Sociology Race
by
Rashawn Ray, Nicole DeLoatch
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 July 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0173

Introduction

Race is a human classification system that is socially constructed to distinguish between groups of people who share phenotypical characteristics. Since race is socially constructed, dominant groups in society have shaped and informed racial categories in order to maintain systems of power—thereby also producing racial inequality. Racial categorization has primarily been simplistic, essentialist, and typological in nature, forcing people to “fit” into categories that do not necessarily reflect their ethnic or national heritage. The process of racialization has shifted racial boundaries, depending on sociopolitical pressures for inclusion into particular racial groups or even the systematic exclusion of people due to social forces such as war or labor market pressures. Racism is a byproduct of racial categorization that focuses on the hierarchical arrangement of various racial groups. Racism is an oppressive force that creates and reproduces a complex system social inequality. Sociologists strive to illuminate the dynamics behind the persistent and lingering inequalities and injustices that continue to persist in our racialized society.

Theories on Race

Goldberg 2002, Hall 1996, and Winant 2000 provide theoretical frameworks, as well as analytical and methodological approaches to investigate the complexities of the social construction of race and ethnicity. Goldberg 2002, Holt 2000, and Winant 2000 also provide theoretical approaches that may allow researchers to understand race differences in social outcomes and differing racialization processes. Cox 1970 and Holt 2000 provide intellectual resources for understanding the continually changing nature of racial categorization, discrimination, and prejudice. Robinson 2000 presents competing perspectives on the tangled interactions between the social constellations of race and class. Lieberman 1998 (cited under Critical Race Theory) and Lopez and Espiritu 1990 critically evaluate ideas on post-racialism and offer sociohistorical comparative analyses of racial discrimination and racism. Wilson 1978 (cited under Post-Racialism) investigates power dynamics and the lingering effects of racial inequality, placing sociological discourse on race and racism in America at the center of his analyses.

  • Cox, Oliver C. 1970. Caste, class, and race. New York: Monthly Review.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this pivotal work, Cox analyzed the seemingly related Indian caste system and US racial stratification social systems. Through his expansive theoretical analysis, his primary finding was that the US racial hierarchy could not be fully explained using caste as a systemic framework.

    Find this resource:

    • Goldberg, David Theo. 2002. The racial state. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      Goldberg constructs a complex argument about the racialization of modernity as it relates to state formation. This theoretical work analyzes how the racial homogeneity and heterogeneity of groups within a state allows the state to produce, reproduce, and maintain a social order based upon racial stratification.

      Find this resource:

      • Hall, Stuart. 1996. Race, articulation, and societies structured in dominance. In Black British cultural studies: A reader. Edited by H. Baker, M. Diawara, and R. Lindeborg, 305–345. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Hall uses a structural Marxist perspective to develop an analysis of race using Althusser’s theory of society. This sociological approach to understanding race attempts to explain race using an analytical framework that examines race and racism historically, structurally, and economically.

        Find this resource:

        • Holt, Thomas. 2000. The problem of race in the 21st century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Holt constructs a noteworthy argument that juxtaposes the idealization of blacks in popular culture against their increasingly invisible social status, and in doing so he emphasizes the tension between how blacks are held at the center of the entertainment and sports spheres while simultaneously being marginalized in society.

          Find this resource:

          • Lieberson, Stanley. 1961. A societal theory of race and ethnic relations. American Sociological Review 26.6: 902–910.

            DOI: 10.2307/2090575Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            Lieberson constructs a theory about the cyclical nature of race relations where dominant groups in society have the power to structure social order on subordinate groups. He uses this theory to explain the dynamics that maintain the hierarchical racial/ethnic social, political, and economic relations.

            Find this resource:

            • Lopez, David, and Yen Espiritu. 1990. Panethnicity in the United States: A theoretical framework. Ethnic and Racial Studies 13.2: 198–224.

              DOI: 10.1080/01419870.1990.9993669Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              This case study of the development of panethnic cooperation between Asian, Native, Indo, and Latin Americans found that more cross-group structural and cultural similarities led to higher social relations. This panethnic research found that structural factors are also critical to understanding solidarity between ethnic groups.

              Find this resource:

              • Robinson, Cedric J. 2000. Black Marxism: The making of the black radical tradition. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                Traditional Marxist approaches have neglected the extent to which race as a social structural factor influences labor market relations. This book argues that in order for Marxist perspectives to truly scrutinize the inner workings of exploitation, they must accurately consider how racism influences capitalism.

                Find this resource:

                • Winant, Howard. 2000. Race and race theory. Annual Review of Sociology 26:169–185.

                  DOI: 10.1146/annurev.soc.26.1.169Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Winant provides a sociohistorical view of the field of sociology’s development of the conceptualization of race and racism from DuBois to the Chicago school. His work sheds light on European colonialism as a racial project and the need for a more critical analysis as opposed to an ahistorical analysis of race, racial injustice, prejudice, and discrimination.

