Week One Readings
Week One Readings AFRS345
Popular in Blacks in Urban America
Popular in African Studies
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Oliver M and Shapiro T 1995 Black WealthNVhite Wealth Introduction and Ch 1 New York NY Routledge School desegregation has enhanced educational access for blacks since the late fties Educational attainment particularly the earning of the undergraduate degree enabled substantial numbers of people in the black community to take advantage of whitecollar jobs in the private sector and government employment An of cial end to de jure housing segregation has even opened the door to neighborhoods and suburban housings previously off limits to black residents Nonetheless many blacks have fallen by the wayside in their march toward economic equality They suffer from educational de ciencies that make nding a foothold in a technological economy near impossible Trapped in their communities of despairs they face increasing economic and social isolation from both their middleclass counterparts and white American Education is the key attribute in whether blacks will achieve economic success relative to white americans Discrimination and racism while still actively practices in many spheres have marginally less effect on black Americans economic attainment than whether ornate blacks have the skills and education necessary to t in a changing economy Race assumes importance only as the lingering product of an oppressive past powell j a 2007 Structural Racism and Spatial Jim Crow In R Bullard Ed The Black Metropolis in the TwentyFirst Century pp 4165 Lanham MD Rowan amp Little eld Publishers Inc Despite more than 50 years of civil rights law aimed at dismantling racial subordination and a culture that purports to be more racially tolerant than ever before the elimination of Jim Crow didn t really occur Clearly the US has undergone a shift away from the formalized of cial overt racism that characterized Jim Crow But more subtle forms of racism continue to shape American culture despite postcivil right policies that seek egalitarianism In his book The World Is a Ghetto Howard Winant argues that contemporary policy is still largely symbolic due in part to a separation between the apparent intent of usually colorblind initiatives and their practical implementation in an already racially strati ed and hierarchical culture Civil rights law primarily fails to address the deeper logic of race in US history and culture Similarly in Whiterlashing Racism the authors challenge the normative conception that racial attitudes improved since the 50s While acknowledging that an increased number of whites profess to have more enlightened racial views this improvement must be understood within the context of current arrangements that maintain racial hierarchy even without any explicit racial hostility Whites maintain privilege and hoard opportunities without the stigma of being called racist Sociologist Charles Tilly identi es persistent racial disparities as durable inequality wherein there is a need to explain them in the face of the civil rights movement which has been rightfully called one of the most important movements in American history THE ILLUSION 0F PROGRESS In 1968 the typical black family had 60 as much income as a white family Today it only has 58 as much In 1968 for every dollar of white per capita income African Americans earned 55 Today they earn only 57 At this pace it would take blacks 580 years to make up the remaining 43 At the slow rate that blackwhite poverty gap has been narrowing since 1968 it would take approximately 150 years to close Black unemployment is more than twice the white rate a wider gap than in 1972 One in nine AfricanAmericans can39t nd a job The rate for white homeownership has jumped from 65 to 75 since 1970 Black homeownership has only risen from 42 to 48 It would take approximate 1660 years to close the homeownership gap about 55 generations Health disparities also persist Black infants are almost 25 times as likely as white infants to die before age one a greater gap than in 1970 These life opportunity disparities are created by separatism and entrenched by residential segregation Our nation is growing in ethnic diversity and residential separation The average white person within our metropolitan areas lives in a neighborhood that is 80 white and only 7 black Nonwhites have still not gained access to largely white opportunity rich neighborhoods The average black person lives in a neighborhood that is only 33 white and as much is 51 black At this pace it would take 40 years for blackwhite segregation to come down even to the current level of Latinowhite segregation Hispanics and Asians although considerably less segregated than blacks have been growing more populous in the last 20 years without a decrease in their level of segregation This means that these groups now live in more isolated settings than they did in 1980 with a smaller proportion of white residents in their neighborhoods both in the cities and in the suburbs Historically 3 explanations have been advanced to clarify the production of this enduring racial disparity o The rst argues that people of color are inherently biologically inferior o The second distinguishing itself from the biological explanation argues that the ill access of AfricanAmericans and Latinos emerges from their speci c cultural attitudes and practices 0 A third perspective suggests that external societal forces and arrangements past and present produce these disparities While the rst explanation was commonplace throughout the 18th 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States it s no longer a frequently deployed discourse There is a growing consensus that no biological basis for race exists but that race is a social construct This means that a biological explanation for racial disparities has to be rejected and that only the second and third explanations remain In The Anatomy of Racial Inequality economist Glenn Loury claims that a democratic society committed to equality must seriously consider the external structural explanation before assuming that some group is failing because of its culture Lousy argues that it s the racial stigma that makes us all too eager to nd the explanation in the internal cultural dynamics of the black community without seriously considering other alternatives STRUCTURAL RACISM A structural racism approach examines racist ideologies and practices embedded in structures and institutional arrangements focusing on the interrelated dynamic nature of social opportunity structures An accurate gauge of equitable structures and institutional arrangements is access to opportunity Because of structural racism is relational it also dynamic A set of institutional relationships can change because of new technology or a shift in what appears to be a distant institution A structural racism approach argues that in intent and individual focus analysis is only a small part of changing dynamic structures Racialized processes often produce racist effects without any racist actor This approach exposes the contemporary effect of historical forms of discrimination in institutions and structures In Making Race and Nation Anthony Marx argues that the early arrangement of state power along with a weak federal government was in part designed to protect the institution of slavery and reinforce subordination of blacks The Civil War amendments to the Constitution were about restructuring the relationship between state and federal power Without the weakening of states rights and the restructuring and strengthening of the federal government the civil rights movement could not have occurred The Dred Scott case set clear parameters around who could access membership and opportunity The Supreme Court concluded that because Scott a runaway slave wasn t a citizen he could be excluded from being a member of the imagined society Not only were blacks denied the rights privileges and immunities of citizenship under the Constitution they were deemed a subordinate inferior class of beings subject to the authority of the dominant white race Oliver M and Shapiro T 1995 Black WealthNVhite Wealth Introduction and Ch 1 New York NY Routledge Each year 2 highly publicized news reports capture the attention and imagination of Americans One of them lists the years highest income earners Predictably they include glamorous and highly publicized entertainment sport and business personalities Recently as many as half of the top 10 in this highly exclusive rank have been AfricanAmericans By contrast another highly publicized list documents the nation s wealthiest Americans The famous Forbes magazine pro le of the nation s wealthiest 400 focuses not on income but on wealth This list includes people whose assets or command over monetary resources place them at the top of the American economic hierarchy Even though the group is humongous it contains few if any AfricanAmericans An examination of the two lists creates 2 very different perceptions of the wellbeing of America s black community The large number of blacks on the top income list generates an optimistic view of how black Americans have progressed economically in American society The near absence of blacks in the Forbes listing by contrast presents a more pessimistic ouMonday Analysis of private wealth Wealth is a particularly important indicator of individual and family access to life chances Wealth is what people own while income is what people receive for work retirement or social welfare Wealth signi es the command over nancial resources that family has accumulated over its lifetime along with those resources that have been inherited across generations Such resources when combined with income can create opportunity to secure the good life in whatever form is needed education business training justice health comfort and so on Wealth is used to create opportunities secure a desired stature and standard of living or pass class status along to one s children The command over resources that wealth entails is more encompassing than is income or education and closer in meaning and theoretical signi cance to our traditional notions of economic wellbeing and access to life chances Wealth taps not only contemporary resources but material assets that have historic origins Private wealth captures inequality that is the product of the past often passed down from generation to generation A focus on wealth helps us avoid the eitheror view of a march toward progress or a trail of despair Conceptualizing racial inequality through wealth revolutionizes our conception of its nature and magnitude and of whether it is declining or increasing Wealth uncovers a quantitatively different pattern of inequality on crucial fronts Wealth reveals a particular network of social relations and a set of social circumstances that convey a unique constellation of meanings pertinent to race in America Through the development of a sociology of wealth and racial inequality we situate the study of wealth among contemporary concerns with race class and social inequality Economists argue that racial differences in wealth are a consequence of disparate class and human capital credentials age education experience skills propensities to save and consumption patterns The sociology of wealth seeks to properly situate the social context in which wealth generation occurs Blacks and whites also face different structures of investment opportunity which have been affected historically and contemporaneously by both race and class We develop three concepts to provide a sociologically grounded approach to understanding racial differentials in wealth accumulation 1 Racialization of state policy Historically policies and actions of the US government have promoted homesteading land acquisition home ownership retirement pensions education and asset accumulation for some sectors of the population and not for others Poor people mainly blacks generally have been excluded from participation in these statesponsored opportunities The modern welfare state has racialized citizenship social organization and economic status while consigning blacks to a relentlessly impoverished and subordinate position within it 2 Economic detour Explicit state and local policies restricted the rights of blacks as free economic agents When black businesses were developed that competed in size and scope with white businesses intimidation and many times violence were used to curtail expansion or get rid of them altogether The lack of important assets and indigenous community development has thus played a crucial role in limiting the wealthaccumulating ability of AfricanAmericans 3 Sedimentation of racial inequality The central ways the cumulative effects