The Anatomy of Racial Inequality
Speaking wisely and provocatively about the political economy of race, Glenn Loury has become one of our most prominent black intellectuals--and, because of his challenges to the orthodoxies of both left and right, one of the most controversial. A major statement of a position developed over the past decade, this book both epitomizes and explains Loury's understanding of the depressed conditions of so much of black society today--and the origins, consequences, and implications for the future of these conditions.
Using an economist's approach, Loury describes a vicious cycle of tainted social information that has resulted in a self-replicating pattern of racial stereotypes that rationalize and sustain discrimination. His analysis shows how the restrictions placed on black development by stereotypical and stigmatizing racial thinking deny a whole segment of the population the possibility of self-actualization that American society reveres--something that many contend would be undermined by remedies such as affirmative action. On the contrary, this book persuasively argues that the promise of fairness and individual freedom and dignity will remain unfulfilled without some forms of intervention based on race.
Brilliant in its account of how racial classifications are created and perpetuated, and how they resonate through the social, psychological, spiritual, and economic life of the nation, this compelling and passionate book gives us a new way of seeing--and, perhaps, seeing beyond--the damning categorization of race in America.
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THREE AXIOMS As a starting point for the analysis I adopt three postulates, or
axioms, about "race" and inequality in the United States. I use the term "axiom"
here in the mathematical sense: an assumption embraced for the sake of
Axiom 1 (Constructivism): "Race" is a socially constructed mode of human
categorization. That people use marks on the bodies of others to divide the field
of human subjects into the subgroups we call "races" is a social convention for
which no ...
THE ANATOMY OF RACIAL INEQUALITY institution grounded in Americas
primordial racial classification — the "social otherness" of blacks. This assertion
was formalized in my Axiom 3, which postulated an ingrained racial stigma