                  Find this resource:

                  Critical Race Theory

                  The articles in this section analyze the social construction of race, intraracial relations, and patterns of racism using a critical lens. Crenshaw, et al. 1995; Feagin 2000; and Hughes and Thomas 1998 center on the notion that racism is a pervasive, diffuse, and persistent aspect of society used to maintain systems of power and social inequality. Bonilla-Silva 2001 examines the detrimental effects of institutional discrimination and white privilege on the marginalization of people of color. Burton, et al. 2010 addresses how family dynamics have been shaped by colorism, and Collins 2000 and Guinier and Torres 2002 provide theoretical frameworks for understanding how the construction of knowledge may be a tool used for racial liberation. Lieberman 1998 explores the relationship between race and class by putting colorblind policies under the microscope.

                  • Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. 2001. White supremacy and racism in the post-civil rights era. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    This thoughtful and engaging book draws from a critical race theory perspective on US white supremacy and racial inequality. Bonilla-Silva examines the negative effects of liberalism and extends our understanding of the racial superstructure that functions as a system of inequalities that create disparate social outcomes for racial/ethnic minorities.

                    Find this resource:

                    • Burton, Linda M., Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Victor Ray, Rose Buckelew, and Elizabeth Hordge Freeman. 2010. Critical race theories, colorism, and the decade’s research on families of color. Journal of Marriage and Family 72.3: 440–459.

                      DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00712.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      A thorough and comprehensive review of the foundations of critical race theory scholarship that takes into account three main themes that have emerged from the increasing trend toward an increasingly heterogeneous society: inequality and socioeconomic mobility within and across families, interracial romantic pairings, and the racial socialization of children.

                      Find this resource:

                      • Collins, Patricia Hill. 2000. Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. New York: Routledge.

                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        Collins challenges the normative way black women are perceived to interact with society. She creates the interpretive space for a black feminist theory that she uses to develop discourse about the interconnectedness of race and sex, while exploring the marginalization of black women and their experiences.

                        Find this resource:

                        • Crenshaw, Kimberle, Neil Gotanda, Garry Peller, and Kendall Thomas, eds. 1995. Critical race theory: The key writings that formed the movement. New York: New Press.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          A thorough and comprehensive review of the foundations of CRT scholarship that examines the articulation of race and racism in the law and society. This work presents a paradigmatic approach to understanding the development and evolution of racial injustice.

                          Find this resource:

                          • Feagin, Joe. 2000. Racist America: Roots, current realities, and future reparations. New York: Routledge.

                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            Feagin presents a thoughtful analysis of the early European historical roots of American racism that has shaped the ideological, political, and economic spheres of the United States. Feagin’s antiracist frame is used to highlight the transition between the old Jim Crow racism and the new “colorblind racism.”

                            Find this resource:

                            • Guinier, Lani, and Gerald Torres. 2002. The miner’s canary: Enlisting race, resisting power, transforming democracy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              Provides a poignant discussion of the systemic nature of racism that maintains power relations and the need to approach race work from a political race perspective. It illuminates lingering and pervasive social inequalities that could be reformed through political participation and emancipatory reform.

                              Find this resource:

                              • Hughes, Michael, and Melvin E. Thomas. 1998. The continuing significance of race revisited: A study of race, class, and quality of life in America, 1972 to 1996. American Sociological Review 63:785–795.

                                DOI: 10.2307/2657501Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                US racial inequality was examined using data from the 1972–1996 General Social Surveys, in which they found quality of life, anomie, and lack of trust differences between blacks and whites in America. More specifically, whites had higher levels of quality of life, anomie, and mistrust than blacks.

                                Find this resource:

                                • Lieberman, Robert C. 1998. Shifting the color line: Race and the American welfare state. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Even with political and economic progress, blacks are still negatively impacted by poverty and seemingly colorblind policies. This book puts forward a structural argument about malignancies associated with the emergence and development of public assistance programs.

                                  Find this resource:

                                  The Social Construction of Race

                                  Duncan 1968, Lopez 2006, Omi and Winant 1994 explore the effects of the social construction of human subgroups who have similar ancestors on various life course and achievement outcomes. Davis 1991, Feagin 2013, and Frankenberg 1993 examine the relationships between social institutions, laws, and how politics shape racial boundaries and the permeability of those boundaries for reasons that maintain a hegemonic imbalance in social relations. McDermott 2006 analyzes how class affects the social construction of whiteness, and Zuberi 2001 provides a critique of the racialized construction of knowledge.

                                  • Davis, F. James. 1991. Who is black? One nation’s definition. University Park: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    From the one drop rule and miscegenation to a discussion of racial identities and racial classifications, this scholarly book provides a wealth of knowledge about the process of racialization—or who is defined as being black—and the social consequences connected to that social classification.

                                    Find this resource:

                                    • Duncan, Otis Dudley. 1968. Inheritance of poverty or inheritance of race. In On understanding poverty. Edited by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 85–110. New York: Basic Books.