of the past have cemented blacks to the bottom of society s economic hierarchy A history of low wages poor schooling and segregation affected not 12 generations of blacks but practically all AfricanAmericans well into the middle 0 the 20th century The best indicator of the sedimentation of racial inequality is wealth Wealth is one indicator of material disparity that captures the historical legacy of low wages personal and organizational discrimination and institutionalized racism The low levels of wealth accumulation evidenced by current black generations best represent the economic status of blacks in the American social structure Generation after generation of blacks remained anchored to the lowest economic status in American society The effect of this inherited poverty and economic scarcityfor the accumulation of wealth has been to sediment inequality into the social structure The sedimentation of inequality happened because the investment opportunity blacks faced worked against their quest for material selfsuf ciency In contrast whites were able to amass assets and use their secure nancial status to pass their wealth from generation to generation The same social system that fosters the accumulation of private wealth for many whites denies it to blacks thus forging an intimate connection between white wealth accumulation and black poverty Just as blacks have had cumulative disadvantages many whites have had cumulative advantages Since wealth builds over a lifetime and is then passed along to kin it s an essential indicator of black economic wellbeing By focusing on wealth we discover how black s socioeconomic status results from a socially layered accumulation of disadvantages passed on from generation to generation Racial wealth tax During the 80s the rich got much richer and the poor and middle classes fell further behind The Reagan tax cuts provided greater discretionary income for middle and upperclass taxpayers Owning a home is the hallmark of the American Dream but it s becoming harder and harderfor average Americans to afford their own home and fewer are able to do so In part because of the dramatic rise in home values the wealthiest generation of elderly people in America s history is in the process of passing along their wealth Between 1987 and 2011 the baby boom generation stands to inherit approximately 7 trillion 13 of the worth of all estates will be divided by the richest 1 each legatee receiving an average inheritance of 6 million Much of this wealth will be property Inherited wealth is a very special kind of money imbued with the shadows of race Racial difference in inheritance Blacks won t partake in the baby boom bounty America s racist legacy is shutting them out The grandparents and parents of blacks under the age of 40 toiled under segregation where education and access to decent jobs and wages were severely restricted Racialized state policy and the economic detour constrained their ability to enter the postWorld War II housing market Segregation created an extreme situation in which earlier generations were unable to build up much if any wealth Until the late 1960s there were few older AfricanAmericans with the ability to save much at all much less invest And no savings no inheritance no wealth Most consistent and strongest common theme family assets expand choices horizons and opportunities for children while lack of assets limit opportunities The lack of private assets intrudes on the dreams many Americans have for their kids Extreme resource de ciency characterizes several groups 62 of households headed by single parents are without savings or other nancial assets Two of every ve households without high school degree lack a nancial nest egg Nearly 13 of all households and 61 of all black households are without nancial resources Materially whites and blacks constitute two nations Two middle classes white and black A wealth pillar supports the white middle class in its drive for middleclass opportunities and a middleclass standard of living Middle class blacks earn 70 cents for every dollar earned by middleclass whites But they possess only 15 cents for every dollar of wealth held by middleclass whites The economic foundation of the black middle class lacks one of the pillars that provide stability and security to middleclass whites assets The black middle class position is precarious and fragile with insubstantial wealth resources The glass is both half empty and half full because the wealth data reveal the paradoxical situation in which blacks wealth has grown while at the same time falling further behind that of whites Blacks achievement at any given level not only requires that greater effort be expanded on fewer opportunities but also bestows diminished rewards Wealth discrepancies Education The most equality is among college educated people but even here at the pinnacle of achievement whites control 4 times as much wealth as blacks with the same degrees This predicament manifests a disturbing break in the link between achievement and results that s essential for democracy and social equality Why do the wealth portfolios of blacks and whites vary so drastically The answer isn tjust that blacks have inferior remunerable human capital endowments substandard education jobs skills or don t display the characteristics most associated with higher income and wealth Even when blacks and whites display similar characteristics a potent difference of 43143 in home equity and nancial assets still remains Giving the average black household the same attributes as the average white household leaves a 25794 racial gap in nancial assets alone Persuasive index of bias the undergirds the drastic differences between blacks and whites Skewed access to mortgage and housing markets and the racial valuing of neighborhoods on the basis of segregated markets result in a huge racial wealth disparity Banks turn down quali ed blacks much more than whites Blacks who do qualify pay higher interest rates on home mortgage than whites Great rise in housing values is color coded Home ownership is the single most important means of accumulating assets The lower values of black homes adversely affect the ability of blacks to utilize their residences as collateral for obtaining personal business or educational loans lnstitional biases in the residential arena have probably cost the current generation of blacks about 82 billion Passing inequality along through generations casts another racially strati ed shadow on the making of American inequality Institutional discrimination in housing and lending markets extends into the future the effects of historical discrimination within other institutions Important responsibility of seeking alternative policy ideas with which to address issues of inequality Closing the racial gap means that we have to target policies at two levels 1 Policies directly addressing the situation of AfricanAmericans They re necessary to speak to the historically generated disadvantages and the current racially based policies that have limited the ability of blacks to accumulate wealth resources 2 Policies that directly promote asset opportunities for those on the bottom of the social structure black and white who are locked out of the wealth accumulation process Need for massive redistributional policies in order to reforge the links between achievement reward social equality and democracy These policies must take aim at the gross inequality generated by those at the top of the wealth distribution Such policies are hard to get consensus on but are most important for creating a just society Underlying goal establish a way to view racial inequalitythat ll serve as a guide in securing racial equality in the 21st century The fact that racial equality can never be perfectly attained in the real world is a wholly insuf cient excuse for dismissing it as utopian or impossible What is important are the bearings by which a nation chooses to orient its character We can choose to let racial inequalityfester and risk heightened con ict and violence We can also make a different choice a commitment to equality and to closing the gap as much as possible We must reexamine the values preferences interests and ideals that de ne us Fundamental change must be addressed before we can begin to af rmatively answer Rodney King s poignant plea Can we all just get alongquot Bullard R 2007 Introduction The Signi cance of Race and Place In R Bullard Ed The Black Metropolis in the TwentyFirst Century pp 116 Lanham MD Rowan amp Little eld Publishers Inc Over 150 years after the infamous Dred Scott US Supreme Court Decision in 1857 some people and communities still feel that no black man has any right to any white man is bound to respectquot In 1944 Swedish sociologist Gunnar Myrdal published his classic study An American Dilemma In 1944 St Claire Drake and Horace Rgt Clayton wrote their groundbreaking Black Metropolis documenting the role racism played in creating racial inequality and the black ghetto In 1965 psychologist Kenneth Clark said that racism created our nation s dark ghettos In 1968 the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders Kerner Commission reported that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto and that white institutions created it white institutions maintain it and white society condones it While the physical signs of Jim Crow have come down invisible walls still limited access to opportunity and maintain social inequality between black life and white life in the United States The black population in the United States grew from 207 million in 1964 to over 397 million by July 2005 The Hispanic population swelled to over 427 million becoming the largest ethnic minority group in the nation But even though the browning of the nation rapid growth in Hispanic population is changing the racial relations landscape blackwhite disparities are mostly still the greatest of all racial challenges in the country As a group the AfricanAmerican population is now larger richer wiser and politically more powerful than it was when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 laws were enacted of of a growing number of AfricanAmericans complete high schools go to college increase their incomes and buying power buy homes open businesses when elections the political of ces join the middle class and move to the suburbs But America has yet to achieve a colorblind status The nation is closerto achieving equality of opportunitythan it is to achieving equality of condition for AfricanAmericans Race Place and Opportunity Clearly suburbanization doesn t automatically translate into racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods for AfricanAmericans In cities or suburbs and across regions AfricanAmericans stay the most segregated racialethnic group in the United States MajorityBlack communities aren t created by random chance There is considerable evidence that real estate brokers still steer prospective homebuyers to certain neighborhoods based on race despite laws that ban such practices Racial steering a form of housing discrimination in which minority home buyers are shown houses in neighborhoods less desirable than those shown to whites This can prevent even middleclass AfricanAmericans from purchasing property Racial steering lowers the demand for housing in predominantly AfricanAmerican areas The National Fair Housing Alliance NFHA study Unequal Opportunity Perpetuating Housing Segregation in America discovered that in targeted underserved areas properties are marketed to whites as affordable solid longterm investments in up andcoming communities But African Americans are often steered from these communities told that property prices are overin ated The study found that the quality of a neighborhood s school district was often used as a proxy for the racial composition of a neighborhood Whites are told to steer clear of certain neighborhoods because of bad schools The NFHA estimates that the 26092 complaints it received in 2006 represented less than 1 of 37 million violations of the FHA nationwide There is mounting evidence that some businesses systematically avoid AfricanAmerican areas of all class levels redlining and selectively target white areas for their operations creating opportunitypoor communities mostly black and opportunity rich communities mostly white Racial redlining a form of credit discrimination based on the characteristics of the neighborhood surrounding the wouldbe borrower s dwellingbusiness denies residents of mostly AfricanAmerican communities equal access to residential consumer and small business credit Similarly reverse redlining the extension of credit on unfair terms to particular geographic areas because of the race or national origin of their