New PDF release: The Scar of Race

By Paul M. Sniderman

Explores the problems of race and racism within the Nineteen Nineties and examines the impression of politics and political agendas and the position of schooling in combatting racism. 10,000 first printing. $20,000 ad/promo.

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The table on page 22 shows the extent to which whites react consistently to this set of racial issues, measuring the consistency of reactions to racial issues with correlation coefficients. 30 is reasonably large. As the table shows, these four racial issues do not belong to one homogeneous bloc but instead form two distinct clusters-or, as we shall call them, policy agendas. One policy agenda centers on conventional proposals for government activism in behalf of the disadvantaged. Thus, citizens treat a proposal to increase federal spending to assist blacks as raising essentially the same issue as a proposal that the government in Washington improve the social and economic position of blacks.

PICTURES IN THE MIND ••• 41 This perception of self-inflicted injuries-injuries inflicted directly or indirectly because of a lack of commitment, effort, and responsibility-is a striking feature of the contemporary picture of blacks held by whites, and we can illustrate another aspect of it by examining white perceptions of black neighborhoods. The violence and squalor of some black neighborhoods, it is obvious to an impartial observer, can be attributed to a variety of factors, including the loss of urban industrial jobs, the failure of public policy (in concentrating housing for the poor, most obviously), discriminatory lending policies, the out-migration of successful blacks, and broader changes in the larger society, particularly the disintegration of the nuclear family.

The other answer treats the "apparent anomaly," in Jennifer Hochschild's words, as an "actual symbiosis"-as an immanent corollary of the political and economic values central to liberal democracy. The sheer persistence of the problem of race has suggested to an increasing number of scholars that racism is built in to the American experience; indeed, as many have come to conclude, it is the inescapable, if unintended, product of values long regarded as distinctively, even quintessentially, American-values such as personal autonomy, hard work, self-discipline, achievement.

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