                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      This work flushes out the complexities of the intergenerational transmission of poverty, but in doing so it also examines the virtual inheritance of the social disease of poverty by disenfranchised racial groups. Race becomes both a point of analysis to contextualize poverty in this essential perspective.

                                      Find this resource:

                                      • Feagin, Joe. 2013. The white racial frame: Centuries of racial framing and counter-framing. 2d ed. London: Routledge.

                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        This book argues that the white racial frame becomes the dominant frame we use to make sense of social relations and inequality. It includes racial beliefs, stereotypes, and ideologies, racialized images and sounds, and racialized emotions.

                                        Find this resource:

                                        • Frankenberg, Ruth. 1993. White women, race matters: The social construction of whiteness. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                          Breaking away from traditional race conversations on the construction of blackness, this refreshing intersectional perspective shifts our critical gaze toward the social construction of whiteness and white femininity through the use of qualitative interviews. Frankenberg provides thought-provoking evidence that challenges cosmopolitan ideologies about the reproduction of racism.

                                          Find this resource:

                                          • Lopez, Ian Haney. 2006. White by law: The legal construction of race. New York: New York Univ. Press.

                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            The structure of language and culture is influenced by a pervasive logic of racism, and this book explores how whiteness was constructed in America through laws on naturalization and citizenship. The courts were used to legitimize whiteness and maintain boundaries to preserve the power imbued by whiteness.

                                            Find this resource:

                                            • McDermott, Monica. 2006. Working class white: The making and unmaking of race relations. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              The author clearly communicates how entangled race and class are in America by examining whiteness through a working-class lens. This sociological analysis peels back the layers of black-white race relations, unearths various stereotype threats, and illuminates the prevalence of racial profiling.

                                              Find this resource:

                                              • Omi, Michael, and Howard Winant. 1994. Racial formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s. New York: Routledge.

                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                One of the most influential books on race that theorizes about the ever-changing meaning of race. Omi and Winant critique colorblind racism, historicize race (as a leftover from colonialism), and explore how race changed from the time of Jim Crow to that of the Reagan era and beyond.

                                                Find this resource:

                                                • Zuberi, Tukufu. 2001. Thicker than blood: How racial statistics lie. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  Zuberi aims to give consciousness to common statistical and methodological practices that have eugenic roots. Zuberi argues while cultural differences among groups of individuals do exist, using race as a proxy or cause of these differences is not adequate. He asserts scholars need to improve measures to investigate cultural, social, economic, and biological processes. While much research discussing issues with racial measures is situated in the American context, Zuberi does an extremely efficient job documenting the historical record of racial classification on a global scale.

                                                  Find this resource:

                                                  Race as a Politic of Power

                                                  Bonilla-Silva 2004, Embrick and Henricks 2013, Lieberson 1985 contextualize race (though not consistently classified) as a construct deeply rooted in cultural, social, and political agendas. Katznelson 2005, Stoler 1995, and Shapiro 2004 (cited under Racial Discrimination and Racism) explore how race may be used as a political bargaining chip or a means to coalesce or maintain power and resources for particular social groups. Bonilla-Silva and Baiocchi 2001 discusses the minimization of race within the field of sociology, while Chen 1999 analyzes how power is maintained through hegemonic masculinity. Picca and Feagin 2007 provides a theoretical framework for analyzing shifts in the presentation of racism where it shifted from the public sphere to the private sphere.

                                                  • Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo, and Gianpaolo Baiocchi. 2001. Anything but racism: How sociologists limit the significance of racism. Race and Society 4:117–131.

                                                    DOI: 10.1016/S1090-9524(03)00004-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    A thorough and comprehensive review of how sociologists have often reified White‘s stereotypical attitudes toward minority groups through the minimization of race and its significance in their scholarly work. They show that ignoring how the stigmatization and marginalization of minority racial groups has often done more harm than good for these groups.

                                                    Find this resource:

                                                    • Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. 2004. From Bi-racial to Tri-racial: Towards a New System of Racial Stratification in the USA. Ethnic and Racial Studies 27:931–950.

                                                      DOI: 10.1080/0141987042000268530Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      This journal article is particularly adept at illuminating the pigmentocracy that has manifested from former colonial states due to demographic shifts in the population. It explains the new racial pecking order of White, Honorary White and the collective Black through the adoption of a Latin American based pigmentocratic logic.

                                                      Find this resource:

                                                      • Chen, Anthony S. 1999. Lives at the center of the periphery, lives at the periphery of the center. Gender and Society 13:584–607.

                                                        DOI: 10.1177/089124399013005002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        Hegemonic masculinity is the primary focus here, and Chen argues that where you find hegemonic masculinity maintenance you are also likely to find other systems in which the unequal distribution of power is maintained through racial, gender, or class-based social stratification.

                                                        Find this resource:

                                                        • Embrick, David G., and Kasey Henricks. 2013. Discursive colorlines at work: How epithets and stereotypes are racially unequal. Symbolic Interactionism 36.2: 197–215.