residents also hits AfricanAmericans especially hard The absence of mainstream banking institutions and their services in AfricanAmerican neighborhoods helps create market conditions in which reverse redlining thrives Redlining and reverse redlining are opposite sides of the same coin Both are negative for black wealth creation in cities and suburbs These patterns are institutionalized by lending practices and reproduced again and again by subsequent generations Many African Americans choose suburbs that already have large black populations But majority black suburban neighborhoods generally provide fewer economic opportunities in terms of rising home values and access to good schools and jobs making it harder for them to catch up and keep up nancially with whites A recent study found that 94 of African Americans in Chicago live in low opportunity rated on factors like strength of tax base school quality and employment availability suburbs compared with 44 of whites Generally AfricanAmericans housing patterns have little to do with choice or preference but are outcomes of centuries of housing discrimination that gives them no choice Those African Americans who prefer a majority black neighborhoods and are successful in making this choice happen to do so to avoid discrimination or social isolation in a predominantly white environment There are bene ts and penalties of living in black suburbia and majority black central cities The costly downside is that homes in black suburbia appreciate in value more slowly than comparable homes in majority white suburbs with similar median incomes Black ights to the majority black suburbs doesn t insulate middleclass residents from poverty Suburban poverty is on the rise New solutions to inequitable regional development patterns are needed to create opportunity and build strong healthy communities where all residents can participate and prosper Race still matters Place also matters All cities suburbs and metropolitan regions are not created equal Some regions are declining offering less opportunity while others are growing If the community happens to be poor workingclass or black it s residents generally have fewer choices and opportunities on a range of residential amenities like housing schools jobs shopping parks green space hospitals police and re protection than af uent middleclass or white residents Race and place in America are interconnected Race continues to polarize and spatially divide cities Racialized place creates perpetual demarcations and provides advantage privilege and an edge for whites while penalizing black homeowners for living in allblack segregated neighborhoods It also affects access to jobs education and public services culture medical services level of personal security and shopping ls much easier to nd fast food outlets and payday loan stores than sitdown restaurants amp commercial banks in middleincome black neighborhoods Stricter zoning ordinances generally ban locally unwanted land uses LULUs from white neighborhoods Developers also build in amenities that most middleincome whites take as a given They go in before the new housing development is nished since all residents don t move in at the same time Compare that to residents of new African American subdivisions who have to wait sometimes years after construction is over In the United States place is racialized with bene ts resources and opportunities unevenly distributed across the urban landscape Redlining used by insurance companies banks and mortgage companies is still built largely around racialized zip codes Although illegal redlining is still practiced even by piza companies and taxi services Endangered Space Racialized place even affects the air African Americans breathe Living in endangered space can be dangerous to your health Locally unwanted land uses and polluting facilities aren39t randomly scattered across the urban landscape AfricanAmericans and other people of color are more likely than whites to live in communities with dirty air and dangerous polluting facilities 57 of whites 65 of AfricanAmericans and 80 of Hispanics live in 437 counties with substandard air quality Air pollution costs Americans 10200 billion a year AfricanAmericans are 79 more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger For decades AfricanAmericans and other communities of people of color have borne a disproportionate burden of pollution from incinerators smelters sewage treatment plants chemical factories and a host of other polluting facilities For decades government regulators have largely ignored these compelling facts Race also maps closely with economic and environmental vulnerability as seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of New Orleans For decades black poverty was hidden from sight Katrina brought the dirty little secret of urban poverty and vulnerability to light in living color The storm also served as a wakeup call to other Black communities across the country were concentrated poverty lack of transportation racial segregation economic isolation and environmental vulnerability persist as real threats Businesses and employers are keenly aware of and contribute to racialized place Some employers use space as a signal associated with perceptions about race class worker skills and attitudes Using these signals many employers often recruit white suburban workers while avoiding central black workers In Metropolitan Atlanta for example space inside and outside of l285 a perimeter highway that encircles the city became racialized A business location Advertised as innercity and inside the perimeter is code for black and a location outside the perimeter connoted suburban and whites Black Wealth and the Color Line AfricanAmericans have shattered glass ceilings and moved well beyond becoming the rst in many elds However socially quality remained elusive Whether embedded in racial stigma or institutionalized discrimination it is a stark realityfor millions of poor and middleclass blacks America has never been colorblind when it pertains to blacks Homeownership is still the cornerstone of the American dream Today AfricanAmericans are denied mortgages and home improvement loans at twice the rate of whites Homeownership is the largest investment most families will make in their lifetime Home ownership is a cushion against in ation the cornerstone of wealth creation and a longterm asset that can secure advantages that transfer across generations About 60 of America s middle class families wealth is derived from their homes Much of the increase in black wealth is due to rising homeownership which increased from 42 in 1990 to 48 in 2003 still far behind the nationwide homeownership rate of 68 Sadly the American dream is beyond the reach of millions of Americans because of closed homeownership opportunities AfricanAmericans and other minorityfamilies experienced a major increase in their income between 1996 and 2003 helping near the income inequality gap About half of the progress in median income for these groups was wiped out in the following three years Racial segregation exacerbates black poverty Children represent a disproportionate share of the poor in the United States they are 25 of the total population but 35 of the poor population The number of black children who live in deep poverty has risen sharply since 2000 and is at its highest level since the federal government began collecting such gures in 1980 The poverty rate remained statistically unchanged for blacks and Hispanics while decreasing for nonHispanic whites and increasing for Asians Rising personal income and educational attainment haven t erased the blackwhite wealth gap Black families have had to work harder than their white counterparts to achieve and keep the middle class status In 2000 black middle income families worked about 12 more weeks than white families to earn the same money A great deal of research and attention is given to blackwhite income disparities However the blackwhite income gap is small compared to the staggering in persistent chasm in wealth ownership While income is an important dimension of understanding racial inequality the correlation between income and wealth is weak Wealth is what families own often passed down from generation to generation combined with income and other financial assets that families have at their disposal to use in the shortterm and longterm for securing opportunities and a desired standard of living and pursuing the good life For millions of middleclass blacks hard work college education good paying jobs and owning homes have done little to narrow the wealth gap The average black family holds only 10 of wealth for every dollar that whites possess The typical white family is worth 81000 compared to only 8000 for typical black family The wealth gap holds true for othenNise equally achieving blacks and whites Wealth unlike income is usually passed along to one s children Researchers at the Boston College Ctr on Wealth and Philanthropy CWP estimate that the total amount of wealth to be transferred from AfricanAmerican households via estates from 2001 through 2055 will range between 11 trillion and 34 trillion In 2003 dollars 5 social developments made the decades from 1820 to 1840 critical for the nation and for the Philadelphia Negroes The impulse of the industrial revolution of the 19th century The reaction and recovery succeeding the war of 1812 The rapid increase of foreign immigration The increase of free Negroes and fugitive slaves especially in Philadelphia The rise of the Abolitionists and the slavery controversy Philadelphia was the natural gateway between the North and the South and for a long time a stream of free Negroes and fugitive slaves passed through it toward the north while recaptured Negroes and kidnapped colored people were passing toward the South through it By 1820 the northward stream increased leading to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1820 and the counter acts of Pennsylvania in 1826 and 1827 Then new installments of Pennsylvania freedmen and their kids began ocking to Philadelphia By 1830 the constant stream of foreign immigrants got to 1 million souls annually These movements proved disastrous to the Philadelphia Negro There was no distinction drawn between Negroes To this was added a strong economic struggle a renewal of the ght of the 18th century against Negro workmen The new industries attracted the Irish Germans and other immigrants Americans were also ocking to displace Negro labor an effort that aroused prejudice of many of the better classes and the poor quality of the new black immigrants to give it aid and comfort To all this soon was added a problem of crime and poverty Numerous complaints of petty thefts housebreaking and assaults were traced to certain classes of Negroes The better classes of Negroes protested in vain and the entire period of 18201840 became a time of retrogression for the mass of the race and a time of discountenance and repression from the whites By 1830 the black population of the city and districts increased 27 since 1820 a 48 increase since 1810 Still the growth of the city had far outstripped this by 1830 the county had about 175000 whites compared to 15624 blacks among whom 5000 were foreigners The race antipathy among the lower classes and the countenance it received from the middle and upper class was so intense that in 1829 a series of riots directed against Negroes began at a constant stream Such riots did not stop completely until after the war The underlying cause was the same the simultaneous in ux of freedmen fugitives and foreigners into a large city and the resulting prejudice lawlessness crime and poverty The legislature had proposed to stop the further in ux of Southern Negroes by making free Negroes carry passes and excluding all others In 1833 a demonstration took place against the Abolitionists and in 1834 serious riots occurred One night in August a crowd of several hundred boys and men armed with clubs marched down the main street to the Pennsylvania Hospital They were joined by others and all walked to areas where many Negroes were congregated There 400500 people engaged in a street ght Buildings were torn down and people assaulted until nally the police succeeded in quieting the tumult The next night the mob assembled again they wrecked a Negro church and a neighboring house then attacked 20 houses of Black people The riots were prearranged planned That was obvious by the signals lights in windows that helped the mob distinguish houses of whites from houses of blacks Houses of blacks had the people in them assaulted and beaten Several people were severely injured that night and one Negro was killed The next night the mob assembled again in another part of the city and