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
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”
Critical Race Theory on the Non-Separation Between Race and Class
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
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
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
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.
From Race and Class to the Structure of Opportunity
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.
Effective ParticipationChildcare Employment HousingEducation Health Transportation
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.
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
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.
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
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