                                                          DOI: 10.1002/symb.51Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          Discusses how the wages of whiteness give whites purchase on public deference and courtesy that allows them to “enjoy an unearned positive self-image.” As a result, Whites rarely have to confront the benefits of white privilege or how racialization influences their lives.

                                                          Find this resource:

                                                          • Katznelson, Ira. 2005. When affirmative action was white: An untold history of racial inequality in twentieth-century America. New York: W.W. Norton.

                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                            Provides a critical analysis of affirmative action programs created for whites and the ways in which the South used its influence over the US government to extend Jim Crow exclusionary practices that ultimately exclude blacks from social programs created in the 1930–1940 timeframe.

                                                            Find this resource:

                                                            • Lieberson, Stanley. 1985. Unhyphenated whites in the United States. Ethnic and Racial Studies 8.1: 159–180.

                                                              DOI: 10.1080/01419870.1985.9993479Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              Examines the ethnogenesis and social construction of whiteness. Though acculturation and assimilation are implicitly addressed, this research nonetheless provides an explanation for these processes by examining how “older” immigrant groups of northwest European origin and “newer” eastern European immigrant groups adopt the white racial identity.

                                                              Find this resource:

                                                              • Picca, Leslie, and Joe Feagin. 2007. Two faced racism: Whites in the backstage and frontstage. New York: Routledge.

                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                Examines and explains how racism has shifted from the public sphere to the private sphere through a dramaturgical analysis of both frontstage and backstage racism. It covers a range of racist performances such as hiding racially inappropriate attitudes and beliefs as well as racist slippage.

                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                • Stoler, Ann. 1995. Race and the education of desire: Foucault’s history of sexuality and the colonial order of things. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                  This critical analysis of Foucault’s theories on sexuality and colonialism calls into question how race and the racialization of bodies affected not only colonial sexuality but also how sexuality ultimately shaped, skewed, and informed the sociohistorical development of racialized subjects.

                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                  Race Relations

                                                                  Gans 1979, Rawls 2000, Hunt 2007, Brunsma 2005, and Dixon 2006 used their research on race relations to focus on the complex dynamics (e.g., assimilation, acculturation, and segregation) that emerge as a result of racial interactions on the micro, meso, and macro levels of society. Lamont 2002 and Smith 2007 examine interactions, or policies that were put in place to curtail interracial social interactions, and how this boundary maintenance may lead to differences in social mobility, wealth acquisition, and attainment, as well as political and economic oppression. Alba, et al. 2005 focuses on the process of group threat or how the attitudinal shifts that emerge as a result of changes in racial group size influence interracial relations.

                                                                  • Alba, Richard, Ruben G. Rumbaut, and Karen Marotz. 2005. A distorted nation: Perceptions of racial/ethnic group sizes and attitudes toward immigrants and other minorities. Social Forces 84:901–919.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1353/sof.2006.0002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    Perception of racial/ethnic group size affects commonly held beliefs and attitudes toward those groups. This article deftly reveals the inverse relationship associated with group size threat. The associated attitudes about particular ethnic/racial groups become more negative (for whites) as the perception of group size (especially for blacks/Latinos) increases.

                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                    • Brunsma, David L. 2005. Interracial families and the racial identification of mixed-race children: Evidence from the early childhood longitudinal study. Social Forces 84:1131–1157.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1353/sof.2006.0007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      This longitudinal study of mixed-race children (white/black, white/Asian, and white/Hispanic) used a quantitative analysis to examine the effects of parental labeling of their multiracial children and found that parents attempted to remove a lower racial status by designating their children as white or multiracial.

                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                      • Dixon, Jeffrey C. 2006. The ties that bind and those that don’t: Toward reconciling group threat and contact theories of prejudice. Social Forces 84:2180–2204.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1353/sof.2006.0085Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        This analysis of race revisits the contact hypothesis and delves into the nature of prejudice. An examination of increased contact between racial groups shows that white prejudice is neutralized toward Hispanic and Asian minority groups but increases white prejudice toward blacks.

                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                        • Gans, Herbert J. 1979. Symbolic ethnicity: The future of ethnic groups and cultures in America. Ethnic and Racial Studies 2.1: 1–20.

                                                                          DOI: 10.1080/01419870.1979.9993248Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          Gans critiques the theoretical assumptions of straight-line theory as it relates to the acculturation and assimilation of various ethnic groups into Anglo-American culture. He argues that the strength of one’s ethnic identity, panethnic cultural revival and the visibility of one’s ethnicity may affect integration into the dominant group.

                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                          • Hunt, Matthew O. 2007. African American, Hispanic, and white beliefs about black/white inequality. American Sociological Review 72:390–415.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1177/000312240707200304Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            Investigates whether blacks, Hispanics, and whites differ in their explanations of the socioeconomic divide between blacks and whites. Blacks’ and Hispanics’ preference for structural explanations including the explanation that blacks’ current socioeconomic status stems from discrimination has decreased over time. Blacks are more likely to endorse a discrimination-based explanation.