tore down another Negro church This time Negroes started gathering for self defense and about 100 of them barricaded themselves in a building where a howling white mob soon collected The mayor came interestingly quickly and that was the end of that In this 3 day uprising 31 houses and 2 churches were destroyed and an honest industrious colored man was killed The next town meeting condemned the riots and voted to reimburse the sufferers but also used that occasion to condemn the impeding of justice by Negroes like whenever any black person ever gets arrested and also the noise made by black churches The hating res between the people came up once again about a year later when a master was murdered by his Cuban slave Juan A mob quickly assembled at the main streets of Philadelphia and started destructing and assaulting until nally it ended by setting a re to a row of houses and ghting o the remen The following night the mob met again and attacked the house where an armed body of Negroes barricaded themselves The mayor nally arrived and after severely lecturing the Negroes inducted them to depan In 1838 two murders were committed by Negroes one of whom was acknowledged as a lunatic At the burial of one of the victims rioting began again and another mob assembled Later that same year on the dedication of Pennsylvania Hall designed to be a center of antislavery agitation the mob encouraged by the refusal of the mayor to furnish adequate police protection burned the hall to the ground and the next night burned the Shelterfor Colored Orphans and damaged a church The last riot of this series was in 1842 when a mob devastated a district assaulted and beat Negros and looted their homes burned down a Negro hall and a church The next day it expanded to more areas and was nally quelled by calling out the militia with artillery While these riots were happening successful effort was made to deprive free Negroes of the right of suffrage which they had enjoyed nearly 50 years In 1836 came before the court of a Negro who was denied the right of voting The court decided that free Negroes were not freemen in the language of the Constitution and therefore that Negroes couldn t vote The reform convention settled this by putting in the word white in the quali cations for election in the Constitution of 1837 The Negroes protested by meetings and appeals That fell on deaf ears A curious comment on human nature is this change of public opinion in Philadelphia between 1790 and 1837 It came up from a combination of circumstances If as in 1790 the new freedmen had been given peace and quiet and abundant work to develop sensible and aspiring leaders the end would ve been different but a mass of poverty stricken ignorant fugitives and ill trained freedmen rushed to the city swarmed in the slums and met in social and economic competition equally ignorant but more vigorous foreigners These foreigners outbid them at work beat them on the streets and could do this by the prejudice which Negro crime and the antislavery sentiment aroused in the city Still the better class of Negroes never gave up Their school increased in attendance their churches and benevolent societies increased the held public meetings of protest and sympathy They tried to meet the interest of philanthropists of the city to establish a Negro industrial school When the legislature showed a disposition in 1832 to curtail the freedom of Negroes they endeavored to show that all Negroes were not criminals They declared that while the Negroes formed 8 of the population they were only 4 of the poor people They could show by produced tax receipts that Negroes held at least 350000 of taxable property in the city The Guild of the Caterers 18401870 In 1849 a mob set upon a mulatto with a white wife It started almost a race war Firemen fought with remen Blacks pushed to desperation fought furiously Houses were burned and rearms used and 3 white men and 1 Negro were killed 25 wounded people taken to hospital The militia was twice called before it was quelled These riots and the tide of prejudice and economic proscription drove so many Negroes from the city that the black population showed a decrease in the decade 184050 Worse the good name of the Negroes in the city was lost through increased crime and an undeniable frightful condition of the Negro slums The foreign element gained all the new employment which the growing industries of the state opened and competed for the trades and common vocations There arouse the guild of the caterers At rst they were just house servants As city life in the colony became more important some of the slaves acquired trades and thus arose a class of Negro artisans The sharp competition of the foreigners and demand for new sorts of skilled labor in which the Negro was ignorant and them not being allowed to learn pushed the artisans to the wall To the more pushing and energetic Negroes only two courses were open entering into commercial life in some small way or develop certain lines of home service into a more independent and lucrative employment The catering business transformed the Negro cook and waiter into the public caterer and restauranteur and raised people from underpaid to a set of selfreliant original businessmen who amassed fortunes for themselves and won general respect for their people The rst prominent Negro caterer was Robert Bogle He virtually created the business of catering in the city As the butlerwaiter in a private family arranged the meals and attended the family on regular occasions so the public waiter came to serve different families in the same capacity at larger and more elaborate functions He was the butler of the smart set and his taste of hand and eye and palate set the fashion of the day This function lled a unique place in a time when social circles were very exclusive and the millionaire and French cook did not exist Bogle s place was taken eventually by Augustin a West Indian immigrant who started a business in 1818 This establishment made Philadelphia catering famous all over the country The best families of the city and the most distinguished foreign guests were served by him Other Negroes soon began to crowd into the eld These men wielded great personal in uence aided the Abolition cause to no little degree and made Philadelphia well known for its cultivated and welltodo Negro citizens Their success opened opportunities for Negroes in other lines During this time of effort advanced and assimilation the Negro population increased slowly for the economic struggles to earnest for young and indiscriminate marriages and immigrants had been frightened away by the riots Meanwhile the white population increased by leaps and bounds The general social condition showed some signs of improvement from 1840 on Beginning with 1850 the improvement of the Negro was more rapid The value of real estate had doubled between 1847 and 1856 The feeling toward the Negro in certain areas softened somewhat They were enabled to open more institutions Newspapers treated them with more respect and they weren t subject so frequently to personal insult on the street They were still kept o streetcars in spite of energetic protest Only in 1867 a law passed that prohibited this discrimination Steps toward raising Negro troops in the city were taken in 1863 as soon as the ef ciency of the Negro soldier was proven Several hundred prominent citizens petitions the Secretary of War and were given permission to raise Negro regiments The troops were to receive no bounties but they got 10 a month an rations Soon enough people ocked to give money to help upkeep this and yay hurray it worked la la The Influx of the Freedmen 18701896 The period opened with a storm with political rights newly conferred on black voters In the fall elections street disorders resulted in the coldblooded assassination of several Negroes among whom an established younger teacher Catto Catto s murder came at a critical moment To the Negroes it was a revival of the old slaverytime riots in the day when they were rst tasting freedom to the better classes of Philadelphia it revealed a serious state of barbarism and lawlessness in the second city the result of all this was an outburst of indignation and sorrow which showed a determined stand for law and order The general expression of opinion after the war began showing a growing liberal spirit toward the Negro in Philadelphia There was a disposition to grant him within limits a man s chance to make his way in the world He apparently vindicated his rights to this in the war and his abilityfor it in the peace Slowly restrictions on personal liberty were relaxed Streetcars railways and theaters and nally schools A deeprooted and determined prejudice remained but it showed signs of yielding Anderson E 1992 Streetwise Race Class and Change in an Urban Community Ch 6 The Black Male in Public Chicago IL University of Chicago Press Stigma attached to skin color age gender appearance and general style of selfpresentation Hard time proving themselves as law abiding citizens because of public opinion about them Most people ascribe criminality invincibility toughness and street smartness to the anonymous black male who must work hard to get people to trust them as decent people This is worth exploring for two reasons 1 The situation of young black men as a group encapsulates the stigmatizing effect of quotnegativequot of statusdetermining characteristics in this case gender and race Public encounters between strangers in urban America are brief so they generally rely on a small number of cues This process is universal and means that there39s going to be some prejudice but it39s especially prominent and happening in the public spaces of the VillageNorthton 2 In the village itself the presence and behavior of anonymous young black men is the single dominating concern of many people using the public spaces The central theme in staying safe on the streets is avoiding strange black males The fear and circumspection vigilance surrounding people s reactions to black males presence is one of the hinges that public race relations turn on The role of a black male is far from simple It involves a complex set of relationships to be negotiated and renegotiated with all the people sharing the streets Black men tend to dominate public spaces where the Village meets Northton mainly at night or when 2 are together This situation is often checked by police presence which also has an effect on public relationships in the Village Residents of the area even black males are likely to say that it s like black men run the area Ownership They re easily perceived as symbolically inserting themselves into any available social space pressing against those who might challenge them The black young men the big winners of this competition feel comfortable as they swagger along with con dence Their looks easy smiles and spontaneous laughter singing cursing and talk about intimate life details all convey the impression of little concern for other people on the street But the other people on the street are very concerned about th When young black men appear women especially white sometimes clutch their bags They may edge up against their companions or begin walking stif y and deliberately When spotting black males from a distance other people often cross the road or widen the gap between them When black men want to pay attention to a passerby they do it directly giving them a deliberate onceover scan They may look at a person longer than what is considered right for street etiquette Thus black males take in all the others and dismiss them as a lion might dismiss a mouse In turn fellow people on the street avert their eyes from the black males because they see them as unpredictable menacing and not to be provoked predators People blackwhite who are more familiar with the black street culture are less troubled by sharing the street with young black men Older black men for example frequently adopt a re ned set of criteria In negotiating the streets they watch out for a certain kind of young black male jitterbugs or those who might belong to wolf packs small bands of black teen boys believed to travel about the urban areas accosting and robbing people However many members of the village community both blackwhite lack those insights They can t make distinctions between lawabiding young black men and others so they rely for protection on broad stereotypes based on color and gender if not outright racism They re likely to misread many of the signs displayed by lawabiding black men thus becoming apprehensive of almost any black man they spot in public Two general sociological factors underlie the situation in which the black man in the Village nds himself The rst the Master statusdetermining