Measuring Racial Progress in America: The Tangled Path
An event barely conceivable just a few years ago, the meteoric rise of the Obamas to the White House is a watershed moment. The First Family and reactions to them are hailed as evidence of both a “Post-Racial America” and a “Racist America.” Taking this debate as a starting point, this chapter first surveys the common discourse by which people admit racial inequality while minimalizing its effects and social causes. Second, it chronicles the zigzag path of racial progress through key moments of legal battles. Third, it provides a cursory view of five key social arenas: attitudes, housing, education, wealth, and incarceration. While some of the data is mixed, this chapter unapologetically demonstrates that despite progress in the Age of Obama, racial inequality is neither natural nor predestined, but remains well-entrenched and tethered to the promotion of white supremacy.
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