                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                            • Lamont, Michele. 2002. The dignity of working men: Morality and the boundaries of race, class, and immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              Lamont delves into the social lives of working-class men who may have limited means to access high-status positions at work. This thoughtful discussion of the often conflicting racial identities for these men who construct different identities (white “disciplined” and black “caring”) to deal with their low social status.

                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                              • Rawls, Anne Warfield. 2000. “Race” as an interaction order phenomenon: W.E.B. Du Bois’ “Double Consciousness” thesis revisited. Sociological Theory 18:241–274.

                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/0735-2751.00097Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                Explains differences in interactions between black and white Americans. Their research reveals vastly different expectations in conversation between both black and white Americans because of language and conversational differences that vary between the two groups.

                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                • Smith, Sandra Susan. 2007. Lone pursuit: Distrust and defensive individualism among the black poor. New York: Russell Sage.

                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  Due to neighborhood segregation, this book highlights the denseness of black social networks. For some blacks, there are some individuals in their families who are upwardly mobile. In turn, some blacks engage in “opportunity hoarding” and express a form of “defensive individualism” to counter narratives about Affirmative Action.

                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                  Racial Discrimination and Racism

                                                                                  These articles focus on the role of prejudice, racial discrimination and racism on the socioeconomic outcomes for minority racial groups (Massey and Denton 1993; Shapiro 2004; Stainback and Tomaskovic-Devey 2012). Sociologists often focus their research on understand the complex dynamics behind racial othering, stereotypes, institutional discrimination, apartheid, as well as discrimination and racism in neighborhoods contexts (Hill 2002, Kerr 2006). Foreman 2003 and Harvey Wingfield 2013 use their research to highlight how racial discrimination and racism affect the permeability of institutional boundaries and workplace dynamics.

                                                                                  • Feagin, Joseph, and Melvin Sikes. 1994. Living with race: The black middle-class experience. Boston: Beacon.

                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    Finds that racism in America is pervasive, diffuse, and covert. This book provides a theoretical framework for explaining how discrimination and prejudice often barricades black’s social mobility. This is an analysis of how marginalization functions as racial boundary maintenance through restricting access to resources (e.g., employment, schools, and housing).

                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                    • Foreman, Tyrone. 2003. The social psychological costs of racial segmentation in the workplace: A study of African Americans’ well being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 44.3: 332–352.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/1519783Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      Examines the relationship between racial segmentation in the workplace and psychological well-being. The findings show that the effect of racial segmentation on psychological well-being was stronger for more affluent blacks than less affluent blacks.

                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                      • Harvey Wingfield, Adia. 2013. No more invisible man: Race and gender in men’s work. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        In interviews with black male doctors, lawyers, bankers, and engineers, Harvey-Wingfield details repeated racialized incidents that impact promotion and power and inequality processes.

                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                        • Hill, Mark E. 2002. Race of the interviewer and perception of skin color: Evidence from the multi-city study of urban inequality. American Sociological Review 67:99–108.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/3088935Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          This quantitative analysis found that whites reported black’s skin complexion as being darker than did black respondents and vice versa. This study provides substantial evidence that Americans have little ability to carefully distinguish skin color differences in those who are not their racial peers.

                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                          • Kerr, A. E. 2006. The paper bag principle: Class, colorism, and rumor and the case of black Washington. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press.

                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Presents a sociohistorical analysis of “black Washington” to facilitate a deeper understanding of colorism in the black community. Beliefs about skin complexion, internalized racism, and racial discrimination are central themes that emerge from this study.

                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                            • Massey, Douglas, and Nancy A. Denton. 1993. American apartheid: Segregation and the making of the underclass. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              The central argument is that segregation is the primary cause of black poverty. They contend that the social, economic, and political segregation of blacks are discrimination techniques designed to trap them into urban ghettos and a vicious a cycle of poverty.

                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                              • Shapiro, Thomas. 2004. The hidden cost of being African American. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Economic disenfranchisement, discrimination, and segregation has affected the black community by creating the social conditions for lingering poverty. This book reflects on the inheritance of the wealth gap for blacks as opposed to the inheritance of property, prestige, and power for their white counterparts.

                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                • Stainback, Kevin, and Donald Tomaskovic-Devey. 2012. Documenting desegregation: Racial and gender segregation in private-sector employment since the Civil Rights Act. New York: Russell Sage.

                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Examines desegregation in the US labor market since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Using US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data from 1966–2005, they found that counter to mainstream narratives about Affirmative Action that racial desegregation in the labor market stalled in the 1980s through the 2000s.

