Category Archives: Discrimination

Critical Perspectives on Police, Policing, and Mass Incarceration

Source: Richard Delgado, Jean Stefancic, University of Alabama – School of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2876702, November 28, 2016

From the abstract:
Shows that aggressive policing is only one of a number of measures that society uses to control minority groups with whom it is displeased for some reason, and that failing to see how the authorities deploy the different measures separately, serially, or in coordinated fashion is a serious mistake. Sketches a new form of policing that is respectful of minority residents and values, and provides a framework for reducing excessive incarceration and mitigating some of the cruelties associated with it.

The Paradox of Community Power: Cultural Processes and Elite Authority in Participatory Governance

Source: Jeremy R. Levine, Social Forces, Vol. 95 no. 3, March 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
From town halls to public forums, disadvantaged neighborhoods appear more “participatory” than ever. Yet increased participation has not necessarily resulted in increased influence. This article, drawing on a four-year ethnographic study of redevelopment politics in Boston, presents an explanation for the decoupling of participation from the promise of democratic decision-making. I find that poor urban residents gain the appearance of power and status by invoking and policing membership in “the community”—a boundary sometimes, though not always, implicitly defined by race. But this appearance of power is largely an illusion. In public meetings, government officials can reinforce their authority and disempower residents by exploiting the fact that the boundary demarcating “the community” lacks a standardized definition. When officials laud “the community” as an abstract ideal rather than a specific group of people, they reduce “the community process” to a bureaucratic procedure. Residents appear empowered, while officials retain ultimate decision-making authority. I use the tools of cultural sociology to make sense of these findings and conclude with implications for the study of participatory governance and urban inequality.

The Autonomy Defense of Private Discrimination

Source: Heather Whitney, Harvard Law School; University of Chicago – Law School, Date Written: February 22, 2017

From the abstract:
While a number of concerns have been raised about the on-demand economy, evidence of discrimination has been especially noted and publically condemned. Airbnb, for instance, came under fire when a Harvard Business School study showed that property owners were less likely to accept those with black-sounding names as renters and non-black hosts were able to charge approximately 12% more than black hosts. Similarly, in an October 2016 working paper conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, researchers looking at taxi-services Uber and Lyft showed that the cancellation rate for those with black-sounding names was more than twice as high as for those with white-sounding names. At the same time, largely in other parts of the country, many condemn not discrimination but the antidiscrimination laws designed to curb it, especially laws aimed at shielding those within the LGBTQ community from discrimination. Debates about discriminatory immigration policies dominate national headlines. 70% of the country is aware of the Black Lives Matter movement. We are, in short, in the midst of an important conversation about discrimination, the likes of which we have not seen since the Civil Rights Movement. Legal theorists and philosophers have taken note, arguing for changes to our current antidiscrimination law regime. But while these theorists have disagreed about the proper scope of antidiscrimination law, they have widely agreed in one crucial respect: namely, that any expansion of antidiscrimination law beyond their preferred scope is problematic on autonomy grounds.

The centrality of “autonomy” in these debates should come as no surprise. Throughout our history of racial conflict, all sides have claimed the ideal of autonomy as an ally to their cause. This is possible because of the concept’s flexibility. “Autonomy” can support a range of positions, depending on the presuppositions it’s packaged with. But when scholars invoke “autonomy” in a way that simply deploys these underlying presuppositions, instead of making these presuppositions explicit, situating them against reasonable rivals, and defending them, they fail to have what scholars at this point in time most crucially need: perspective. These scholars seem to neither notice nor understand why those who take different positions on questions of autonomy, or on specific legal interventions, do so, because the real bases of disagreement – which resides within these presuppositions – remain hidden. As a result, their rejection of certain antidiscrimination law regimes and support of others do little to move the debate about the proper scope of antidiscrimination law forward. Antidiscrimination law scholars are trapped in an ongoing cycle of autonomy assertions and as a result, the important debate about the proper scope of antidiscrimination law remains stalled. We cannot afford this.

My aim in this Essay is one of illumination and aid. I attempt to show why the mere assertion that a certain antidiscrimination law “violates autonomy” hides from view the true basis of disagreement and, in so doing, both fails to engage the relevant arguments while also failing to provide readers any reason to adopt the author’s preferred antidiscrimination law regime. I will do this by illuminating the presuppositions underpinning the two main conceptions of autonomy that are invoked in the antidiscrimination law literature. I then situate these presuppositions alongside rival possibilities. My hope is that this project will aid the development of more fruitful antidiscrimination law scholarship moving forward.

How ‘voter fraud’ crusades undermine voting rights

Source: Jesse Rhodes, The Conversation, February 1, 2017

….Put bluntly, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud by impersonation in the United States. “Impersonation” is what we call the deliberate misrepresentation of identity by individuals in order to manipulate election outcomes.

Research suggests allegations of voter fraud and the calls for stringent election rules are motivated by the desire to suppress voting by citizens of color.

Because stringent election rules suppress minority voting, Trump’s call for an attack on nonexistent voter fraud should be met with serious concern by all Americans. The last thing the United States needs is more measures that make it harder to vote. ….

