Capitalism, Race, and the Struggle for Equality


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Capitalism, Race, and the Struggle for Equality

  1. 1. john powellWilliams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Moritz College of Law Director, The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity The Ohio State University March 18, 2011, U.C Irvine
  2. 2. Today, . . . with the important exception ofemployment discrimination, work, livelihoods, socialprovision, and the material bases of citizenshiphave vanished from the constitutional landscape.That is a scandal, for the United States is no differentfrom other nations: Constitutional democracy isreally impossible here . . . without some limits onsocial and economic deprivation.- William E. Forbath, “Social and Economic Rights inthe American Grain”
  3. 3. Critical Race Theory on the Non-Separation Between Race and Class
  4. 4.  Race, class, and the other categories of difference that make a difference are co- constitutive. This co-constitution operates at all scales: • Individual identity • Group identity and membership • Intergroup coalitions • Across space and over time
  5. 5.  The New Deal’s racial exclusion • Ira Katznelson, When Affirmative Action Was White • Systematic exclusion of non-whites from New Deal programs • Entrenched structural inequality that remains with us today in the former of harms to people of color in housing, credit, and labor markets
  6. 6.  The weakness of the American welfare state • Alberto Alesina & Ed Glaeser  U.S. welfare state miserly compared to Western European peers • Irwin Garfinkel et al.  Even if U.S. welfare state isn’t so small, it grossly misallocates resources and is generally regressive • Joe Soss et al.  Politics of welfare provision at the state level remains deeply racialized
  7. 7.  Thought-leaders continue to diagnose the moment as “post-X,” especially post- racial. We hardly need to be reminded that we’re not post-racial, even if racialization works differently in the Age of Obama. Hence the persistent relevance of CRT’s insistence on the intersectional perspective.
  8. 8. From Race and Class to the Structure of Opportunity
  9. 9.  Race and class continue to be important modes of individual and group identity- formation. But the signal function of race and class is their role in sorting individuals and groups within/among institutions. Therefore, we must shift our inquiry to the racialization of opportunity structures.
  10. 10. Effective ParticipationChildcare Employment HousingEducation Health Transportation
  11. 11.  Structural racism/racialization • Inter-institutional arrangements and interactions produce racialized outcomes Implicit bias • Non-conscious attitudes that give rise to mental schemas, which embed racism and produce biased behavior.
  12. 12.  It’san open question whether America’s changing racial demographics alter the picture I’ve sketched—a picture often framed as white power vs. black subordination. A tentative answer: Maybe not, because blacks and Hispanics seem to be converging vis-à-vis opportunity structures. • E.g., segregation patterns
  13. 13. The Dynamic Role of Corporate Power
  14. 14.  The debate around Citizens United stages one way to talk about corporate power, i.e. the apparently zero-sum relationship between corporate rights and individual rights. Consider in this light the appropriation of the 14th Amendment to vindicate corporate rights rather than civil rights. But corporations increasingly rework how power shapes key domains of life.
  15. 15.  Misidentifying the situation, not public vs. private Public Private Expansion of Private corporate prerogative Spheres Corporate Corporate space diminishes Non- Corporat public &private space pubic e 15