Race in America: Scholars examine race, inequality and culture in a 21st-century landscape

May 4, 2011

Four Northwestern University scholars authored or co-authored three essays in "Race, Inequality, and Culture." In the new issue of Daedalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 22 prominent social scientists examine race in America today, weighing in on topics ranging from the future of African American studies to intra-minority group relations in the 21st century.

Has the mission of African American studies changed? How is the old racial order being transformed? How will react to the predicted demographic shifts of living in a majority-minority country?

In "Controversial Blackness: The Historical Development and Future Trajectory of African American Studies" by Martha Biondi, associate professor of African American studies and history at Northwestern University, the author examines where the field is headed. "Arguably the most exciting development for African American studies in the twenty-first century is the expansion of doctoral programs. The opportunity to train young scholars can only add to the growth, rigor and institutional stature of the field."

In "Destabilizing the American Racial Order" by Jennifer L. Hochschild of Harvard University, Vela M. Weaver of the University of Virginia and Traci Burch, assistant professor of political science at Northwestern University, the authors seek to sort out, post election of President Barack Obama, "what is changing in the American racial order, what persists or is becoming even more entrenched, and what is likely to affect the balance between change and continuity."

In "Intra-minority Intergroup Relations in the Twenty-First Century" by Jennifer A. Richeson, the Weinberg College Board of Visitors Research and Teaching Professor in the department of psychology and faculty fellow, Institute for Policy Research, and her co-author Maureen A. Craig, a third-year doctoral student in the social psychology program at Northwestern University, the authors examine how members of different racial minority groups may evaluate one another in a majority-minority nation. "A separate line of research and theory in social psychology suggests that, rather than adopting a common ingroup identity, members of distinct racial minority groups may react to the predicted demographic changes quite differently: namely as a social identity threat."

"With the presidency of Barack Obama and the subsequent national conversation about a new, post-racial America, it is the right time to examine both real and perceived changes in the racial divide since the 1960s," said Leslie Berlowitz, president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Explore further: Many children attribute white male monopoly on White House to discrimination

More information: www.amacad.org/publications/daedalus.aspx

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5 / 5 (1) May 04, 2011
When is it ever the wrong time to examine the racial divide? I'm more interested in whether scientists of every stripe can transcend their skin colors and band together.

My flux capacitors won't discover themselves.
2 / 5 (4) May 04, 2011
How 'black' is Obama?
Observations of US blacks not raised in the black culture suggests it is not the color of the skin but the attitude of the community that is most significant.
Colin Powell's parents were from Jamaica for example. Similar observations can be made in other none black, heterogeneous communities.
A culture of success based upon individual hard work and independence or a culture of dependency is most significant.
3.7 / 5 (3) May 04, 2011
You seem to suggest that there is a culture of dependency somewhere. Which groups do you believe belong to this culture?

You seem to say that success of an individual is dependent only on the cultural group in which they were raised, not the groups they interact with along the way. This seems to discount the affect that the majority culture can have on minority cultures, espically when there is an entrenched belief that those who belong to one group or another are not equal to the other.
2 / 5 (4) May 04, 2011
You seem to suggest that there is a culture of dependency somewhere.

Yes. The USA.
"The longer theyve been out of work, the harder it is to find a job. Theyve typically been unemployed for at least 26 weeks, and may have been out of work for as long as 99 weeks, which for many people is the limit."
This seems to discount the affect that the majority culture can have on minority cultures, espically when there is an entrenched belief that those who belong to one group or another are not equal to the other.

Entrenched by whom or what?
You've seen Revenge of the Nerds? Peer pressure from other jocks limited many from doing well academically. That's just one example of cliques of all sorts that reinforce stereotypes.
Did you hear some Indians were offended by using Geronimo as the code word for OBL?
3.7 / 5 (3) May 04, 2011
Not sure how your quote relates to a culture of dependency.

We've seen from previous articles here on physorg, that if you are not currently employed, it is much less likely a potential employer will hire you. I think it's also pretty obvious that here in the USA that lack of jobs is a significant factor in people being unable to aquire employment.

I'm unsure how your link shows there is a culture of dependency.
2 / 5 (4) May 04, 2011
One can infer many cultural dependencies from this map:

I'm unsure how your link shows there is a culture of dependency.

When the govt pays people not to work, what will many people do? I have heard of many open jobs where people ask to be paid in cash in order to continue to receive unemployment.
Unions are going crazy as politicians limit their benefits and the democrats dependent upon union dues are just as crazy.
"Canadian Unemployment Benefits Encourage Unemployment"
"extended UI benefits extends the situation and prolongs recession"

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