                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                  Racial and Ethnic Identities

                                                                                                  Alba 1990, Waters 1994, and Hitlin, et al. 2008 focused on both individual and collective identities that are shaped by a complex interaction between race or ethnicity and one’s national origin. Harris and Sim 2002, Carter 2005, and Hughey 2010, used in their analyses the individual or group to examine the ways in which the interaction between the individual and their community (e.g., family, school, and neighborhood) influences their overall positive or negative identity development. Hunt and Ray 2012 and Lacy 2007 pushed the understanding of racial identity formation forward with a class-based analytical framework to highlight the process of social class identity construction and development.

                                                                                                  • Alba, Richard. 1990. Ethnic identity: The transformation of white America. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    Alba examines various ethnic groups, “European Americans,” who have come together under a white racial identity and its impact on racial/ethnic identities, interpersonal relationships, and maintenance of cultural traditions. This book provides a poignant analysis of in-depth interviews that examine the changing symbolism of ethnic identities.

                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                    • Carter, Prudence. 2005. Keepin’ it real: School success beyond black and white. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      Carter details the ways black and Latino students frame “acting white” as part of a system of cultural capital as opposed to oppositional culture. Accordingly, she presents three main presentational identities among black and Latino students (e.g., cultural mainstreamers, noncompliant believers, and cultural straddlers) that help to contextualize their differences in identity development.

                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                      • Harris, David R., and Jeremiah Joseph Sim. 2002. Who is multiracial? Assessing the complexity of lived race. American Sociological Review 67:614–627.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/3088948Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        Reveals a complex process of multiracial identity construction and classification for white/black, white/Asian, and white/American Indian teens. Adolescents’ self-indicated racial categorization revealed patterns in racial identity construction for those who self-select into two or more racial categories.

                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                        • Hitlin, Steven, J. Scott Brown, and Glen H. Elder Jr. 2008. Measuring Latinos: Racial vs. ethnic classification and self-understandings. Social Forces 86:587–611.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1093/sf/86.2.587Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          Provides a thought-provoking analysis of self-categorization of race/ethnicity that is complicated by national identity as well. The self-identification of racial and/or ethnic classification is further complicated by the construction of Hispanic/Latino identities that do not necessarily “fit” into the preexisting US racial categorization scheme.

                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                          • Hughey, Matthew W. 2010. Navigating the (dis)similarities of white racial identities: The conceptual framework of hegemonic whiteness. Ethnic and Racial Studies 33:1289–1309.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/01419870903125069Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            Although often overlooked, the process of white identity formation is at the center of this journal article. In addition to addressing the construction of whiteness, this article illuminates the complex development of heterogeneous white identities.

                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                            • Hunt, Matthew, and Rashawn Ray. 2012. Black Americans social class identifications: Trends and determinants, 1974–2010. American Behavioral Scientist 56:1462–1480.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/0002764212458275Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Using data from the 1974–2010 General Social Surveys, these authors found that blacks’ tendency to identify as middle class has increased in concert with blacks’ socioeconomic status (SES) gains. However, despite the increase in blacks’ SES from the 1970s through 2000s, the relationship between blacks’ SES and SCI did not seem to increase.

                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                              • Lacy, Karyn R. 2007. Blue-chip black: Race, class, and status in the new black middle class. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Lacy explores the heterogeneity of the black community with regard to class-based identification and coping mechanisms developed to facilitate social transactions and interactions between middle- and working-class blacks. An analysis of status, identity, and prestige is the focus of this book, which covers a seldom-studied group: middle-class blacks.

                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                • Waters, Mary C. 1994. Ethnic and racial identities of second-generation black immigrants in New York city. International Migration Review 28.4: 795–820.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/2547158Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Waters examines the fluidity of racial and ethnic identification for transnational black migrant’s self-schemas. The focus here is on the struggle to etch out a social space for first and second generation black immigrants who attempt to navigate both American and black American culture.

                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                  Intersectionality

                                                                                                                  Beauboeuf-Lafontant 2009 and Jackman 1996 use their research to examine the interconnectedness of systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Collins 2004, Crenshaw 1991, and McCall 2005 use an intersection theoretical framework to describe the process of how individuals simultaneously occupy certain race, class, and gender positions, and an intersectional framework allows sociologists and other researchers to explore these interlocking identities as connected parts. McCall 2005 and Choo and Ferree 2010 provide analytical research strategies for pushing intersectionality beyond its common use as a heuristic device. Lovejoy 2001 and Moore 2006 analyze how race and gender identities influence the social performance of femininities and masculinities.

                                                                                                                  • Beauboeuf-Lafontant, Tamara. 2009. Behind the mask of the strong black woman: Voice and the embodiment of a costly performance. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    Examines how the strong black woman archetype gives insight into the ways black women suffer both mentally and physically from this costly performance. In-depth interviews reveal how black women are dehumanized by playing through the pain and how the strong black woman character only serves to reinforce racial stratification.

                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                    • Choo, Hae Yeon, and Myra Marx Ferree. 2010. Practicing intersectionality in sociological research: A critical analysis of inclusions, interactions, and institutions in the study of inequalities. Sociological Theory 28.2: 129–149.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9558.2010.01370.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Applies the intersectionality framework to well-known ethnographies. In doing so, these scholars show the breadth and depth of intersectionality for mainstream sociology.