characteristic of race Hughes 1944 is at work in the most casual street encounters Some statuses in our society override all other statuses and have a priority Race is one of them Membership in the Negro race as socially de ned will override most other status considerations in most situations the fact that one is a doctor of middle class or female doesnt protect anyone from being treated as a Negro rst and any other thing second The status of deviant is this kind of master status One gets this status because they broke one rule and that ID proves more important than others Deviant rst anything else second The question is raised what kind of person commits this crime and people answer as person different from the rest of us who cannotwill not act as a moral human being and therefore might break other important rules The deviant ID becomes the controlling one Treating a person like he s generally a deviant and not speci cally in that moment of the crime produces a selfful lling prophecy It sets in motion things that transpire to shape the person in the image people have of him In the minds of most Village residents blackwhite the master status of the young black male is determined by his youth his blackness his maleness and what these attributes have come to stand for in the shadow of the ghetto In the context of racism it s easily deviant So fellow pedestrians are uncertain about his purpose and really want to make sense of him quickly so that they can get on with their lives Many simply conclude that he s dangerous and act accordingly So before being taken as anything as an individual speci cally he s perceived rst and foremost as a young black man from the ghetto generally The second element talks about this assessment of people which is really a social definition normally something that can be negotiated between person being labeled and labeler When a person enters the presence of others they commonly look to get information about him or to bring into play information already possessed They will be interested in his general self conception his attitude toward them his competence trustworthiness etc Although some of this information is almost sought as an end in itself there are usually practical reasons for acquiring it Information about the person helps de ne the situation enabling others to knowin advance what he will expect of them and what they d expect of him That may others will knowhowbest to act in order to call forth a desired response from him In negotiating public spaces people receive and display a wide range of behavioral cues and signs that make up the vocabulary of public interaction Skin color gender age companions clothing jewelry and the objects people carry help identifythem so that assumptions are formed and communication can occur Movements slowquick falsesincere comprehensibleincomprehensible further re ne this public communication Time of day activitythat explains the persons presence also affect in what way and how fast the image of stranger is neutralized If a stranger can t pass inspection and be deemed safe the image of predator may arise and fellow pedestrians may try to maintain distance consistent with that image In more worrying situations like a number of strangers on a dark street the image may persist and trigger defensive action In the street environment children pass inspection no problem white women and white men do so more slowly and black women black men and black male teens are slowest The master status assigned to black males undermines their ability to be taken for granted as lawabiding and civil participants in public spaces Young black males mainly those wearing urban uniform may be taken as the embodiment of the predator This uniform suggests to many the dangerous underclass and makes them see these young men as troublemakers or criminals The identity of predator is usually given to the young black male and made to stick until he demonstrates othenNise which isn t easy to do in circumstances that work to cutoff communication In the village a third factor comes into play The immediate source of much of the distrust in the black male faces is the nearness of Northton black ghetto White newcomers mainly still view the ghetto as a mysterious and unfathomable place that breeds drugs crime hookers unwed mothers ignorance and mental illness It symbolizes persistent poverty and imminent anger personi ed in the young black men who walk the village streets Individual white residents view black males in public by establishing conditions under which blacks pass inspection by disavoiwing the image of predator but do little to change the prevailing public relationship between blacks and whites in the community Common racist stereotypes persist and black men who successfully make such disavowals are often seen as the exception not the norm As different from the rest thereby con rming the status of the rest In the interest of security defense residents adopt the facile and practical perspective that informs and supports the prevailing view of public community relations whites are lawabiding and trustworthy anonymous young black males are crimeprone and dangerous Ironically this perceived dangerousness became important to the public selfidentity of many local black men m Among blacks the act of greeting is of great cultural importance Children are chastised at home if they fail to speak to their elders when they enter a room Young man can t you speak placing the blame squarely on the child To some degree this practice may come from southernrural norms but it was brought to northern urban areas and survived In the day of strict racial segregation the black community was a haven to blacks who saw every other black person a an ally in the ght against oppression Blacks were also ready to see one another as special a friend brother someone they had something with in common Even unacquainted blacks were inclined to greet each other easily and comfortably Blacks in the Village still spontaneously greet other blacks that they don t know Northton blacks many coming from southern roots are more ready to greet people they don t know in the Village than they do in their home turf back in Northton which shows something about the need to express colorcaste solidarity In contrast middleincome blacks of the village are more likely to greet their white counterparts while remaining somewhat reserved in their overall behavior To many blacks greetings carry an obligation to respond in kind It s not common to not return a greeting That makes a person weird Blacks are more likely to speak to those they don t know including whits than whites are to speak to unfamiliar whites or blacks in the public space When with a black person a white person may be amazed that so many unknown blacks will speak In this way unacquainted blacks give the appearance of a uni ed public community on the streets of the Village This greeting behavior is notjust an ingrained ritual It s instrumental a way for Northton blacks in the Village to come to terms with an environment that s not welcoming or safe Codi ed forms of greeting or lack of greeting clearly provide a means of negotiating encounters with strangers so it s not surprising that many blacks use such behavior as a device even a ploy of getting safely past the next black male of uncertain purpose These greetings become tools for gauging intent and for assessing the safety of the public situation Black youths are well aware of how dangerous they seem and they may help place each other in that category which can have advantages When one black youth meets another on the street they may be vigilant and try to read their counterparts When a person responds in kind to a greeting on the street the situation is over the other youth leaves and the young black can relax Typical passing rituals between strange young black males include Hey nowquot Hey hometownquot hey homequot alright hey whats upquot how ya feelquot or even an audible grunt In the streets there s a profound need to acknowledge the presence of the other to communicate awareness of the other s awareness but this communication is intended to be super cial and not go further Typically as they continue on their way neither looks back There s also a greeting that s intended to evadedefuse interaction rather than to move toward personal involvement An important and subtle rule is that participants stay within the negotiated con ned of the simple initiation An attempt to go beyond the super cial meeting might ood out the situation Further advances may undermine the delicate relationship between them mainly if them are of different colors and genders The greeting becomes SUPER important at night when it s a kind of peace offering a means of communication advising the next person of one s civil intention or of one s ability to deal with trouble Most local blacks regardless of where they live are not culturally far removed from the ghetto and are at least conversant with its rules and symbols they re often better able to read such public situations better than whites or blacks with limited urban experience Blacks tend to think of themselves as streetwise in a way whites aren t to feel that they have a spacial empathy and connection with lacks who might be dangerous in public With such attitudes in mind they ve developed strategies for dealing with the anonymous black male including sometimes aggressive greeting behavior The street repertoire of such individuals includes the strategy of getting ignorant which they invoke in conversations with others and enact in public to deal with supposed adversaries Getting ignorant getting down to the level of a streetoriented person and capably adopting the supposed behavior of underclass blacks who would engage in loud talk and profanity and if necessary violence to deal with a public dispute This familiarity and the ability to switch codes situationally going back and forth between middleclass propriety and assumed street orientation allows many middleincome blacks to feel less nervous and constricted in public than their white counterparts Claiming Turf Rights Both blacks and whites are cautious with strangers and take special care in dealing with anonymous young blacks This caution is encouraged by a certain style of selfpresentation that s common on the street Many black youths lawabiding or not exude an offensivedefensive aura because they themselves regard the streets as a jungle While behaving in a way that s menacing to the people you re scared of helps you avoid trouble it makes you look like trouble In this public environment pedestrians defer to young black males who accept their public position They walk con dently and boast that it s their turf The village isn t defended in the way many working class neighborhoods are young black men blasting speakers at night don t meet much resistance Lack of challenge tame weak undefended neighborhood except in certain areas where white college students predominate and fraternity boys succeed in harassing defenseless blacks like women and children lone women and an occasional single black man Black youths tend to avoid such areas of the Village unless they re in groups The same black youths might hesitate before playing a radio loud in the welldefended territories of Northton There they re likely be met by 23 interceptors who d promptly question their business possibly taking the radio and punching one of them in the process This doesn t happen in the village Another aspect of claiming turf rights is public talk idioms duration intensity and volume Harsh and profane language Language used in many public spaces but especially at trolley stops and on trolleys and buses Like the rap music played loudly on boom boxes their public talk puts others on defensive The others don t tell the offenders anything theyjust complain to one another On public transportation young blacks including girls may display raucous behavior including cursing and loud talk and play Because most people encountering youths see them as strangers they use available stereotypes to understand them Law abiding black youths often emulate the selfpresentation going for bad to intimidate others In some cases black males capitalize on the fear they know they can evoke They may put on a swagger and intimidate those who must share a small space on the sidewalk when passing such a loud darkskinned person whites usually anticipate danger though hope for peace Young blacks understand that people are scared and sometimes exploit it Like and they laugh at it Sometimes civil law abiding youths enjoy this confusion They wanna go for bad because it keeps other youths at bay The right looks moves and behavior ensure safe passage But it s also a source of subtle enduring racial