Black/Brown/White Relations: Race Relations in the 1970s

By Charles V. Willie | Go to book overview

8
Institutional Racism: A Perspective
in Search of Clarity and Research

Nijole Benokraitis and Joe Feagin


Introduction

Despite the decline of both legal and physical segregation, blacks are still in a grossly unequal position within most institutions. * Racial stratification persists.Currently, racial inequality cannot be attributed solely to ideological racism, ethnocentrism, or behavior motivated solely by antiblack prejudice. Subordination techniques such as slavery and legal segregation are also no longer applicable. Instead, exclusionary practices have emerged that function to limit black access to such social benefits as power, prestige, and wealth. Such inequality may be grouped into two broad categories—inequality that is due to behavior based on antiblack prejudice and inequality due to behavior that is not based on antiblack prejudice.

For the most part, the theoretical perspectives that emerged during the first half of the twentieth century analyzed the former type of inequality in racial and ethnic relations. Until the mid-1950s white‐ nonwhite relationships were examined largely in terms of attitudes and stereotypes. The emphasis on prejudice has been pervasive

____________________
*
We would like to thank S. Dale McLemore, Parker Frisbie, Ed Murguia, and Edna Bonacich for their critical comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.Partial support for this research came from a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Ethnic Studies grant.

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