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More Than Just Race

William Julius Wilson University Professor at Harvard Past president of the American Sociological Association Published in 2010 Harry Herbert & Eric Toepfer. More Than Just Race . Structural and Cultural Forces That Contribute to Racial Inequality

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More Than Just Race

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  1. William Julius Wilson • University Professor at Harvard • Past president of the American Sociological Association • Published in 2010 • Harry Herbert & Eric Toepfer More Than Just Race

  2. Structural and Cultural Forces That Contribute to Racial Inequality • The Forces Shaping Concentrated Poverty • The Economic Plight of the Inner-City Black Males • The Fragmentation of the Poor Black Family • Conclusion: proposals and take home lessons Outline

  3. Social Structure • Culture Structuraland Cultural Forces that Contribute to Racial Inequality

  4. “What is the relative importance of each of these two dimensions in accounting for the formation and persistence of the inner-city ghetto, the plight of black males, and breakdown of the black family?” Fundamental Question

  5. 2 types contribute to racial group outcomes such as differences in poverty and employment rate: • Social acts (behavior of individuals w/in society) • Social processes (“machinery” of society that exists to promote ongoing relations among members of the larger group) Structural Forces

  6. 2 types: • National views and beliefs on race. • Cultural traits that emerge from patterns of intragroup interaction in settings created by discrimination and segregation and that reflect collective experiences within those settings. • Racism, living in racially segregated neighborhoods. Impact of Cultural Forces

  7. Role of political Actions: • Redlining • Freeways • Suburbanization • Federal Public Housing Policies • Housing Act of 1949 • Shift in federal gov’t support for basic urban programs • Decline in federal support for cities-1980- and increase in immigration of people from poorer countries. Forces Shaping Concentrated Poverty

  8. Metropolitan development • Relationship between technology and international competition. • Eroded basic institutions of mass production system. • Drastically reduced importance of physical capital. • Spatial mismatch created by sprawl and economic stagnation. Impact of Economic Forces

  9. Neighborhood effects: • Living in a racially segregated, poor neighborhood is exposed to cultural framing, habits, styles of behavior, and particular skills that emerge from patterns of racial exclusion. • These practices are not conducive to social mobility. Role of Cultural Factors

  10. Patrick Sharkley (Panel Study of Income Dynamics-PSID) • The study revealed that residing in disadvantaged neighborhoods impedes academic development. • Majority of Black families reside in poorest neighborhood for consecutive generations. • Compared to only 7% of white families. Concentrated Poverty Study

  11. Although cultural forces play a role in inner-city outcomes, they are secondary to the larger economic and political forces, both racial and nonracial, that move American society. Structure vs. Culture a brief review

  12. Context • Role of structural factors • Role of cultural factors graphics8.nytimes.com/.../08/books/ford-600.jpg The Economic Plight of Inner-City Black Males

  13. African American Men in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhoods

  14. # of Bachelor’s Degrees Education

  15. Percentage of men employed Employment to population ratios of nonenrolled 16-24 males by educational attainment and racial/ethic group in the United States, 2005

  16. Percentage of black median income that is equivalent to the median income of all men, by educational group Ratio of the Median Annual Earnings of 20-29 year old black men to all men by educational attainment, 2004-2005

  17. Income Average annual earnings of 24 year old males in bottom 25% of the earnings distribution between 2000 and 2004 in their ethnic group

  18. “Shifts in the economy from manufacturing to service industries have accompanied changes in the criminal justice system and compounded the negative effects of employers’ attitudes toward inner-city black males.” (76) Role of Structural Factors

  19. Decreased relative demand for low-skilled labor caused by the computer revolution • The globalization of economic activity • The declining manufacturing sector • The growth of the service sector www.hmmausa.com/.../Jobs@HMMA/TEAM%20MEMBERS.jpg Unemployment

  20. Bruce Western • “Among black male high school dropouts the risk of imprisonment has increased to 60 percent, establishing incarceration as a normal stopping point on the route to midlife” (72) Incarceration

  21. “In my business black men tend to be known to be dishonest…that’s the image they have. (interviewer: So you think it’s an image problem?) Respondent: An image problem of being dishonest men and lazy…It’s all an image though. Whether they are or not, I don’t know.” (74) Employer attitudes

  22. Cool-Pose Culture • Culture of Defeatism • Culture of Resistance http://www.essence.com/images/mt/african-american-women-conversation-1.jpg Role of Cultural Factors

  23. Orlando Patterson • “Hanging out on the street after school, shopping and dressing sharply, sexual conquest, party drugs, and hip-hop music.” (80) Cool-Pose Culture http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_AOgLOtsNV9Y/SQ2YfUEzyvI/AAAAAAAAAo0/IRlrOmgwJHI/s1600-h/cool+kids.com

  24. Weak Evidence • Same Work Values Culture of Defeatism

  25. Weak Evidence • Reservation Wages Culture of Resistance

  26. “Structural explanations of the economic woes of low-skilled black men are far more significant than cultural arguments, even though structural and cultural forces jointly restrict black male progress in some situations.” (94)

  27. Context • Role of Structure • Role of Culture The Fragmentation of the Poor Black Family brotherherm.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/singl...

  28. Percentage of black births to unmarried women US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Trends in Illegitimacy 1940-1965, Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States 1940-1999, US Department of Health and Human Services, Births: Preliminary Data for 2005

  29. US Bureau of the Census

  30. “Children from low-income households without fathers present are more likely to be school dropouts, become teenage parents, receive lower earnings in young adulthood, be welfare recipients, and experience cognitive, emotional, and social problems.” (102)

  31. Welfare • Joblessness abagond.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/welfare.jpg Role of Structural Factors

  32. Cultural continuity • The Mexican American family and the black family • Cultural framings of marriage and motherhood. Role of Culture

  33. transferred through generations Weak evidence 1.bp.blogspot.com/_Yawiu9y1v5M/RoG2hGw5scI/AA... Cultural Continuity

  34. Mexican Immigrants have a strong concept of the traditional family • Religion • Strong attachment to the labor force • Likely to change the longer they are exposed to US norms. (117) • Mexican American women born in the US divorce at 40.9 percent compared to 13.1 percent of women born in Mexico. (117) Mexican Americans & Blacks

  35. Current research is weak • New structural realities • Diminishing employment opportunities • Changing norms • “changing patterns of family formation are not limited to the inner-city black community but are part of wider societal trends.” (129) Cultural Framings of Marriage and Motherhood

  36. -The evidence to support the cultural continuity thesis is insufficient -Research reveals that the cultural responses among poor women – black, white, and Puerto Rican – tend to be similar. -“we can only speculate whether the historic racial experiences of inner-city African American women have uniquely influenced their cultural framings of marriage and motherhood”(132) Structure more important

  37. Structural and Cultural Forces That Contribute to Racial Inequality • The Forces Shaping Concentrated Poverty • The Economic Plight of Inner-City Black Males • The Fragmentation of the Poor Black Family • Framing the Issue • Take Home Lessons Conclusion

  38. New Deal era – structure • Today - individual initiative • Emphasize personal responsibility with government support. • “people who are working should not be poor” Framing the Issue

  39. Culture and Structure are not mutually exclusive • One persons culture is another persons structure • Culture is often an outcome of structural factors. • Structural factors have the greatest influence over racial inequality today. • Future policies that address these factors must be framed in a way that acknowledges the role of structural forces. Take Home Lessons

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