and class distinctions if not overt hostility within the community Some black youths confront others with behavior they refer to as gritting looking mean looking hard and bumping Youths say his jaws got tight Like threatening animal like a dog warning other dogs to back off Don t mess with me I can take you down Conveys alertness to the prospect of harmful intent communicating and de ning personal boundaries Lawabiding and crimeprone youths alike adopt poses in effect camou aging themselves and making it hard for more conventional people to know how to behave around them since those for whom they re not performing directly may see them as threatening By connecting culturally with the ghetto a young black may avoid compromising his public presentation of self but at the cost of further alienating lawabiding blacks and whites In general the black male is assumed to be streetwise He also believes himself to be such and this helps him negotiate public spaces In this sense others collectively help him be who he is With a simple move one way or another he can be taken as a dangerous dude He s often left alone at that point whereas whites may have more trouble Civility and lawabidingness are stereotypical to the white male particularly in the public context of so many dangerous and predatory young blacks In fact white men must campaign to achieve the status of dangerous on the streets White men aren t taken seriously on the streets mainly by black men wo resist them as signi cant threats They think that most white men view con ict in terms of limited warfare amounting to scowls and harsh words Blacks form the ghetto are more open to ghts even to the death Most conventional people learn to fear black youths from reading about crimes in the local papers and seeing reports on TV but also by living near and having the chance to observe them Everytime there s a violent crime the image of young blacks gains credibility Public relations like that attribute to blacks control over means and use of violence in public encounters thus contributing to dominant stereotypes and fear Whereas street interactions between black strangers are highly re ned greetings of whites toward blacks are usually ambiguous or have limited effectiveness This communication gap is exacerbated by the in ux of white newcomers Newcomers are intolerant of neighboring blacks and haven t learned a viable street etiquette These runins contribute to a general black view of whites of the Village as prejudiced thus undermining the positive race rations promoted over many years of egalitarianminded residents The result is that the white and black communities become collapsed into social monoliths pillars Although blacks tend to relate to unknown black youths they re inclined to look at them longer inspect them and note their business to see if they deserve trust Whites immediately make a decision based on skin color and don t spend a second more averting their gaze hoping not to send the wrong message Most follow ups by black youths are considered suspect unless someone s in danger and needs help or something White people are generally defensive of young blacks White women tend to plant broad grins on theirfaces in hopes of not being accosted The smile appears to be a sign of true but is more likely a show of deference especially when the woman looks back as soon as she s at a safe distance When the black stranger and the perceived danger have passed the social ties suggested by the smile aren t binding and the woman may try to keep the dangerous person in view for a sudden move could signal an attempted robbery or rape They look right in front of your face right at you right through you but they re obviously scared Look just long enough to let the person know of their presence and look away Most of the white women will wear pants You don t see a white woman with a dress on unless she s with her boyfriend She by herself she ll go on a porch when she see some black guys coming this way Most girls walk with a pack of girls They feel safe they got at least two girls with them Two don t feel too safe They have a dog with em a man or a pack of four or ve And they dress in jeans You can tell they paranoid They don t know what to do They say are they good blacks or bad blacks Out of frustration many young blacks mock or insult whites they see in public spaces trying to get even with them for being part of the monolithic group of whites When they see whites that display fear they may laugh at them or harass them They think what do l have to lose and may purposely create discomfort in those they see as ignorant enough to be scared of them By placing all whites in one monolithic group blacks as well as whites become victims of simplistic thinking Black men39s resentment coupled with peer group pressure to act tough may cause them to shift unpredictably from being courteous to whites to ful lling the prophecy of those afraid of them and uncomfortable around them When confronting a white woman on the streets some youths make lewdsuggestive comments reminding her that she s vulnerable and under surveillance An aggressive presentation is often accepted as necessaryfor black youths to maintain regard with their peers Act right Feeling power in numbers some groups will engage in such games noisily swooping down on their supposed prey or fanning out in a menacing formation Children white and black sometimes are intimidated and form fearful and negative feelings about the teenager black boys This demeanor may be a way to identify with the ghetto streets but it s also a way of exhibiting toughness toward gures representing the overclass which many view as deeply implicated in the misfortunes of their communities This conduct is easily confused with and incorporated into ordinary male adolescent behavior but the result is complicated by race and gender and the generalized powerlessness of the black community Middleclass residents blackwhite become even more likely to place social distance between themselves and such youths conceptually lumping anonymous black males togetherfor selfdefense Not everyone is victimized by crime but many people take incivility as an indication of what could happen ifthey didn39t keep up their guard When ghetto residents intimidate residents while walking through the Village verballyphysically middleclass people mainly whites become afraid of black men in general They may have second thoughts bout quotopenquot and friendly displays they39ve previously made towards blacks in public Blacks and whites become increasingly estranged There39s a vicious circle of suspicion and distrust between the two groups and an ovenNhelming tendency for public relations between them to remain super cial and guarded W It39s not surprising that the lawabiding black man often feels at a disadvantage in his interactions with whites Most whites except possibly streetwise whites and ones empathic about the plight of innercity blacks are conditioned to consider all black male strangers potential muggers The average black because of his own socialization on the streets and his understanding of the psychology of whites understands this position and knows what whites are thinking Many blacks and whites seem alarmed when a black youth approached them for any reason including asking for the time The public stigma is so powerful that black strangers are seldom allowed to be civil or even helpful without some suspicion of their motives Even lawabiding black men who befriend whites and belong to biracial primary groups face quotoutsiderquot status When a black person knocks on a white person39s door and waits they risk being taken by the neighbors as someone questionable Some people will keep an eye on him It doesn39t matter how well he39s dressed His skin color indicates quotstrangerquot until he passes inspection when the white person answers the door A white man with the same selfpresentation would pass much sooner Many black middleincome Villagers feel bitter about the prejudice White villagers seem to have associated dark skin with crime Although they may not have a general contempt for blacks they39re anxious of being victimized Since blacks are believed to make up a large population of criminals pedestrians tend to be defensive and short with strange black males The same people may have intimate black friend and pride themselves on racial tolerance Yet when concerned with safety they regard blacks as an anonymous mass through which they must negotiate their way to their destination They may pass right by their black friend and not realize it s them because of the social context This ruins many blackwhite friendships before they begin Blacks generally complain more than whites about the shortcomings of friendly relations But blacks also miss a friend of the other color on the street This has more to do with the ambiguous nature of public race relations than with racial feeling itself These problems are an impediment to spontaneous and biracial interactions Blacks and whites perceptions of real situations vary Blacks generally feel less threatened than whites by anonymous black as they re better at reading signs indicating the others intentions and determining if it s safedangerous But sometimes a mock attack signals real alarm An impressive amount of blacks deplore antagonism and feel responsible to change it They may view themselves as among the few members of their race who can help bridge the gap To do that they must be outstanding set an example of what a black person is capable of or those powerful whites who can judge but also set an example for other blacks So many black men try hard to disabuse whites of their misjudgments They go to great lengths to behave contrary to the assumed expectations of whites and encourage other blacks to do so They respond to prejudice by putting on a performance of civility A young black man in street uniform may extend obvious courtesies like moving to allow space to move for the white person friendly greeting or eye contact He may try to confront an allay the stranger s fear Like say you don t have to be afraid I m not like this Unfortunately then the person would probably be startled and not know how to respond These actions are in such strong contrast to the selfpresentation that only an unusual person would immediately trust the verbal message over the visual image Further the words go beyond meetandgreet and threaten some personal involvement So the plea to look beyond the black s self presentation isn t really successful and the stereotype persists The black man who s determined to ght his image may handle what s often an uncomfortable situation for the white person by being too nice We re not all like that This is at times a direct attack on presumed prejudiced thinking of whites and an attempt to discredit such views a public disavowal of incivility and criminality In public interactions between blacks and whites there s a strong concern with the immediate situation The black person wants to get out with his selfesteem intact which requires that the white person do the same Because the black has the upper hand they can de ne the situation in a positive manner by being gracious In practice that s hella hard He hopes that by his behavior whites inclined to be suspicious of all black males will change their opinions The result of this informal public relations campaign is that whites may receive better treatment than blacks from such people Fellow blacks aren t the primary object of this campaign they already understand the existence of integrity and civility in the average black Dealing with others in public requires huge effort from the black male and produces unwanted distraction Such a young man must put strangers at ease so he can go about his business He can sense when his presence makes whites nervous Blacks who must repeatedly endure this reaction feel emotional stress and want to relieve themselves of the burden ln adapting to this reality blacks assume the general principle of public order that trustworthiness is an ascribed characteristic for whites but blacks particularly young males must work to achieve it One consequence development of public communities based on color Usually the relationships between anonymous whites and blacks in public are truncated and perfunctory since most people are concerned with just getting by and reaching their destination and don t want relations to go further The intimate biracial friendships that do occur tend to be sponsored through third parties or fostered by an institutional framework The release of tension when a black male turns out to be known is evident In what circumstances can the anonymous black male become known as something other than a predator earn greater trust through their