                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                      • Collins, Patricia Hill. 2004. Black sexual politics: African Americans, gender, and the new racism. New York: Routledge.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.4324/9780203309506Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        The notion that there is a single unified black lived experience is discredited through this careful intersectional analysis of the ways in which both race and gender inform black men’s and black women’s experiences. This examination of racial and sexual ideologies strategically focuses on struggle and emancipatory politics.

                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                        • Crenshaw, Kimberlé Williams. 1991. Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review 43:1241–1299.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/1229039Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Crenshaw examines the delicate identity politics within gendered and raced communities. She highlights how an intersectional analysis can help to shed light on various political and structural dimensions of violence (e.g., domestic abuse and rape) that frequently get overlooked or where the victims may be silenced by their vulnerability.

                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                          • Jackman, Mary R. 1996. The velvet glove: Paternalism and conflict in gender, class, and race relations. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Instead of using coercive or violent means to subordinate racial-, gender-, or class-based social groups, Jackman contends that dominant groups rely on a paternalistic model of “sweet persuasion” to control subordinate groups. This allows for the most compliance of subordinate groups with the least amount of overt force.

                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                            • Lovejoy, M. 2001. Disturbances in the social body: Differences in body image and eating problems among African American and white women. Gender and Society 15.2: 239–261.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/089124301015002005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              In this analysis, ethnic differences in eating disorders were discovered between black and white women primarily due to differences in self-evaluations. Black women were found to resist stigmas associated with their body types and ascribe to more positive but alternative standards of beauty aside from Eurocentric beauty norms.

                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                              • McCall, L. 2005. The complexity of intersectionality. Signs 30.3: 1771–1800.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1086/426800Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Since gender is a limited analytical category, it is often used as a catch-all for an analysis of hegemony. McCall asserts that an intersectional framework allows for the researchers to explore or examine multiple dimensions of social domination and subordination.

                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                • Moore, Mignon R. 2006. Lipstick or timberlands? Meanings of gender representation in black lesbian communities. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 32.1: 113–139.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1086/505269Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Differences in gender performances and expectations in the lesbian community have been shaped by race and class. This analysis shows the ways in which the preexisting gender norms for black lesbians have influenced the presentation of gender performances that range from gender-bender to transgressive approaches.

                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                  Colorism

                                                                                                                                  Keith and Herring 1991 and Monk 2014 explore how skin color discrimination impacts socioeconomic outcomes and marriage rates. Glenn 2009, Hill 2000, and Hunter 2002 conducted research on skin color differences in communities of color. Montalvo and Codina 2001 used their research to explore how skin complexion affects ethnic differences in acculturation. Thompson and Keith 2004 and Wilder and Cain 2010 found that those with lighter skin complexions are ascribed with a higher social status and often benefit from this pigmentocratic system of oppression where colorism is purported to be a byproduct of European colonialism.

                                                                                                                                  • Glenn, Evelyn Nakano. 2009. Shades of difference: Why skin color matters. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    The preference for lighter skin tones has both social and cultural roots that developed from European colonialism. This book thoroughly examines how skin color bias (as opposed to racial bias) has emerged to limit opportunities for darker complexioned people from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and North America.

                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                    • Hill, Mark E. 2000. Color differences in the socioeconomic status of African American men: Results of a longitudinal study. Social Forces 78:1437–1460.

                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      Exploring changes in socioeconomic status (SES) over time, this analysis examines differences in how skin color affects southern black men’s social mobility. Hill found an inverse relationship between skin color and SES where black men with lighter skin had higher SES in relation to their darker complexion counterparts.

                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                      • Hunter, Margaret L. 2002. “If you’re light you’re alright”: Light skin color as social capital for women of color. Gender and Society 16:175–193.

                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Conceptualizes skin color stratification as the pervasive pigmentocratic logic present in society today that emerged from European colonialism both directly and indirectly. This article shows how skin color stratification negatively affects darker complexion black and Mexican women’s life outcomes (e.g., educational attainment, income and spousal status).

                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                        • Keith, Verna M., and Cedric Herring. 1991. Skin tone and stratification in the black community. American Journal of Sociology 97:760–778.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1086/229819Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          This study found that darker skinned blacks continue to be disadvantaged by their skin complexion due to prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory actions. A noteworthy finding from this analysis is that skin complexion had a stronger effect on educational attainment, occupation, and income than did parental socioeconomic status.

                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                          • Monk, Ellis. 2014. Skin tone stratification among black Americans, 2001–2003. Social Forces 92.4: 1313–1337.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1093/sf/sou007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Monk finds that skin tone continues to shape the social, economic, and family outcomes of black Americans even into the 21st century.

