“American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.” ~James Baldwin
“I have chosen to focus our attention on what I have turned ‘the practices of racial inequality,’ by which I mean actions that individuals take that researchers can identify as being clear decisions to disadvantage others on the basis of race. Identifying these decisions based on race is made possible largely by empirical social science research that reveals trends and makes comparisons between how different groups of people are treated. When we see the cumulative effect of the choices people make about how to treat others, we recognize that there are undeniable patterns of racial privileging and disadvantage that are part of contemporary American culture…. The most important efforts to contemplate race have also engaged in critical practices vis-a-vis the disciplines themselves, which, without exception of note, have been shaped around notions of humanity, objectivity, and normativity rooted in White (largely male, largely affluent, largely Western European) experience. And so, to talk about race with rigor has also meant using new tools, creating new norms come is challenging flawed or limited methods within each respective discipline.”
“Efforts to remedy what I call the static picture of inequality ( the snapshot vision of how inequality is) can not be effective without attention to the active practice of inequality. The active practice serves the status quo and sometimes even takes us backwards in a move towards racial equality. Moreover, practices of inequality even in fact our best intentioned and efforts to remedy the static, historically shaped picture of inequality. therefore, these practices must be unraveled and exposed.
“But first they must be identified. In a national context in which very few people want to be seen as ‘racist’ and in which we profess a commitment to racial equality, how do we explain the persistence of practices of racial inequality? We have two choices routinely offered to us. We call the nation and it’s inhabitants hypocrites who say one thing and mean another. Or we can focus on the fact that a given practice of racial inequality is unintentional (i.e., that it happens through structures of inequality, that human agency is subservient to the wheels of inequality that operate like a driverless engine). While both of these options are partially true, they are deeply unsatisfactory and insufficient. I hope to provide a more satisfying answer to this troubling dynamic.”
“One could argue that a society like ours, where people report far less intentional racist sentiment than in the past, is one that is moving closer to the eradication of race and racism and toward the less fractious categorization of people by ethnicity. The problem with this idea is that the absence of a[n undeniable] hostility to an ascriptive racial group does not mean the absence of a likely hostility to members of an ascriptive racial group. For this reason, we can find in recent history a majority of Americans saying they are not racist and a majority of Americans reporting that they believe the traditional racist stereotype that African Americans are lazy.”
“The agents of the practices of inequality are not necessarily White and may even be members of the group against which the inequality is being enacted. That is the most profound example of why I say that the practices of inequality are a matter of our collective culture. We all learn to participate in the practices of inequality, even though members of racially disfavored groups may be better equipped in certain instances to withstand this negative socialization.”
“Encounters between the Black subject and the American project have throughout history been the grounds for the public expression of both the fallacy and the promise of the American ideal, often in the most public fora available. And so that a Black man is the first person of color to be president of the United States is at once most improbable and unsurprising.”
“All of us in the society are trained, socialized, and guided much more explicitly regarding our perspectives on African Americans than we are with relation to other ethnic groups.”
That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we blacks are wise.
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.
~Langston Hughes, “Justice”