appearance and demeanor suggesting maturity and catering roles to others on the street They often go so far as to become guardians of public peace concerned for the safe passage of others They inform strangers about certain corners warning where not to go Most often they offer advice only to white who they presume are ignorant of the ways of the streets There s an element of patronage guardianship in such interactions In determining the degree a man can be seen as a predator the main question is What s his business The extent to which he seems to be preoccupied engaged in doing something determines whether he s taken as being up to no good Daytime makes a black man in the village seem less suspicious mainly because others can see what he s doing with the implication that because he can be watched he s also controlled and less likely to commit a crime A black man pushing a baby stroller at 300pm would be taken as safe whereas the same man alone at 1130pm wouldn t Eating ice cream lessens a fearsome image since watchers see it as a human action The time of day the season th neighborhood s social history events of the past 30 years or few days all affect the meaning this black man has for the residents who watch and informally guard the streets and public spaces Another important consideration with how This de nes the individual Seeing a black man walk down the street with a conservatively dressed white manwoman mitigates any tough image or unknown quantity and shows weakness or lawabidingness into the social equation In trying to be careful people look for signs that indicate nature of the black male Wearing the clothes of the street makes a difference in how they ll regard the person The way a person walks making false or suspicious move s also important Blacks who want public trust need to distance themselves publicly from the black males who seem most untrustworthy those wearing street attire or displaying the emblems of the underclass that increase their estrangement from conventional society Black men wanting to be seen as safe often display cultural emblems that suggest a connection with this conventional society and by implication public civility Probably the most evocative emblem is a business suit and a tie which suggests that the wearer is committed to civility and thus unlikely to engage in crime or harassment Carrying books is another emblem and black university students might display might display their books and briefcases to gain trust Those emblems are known to be controlled by members of the overclass people who can take for granted the full rights duties and civil obligations of ordinary citizens Yet even a black man in a suit and tiecarrying books isn t necessarily by himself a full person in the minds of prejudiced whites concerned about their safety He must be considered relative to the ghetto counterparts in contrast to them he can be seen as trustworthy and possibly lawabiding The anonymous black male is a person apart until he proves he has a connection and therefore he s more persistently a stranger on the streets On the streets and in public spaces young blacks are repeatedly sent the message that they re crimeprone and that their neighbors have little faith in their willingness to be lawabiding This creates a gnawing dilemma a victimization from two sides These people must simultaneously prove that they re worthy of respect for their common decency and must protect themselves from predatory youths by looking tough and capable of handling the streets This further polarizes racial attitudes in the special circumstances of the village By encouraging both whites and blacks to see those of the other color not as individuals but as representatives of their untrustworthy race it s eroding the biracial harmony that the previous generation worked so hard to achieve All the secondguessing and fear on the part of middleincome people gives young black men the sense they they re if not losers at least not born winners in the local community or life in general In their campaign for respectability some young black men became crusaders mainly in those city areas whites and blacks share In their quest for positive judgement they ve become some of the most generous helpful kind and courteous people around contributing to public safety Still it s impossible for them to overcome the pervasive stereotype In the village no young black male has an easy time on the streets The residents fear him The police generally consider him a criminal A threat that they must contain This is one of the reasons many middleclass blacks are de ected from moving into the area or may leave as soon as they arrive they don t want such easy confusion of themselves and their children with the black underclass mainly as it becomes caught up with the working conceptions and stereotypes of others in the neighborhood Too many young black men are trapped in a horri c cycle that includes discrimination unemployment poverty crime prison and early death When they act out violently or are involved in dramatic crimes that make the news the repercussions for the general image of the young black male can be far reaching Strongly identi ed with violent criminality by skin color alone the anonymous young black male in public is often viewed rst and foremost was fear and suspicion Others are typically don t want to know him and in public seek distance from him and those who resemble him Aware of his place as an outsider he may try to turn the tables when he can expressing himself on his own terms behavior that is viewed as threatening oppositional and justi able given their initial reactions The young ghetto male s presentation is often consciously offputting or thuggish a master status that overpowers positive qualities Trying to gain respect many value this image as part of a hip style that deters insults and attacks in the local neighborhood But the image has unintended consequences giving the potential employers reason to discriminate in favor of less threatened workers An employer may consciously exclude the stereotypical black ghetto male contributing to his persistent joblessness and desperation As these circumstances become more widespread the negative stereotype is perpetuated and strengthened leading to more suspicion discrimination and marginalization In the past the stereotypical hardworking factory man or construction worker and his female partner most often accepted the social conventions of their time In many respects society was more homogeneous and the system of race relations gave quiet support to an oppressive racial order of white domination in almost all areas of life In the 1950s more militant black people emerged to challenge the system collectively via the civil rights movement Formerly moderate Americans both black and white lost their innocence Yet in those last days of the industrial era black men continued to work hard in factories and on construction while their wives worked as domestics dishwashers nurses aides and janitors Though menial these jobs give a certain stability to the poor innercity community even as dissatisfaction with the socioeconomic position of black people was rising In time this situation gave way to the postindustrial era with its recurrent recessions major economic shifts from manufacturing to service and high technology and that the departure from the innercity of relatively highpaying and low skill jobs through deindustrialization and globalization Large portions of safety nets like child welfare and social programs chipped away The union movement atrophied becoming increasingly ineffective Working people black and white came to realize that they were on their own and had to ght forjobs and services The militancy gave way to cultural nationalism in the urban ghetto Quickly the image in stereotype of the black innercity male was all of a sudden not one of docility Rather it was rapidly transformed into a portrait of militancy mixed with anger directed towards the system of white domination in general and white people in particular In the minds of many whites the gure of the Black male became more and more mysterious dangerous and fearsome Occasionally he would act out this image talking back to whites and challenging white authority The common view among whites was of the young black man with an Afro asserting himself and disputing racial apartheid with expressions of militancy ranging from the peaceful civil disobedience of Martin Luther King Jr to the calls for revolution of Malcolm X and H Rap Brown Among the black middle class people it became legitimate to ght for your full rights and rstclass citizenship Militant and to a large degree oppositional attitudes spread through the urban ghetto settling in some of the most entrenched and disenfranchised workingclass and poor communities were alienated young people were quick to act them out The unrest in activism had positive effect of encouraging white and authority to open up the system somewhat and make accommodations for the aspirations of blacks The combination of af rmative action setasides and fair housing facilitated the exodus of betteroff blacks from the ghetto The emerging black middleclass increasing gravitated to white neighborhoods and many innercity neighborhoods gradually undenNent process of transformation from allwhite middle and workingclass to racially mixed but still economically stable to allblack working class poor and destitute The black middle class was temporarily able to make halting peace with the wider white society while many of those residing in the increasingly isolated ghettos could not Although only a small segment of middleclass people actively participated in the race riots many whites were unable or unwilling to distinguish one class of black persons from another and stereotypes spread The distinctions blacks made among themselves often went unnoticed or were confused and almost any white person living in close proximity to blacks a inclined to place as much distance as possible between him or herself and them Great numbers of the young blacks who remained in the ghetto found themselves subject to poor schooling employment discrimination and powerful negative stereotypes all seriously diminished their human and social capital As a result they were unable to make an effective adjustment to the new economic realities and the innercity black community sank into entrenched structural poverty In order to survive residents created a thriving irregular underground and often illegal economy The crack cocaine trade offered a way to make money but entailed risks to individual and social health The violent crimes perpetrated by desperate addicts and greedy dealers reinforced deeply negative public images of the black urban ghetto The social costs of impoverishment are particularly hard on the heads of the young black men who were feared by the rest of society and left to fend for themselves by white authorities In his alienation and use of violence the contemporary poor young black male is a new social type peculiar to postindustrial urban America This young man is in crisis His social trajectory leads of from the communityto prison or cemetery or at least to a life of trouble characterized by unemployment discrimination and participation in what many are inclined to view as an oppositional culture which is how he goes about dealing with alienation from society The wider social system is deeply complicit in this scenario but it relates to the impoverished black male by stigmatizing and further marginalizing him informing him that he has no place in respectable society His plight has vast social and racial rami cations in the city on the bus trolley subway on sidewalks and street corners in newspapers in corporate of ces and boardrooms in grocery stores and shops in restaurants and taxis In many places of public accommodation the anonymous black male is too often feared and considered guilty until proven innocent and even that proof when demonstrated is not fully accepted People black amp white avoid him and the three weather avoidance behavior teach him that he is an outsider in his own society His image as bad and potentially dangerous is so strong that it spreads to anyone looking like him This stereotype has implications for black males even upper or middle class in education achievement social standing All males of color are referenced by the stereotype of bad boyf Systematic observations on trains show that the anonymous black male is often the last person others will sit next to Black men generally spend entire journeys seated alone unless the train is crowded and seating is scarce Black men of all social classes are avoided by most whites and some other blacks on public transportation The black male may