The first two readings in this section take the view that discrimination has diminished in importance. Lawrence E. Harrison ( "How Cultural Values Shape Economic Success") makes the conservative argument that cultural differences between whites and people of color can explain the economic differences. William Julius Wilson ( "Societal Changes and Vulnerable Neighborhoods") argues that larger social changes are negatively impacting poor black inner-city neighborhoods.
The remaining eight readings, on the other hand, argue that discrimination is alive and well in the United States and has substantial negative impacts on people of color. Fred L. Pincus ( "From Individual to Structural Discrimination") begins this section with a discussion of different types of discrimination. In addition to discussing intentional discrimination at both an individual and structural level, he argues that some social policies that appear to be race-neutral in intent have discriminatory effects.
Douglass S. Massey ( "America's Apartheid and the Urban Underclass") argues that residential segregation against blacks is still a significant issue. This segregation causes concentrated poverty in black communities and limits opportunities for upward mobility.
The next three readings address the issue of employment discrimination. Marc Bendick, Jr. , Charles W. Jackson, and Victor A. Reinoso ( "Measuring Employment Discrimination Through Controlled Experiments") examine how Washington, D.C., employers reacted to black and white applicants with identical credentials. The good news is that most employers did not favor either the black or white applicant. The bad news is that when one was favored, it was usually the white that benefited.
Joleen Kirschenman and Kathryn M. Neckerman ( "'We'd Love to Hire Them, But . . .': The Meaning of Race for Employers") show that Chicago employers discriminate against poor black and Hispanic males because of the expectation that they will have poor work habits. Karen J. Hossfeld ( "Hiring Immigrant Women: Silicon Valley's 'Simple Formula'") shows how California's high-tech employers discriminate on the basis of gender as well as race and ethnicity.
Since most of the research on discrimination is about blacks, we have included readings on two rapidly growing race/ethnic groups. Joan Moore and Raquel Pinderhughes ( "Latinos and Discrimination") analyze the problems faced by Hispanics in the United States, and Pyong Gap Min ( "Major Issues Relating to Asian American Experiences") does the same for Asians.
Among the various policies intended to combat employment discrimination and provide equal opportunity is affirmative action. Fred L. Pincus ( "The Case for Affirmative Action") analyzes this controversial policy.
Carter, Deborah J., and Reginald Wilson ( 1997) Minorities in Higher Education: 1996-1997, The Fifteenth Annual Status Report. Washington, D.C.: American Council on Education.
U.S. Bureau of the Census ( 1997a) Current Population Reports, Series P-60, No. 197, Money Income in the United States, 1996. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.