in today's poorest, most segregated neighborhoods are the same families that lived in the ghettos of the 1970s."
- Laissez faire racism "encompasses an ideology that blames blacks themselves for their poorer economic standing, seeing it as the function of perceived cultural inferiority." ( Racism without Racists, Chapter 1, Pg. 5)
- An explanation of the contemporary attitudes of whites, associated with those who claim that whites' racial views represent a sense of group position (class bias, the effect of American individualism???). White prejudice as an ideology to defend group privilege...that result of socioeconomic changes that transpired in the 1950s and 1960s. (R w/o R, Chapter 1, Pg. 5)
- Basic arguments for laissez-faire racism are fully compatible with Colorblind racism.
- (Lawrence Bobo: Inequalities that endure? Racial ideology, American Politics, and the Peculiar Role of the Social Sciences)
- "Laissez-faire racism involves persistent negative stereotyping of African Americans, a tendency to blame Blacks themselves for the black-white gap in socioeconomic status, and resistance to meaningful policy efforts to ameliorate U.S. racist social conditions and institutions" (16).
- Bobo: The new form of racism is a more covert, sophisticated, culture-centered, and subtle racist ideology, qualitatively less extreme and more socially permeable than Jim Crow racism with its attendant biological foundations and calls for overt discrimination. But this new racism yields a powerful influence in our culture and politics. It is a term for a new prejudice that highlights the close connection between present forms of racial resentment and the resurgence of an anti-government ideology. Laissez faire racism is an idea that justifies and makes sense out of the organized racial ordering of society. Bobo explains this type of racism using three pieces of data:
1) the persistent negative stereotypes of blacks
2) positive/negative descriptions of blacks
3) The approval of interracial relationships
- Bobo, "Reflections on the Racial Divide in America Today": A narrative with many meanings attached to it:
- meant to signal a hopeful trajectory for events and social trends, not an accomplished fact of social life
- First form attaches to the waning silence of what some have portrayed as a 'black victimology' narrative
1) From this perspective, black complaints and grievances about inequality and discrimination are well-worn tales
2) The second one "takes the position that the level and pace of change in the demographic makeup and the identity choices and politics of Americans are rendering the traditional black-white divide irrelevant," such that "[o]ld-fashioned racial dichotomies pale against the surge toward flexible, deracialized, and mixed ethnoracial identities and outlooks" (14)
3) The third and final form believes that "American society, or at least a large and steadily growing fraction of it, has genuinely moved beyond race--so much so that we as a nation are now ready to transcend the disabling racial divisions of the past" (14)
- A belief that emerges in the US around breakthrough moments in racial representation -- either after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which many whites believe ended Jim Crow segregation and thus racism (when in fact, as Bonilla-Silva and others argue, racism just evolved), or once Obama was elected.
- Although many critics at the time took Obama's election to be the defining paradigm shift in US racial politics; as the first black man to become president, he represented the breaking of a barrier many thought to be insurmountable.
- But as the 2016 Presidential campaign demonstrated--and continues to demonstrate--the US is far from healed from its history of racial oppression, segregation, and inequality.
- What's more, the notion that we are post-racial furthers the perpetuation of colorblind ideology that prevents us from addressing racial inequalities, because if you can't "see" race, then you can't address policies with disparate racial outcomes or broader social problems that are racially-specific.
- LISPITZ, article Name?!
- Public policy and private prejudice have created possessive investment in whiteness (cash value in whiteness) leading to racialized hierarchies, allows white people to invest in an identity that provides whites with resources, power and opportunity
- Examples of cash value: profits made from discriminatory housing markets, unequal access to education, insider networks channeling employment opportunities, intergenerational transfers of wealth to pass the spoils of discrimination on to other generations
- Social, political, and cultural forces that encourage whites to expend time and energy on the creations and recreation of whiteness
- "Possessive" is used to connect attitudes to interests - allows whiteness to remain an unmarked category against white difference is constructed
- Prof. Rose's Example -----
-- Aims to emphasize the value and investment in whiteness. -- American society, Lipsitz argues, has created a literal and figurative value to whiteness in which whites possessively invest in. Whiteness has cash and other social value through racial advantages secured in discriminatory markets (and other ways). Investment denotes the time invested in the creation of and recreation of whiteness itself, and Possessive connects the relationship between whiteness and asset accumulation. Lipsitz also cautions that the possessive investment in whiteness is aimed also at keeping it from others.
(Lipsitz PIW pgs., vii-viii)
- This term used by Lipsitz aims to emphasize the value and investment in whiteness. American society, he argues, has created a literal and figurative value to whiteness in which whites possessively invest in. Whiteness has cash and other social value through racial advantages secured in discriminatory markets (and other ways). Investment denotes the time "invested" in the creation of and recreation of whiteness itself; and P ossessive connects the relationship between whiteness and asset accumulation
- Lipsitz also cautions that the possessive investment in whiteness is aimed also at keeping it from others. And, that this artificial construction of whiteness can possess white people themselves unless they develop anti-racist identities. Important to note that opposing whiteness does not mean opposing white people; that many non whites support this racial structure, and emphasizes that we all have the option to become antiracist.
- "Strategic racism refers to purposeful efforts to use racial animus as leverage to gain material wealth, political power, or heightened social standing" -Dog whistle politics pg. 47
- Use of racism for access to material wealth and political power and making it hard to create cross-racial unity because bringing up discrimination to white people causes them to double down on their racist policies
- The use of race animosity as leverage to gain materialistic wealth, political power, and/or high social standing.
- Ian Haney López says specifically used by politicians like Nixon, Wallace, and Goldwater in order to gain votes during elections. For example,
- Lies at racism's very heart. Originally "self-interested parties fashioned racial beliefs" and "repeatedly thereafter, strategic racists adapted racism to protect their advantages and to pursue additional interests."
- The goal is "not terror for its own sake" it is the maintenance and gain of "money, control, and prestige."
- Directly linked to dog whistle politics: strategic racists employ dog whistling. Calculated use of encoded language for personal gain.
White peoples' feigned innocence, turning a blind eye to racism. "Oh- I didn't notice that they followed you around that store!" (Patricia Williams)
A type of minimization
Shock & surprise
Sullivan- "Jose Medina explains, color blindness "requires being actively and proudly ignorant of social positionality, which involves a double epistemic failure: a failure in self-knowledge and a failure in the knowledge of others with whom one is intimately related."
(Transmission of Colorblindness, Sullivan 86, The Pantomime of Race, Williams)
Patricia Williams describes the Transgressive Refusal to Know in her Pantomime of Race chapter, describing white racial denial as engendering " a profoundly invested disingenuousness, an innocence, that amounts to the transgressive refusal to know." This active ignorance manifests as shock and surprise as a mode of empathy which invokes colorblindness' minimization and cluelessness factors. "Transgressive" refers to illicitness of jumping of perceptual gaps between white and black experience, but also is "of or relating to fiction, cinematography, or art in which orthodox cultural, moral, and artistic boundaries are challenged by the representation of unconventional behavior and the use of experimental forms." Williams notes that while there is a citable invisibility of racism in whites' perceptual gap that allows TRK to operate, the visual language characterizing our media landscape renders black bodies hyper-visible and constantly read by all.