put white people off just by being black and the young he is and more ghetto he looks the more distrust Many adopt the conception that white people generally dislikefear black people but especially black males As young black men talk amongst themselves each man has a story of police harassment or public discrimination in which strangers go to great lengths to avoid him Regardless of the degree to which it s true this belief leads the black male to develop his own sense of position in the wider society especially with whites Black men compare notes and develop elaborate strategies for managingavoiding arbitrary treatment and saving their self respect At times they attempt to turn the tables Sometimes they puff themselves up and adopt an offputting appearance displayed looks geared to make others uptight and determined to avoid them to reject the other rst Other blacks will also avoid anonymous young black males they are uncertain about though they d usually be better at guring out who s really a threat Upwardly black men would sometimes try to distance themselves from looking bad and associating with those people and that culture Parents teach their sons that to look talk or look like a bad black male is to be associated with him and suffer his stigma Many others embrace this to look hip and cool and get street cred It serves as an important defensive strategy for the black male who operates with a provisional status in whitedominated settings The poor innercity male is subject to even more ovenNhelming challenges The innercity economy at ground zero rests on 3 prongs 1 low wage casualized jobs that offer little continuity of employment and few if any bene ts 2 welfare payments including Aid to Families with Dependent Children and its successors food stamps and other government transfer programs 3 the informal economy with encompasses legal activities outside marketplace like bartering labor and goods among family and friends semilegal activities like small businesses out of home under the radar and illegal activities like drugs prostitution and street crime Until recently poor black people relied on all three ways of gaining income simultaneously Welfare checks and earnings from employment not only supplemented one another but provided capital and consumers for small businesses like braiding hair washing cars watching children If any of those elements is unproductive or doesn t deliver people are pushed to engage in the other two With the recent drastic reductions in welfare payments and the latest contractions in job opportunities for less educated workers many innercity residents increasingly relief on the informal economy The more desperate people become the more the underground economy becomes characterized by criminality and violence The marginalization of black inner city men by economy is exacerbated by the legacy of american racism Daily challenge of staying alive To avoid being killed as they navigate their way in public within the disenfranchised community they require personas with a street toughened edge This image becomes generalized supporting the stereotype Joblessness has deeper rami cations leading many young men to rationalize their involvement in illegal activities Jobs are very dif cult to obtain More and more people engage in irregular exchanges hustling and outright street crime in order to survive The jobs held by people living in the innercity qualifythem as the working poor Most of the available jobs pay little and provide few if any bene ts They are also insecure Encouraging participation in the informal economy These jobs don t generate enough income to get people out of poverty The inner city is frequently the scene of many irregular business ventures that fall close to the blurry line between legality and criminality A party host might sell dinner platters for six or seven dollars People routinely gamble on card games there People organize to gamble in homes in back rooms of bars and barbershops or on the street lllegal forms include playing the numbers dog ghts cock ghts and dice games Lottery is also popular The barter system works through the exchange of goods and services Yet paid back with a favor in the future Money earned is quickly spent Illegal activities include gambling robbery burglary fencing dealing drugs and loansharking Crime has taken up some of the slack left by the termination of government transfer payments and the contraction of wage earning from legitimate jobs High frustration levels in the community There is an observable connection between frustration levels and the number of robberies and assaults occurring on the streets Street justice Possession of guns gives immediate street cred which is why so many ghetto kids have guns Once he has a weapon the boy often carries it but likes to present himself as strapped Hunched or labored style of walking that sends the unmistakable message I m packing Young boys from decent families must learn to code switch Even in childhood these boys are often criminalized Police of cers guard the entrances and hallways of their schools If a youth is involved in an altercation disruption or disorder he often does not go to the principal s of ce but is handcuffed on the spot He gets an instant record By the time a black male gets out of school and approaches the job market he can t pass the background check or the drug test The employer then has a ready excuse not to hire dark skinned young males typically discriminating in favor of immigrants or young people from the suburbs Almost everyone around him is beset by problems and he is subject to these concentration effects as he grows up Instead of seeing adult males who are successful in family life and at work he is exposed to alternative role models who engage in drug dealing and other underground activities He has no contact with the wider society and real people not in his situation The black youth sees others similarly situated and naturally identi es with them He thrives in the company of his peers The big issue for them as having enough money The whole community is in the pit of poverty Even as a child the black male is subject to the remnants of suspicion that go along with that racial and gender position They must not sell out to the dominant culture but embraced their distinctiveness They may even confound street behavior with their black identity With every crime especially those that involve the time the wider society nds more reasons to distrust innercity men with dark skin Poverty becomes even more racialized and young black men are increasingly marginalized The trademark clothing styles of so many of these young men become attractive even to black men who are lawabiding and decent The look becomes institutionalized and its presentday adherents have no sense of why they wear what they wear or look the way they do But the wider society keeps careful notes on those displays taking them as the latest manifestation of the alienation born of a ghetto existence Innercity residents are rm in their belief that the public authorities do not care about what happens in their community When white people are robbed or assaulted and their homes are burglarized and the assailant is known to be identi ed as black every dark skinned man becomes suspect Every black male is approached like he has a de cit he has a hole to climb out of before he can be trusted as an ordinary lawabiding person Every news story that associates a young black man with a violent crime sent a message to everyone that reinforces the stereotype of class the dark skinned innercity male who is to be closely watched feared not trusted and employed only as a last resort Race becomes more inextricany intertwined with crime and violence and the public racial divide becomes ever more intractable Shawn Law student in Washington DC who grew up in Philadelphia Comes from the inner city but was able to attend private schools where he did very well and went on to college and a prestigious law school He and a handful of other black law students were the only nonwhite residents of the af uent neighborhood near to law school One evening he was waiting for a bus to go home He had groceries and books so he decided to take that bus Talking to his girlfriend on the phone as he waited when he noticed the police car drive slowly by It did it twice more Then again Third time the of cer pulled up behind him and sat for approximately 3 minutes with the car oodlight shining on the bus stall where Shawn was sitting Then Shawn was startled to hear a blowhard order for him to put his hands out where they could be seen and turn slowly toward the light He did it phone still in his hand As he turned toward the of cer who stepped out of the car he saw that the of cer was reaching for and drawing his gun Another law student white female he didn t know but was there also waiting for the bus yelled out for the cup that he s only holding a phone The of cer yelled at Shawn to drop the phone and he did He then told him to put his hands against the wall and not move handcuffed and frisked him Shawn asked what was happening explaining he s a law student waiting for the bus home The cop ignored him Bythen about 7 other police cars came and blocked off the street At the same time students and professors from his school started to form a crowd across the street seeing everything and he was humiliated No one said a thing to help him The police cursed him yelled at him to cooperate and he did as confused as he was They repeatedly kicked him in the legs forcing his legs more and more apart Kept pushing his face against the fall and down telling him to keep his head down and stop resisting He was frisked twice more and they took his wallet They dumped his school books and laptop from his bag on the sidewalk and also the grocery bags He was restrained by 3 of cers who held his handcuffed hands together with the slack from the back of his shirt and pants to prevent him from running They questioned him showing no respect When Shawn asked again what s up he was told he ts the description of someone involved in a shooting a few blocks away Then one cop radio crackled Black male 5 8 blue buttondown shirt khaki tan dress pants brown dress shoes The description t him exactly He thought he was going to jail After 10 minutes of being forced to stand straddled another radio announcement said the suspect was apprehended Shawn was uncured and told to have a seat Of cers just went back to their cars and drove off The original cop took his details for the police report trying to make small talk but Shawn was like nah A neighbor from nearby came up to the of cer and whispered loudly to the cop is this the guy no Then he offered to follow Shawn home to make sure The cop was all no Shawn later found out that the guy was actually the victim s roommate playing around and accidentally discharging the gun and HE WAS WHITE He realized the neighbors called the cops and provided HIS description They heard there was a shooting in the neighborhood and saw shawn living there for 3 years standing in the corner at night and called the police thinking it must be the black guy They stared at him every day and avoided eye contact as he walked by them on the sidewalk on his way tofrom law schooL The constant confusion between streetoriented and lawabiding black male means that all are subject to suspicion in white eyes and such a public reception then encourages many blacks not to trust whites Thus both blacks and whites assign provisional status to the other deepening the racial divide Outsiders see the tough stance adopted by the black male as hostile an indication that he has a chip on his shoulder against he outside world but it s a strategy to deal with adversity Toughen up and develop a negative view of the outside world As the young man engages in oppositional behavior as he celebrates his alienation he contributes to the stereotype of the angry aggressive young black male This stereotype enables employers police schoolteachers and others to respond with suspicion or even outright rejection to the dark skinned youth they encounter on the streets and public The image becomes a reference point against which every black man is understood in the public mind s eye as he either approaches it or distances himself from it All public interactions are negotiated and many are perilous The black man is downgraded and devalued regardless of how he approximates or differs from the stereotype So he enters the encounter with a de cit no matter what Whites feel justi ed in distancing themselves from him The young black male becomes invested in his outsides status and buys into it as an end in itself This dynamic makes his situation intractable
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