Do Large Employers Treat Racial Minorities More Fairly? A New Analysis Of Canadian Field Experiment Data

Source: Rupa Banerjee, Jeffrey G. Reitz, Phil Oreopoulos, University of Toronto, January 25, 2017

Analysis of amended data from a large e-scale Canadian employment audit study (Oreopoulos 2011) shows that large employers with over 500 employees discriminate against applicants with Asian (Chinese, Indian or Pakistani) names in the decision to call for an interview, about half as often as smaller employers. The audit involved submission of nearly 13,000 computer-generated resumes to a sample of 3,225 jobs offered online in Toronto and Montreal in 2008 and 2009 for which university-trained applicants were requested by email submission. An organization-size difference in employer response to Asian names on the resume exists when the Asian-named applicant has all Canadian qualifications (20% disadvantage for large employers, almost 40% disadvantage for small employers) and when they have some or all foreign qualifications (35% disadvantage for large employers, over 60% disadvantage for small employers). Discrimination in smaller organizations is most pronounced in considering applicants for jobs at the highest skill levels. As well, whereas the Asian-name disadvantage is overcome in large organizations when the applicant has an additional Canadian master’s degree, this is not the case in smaller organizations. It is suggested that large organizations discriminate less frequently because they have more resources devoted to recruitment, a more professionalized human resources recruitment process, and greater experience with a diverse staff complement. Experimentation with anonymized resume review may be an inexpensive way that organizations can test their own hiring procedures for discrimination.
Related:
Asian Last Names Lead To Fewer Job Interviews, Still
Source: Jenny J. Chen, NPR, February 23, 2017

Why Do Skilled Immigrants Struggle in the Labor Market? A Field Experiment with Thirteen Thousand Resumes
Source: Philip Oreopoulos, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, vol. 3, no. 4, November 2011
(subscription required)

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in the Use of Lethal Force by US Police, 2010–2014

Source: James W. Buehler, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 107 No. 2, February 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objectives. To update previous examinations of racial/ethnic disparities in the use of lethal force by US police.

Methods. I examined online national vital statistics data for deaths assigned an underlying cause of “legal intervention” … for the 5-year period 2010 to 2014.

Results. Death certificates identified 2285 legal intervention deaths (1.5 per million population per year) from 2010 to 2014. Among males aged 10 years or older, who represented 96% of these deaths, the mortality rate among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic individuals was 2.8 and 1.7 times higher, respectively, than that among White individuals.

Conclusions. Substantial racial/ethnic disparities in legal intervention deaths remain an ongoing problem in the United States.

Race Capitalism Justice

Source: Boston Review, Forum I, 2017
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Walter Johnson, Harvard historian and author of the acclaimed River of Dark Dreams, urges us to embrace a vision of justice attentive to the history of slavery—not through the lens of human rights, but instead through an honest accounting of how slavery was the foundation of capitalism, a legacy that continues to afflict people of color and the poor. Inspired by Cedric J. Robinson’s work on racial capitalism, as well as Black Lives Matter and its forebears—including the black radical tradition, the Black Panthers, South African anti-apartheid struggles, and organized labor—contributors to this volume offer a critical handbook to racial justice in the age of Trump.

States of Change: Demographic Change, Representation Gaps, and Challenges to Democracy, 1980–2060

Source: Rob Griffin, William H. Frey, and Ruy Teixeira, Center for American Progress, February 17, 2017

….Historically, our political institutions have struggled to represent a society that is demographically different than its electorate. The systematic disenfranchisement of women and communities of color, for example, contributed to a public policy process that ignored and underserved large portions of the population. Functionally, they created what we will refer to as representation gaps—the difference between the percentage of voters who belong to a given group and the percentage of the whole population that belong to that same group. While an electorate that resembles the general population is no guarantee of a representative polity, we believe it creates conditions favorable to one.

Representational gaps such as these persist in modern America politics. They are obviously different in size and arise as the result of different processes, but the problems they induce are similar. Given their continued existence, the goal of this report is as follows:
– Document the representation gaps we have observed along age, education, gender, and race lines over the last several decades.
– Predict what those gaps might look like going into the future using the best available demographic projections and turnout data.
– Facilitate a conversation about the representational challenges the United States is likely to face in the coming decades and what solutions might work best to confront them.

Our analysis finds the white overrepresentation and minority underrepresentation has been a defining feature of American politics for decades. In fact, we may currently be at peak levels of both overrepresentation and underrepresentation. We also find that white overrepresentation is likely to decline in the future, as underrepresentation of Latinos and Asians declines significantly due to projected increases in citizenship among these groups. This trend will be especially noticeable in states that currently have the highest white representation gaps, such as Arizona, California, and Texas. By 2060, we expect the states with the highest white representation gaps to be interior states, such as Kansas, Utah, and Wyoming…..

How the Black Lives Matter Movement Is Mobilizing Against Trump

Source: Brandon Ellington Patterson, Mother Jones, February 7, 2017

Donald Trump repeatedly expressed hostility towards Black Lives Matter activists during his presidential campaign, particularly for their efforts to confront police brutality. Now, faced with a Trump agenda whose repercussions for African Americans could reach far beyond policing, BLM organizers say they are broadly expanding their mission. …. In the wake of Trump’s immigration order, BLM organizers mobilized their networks to turn out at airports to protest. The groups also fired up their social media networks to amplify calls for the release of detained travelers. BLM leaders say their strategy will evolve as more details become known about what Trump plans to do on matters ranging from policing and reproductive rights to climate change and LGBT issues. They will focus on combating what they see as Trump’s hostile, retrograde agenda—and that of right-wing politicians emboldened by Trump—primarily at the state and local levels. ….