Racial inequality in America

“Again, barring exceptional circumstances, we doubt that leaders of major political parties are likely today, any more than in the past, to champion policies that erode rather than reinforce the advantages of those groups who are most numerous, most affluent, and most politically powerful. The United States is a complex and diverse society, but it is still one of in which in most regards middle-class and upper-class whites are best positioned. Indeed, the political advantages of whites have in the past and the present led political leaders most often to uphold rather than condemn America’s racial hierarchy (Klinkner and Smith 8).

I’m starting a book right now (not that I already don’t have several to read for class), which I started reading for a race and ethnicity last year before I left for Lesotho. The above quote is from the introduction of the book. The authors are making the case that the march toward equality in America has been anything, but smooth or steady. In fact, they would say that it is marked by short periods of extreme stress to the nation where minorities (specifically African-Americans) achieve equal (or more equal) rights as well as much longer periods in which the majority digs their heels in and stops the movement forward, often times pushing in the opposite direction as well. These times of stress are most often times of war, in which America’s massive military force requires more soldiers so they begin to incorporate minorities even though for many years before, minorities were not as valuable, strong, intelligent, etc. as the white majority at the time (according to the predominant view).

If you have some time, check out the book and see what you think. The full citation is at the end of the blog, so you should be able to find a copy through the library system or on Amazon or half.com or something.


Klinkner, Philip A., and Rogers M. Smith. The Unsteady March: The Rise and Decline of Racial Equality in America. Chicago: University of

Chicago, 1999


~ by randallkoehler on August 26, 2012.

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