                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                            • Montalvo, Frank F., and G. Edward Codina. 2001. Skin color and Latinos in the United States. Ethnicities 1:321–341.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/146879680100100303Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              A comparative analysis of the psycho-social values associated with skin color in Latino communities was used to illuminate how phenotype affects Mexican American and Puerto Rican approaches to acculturation.

                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                              • Thompson, M. S., and V. M. Keith. 2004. Copper brown and blue black: Colorism and self-evaluation. Skin deep: How race and complexion matter in the “color blind” era. Champaign: Univ. of Illinois Press.

                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Provides an in-depth discussion of the social and psychological stigma of dark skin though a lens of colorism. The internalization of racism and acceptance of stereotypical racial archetypes often negatively affects blacks’ self-evaluations.

                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                • Wilder, J., and C. Cain. 2010. Teaching and learning color consciousness in black families: Exploring family processes and women’s experiences with colorism. Journal of Family Issues 32.5: 577–604.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/0192513X10390858Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Presents an interesting perspective on the intergenerational transmission of skin tone consciousness and colorism within the black family. This work examines the process of the development and transmission of colorist ideology for black women through themes that surface from multiple interviews.

                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                  Post-Racialism

                                                                                                                                                  Bobo and Smith 1998, Bonilla-Silva 2006, and Brown, et al. 2003 offer sociological research on post-racialism and explore the concepts of color-blind racism, laissez-faire racism, and liberal antiracism. Bobo and Hutchings 1996, Kendall 2006, and Lewis 2004 expose the underlying political and social agendas that function to maintain the unequal distribution of power with the use of race to organize this social inequality. Wilson 1978 and López 2010 use a post-racial analytical framework to examine how social systems have experienced increasing change as a result of these ideological changes.

                                                                                                                                                  • Bobo, Lawrence, and Vincent L. Hutchings. 1996. Perceptions of racial group competition: Extending Blumer’s theory of group position to a multiracial social context. American Sociological Review 61:951–972.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.2307/2096302Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    This article makes a significant contribution to race scholarship because of the meso-level analytical approach (racial/ethnic group threat) used to explain how a group’s social location on the axis of power can explain prejudice, instead of justifying prejudice as a dispositional quality inherent to the individual.

                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                    • Bobo, Lawrence, and Ryan A. Smith. 1998. From Jim Crow racism to laissez-faire racism: The transformation of racial attitudes in America. In Beyond pluralism: Essays on the conception of groups and group identities in America. Edited by Wendy Katkin, Ned Landsman, and Andrea Tyree, 182–220. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press.

                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      Argues that whites justify their success through a colorblind lens. The racial blinders of whites preclude them from viewing privilege and whiteness as assets and discrimination as a hindrance for non-whites.

                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                      • Bonilla-Silva, E. 2006. Racism without racists: Color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in the United States. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.

                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        This pivotal work uses four analytical frames to explain the tension between de-racialization and the diffuse nature of racism bound deeply to sociohistorical development of US ideologies and culture. Provides a contextual and historical reference for how color blind racism recreates racial stratification.

                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                        • Brown, Michael K., Martin Carnoy, Elliott Currie, Troy Duster, David B. Oppenheimer, Marjorie Schultz, and David Wellman. 2003. White-washing race: The myth of a color-blind society. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          Provides a wealth of statistics to empirically validate and substantiate the authors’ claim that race continues to be a problem of significance in a seemingly “colorblind” society. This empirical work provides a thought provoking analysis of the deeply entrenched structural and functional nature of racism.

                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                          • Kendall, Francis E. 2006. Understanding white privilege: Creating pathways to authentic relationships across race. London: Routledge.

                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            Those who are empowered by a system that disempowers others may not be able to recognize the privilege that they have access to, and this book not only flushes out those significant power dynamics but also serves as a critical analysis of white privilege.

                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                            • Lewis, Amanda E. 2004. “What group?” Studying whites and whiteness in the era of “color-blindness.” Sociological Theory 22:625–646.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.0735-2751.2004.00237.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Anti-essentialism frames this thoughtful yet critical analysis of whiteness in a society that attempts to ignore the social sphere of race. Lewis delves into the theoretical and methodological challenges that scholars face when attempting race research.

                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                              • López, I. F. H. 2010. Post-racial racism: Racial stratification and mass incarceration in the age of Obama. California Law Review 98.3: 1023–1074.

                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                With a focus on deracialization policies and the election of Obama, this book focuses on how post-racial racism creates racial injustice in the criminal justice system where racial inequality continues to persist. A thought provoking analysis of racial advantage via institutional discrimination is provided.

                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                • Wilson, William Julius. 1978. The declining significance of race: Blacks and changing American institutions. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Wilson’s argument about the declining significance of race caused much controversy within academia. Though his analysis focuses on attempting to disentangle the effects of class on lingering racial inequality, this book provides substantial evidence for a class-based analysis of social inequality.

                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                  back to top

                                                                                                                                                                  Article

                                                                                                                                                                  Up

                                                                                                                                                                  Down